Below is a blog belonging to my niece, Robin Ricks, who is a missionary in Peru. Here on my website I have put a quick and poor copy of the blog. If you hopefully are interest here is its link http://walkingonhighplaces.blogspot.com/2016/03/showers-of-blessings.html .

 SHOWERS OF BLESSINGS

Hello once again from Peru, my family and friends!  I know it's been quite a while since you've heard from me!  I'm excited to be able to share with you in this post some neat things that have happened recently at WAIO Peru, and I'm also excited to tell you that this past Friday, March 25, was the ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY of my arrival in Peru!  Woo-hoo!

For the past few months, while all of you in the U.S. and in other parts of the world were experiencing freezing temperatures and snow, it has been summer here in Peru.  It has also been the rainy season.  Because of the forecasts for this year regarding the phenomenon El Niño I expected the rain to be intense, but it actually has ended up being somewhat lighter than usual.  (I've been thankful for that because I personally don't enjoy lots of rain, but it has resulted in a poorer crop season this year.)  However, even when it hasn't rained, most of the time the sky has been an angry swirl of dark clouds above the mountains.

 

As in the U.S., the students get a summer break here in Peru (from about Christmas through February).  I assumed the young people in our church would spend their break relaxing, vacationing and having fun, but I was wrong.  They worked!  One of our girls, Estefani, who is in charge of our children's ministry, had the vision to do a vacation Bible school, and she and several of the other youth threw themselves into putting it together.  Originally they wanted to make it a month long, three days a week, but Olga and I had them whittle it down to two weeks!  I don't know who enjoyed the VBS more - the children or their teachers! These young people love working with the children!  For the day of the grand finale we rented a large meeting space (which is right across the street from our house and church - more about that later in the post) and invited all the parents to come.  In the above photo a group of the children are performing a dance they learned in the VBS.




I actually had thought that we would plan a lot of fun things to do with the young people during their summer break, but after the VBS, a 7-week discipleship class we held on Saturdays, and a relationships seminar which culminated in a big Valentine's Day banquet, by the end of February we hadn't had time to do anything else.  But I was determined that the kids would have an opportunity to relax and enjoy themselves before they had to return to school in mid-March.  So, we did a retreat!  The first weekend of March we carried 15 of our young people by combi about half an hour from Chilca to a lovely Christian retreat center called Edén, and then we let them loose!  During the weekend I shared with them that I believed the Lord's purpose for our having the retreat was simply because He wanted them to be able to rest, have some fun and enjoy the life He'd given them.  And they did!

   

The weekend following the retreat was the last one before the new school semester began, and we had our "grand opening" for the new Sunday school year.  Again, we rented the large space nearby for the event.  After we looked for months for a larger but affordable location to hold our meetings, Victor recently stumbled across this rental property which is literally right across the street from us and is within our budget.  Its only drawbacks are that the acoustics need some serious enhancements, and that the room has a tin roof.  We found out the first night we used it for our Sunday service that it's not a good option during the rainy season!  The good news is, we are heading into the dry season within several weeks, so we hope to use it regularly very soon.




In the last few months we have had several newcomers begin attending WAIO Peru. One of our most recent attenders is a 14-year-old girl named Liliana.  Liliana is the half-sister of two other teenaged girls in the church, all of whom have the same father, but their father refuses to have anything to do with Liliana and she lives with her mother in another house.  Unfortunately this kind of dysfunction is extremely common here, in fact it is virtually the norm.  The first night Liliana came to visit our church, throughout the service she had as sad a countenance as I think I've ever seen in my life.  Her eyes were red as if she had been crying, though I didn't see her cry at all that night.  We welcomed her with open arms and had the chance to minister to her at the end of the service.  Soon after, she came with us on the retreat, and since then has gotten involved in helping with our children's ministry.  Seemingly overnight Liliana looks and acts like a different person, and I know it's because she feels loved and accepted.  Praise God!  I took this photo of her at our Sunday school grand opening.

