With Samuel’s help, I had my first Zoom conversation with the director of women and children’s services here in Peru. The recommendation process was started to secure permission for construction at Refugio de Vida when we have the funds to build. The director has approved the preliminary recommendation, pending his visit to San Ramón to view the area. Once we have his official recommendation, we can move forward. He is scheduled to come this month to meet Pastor Jorge, Charo, and me face to face. He will assist us in completing the paperwork so that there are no issues in the future. He told us that he has children RIGHT NOW needing to be placed in care, but he doesn’t have anywhere in our region to place them. At the end of the Zoom call, he gave me a virtual hug.
In July, the church celebrated Pastor Jorge’s birthday during a Sunday evening service, and it was a complete surprise for him! The church was completely packed that night, though I think Pastor Jorge may have guessed something was happening when people who normally do not attend Sunday nights were there.
Refugio de Vida – My sisters and brothers in the San Ramón church helped dedicate the Life Refuge in July with an overnight camp. Over 40 people camped out and had a dinner on the grounds the next day. I will say that I am not a huge fan of camping in a tent, but I survived – ha. See the Refugio de Vida tab for photos from this special day.
In August, the San Ramón church celebrated its 20th year! There were 56 people in the morning service and 48 at the night service!! Normally, churches from other areas are invited to come and visit during the anniversary, but this year, due to Covid restrictions, only the San Ramón church was in attendance.
However, Nico, her husband, and baby were here to celebrate the anniversary as well. They are starting a church plant in Ayacucho, about 6 hours from San Ramón and have asked our church to support them in prayer and finances. It was such a sweet time to see my dear friend again – and her baby is absolutely precious! I was once again so very thankful that the Lord allowed me to have extra space in my apartment for them to stay. I absolutely love being called “Tia Steph” (Aunt Steph)!!
Charo and I traveled to Lima for 2 weeks in September for doctor appointments. I have found an amazing endocrinologist in Lima who speaks English, stays current on the latest diabetes treatments, and who is addressing my diabetes in a much healthier way. He has changed my medicines, and thanks to that, my blood sugars have stayed in the normal range most days. We also visited our Lima family and friends. I was able to spend a day with my dear friend Rosa. We talked, laughed, cried, and prayed together. It was so special to be with her, if only for a short time.
My missionary friend Denise (she has served in many countries but specifically in Ghana for 15 years) flew here on September 13 and will be staying with me until November 15. She has been such a moral support for me as well as helping me tackle some of the diabetes issues!
The youth group has continued to grow each week. Two young men accepted Christ a couple of weeks ago after watching the “Overcomer” movie. Samuel shared a short lesson after the movie, and the young men were convicted about their salvation. Last week, I had the opportunity to teach about “choices we make” during the Youth Hawaiian Dinner. Pastor Jorge was originally scheduled to teach, but because he contracted Dengue Fever and was unable to do so. The Lord gave me grace, because with only 4 hours to prepare my lesson and PowerPoint, I was able to teach in his place. I had to read much of it, but afterward 2 young ladies were moved to speak to me about the lesson. One of the youth leaders talked with me two days later, saying she feels “unworthy” to serve. I told her, through tears, that we are all unworthy to serve, but that God prepares us to serve Him if we are only willing. We will begin studying together soon.
The Youth Leadership Team has planned out our calendar through the end of March – we have several exciting things planned for the youth in the next few months! I can’t wait!!
Charo and I have also planned the Women’s Ministry through the end of December. Since I will be spending Christmas in the US and returning to Peru in February, we haven’t planned any further. At present, we are meeting with the women every 3 weeks and are so excited to see the growth of this ministry!