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Monday, April 4, 2011
Evangelism Trip to Camana
Thank you so much for the prayers for Camana. The trip was a great success. I had three main goals when I planned the trip with students in the Bible Institute. I wanted to win souls for God’s kingdom. I desired the students to get some experience in door to door evangelism and support three churches in their efforts to evangelize and the third reason was to encourage three pastors in Camana.
red at the Bible Institute (CEB) Friday afternoon at 4:00 to start the trip. Everyone was on time
Children with their first Bible
except one student who was delayed at work. By the time he arrived twenty minutes late, everyone was excited to depart Arequipa for Camana. The three hour drive across the Andes desert mountains was exciting for those who had never made the trip. For me it was just scary but God is giving me grace for these trips. Darrell Alexander and I had a good time talking and getting to know each other a little better.
By the time we arrived in Camana, it was nearly 8:00 p.m. We unloaded the bus and walked with the students to our motel which was just two blocks away. When we got to the motel one of the students asked, “Where is Ismael?” We looked around and realized one of the students was missing. We went back to the bus and no one was there. We went down each of the streets nearby and did not find him. After about thirty minutes of frantic searching and wondering how in the world we could lose someone in just two blocks, he drove up in a taxi. Ismael explained what happened and we all had a good laugh and teased him about being a lost sheep. He had told his wife that we would arrive in Camana by 7:00. We were about an hour late and he knew she would be worried so as soon as he got off the bus he stopped to make a phone call to his wife. No one noticed that he was not with the group as we turned the corner headed to the motel. He did not see us turn the corner so we were separated. Ismael knew we were going to a church after leaving our suitcases in the hotel so he took a taxi and headed to the nearest church. After visiting three churches and finding no one, he returned to the spot where we originally unloaded from the bus and it’s there we found him getting out of the taxi. The lost sheep had been found and now the parable of the lost sheep has a different meaning for all of us.
We ate dinner at one of the churches involved in the weekend evangelism and all the students introduced themselves and gave a short testimony. After the evening activities we went back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep. The next morning we were up early to pray before knocking on doors. The students were split into two groups. One group went to one neighborhood and the other group visited two different neighborhoods. I was so proud as I watched the students boldly presenting the Gospel message to every person they came in contact with as the walked down the dusty roads. We knocked on every door and explained God’s love to everyone who answered a door or even if they only came to the window. We left tracts at every house where no one was home. We gave over two hundred Bibles during the weekend. We saw souls won to the Lord including our bus driver and his son. You should have seen the change on their faces after they accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior! Everyone was exhausted by noon. (The sun can be unmerciful here.) We had a wonderful lunch of Chupe de Camarones. That’s a big bowl of river shrimp and vegetables cooked into a soup with a special spice. (They look more like crayfish to me.) This is a very typical dish in Peru. After the Chupe, they brought out the main dish of fried fish, rice and salad.
In the evening we had an open air meeting at the main plaza near one of the churches. We went around the neighborhood inviting everyone to attend. We had a good crowd as we sang, did skits, had two clowns for the children, gave testimonies, preached and gave an invitation for salvation. I believe we left the plaza about 10:00 p.m. to eat a light dinner then drove back to the motel tired but excited about all that God had done during the day.
The next morning after a breakfast of fried shrimp, bread and cheese, we attended church service at one of the local churches. One group of students worked with the children while the other worked with the adults in the regular service. I was privileged to deliver the message and I talked about how a Christian should look and behave. The basic message was how to live in such a way that we will be a reflection of Jesus in our daily life. After church we gave out more Bibles and tracts and encouraged the congregation to be witnesses to all of their neighbors. During the weekend we gave out more than 3000 tracts.
We arrived back home in Arequipa about 6:oo p.m. on Sunday night exhausted but content. Upon evaluating the trip, I asked myself if it was worth the expense involved. It was a fairly expensive endeavor. Each student gave a short testimony on what the trip meant to them personally. After hearing their comments I was assured that it definitely was worth the cost. Of all the students, only one had ever done any door to door witnessing in their whole life and she had only done it when she was 13 years old. Since then she said she had been too shy and scared to do it again. Some said it was the first time they had ever talked to anyone about becoming a Christian. Their tears as they shared said a lot. The experience gave them confidence and opened a whole new world in their walk with God. We used two methods of evangelism that the students studied at the Bible institute (CEB). The Roman Road to Salvation and the Color Method of the Salvation message. The students studied the methods in the school and then as they used the methods, they put into practice what they were learning. With the help of the Holy Spirit I saw all of them blossom with boldness. We didn’t win thousands to the Lord during the weekend but we did win some. The ones that excited me most was our bus driver and his son. We have known Roberto since we arrived in Peru. We have always used his service when we needed a bus for our teams. We have been gently working on him for over two years. Praise the Lord! He finally made his decision for the Lord along with his son during the weekend. As he stood and told what the weekend meant to him, I couldn’t help but have tears in my own eyes.
The pastors we visited were so animated by the end of the week. I believed we infused them with encouragement. They were all begging us to return soon. We also met others who want to have us come to their areas and help evangelize. One man who works in a more remote pueblo begged us to come there and teach because they have no pastors and no one to teach them about Jesus. Hopefully, some of the students will catch the vision of serving in the more remote pueblos in Peru also. We will be praying about visiting many places during this year but one thing we have found is that the weekend trips are expensive because of the cost of travel and the food and hotel expenses. We need your help. As you pray that God will send workers to the harvest, please also pray that those with the means to help will give financially toward these projects. It takes all of us together to win people to the Lord. Every person here in Peru who accepts the Lord has you to thank also for your part in this ministry. You will reap the same rewards as we who are on the field doing the actual ground work. May God bless you as you continue to pray and support the mission work in Peru!