Here’s a photo of me on a recent trip taking literature and Bible studies to the new churches we have in the mountains. Some days I was able to conduct Bible studies in two locations as some of the towns have their meetings during the day, while the larger towns tend to have their meetings in the evening.
We have decided to start a church in the mountains of a region called Chachapoyas in the coming year, and we continue in prayer about it, because we have no means of support to plant churches. As with the birth of any baby, there are expenses. It doesn’t matter what brand of diapers we use on this “newborn,” we will just trust that God will provide what this new work will need to survive and grow.
This reminds me of a story that a woman from the Chachapoyas region told me. She had a brother in Lima whose wife had left him with a baby. Her brother was not able to take care of the child because of his work. So she asked him to let her raise the child in the country. She said, “Even if he has to eat chicken droppings, it’s better than being raised alone in the city.” Quite literally, in these mountain areas, many times the children are set on the grass while the mothers are working. The chickens roam the same grass. Therefore it is not uncommon for the babies to happen upon chicken droppings, and as all children do, they may pick things up, play with them and then either put them in their mouths or put their hands in the their mouths after having played with these things. The woman said to me, “You may think that sounds awful; but one thing is for sure, they grow up.”
The same is true with our spiritual children some times. We may not think this is any kind of way to raise “children,” but the important thing is that they grow.
We travelled to a small town called Jaen and conducted a Bible training course to prepare leaders for the churches that God is calling together in that area. We had 25 taking the course. Now we’re back in Cajamarca where each Monday I wake in the middle of the night to make it up to the Porcon community and preach a 6 a.m. service that these dedicated Christians attend before starting their work week. Then on Tuesday of this week we began a vacation Bible school. A public school teacher from Lima came with some other sisters to help us in this work.
Next up is another Bible training course with the church leaders in the Cajamarca region. We need to prepare workers to plant new works and make disciples. We appreciate your prayers and support.
Below: The group of participants in the Bible training course at Jaen.
By Narciso Zamora
I recently returned from a church-planting trip to a small town of Luya, that on a good day, is about 15 hours by bus from my home in Cajamarca. I’m happy to say that I was well received. One day, we had 14 meet together, 17 on another day, and 10 new children came to meet with us as well. The three families I worked with are now meeting for Bible studies and we’re preparing materials for them to evangelize, disciple and cement their new congregation.
I thank God for the outcome of that trip, and I had plenty of reason to praise God for the journey too.
I left on a Tuesday morning at 4 a.m. for a 17-hour trip on a mini-bus. All day we went up and down hills and mountains, with narrow curves where only one vehicle at a time could pass. If we met up with another vehicle, one of us would have to back up for the length of several blocks until there was a wider spot in the road where we could pass. And if that was bad enough, it seemed that about half the trip was on roads under construction.
At 1 a.m., we finally arrived in the city of Chachapoyas. When the bus arrived, many people had someone waiting on them, and within minutes, there was only me and another young man standing around. He had to catch a bus out at 5 a.m. and I had to catch one at 7 a.m., so we wondered what to do for those short hours in the middle of the night.
The young man said, “Let’s walk one block and see about that hotel.”
We arrived and rang the bell and a young woman came out, asked for our documents, and then said, “I have room, it will be $13.”
That was very expensive for me.
As I was thinking about what to do, the young man said, “I only have four hours to sleep because I have to leave again on a bus at 5 a.m.”
The young lady then replied, “There is a room you could share for $10.”
The hotel was pretty full that night – the room was on top floor. When we opened the door, we were surprised to see that there was only one double bed.
I placed my backpack on one side of the room and lay down on the bed. The other man just sat up on the bed.
I said, “Lay down.” And then I started to tell him about the Gospel. I thought it was the best thing to do since we were as cozy as two cats in a bag! We certainly hadn’t intended to end up together in a room. We talked about the Word of God for about an hour and then we prayed. The young man was a Christian, but admitted that he had been lagging in his zeal for God. It had been some months since he attended church, because he had moved and not yet found another church home.
