So why is this important?
First, because friendships are important. For lots of team members, our relationships with people in Peru are friendships first, and working relationships second. It's only through developing loving friendships that effective working relationships are even possible. These trips aren't about building a fancy new church building or handing out charity. They're a partnership in service. All about creating and deepening individual relationships between us and the Perales church, and between the church and the Peruvian community.
Second, because 30 young Americans in a small Peruvian neighboorhood are about as close to a traveling circus as it gets. We can be a big attraction. Our presence and manpower makes VBS a large event (up to several hundred kids). This puts more children and their families in contact with a church that is an invaluable resource for spiritual, emotional and practical support. Most of the teenage leadership of the Peruvian church started out as kids coming to VBS, and now they have an amazing support system in their peers and leaders and an oppurtunity to serve others.
Giving out High-5's mid dance.
Since my first trip in 2011 Mathew (our youth pastor) has always told us that our impact on Peru and it's people "will not be neutral." I expected that even before my first trip. What I did not expect would be Peru's impact on me. I could fill a book with memories and lessons from just two trips.
One time I thought having Mathew baptise me in some very rocky, freezing and VERY unstable Peruvian waters would be cool. That it would somehow be memorable in it's graceful, elegant poetry.
Trying not to fall in a serious current and slippery rocks.
Elegant? No. Graceful? Not so much. Wonderful? In every way.
My baptism as beautiful. It was difficult, clumsy, freezing cold and I could not have been happier. It was not what I expected, but exactly what I wished for. That's kind of how my adventures in Peru have gone. They've been gritty and hard and gorgeous. I've met some passionate, welcoming and beyond loving people there. I've struggled and learned; about joy and work and community. The first time gave me an appetite for mission work and travel that only gets bigger and stronger every year. This year is number 3, and it's far from the last.
I want to thank everyone who has ever given he a single dollar, prayer or word of encouragement since my Peru trips started. These times that I hold so close to my heart would never have happened without your support. Every year I write to people, and every time I feel like Thank You just doesn't do justice to how much I appreciate your help.
I'll ask you to keep my team and me in your prayers, up to and through our trip. If you happen to have an extra $20, that is greatly appreciated. Any words of encouragement, even more so.
With much gratitude and excitement,
Isaiah 52:7 "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news!"
- Christy Froehlich
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