Thursday, February 16, 2012

Peru Mission

This article comes from one of our church's missionaries serving in Trujillo, Peru.  It provides a helpful reminder of how beneficial short-term missionaries can be, both to the permanent missionaries as well as the local congregations.   If you're a member of PRPC, or an otherwise interested party, mosey on over to the Peru Mission website and see what intensive labor Wes Baker and his family are doing for Christ's Kingdom.  

Peru Mission Trailer from Nate Henderson on Vimeo.

Love incarnate
Ricardo Hernández, pastor of Manuel Arévalo Presbyterian Church, served as a missionary in the rural Peruvian town of Celendín for over two years. Hernández believes that missionaries, whether they serve for a week or a lifetime, provide a strong example of what it truly means to live self-sacrificially. “Whenever someone comes to do a missionary trip, I believe that this demonstrates that person’s identification with the reality of those whom he came to serve. And this shows us what Jesus Christ is like. Jesus Christ did not just say, ‘Okay, I’m going to see from heaven how I’m going to save humanity.’ Instead, He descended and was there with the ones He wanted to save. He lived their reality, lived what hunger is, what thirst is, what injustice is.” 

This example, Hernández says, will never go to waste. He recalls a missionary trip he led to Celendín with a group from a congregation in Trujillo. The experience, he says, allowed the Peruvian believers to live out what they had already seen lived out by many short-term teams from the U.S. The trip, from the relative comfort of a metropolitan area to the poverty-stricken hinterlands, was a first-time experience for many of the participants, who were received with great joy by the brethren in Celendín. Hernández believes that the testimony borne by short-term missionaries from the U.S. compelled the Peruvian congregation likewise to serve.
The long-term effects of short-term missions 
There is tremendous value, then, in the mere fact of the missionaries' presence. But, as you might have guessed, their presence alone only goes so far in lifting up the local church. The actual projects a short-term team executes on the field are of incredible value. “They are of great help for the church,” says Avellaneda. “For example, the Bethesda Clinic in Wichanzao—thanks to the short-term teams, we have what we have there.” For his part, Hernández singles out the efforts of ministers who come to preach and teach, edifying the local churches in Peru. From construction, to medical ministry, to evangelism and teaching, short-term missionaries can make a significant difference during their short time on the field.

But what happens after the trip is perhaps even more important. We can’t speak for short-term missions around the world, but we know that people who come to work with Peru Mission on a short-term visit are more likely to pray, more likely to give, and more likely to serve in the future. “They go home and they talk to their friends, their family, and their church,” says McLain. “They pray for the global kingdom in a different way; they give in a different way.” Vicki Powell, who recently came to Peru on a short-term construction trip, says this has certainly been true for her. “For me it’s been a delightful learning experience. Having never been on a mission trip, never having seen the workings of a mission up close, but having prayed for missionaries all of my life—it’s more real now. And I think that one of the main achievements of short-term missions is that in many ways it’s just as much for us as it is for whomever we’re trying to accomplish the work [for]. It expands our vision of the Church at large in a way that will help us forever to pray for the Church at large.”

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