We slept for a couple of hours after that and then the young man woke and left in time to catch his bus at 5 a.m. But those few hours meant a lot more than just a little rest for his body. That night he renewed his faith and commitment to Christ!
I was left wondering what kind of fool would take a hotel room with a total stranger – and share the same bed, no less! I had taken into account where this young man had gotten on to the bus, however, and knowing that small town he was from gave me some confidence about his character. But that was all I had to go on as I consented to sharing a room and falling to sleep with my backpack full of my ministry materials – computer, projector and films.
The trip home was another adventure. With all the road work, compounded with strong rain, our trip was delayed by eight hours. The people on the bus had eaten breakfast at 8 a.m., but we got stranded by the rain and construction in a place where there was no food to be had. There were children on the bus and they cried out of hunger. It was a tough day and people were disgruntled. When we finally were able to get through, we stopped at the first place we could find and they only had rice and potatoes to serve us. We ate it – our lunch and dinner at once – and finally made it back to Cajamarca at 12:30 a.m.
At that hour, I was not able to find any transport back to my house from the bus stop – no buses or taxis, so I had to walk. It’s not safe to walk by oneself at that hour and there I was with that computer and projector in my backpack! I went praying all the way, trusting Jesús’ care.
God continues to bless us as we work to establish new churches in places without evangelical churches.
We just finished one week of classes with our Missions Institute. It was tiring, especially for my son Gerson who taught many of the classes. (He is a professor in a seminary in Lima.) We held classes in Bambamarca, and I took advantage of this time to check out a number of questionable requests for literature that were coming out of Bambamarca – addresses provided to me by the staff at Christian Triumph Company. Sadly, I was not able to find any of the addresses or people that have been requesting literature (and Bambamarca is not a big place). It’s sad that people will abuse a free resource like this to turn a profit.
Tomorrow begins a general strike in the city of Cajamarca and the news reports are that it will last indefinitely until there is a resolution to the concerns about the mining companies in the State of Cajamarca. I’m concerned that the strike will close the roads and airport, so Udelia and I are leaving here on Wednesday to go to Lima, to make sure I can travel to the States on June 13.
This morning I spoke to two groups of workers at Granja Porcon. Services there start at 6 a.m. – they start each day out this way! I have to get up and going by 4am to get there on time because traffic is bad going up the mountain if I leave any later and have to compete with the commuters to the gold mines.
Tomorrow I leave for the mountains with two other men. We’re taking literature and the projector and films with us to help reach the people there. Pray for us!
We are starting this semester of missiology and ministerial studies on the 10th. Additionally we have a group of Sunday school teachers that we are going to train in a two-day event.
My wife Udelia’s health is better now and thank God, my 10-year visa to the U.S. was renewed.
I am in Chota now; I got here last night and today Pastor Jorge, another brother and I are taking literature, films and Bible courses to work with during the day as we invite people to attend an evening service.
Last week I was going through the mountains, travelling toward Trujillo, in a town called Magdalena that produces fruit and sugar cane. It’s between the high mountains. I walked up the mountains to visit a man had been with the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.) a long time ago. But when my wife and I left for mission work in Ecuador and Chile, no one ever came again to visit this man. There were three churches in this area and I met with the three leaders and they told me, “We are from the Church of God, but we’re all alone up here. No leader has ever come to visit us. We have received visits from pastors from other churches, but nothing from the Church of God.”
So in talking with these leaders and one other, they decided to join us. We are incorporated separately from the other Church of Gods (Anderson, Ind.) in Peru. To do that, we had to change our name, so we are actually recognized as a new movement, which is why the Church of God leaders in Peru have told me they don’t recognize our organization as being as part of theirs. But in actuality, each region has its own corporation, and ours is the largest of the Church of God in Peru. There are three churches in the jungle, two in Lima, five between Chepen and Chiclayo on the coast and we have 16 churches in Cajamarca. And we have a plan for each congregation to plant another church within the next two years, working in conjunction with other denominations if we need to. We are praying that God will provide leaders to continue this growth.
