28 short-term missionaries visit from the United States (by Chris)

We just hosted a short-term mission trip which consisted of 28 people from the United States that wanted to have an encounter with Our Lord, Jesus Christ in the poor of Peru.  This was the first trip of this kind to be held in Peru.  We have had short-term medical mission trips for the last 7 years or so and Family Missions Company decided it was time to try out this other type for the first time here in Peru.  Our family was tagged to help lead the trip.  A missionary family with tons of experience in hosting mission trips came down from Mexico to lead the trip and our job was to shadow them and to "learn the ropes" on how to host one of these.  Karen did a magnificent job in planning the 8 days that the group was actually here in the jungle with us.  Our community of full-time missionaries here in Peru also helped out with the trip and were a super big blessing.  The group arrived on Monday, June 25th and stayed until Monday July 2nd.  This group was fantastic, they worked hard, played hard, prayed hard and had a transformational encounter with Jesus.  Here is a summary in pictures:
Part of the group was from St. Cloud, Minnesota, the rest were from all over the U.S.

First things first, we need to load up the luggage and run it to the Centro Pastoral in Picota to make room for missionaries.

Then we loaded all of the missionaries in Motokars for a fun ride
 to where we will eat lunch and have an orientation.

Hey, hey, thumbs up for a fun ride!

Our work projects were to build two houses for two poor families here in San Hilarion, one side-project was to rebuild an
outhouse out of the scrap materials that we had.  This is part of the outhouse crew....they had a blast!

Here is one of the missionaries joyfully goofing around with Jose and Fernando!
Here we are attending mass in Picota where the priest and deacon that came along on the trip were able to co-celebrate the mass with Padre Francisco.  What a super blessing for everyone!
We split into smaller groups at night for different ministries, here was our group that headed out to a distant pueblo called Nuevo Chimbote, where we went door-to-door doing home visits and then praise & worship in the church.
Here we are praying over a sick woman in her house during one of the home visits
We led some dynamic praise & worship in the church with many from the community present.  Two of the short-term missionaries also presented their personal testimonies and Katelyn translated for them.
Here is the crew that stayed behind to change a flat on Padre's truck coming back from Nuevo Chimbote.  It was super blessed because we couldn't figure out how to get the spare tire down from below the bed.  Then the Lord sent a couple of angels our way to help out.  One of which, is the son of the oldest married couple in our church, who is struggling right now in his journey with the Lord.  It really felt like he needed this encounter as much as we needed his help to get this tire fixed!
Many of the days involved working on the two houses at the two different work sites.  There was occasional downtime where the short-term missionaries had the opportunity to try their hand at some of the local ways of doing things and to do some home visits. Here are some examples:
Sitting and shelling beans with Dona Loyda and her daughter.
Stopping to enjoy a delicious and refreshing coconut!

Drinking it straight from the coconut!
Anna led a group to take some extra food from lunch to some poor families in town

Having the opportunity to do laundry by hand!

One day for lunch, we arranged for a Peruvian seafood buffet, stocked with delicious ceviche!!!
Here is The Virgin of the Nativity
We had a chance to go on a pilgrimage to the town of Tabalosos,
 where there is a huge devotion to la Virgen de la Natividad
 (The Virgin of the Nativity).

After mass, the community invited us to a local school where
they had arrange a very special Peruvian dance party!

A good time was had by all while we danced the night away!!!

Later that night in Tabalosos, we had an impromptu praise & worship session with the local community at the location where we had dinner.  Here is the whole group with the community that showed up, seemingly, out of nowhere.

After working at the work projects, we would all head down to the river to "take a bath in the river" just like the locals do.  Not only does the water feel great, but you get to wash your body with your clothes on, so your clothes get clean too!!!

Here is the new and improved outhouse that one of the teams of missionaries made
We were also super blessed to host a volleyball tournament to help with HIV/AIDS awareness.  We had a chance to give a talk about God's infinite love for each of us and a personal testimony was shared that was very moving.
Late that night, we took everyone to visit Hogar Nazaret (Nazareth Home) which is a home for kids with unhealthy home situations or whose parents have abandoned them.  We played games, and each child received a gift from one of the short-term missionaries all wrapped up with their name on it!  What a great night!
We ended the night with a candle-lit praise and worship session down at the river's edge.  It was very beautiful!

On Sunday, we split into smaller groups and attended the Sunday service in different communities.  Here is the group that came to San Hilarion to celebrate with us.
After the service, we broke up into smaller groups to do home visits to the sick members of our community.

Monday came and it was time to pack up and head to the airport.  We really enjoyed this group of short-term missionaries and I know that they impacted our lives and I hope their many encounters with Jesus in Peru impacted their lives as well.
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