If you are a part of a missions-focused church for any length of time, you will hear of incredible stories, testimonies of God’s power and grace, tragedies that face people all over the world and the triumph of God’s Kingdom prevailing over all things. You will hear about the people they visited; their great hunger for the gospel and the love and joy that flow from them, amidst extremely challenging life circumstances.
Having been immersed in just such a culture in my own church, and having recently returned from a month long missions trip serving in Peru with Amazon Outreach; I can tell you that everything you’ve heard is True. But it pales to the reality of going and putting your feet on the soil and stretching out your hand to serve.
To say it was such a blessing to be part of the MEPI Ladies Conference and to teach at the MEPI school would be an understatement. To tell you that they blessed me more I blessed them – that they taught me more than I taught them…wouldn’t really make sense to you…until you go yourself and let the ladies in the kitchen cleaning up from your dinner meal, sit you down and pray over you (in Spanish) and draw on the Power of God to move through you as you share a message.
To say that Amazon Outreach is passionate about bringing the love of Jesus to Peruvians and works tirelessly to serve the people of Peru, might just sound like the same thing everyone says about their favorite missionary organization… Until you watch the President of the organization manage finances, lack of supplies, rain storms, planes that won’t fly in, to pick up a stranded team, so they can get to the next village that’s desperately waiting to hear the Good News and share in the grace of God with fellow believers.
If I told you that being part of a team of people that you never met before was fun, life giving and life changing; you might not believe me until you find yourself sleeping in a tent next 15 or 20 of your new closest friends, listening to the symphony of snores, cleaning mud off each other after falling in the pitch dark, laughing, singing, munching on popcorn, sharing supplies, prayers and a list of new words you’relearning in Condoshi.
Peruvians are wonderful people. Full of laughter, warmth, curiosity and strength. But those are just words until you go and experience their hospitality and kindness to bring you comfort if they can. Their laughter and teasing as you endeavor to speak their language! Encountering the curiosity of the Shawi and Condoshi watching you as you nap, or the strength of the Peruvian men as they push your boat off a sand bar in the middle of the night after an 18-hour boat ride. Not just strength, but they will laugh as they jump in the water to get you out of your predicament!
I could tell you that on the mission field you will experience a measure of God’s love, compassion and joy for His children that you’ve never known before. But until a little girl that’s never been exposed to others outside of her tribe, pushes past fear and the unknown and reaches up to grab your hand…and you look down into eyes full of wonder and expectation…”Are you here for me? Am I worth it? What is this love?”
…This moment. Right here. To know God and make Jesus known…
This is why we go.
…that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. John 17:23