   



One of the things I have really been believing God for and that we as the leadership of WAIO Peru have been praying for, is that other people - specifically other Peruvians who have the resources and influence to make a difference in their community and their country - would take an interest and get involved in what we are doing to help the people of Chilca and Huancayo.  The first answer to that prayer came in the form of a joint effort between a friend of Olga's, her
daughter, and a group of Chinese businessmen who wanted to encourage needy Peruvian children to do well in their studies by donating school backpacks and supplies.  When she discovered that her daughter, through a relationship with a businessman from China and some of his friends, had the opportunity to distribute a large supply of backpacks, Olga's friend Rosa referred her daughter Evelyn to WAIO Peru as a potential recipient of some of the donated packs.  We received 35 backpacks in all, each containing notebooks, pens, pencils and colored pencils, and over the past two weeks we have been able to give them to elementary-age children of the neediest families involved in our own ministry as well as to a number of children from several nearby schools.



A second answer to our prayer came right after the first, equally unsolicited, and I'm really excited about this one!

In preparing for our Project 58 feeding event for March, we had decided to do something a little different than we had in the past.  We were going to distribute tickets to 50 needy families in a certain area near Chilca and ask them each to bring their ticket to the church at a certain time to pick up a bag of staple food items that we would prepare beforehand.  In order to determine where we would give out the tickets, Victor had the idea to inquire with the Chilca city government as to the neediest neighborhoods in our community.  So about two weeks ago, he and I paid a visit to the municipal building (just up the street from us), and we ended up speaking with the director of Social Development, a woman named Lili.  She was very friendly and receptive, and after sharing with her the purpose of our visit, she not only gave us the information we needed but also offered to provide the transportation
and go with us to distribute the tickets to the event.  We decided to do the feeding event on Saturday, March 19, so on the morning of Friday the 18th, Lili, Victor, another city worker named Lizbet, and I headed by taxi up the mountain that faces our house and church in Chilca.  Lili had told us that the poorest area near Chilca was a community called Serro San Cristóbal, up on the mountain. (We soon discovered that there are numerous "communities" on the mountain, all of them equally poor.  We actually didn't make it to Serro San Cristóbal on this day, but rather went to the communities of Fortaleza Altos and Héroes de Azapampa.)  As it turned out, we weren't able to get very far in the taxi because only a little way into our ascent the dirt road was completely obstructed by construction work, so we had to get out and walk the rest of the way.  But I didn't mind at all - I love a good hike!  Rather than simply describe to you in writing what we saw and did that morning, I wanted you to be able to experience it, so the following is a video clip of parts of our journey up the mountain.



As we were descending back to Chilca, Lili, Victor and I chatted, and Lili expressed to us that she would be interested in supporting us in future Project 58 events, and would even be open to assisting in other community events sponsored by our church.  Yay, God!!

  

We had instructed the people from the mountain to come to the church at 2:30 p.m. the next day, which was Saturday the 19th.  Most of the ticket-holders showed up, but not all of them.  Victor had told the people that only those who personally had tickets would receive a bag of food, but even so a few of the women brought family members, and since we had extras left over we went ahead and gave some to them as well.  The bags we had prepared consisted of a kilo each of rice, beans, and sugar, a half-kilo of split peas, and a half-liter of cooking oil, and to each bag we had attached the scripture Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord, "plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
In the photo below, Olga ministers to a widow and her two young children who came to get a bag of food.



Whew!  It's been a very busy but very rewarding last couple of weeks.  Actually, it's been a very busy but very rewarding past year.  Yet I feel that God is just getting started with what He wants to do in and through our humble ministry in Chilca, Peru.  My heart's cry for Word Alive Peru this year is John 15:16 - that we will bear fruit and that our fruit will remain, that Jesus will be glorified in everything we do.  I earnestly ask you to pray for us in this regard.  I also ask you to join with me and with all of us at Word Alive Peru in praying and believing for God's purposes to be realized and His kingdom to be established in this city, this region, and ultimately this nation.  Jesus is Lord of the nations of the world, and He has a tremendous destiny for Peru!  Thank you for your prayers, and may God bless you in every way!

For His Glory,
Robin

Posted 3 weeks ago by Robin Ricks