Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Closing a chapter in Peru

This last campaign returning Huancayo, Peru was difficult for many reasons. For one, it was backed up to my campaign in India and I travelled directly from India, over the North Pole to Chicago, then to Miami before on down to Lima. Secondly, as the Lord has called us on to Asia, we have no idea when and if we’ll return. It was hard to see pastors and leaders we’ve taught, prayed with and walked alongside process the news we won’t be returning. Now of course the work there will continue. The work has been handed off to someone else who will help to equip and serve those brothers. But still, of all the South America, that is one of our favorite places.
As the Lord has changed and moved our focus after six years of using sports to build relationships, play ball and share Jesus it was a little sad to “officially” use sports for the last time. Oh, sports are still a great tool, and we’ll teach and use it in Thailand, but it won’t be our main focus. But God in His provision allowed one last opportunity for me. As I was travelling to each mission point checking on the work we visited the sports team over lunch. Noticing some young men shooting the ball around, a pickup game was started. Let me tell you, a full court game at 11, 000 will always take your breath away. But a good time to shooting, passing and laughing provided the opportunity for us to get to know these guys. After the game, over a 3 liter bottle of Coke, I told them of the story of Jesus. Where those guys were once strangers, just players on the court, they are now my new brothers in Christ. God is so cool to allow us to use our gifts and skills to further His Kingdom. Those six men are now being plugged into a local church where they can continue to learn, grow and maybe one day they’ll use a basketball game to win souls.
What a week to see 32 North American partner with 6 mother churches to start 6 new works and strengthen 2 others. Amazing to see 599 hear the Good News and 398 trusting in Jesus. Even more exciting was the focus on discipleship as 127 home follow up visits were made and 247 people came to evening cell group meetings. Oh what a privilege to see God at work.

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