Well, the rains have begun in Cajamarca and they are complicating our meeting in the church in Cajamarca, because rain comes in everywhere with just our ill-fitted tin roof. I think we will move evening services to twice a week, one in one home, another in another home. While it doesn’t rain in the mornings, we will continue to have Sunday school for the children who come to sing, pray, do crafts and Bible Studies. We’re hoping these rains bring the blessing of funds for a proper roof.
In October, I will travel to Piura to visit a man who is asking for 10,000 tracts from Christian Triumph – I hope to be able to find his home! Then the following week, I will be travelling to a new place where we will hand out testaments and tracts and have some meetings in a school for some Bible studies. We’re praying that God will give us victory and that people will accept Jesus as their savior. The place is far from here – four hours by car then two on foot. We will have to carry the literature on horseback. It might also be possible to take our projector and show a film – that brings people in.
I have been in Chota again, but this time out in the county, to help a small church. This Monday, I’m leaving again for three days out in the country to have evangelistic services and see about possibly helping a new church that is starting up in the mountains. On Sept 3, I travel to the coast to do a seminar on evangelism and do an evangelistic campaign. Prayers, please.
Estuve nuevamente en chota pero por el campo, para ayudar a una iglesia pequeña. Este lunes salgo nuevamente para el campo por 3 días para tener cultos con gente inconversa y ver las posibilidades de ayudar a levantar una iglesia que esta levantandose por las montañas. El 3 de septiembre viajo a la costa para dar un seminario sobre evangelismo y hacer una campaña evangelsitica. oraciones por favor.
Here’s the last of the videos we produced for our presentation at Hilltop Bible Church following our mission trip to Peru. Enjoy this colorful walk through a Peruvian market. BTW, there is an error in this video, that is, something is not quite right about the whole thing. Would love for someone to bust me on it! Look and listen.
Hard to believe there are actually people who feel they have to suffer the children. Take a look at this sample of shining faces we met in Cajamarca, Chota and Bambamarca. Toward the start of the video, you’ll see us working on materials. We took some things folks in our church had leftover from years gone by, but while there, we also printed out three months worth of lessons for four age groups, and made flannel graphs. We made 30 sets of lessons and 15 flannel sets, including 9 stories for each congregation. We only completed one of the seven do-it-yourself flannel lessons (see Jonah story in video), and then provided all the materials for the congregations to finish the other six. The other two flannel sets each church got were “store bought” (donated by Dorothy Kennedy and our church). May not sound like much, but those brief flashes of our work day are actually representing a 12-hour work day times four people, plus Bill and Baltazar helping out for about three or four hours each, plus random good Samaritan Daniel (pictured in flannel board making scene) plus about five hours times two people in Cajamarca one day buying supplies and getting copies and printouts made, plus time to find and download all the materials, plus more! All in all, about 100 combined hours of labor of love.
We gave the leaders a brief (!) demonstration on their use, but I’m thinking it was much too brief. Just got word from Narciso today that he would like us to return next year and do a two-day workshop on children’s ministry. We also left a fund of 500 soles with the regional pastors group to reimburse churches who make photocopies of the lessons. If each of the churches used the materials each week, the fund would probably last about four months. Really doesn’t seem like much and when you see these faces… just makes a body want to do MORE!
Thanks to Jill for sharing regarding our ministry
opportunities in Trapiche and Granja Porcon, and indeed that was the purpose of
the trip, but as Narciso said of me more than one, “A esa Hermana Dana le pican
los pies,” which means loosely, I can’t sit still. In fact, I coined a motto
for the trip during a planning e-mail: “We can sleep back in the States.” I
wanted everyone to be prepared for a maxed out schedule – taking advantage of
every waking moment we had.
Whereas there were those dull brushing teeth moments, and we
did need some sleep, this trip did not disappoint. From sharing meals with new
friends, to hitting the road at 4 a.m. with the Walking Man, to seeing, smelling,
sampling and singing, every day was brimming with sensuality in its purest
form. Really, it’s kind of hard to describe… But here’s a short video from days
2 and 3 of the trip to give a glimpse of what I’m talking about.
