Sometimes it's easy to overlook God's presence when he shows up in the "little ways". When we think of God's presence we think of the time we gave our life to Christ, the time we won the big game, or the times God pulled us through a really hard time. When it comes to our repetitive day to day life, His presence can easily go unnoticed.
This week we had a chance to talk to our friend pictured above. When asked about his relationship with Jesus, he thought first of his love to dance. He comes to Casa de Luz and finds joy in the ability to dance in God's glory. He looks forward to the time he can take away from the hardship he faces in his difficult home life and dance for our God. How wonderful!
I think we could all take moment to learn from this sweet, young friend. He comes from a life filled with adversity we couldn't imagine, yet he still finds joy. He finds joy in simple, day-to-day life. He may not have much, but he has the ability to dance, and he gives that to God.
Although many of us may be older and may find it odd to bust a move for Jesus, I challenge you to be like our friend at Casa de Luz. Take some time out of your busy, repetitive work day to dance in the joy that Jesus has given us new life. This new life is something we all should dance for joy about!
Welcome all visitors, regular supporters, and anyone who is curious about the Lost Children of Peru! As you may notice scrolling through this page, there has been a bit of a pause since the last blog post. Well, more than a bit of a pause, it has been almost a whole year. This was not because of apathy or negligence, but because we have been SO focused on the incredible improvements of the Lost Children of Peru. Some of these improvements you can find on any of our "about" pages, but others include this updated website and the Donate Your Change campaign.
I wish there was room to tell the many life-giving stories that have happened through our community this past year, but there simply isn't room for an entire novel. For a glimpse of what has been going on since the last post, here's a particularly moving story.
A few weeks ago, we had a group of students from Valor High School come to serve. They had the opportunity to be involved in the villages by building a new house, serving meals, playing with the children, and even washing the feet of our beloved brothers and sisters or Peru. Watching these teenagers wash the children’s feet, and provide them with a fresh pair of shoes, was truly watching God’s hands and feet at work.
They also had the opportunity to learn of radical love from the amazing woman who created the orphanage where they served. Not too long ago she started giving food to orphans in the area. She began to notice them sleeping on her porch every night. Faithfully trusting in the Lord, she took them in and created the orphanage.
It was such an eye-opening story for many of these High School students. We are incredibly grateful for the work they did in Peru, but we know that the people of Peru were not the only ones who had their lives changed that week. The Valor High School students left learning of the radical love God calls us to through the orphanage owner. They left having felt God’s presence and His joy even among the least of these.
Stay tuned for more stories, I plan on posting a weekly story to share of the people God calls us to serve!
Kurt Unruh is the head of Valor Christian High School and led a team of students on a trip down to Peru earlier this summer. This was his first mission trip, and it has left a lasting impact on him. From spiritual confirmation to watching the students, including some of his own children, humbly serve to his thoughts on the work being done, Kurt has been deeply touched by the Peruvian people.
One of the most memorable parts of the trip for Kurt was when he met Jeremy, a man after God’s heart. Jeremy felt God calling him to continue his mother’s dream and ministry at an orphanage. Jeremy said that God has called each of us to something specific and it is our job to learn what that job is. While Jeremy was speaking, Kurt heard God speaking through Jeremy to him. Although the Peruvian people have a special place in Kurt’s heart, he felt God affirming that he is right where he should be at Valor. That confirmation was an incredibly special feeling.
Watching the students working impacted Kurt as well. Going into the trip, the team members had little in common and not much time to get to know one another, but during the trip their relationships blossomed. The team did not have their phones, and none of the students wanted them either; they were fully invested in the trip and in each moment. Kurt was impressed by the students. Furthermore, it was special for Kurt to watch as his son was impacted by the trip and grew in his love for service and the Peruvians.
After being encouraged and touched during the trip, Kurt was excited about the work being done in Peru. The poverty was huge, but so was the work being done by the Lost Children of Peru. He was impressed by how the people were totally sold out and committed, especially when at a site. For example, when going to the feeding center or an orphanage, they weren’t just there to show the team around but to jump in and do the work that needed to be done.
The uniqueness and culture of Peru and its people touched Kurt, just as it touched Larry and everyone else on the team. Peru is truly a special place where incredible work is being done every day through the grace of God.
Felomena is a 97 year-old woman living in Lima with one of her sons. Although she has 7 children, only one is willing to help care for her. Her home is falling apart, and she sleeps on an old mattress. Although she is old, speaks only Quechua, and is in need of care, she still works to recycle plastic and metal. Sadly, she does not have anyone to cook for her. She goes to the feeding center when she can, but she is not always able to make the trek.
The Valor team visited her on their recent trip and blessed Felomena with a new mattress. When she received this gift, she cried of joy and gratefulness. Larry and the team are hoping to bless her with a new home in the coming months as hers has holes in the roof, and it is currently winter in Peru.
As Luis (“Pocho”) puts it, “to help a lady in this situation is to be close to God’s heart.” Please keep this beautiful child of God in your prayers.
"'What should we do then?' the crowd asked. John answered, 'Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.'" (Luke 3:10-11)
Saying this, and even believing it, is easy to do. But to actually practice it can be difficult. Larry and his team have dedicated their lives to giving to those in need. Sometimes, though, it can become overwhelming. What do you do when you're over 14,000 feet in the Andes in the cold and you see children wearing tires for shoes, rags for clothes, and have no coats to keep them warm during the freezing nights? What do you do when a women is living in a broken down home but asks you to build a home for a poor mother of 4 instead of her because she thinks this mother needs a better home more than her? What do you do when you are sitting with a 24-year-old woman dying of cancer? What do you do?
This is what Larry and his team have been struggling through these past weeks. Seeing the poorest of the poor and being overwhelmed. Wanting to give and bless, but not having enough to give to everyone, and sometimes not having what they need. If you saw these things, what would you do? How would you react? For James tells us, "What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds?... Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, 'Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?" (James 2:14-16) So, in these times, what do you do?
Larry and the team choose to turn to God. God asks, "Who do you say that I am?" Larry's response is this: "You are my strength. You are my love. You are what I think of when I go to bed, and you are what I think of when I wake in the morning. You are my passion, my peace, my joy, my blessings. You are my all. You are still my healer, my provider, my protector. You are my everything."
How do you respond when the Father asks you, "Who do you say that I am?" How do you react when God declares you must "share with the Lord's people who are in need?" (Romans 12:13) What do you do when God says "Give generously [to the poor] and do so without a grudging heart...There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded to your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land?" (Deuteronomy 15:10-11)
The team chooses to listen to God, turn to Him, and follow His commands. Even when it's hard, and we don't know exactly what we should do, we must do something. Larry and his team continue to serve even when they are overwhelmed. They pray, and they find a way to bring God and His blessings to the people in need. What will you do to answer God's call? What do you do when these opportunities come into your life?