In step, every step
Story and photos by Jordan Rowley
Climbing For Christ spiritual coordinator
We rejoice in the work our great God accomplished in some of the most rugged and remote corners of the Cordillera Blanca range of the Peruvian Andes during this mission. Many sick and afflicted were prayed over and cared for. Many believers were encouraged and edified. New Testaments were distributed to those in need of God’s precious Word. A church that God used Climbing For Christ to construct was celebrated and dedicated. Sixteen souls – more than half of whom had never heard of Jesus Christ – made a decision to trust in Him for their salvation. And no doubt beyond all of those wonderful things God did much more than we’re even aware of.
At home or abroad, I’ve never felt so in tune with God’s plan and purpose as I did on Mission: Peru 2015. Every moment we seemed to be right where the Lord wanted us to be, right when He wanted us to be there. In fact, I think I used the phrase “divine appointment” more frequently than on any other mission.
Long before our boots hit the ground in Peru, our knees hit the floor in prayer. We, along with C4C’s Prayer Team, prayed for those heavenly orchestrated appointments to come about and we praise God for each one of them. Of course, at the time we had no idea what lay ahead.
Our team walking in His will.
Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
Our team – consisting of Kevin Atkinson (Evergreen, CO), Larry DeMejo (Rochester, NY), Mike and Rachel Wall (Durango, CO), Edwin Milla (Huaraz, Peru), Jaime Servat (Huaraz, Peru) and myself – was blessed to walk in the good works that God had prepared for us. Here are just a few:
Because we were serving God in a very remote area of the Andes, we knew that there would be a small handful of days when we would not see any of the mountain farmer Quechua people we hoped to reach with the Good News. After our first full day of trekking we arrived at a place called Wishcash. Its population is normally zero, but including our mission team plus two cooks and two donkey drivers (during this trek mules carried our team necessities while the trekkers carried daypacks) the population of Wishcash skyrocketed to eleven.
After finishing a long and partly rainy trek and setting up camp, we were blessed with some downtime. I stumbled over to the kitchen tent where all of our Peruvian friends were gathered. The conversation soon turned to spiritual things and we learned that our whole group was saved – except one. Peter, one of the team’s cooks, didn’t know Jesus. He had often thought of the Lord, but for years had put off the decision to trust Him as Savior.
Team members Mike and Larry joined us. We explained the Gospel to Peter and shared the urgency of the decision. Then, in the kitchen tent, Peter made a choice. He chose life. He chose Jesus!
“Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” – 2 Corinthians 6:2b
Peter, listening intently to the Gospel.
An invitation received
Shortly after arriving in the village of Huillca (following a 7½-hour trek that included a 2,000-vertical-foot near-scramble to reach the 15,850-foot Caracara Pass), a man walked over to our camp from his small farm home. Trekkers pass through this particular area often and he came to see if we would give his family some throat lozenges and pain medicine. These are common needs in the Majority World and this man, Magmo, was hoping we’d share with his family.
What Magmo wasn’t expecting, however, was an invitation to dinner. We invited him and his family to join us that evening. As Magmo, Nieves, Nora and Yamet joined us at our table, they commented how they had never shared a meal with trekkers before. Of course, we weren’t most trekkers.
After a few laughs and a few cups of tea, the Lord provided us with an opportunity to share the Good News. This was indeed news to them, as they’d never heard of Jesus. Magmo and his family came to our table that night believing in one God but not knowing His Son. They left our table knowing that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ!” All they needed was to hear the Gospel and they were ripe to receive.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” – Revelation 3:20
Nora, Yamet, Magmo and Nieves.
Waiting on the Lord
As we arrived in the village of Jancapampa we came across a mother and daughter, Gloria and Frederica, sitting on the bank of a cold mountain river. They asked for a small tip in exchange for the use of a small, newly constructed footbridge (made from a few logs, some mud, rocks and sticks). I viewed this as a way to bless them and open a door for God’s grace to enter in. After speaking with them for a few minutes, we learned that Gloria’s brother became a Christian several years ago. He had since moved away, but the impact his witness had on Gloria remained. She asked if we would pray with her to become a Christian – to receive Jesus in her heart. Of course we agreed. Immediately following our prayer, Frederica said that she, too, wanted Jesus. With tears in our eyes for the way God moved in the hearts of this mother and daughter, we prayed again. Gloria asked if we could meet later in the evening and she promised to send her friends and neighbors, too. That night, three more souls bowed their hearts before
God and became followers of Jesus!
“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” – John 1:29
Praying with Gloria for salvation.
Beyond these wonderful divine appointments, there are dozens of other stories that could be told, like our encounter with Mirta and her family, Miriam, Epifania, Humberto, Dalila, Frederico, Alner, Nau, Raul, Julian, Alen, Taina and many others. The team also was blessed to visit the Chalhua church, which is nearing completion. Of course, our plan was to see the church totally completed upon arrival, but we trust God’s perfect timing in that, just as we did with the dozens of divine appointments we experienced. We know that every good work He begins, He will be faithful to complete (Philippians 1:6)!