Enjoy, Donna Lee Schillinger
We´ve just finished our week at Granja Porcon. Monday-Wednesday was a pastor´s conference. Donna had two speaking sessions and Jeanene and I enjoyed meeting the conference attendees and also the Porcon people. During the teaching sessions we three would sit in the near back rows so that Donna could translate for Jeanene and me. They were excellent topics and I´m glad God placed me there.
On Wednesday evening Donna and I, along with Narcisso, Udelia and Alberto, a Chilean pastor rode back down to Cajamarca. Thursday morning the two of us were off to shop for children´s supplies. This was great fun. Our first stop was an internet cafe were Donna printed off Bible lessons she had previously downloaded. This took over an hour and our bill was enough to make the man behind the counter smile. Then to the print shop. Donna had two print shops busy printing a total of 2000 copies. Again we left with smiling shop owners. Down to the liberia. In a small book store, we hardly had room to stand. Colors, glue, markers, and the like were on display in a glass case. It was much fun to shop this way. Ask to see a product, ask for the price, agree on the item and then ask for 14 more. The shop lady had to run upstairs to her store room several times. She happily did so. We left Cajamarca with our arms full.
Thursday-Saturday was another conference, the 24th convention of the iglesia de dios in Peru. I believe we were close to 100 in attendance. And this time we had work to do. Friday was work day. Donna, Jeanene, Evelyn and I worked from 8:30 am to 11:30 pm organizing Bible lessons and making flannel figures, only stopping briefly for lunch and dinner. Donna´s father Bill, Baltazar, and a friendly helper Daniel also helped making the flannel boards. At the end of the long day Jeanene said with a smile, ´`It feels like Christmas Eve!“
Today we passed out teaching material for children ages 3-12 to 15 different churches. Donna gave a brief instruction on how to use the lessons and flannels. It is our understanding that most churches have limited to no resources for the children in their congregations. We sent these lessons out with prayer that they will be used to teach children about our God and his Word and change lives.
This evening we are all back down in Cajamarca at the Zamora´s home. Total capacity this evening is 15! I´ve been told this is not unusual, their home has been used for many years as a welcoming respite for hermanos y hermanas en Cristo.
Granja Porcon in itself deserves a full post, but it´s late and we have an early start tomorrow. Google it. It´s a Christian cooperation. A farm and tourist spot and community of 2000 people living simple lives harmoniously.
I have few pictures of Porcon. The latter are of this afternoon in Cajamarca.
This trip took about 1 1/2 hours from Lima. It seems almost half that time was spent driving out of the city. It is large, with an abundance of traffic. Many cars, taxis, buses and horns, horns everywhere. As expected we passed many deprived neighborhoods. This was very humbling.
When we arrived in Trapiche we were greeted with hugs and kisses. This caught me off guard and it took me several minutes to regain my composure. I was touched by their sincerity.
Two years ago when Donna, Jeanene and others from our church visited Trapiche their church building was constructed of cane mats for walls and a tarp roof. They are now in four bricked walls and a tin roof. And I believe I saw two light bulbs, which were turned on after dark.
The church sang a song with a tambourine and a drum and enthusiastic hand clapping. Donna, Gerson (Narcisso’s son) and the two men who came with us all spoke briefly. As did Evelyn, Donna’s younger sister. Jeanene said a few words and Donna translated. I wanted to contribute so I led them in “God is so Good” because it has few words and is easy to sing in Spanish.
We then passed out glow sticks to the kids. This was exciting and new for them. Also, we passed out individual packages of soap, toothpaste, colors, etc. that were given to us by members of our church.
During the meeting the older women were busy outside preparing a dinner for us over a wood fire. They served us chicken noodle soup and a semi popped corn. It was all good.
As we started to leave the children kept asking when we would return. We could only answer that we didn’t know. How I wish it wasn’t so far to get to them. Our goodbyes were the same as the hellos. Kissing and hugging and utterances of hermana (sister).
My heart is full and heavy for these people. We all serve the same God and yet our lives are so different. What do I take away from this experience, what can I do?