In May when Pastor Omar extended an invitation to me on his short term vision trip to Peru with MTW (Mission to the World), I was initially interested but also hesitant. I had never actually been on a missions trip or known much about them. I also hadn’t traveled past the Caribbean in twenty years. Being away from the comforts of my home is nerve wrecking and I just wasn’t sure about leaving the country with three teenagers at home. Thankfully, I had the full support of my children, Pastor Moses and my brothers and sisters at CTKD. I spent some time reflecting how God had been growing me over the last three and a half years at CTK and the Holy Spirit assured me that this was His plan and purpose for me at this time.
Pastor Omar was the co-team leader of this vision trip to Cusco, Peru with Mission To The World (MTW), where he is one of the leaders of the Hispanic Chapter of Reformed And Diverse Delegates (RADD). As part of their diversity initiative, their mission is to mobilize people from across all ethnic and racial groups and increase engagement among people of color in global mission work. I was humbled by the invitation to join him and blessed by the church, who fully funded our trip. The short term vision trip with MTW was a one-week prayer journey walk through the streets of Cusco, Peru and the various ministries that MTW serves in the city. We were a diverse team of ten brothers and sisters living in and from various parts of the US and world. Six out of the ten of us spoke Spanish and four of us were Hispanic/Latino. Barbara Jones, our team leader and Senior National Diversity Mobilizer at MTW, was excited to have so many of us who could speak the language and understand the culture of the people being served on the mission field.
Part of our trip consisted of a two-day intercessory prayer workshop led by Ken and Tammie Matlack who are leading MTW’s global initiative to mobilize intercessory prayer, working with missionary leaders and teams all around the world to help deepen the understanding of practice of prayer and gospel outreach. Day one of the workshop focused on several aspects and principles of prayer. They divided us into groups and had us do prayer techniques on one another such as listening prayer and praying the scriptures. Day two was full of spiritual warfare discussion and teaching, followed by going out into the streets to put into practice what we learned. We prayed for the on field teams and their work at the various ministry points and locations such as the Josephine House Orphanage, La Fuente Clinic and Jesus el Buen Pastor Church. We spent time in each location praying for and with the people of Cusco. Mid-week we went up to Sacred Valley where we had a full view of the city from the Saqsaywaman Inca Ruins and prayed over the city and its people that they would be free of deep Spiritual strongholds of false gods and rituals. Ken and Tammie led us in fervent prayer for the Kingdom of God to come and reign in the hearts of the people of Cusco, Peru and their land.
I felt blessed not only to be on this trip, but also to be in the company of such a loving diverse group of brothers and sisters. One brother we were especially blessed to be accompanied by was Martin, a native Peruvian from Lima attending seminary school in the US who is full of knowledge of his country's history and who has such a sweet love for the Lord. His quiet demeanor fooled us all and the fact that he could name almost every song and band of the American music playing in the many restaurants we visited left Pastor Omar speechless. I especially gravitated towards our youngest team member Maile who is close in age to my oldest daughter. She joined us from Lima where she is a missionary with a small organization serving in youth ministry. After having gone on a missions trip to Lima in high school Maile fell in love with the people and the country and felt called to go back after she graduated high school. Maile and I connected from the beginning. She is young and carefree; Her presence was a quiet respite, a gift from God for the introvert in me. Given that she doesn't live in the safest of area in Lima, I pray that God would keep her under his wings of protection.
Our time of fellowship with the MTW missionaries on the field and as a short term team was filled with laughter, love and prayer. Each day we shared meals with different team members. We visited the city center and the Quirikancha Inca Temple and the Museo de Arte Religioso (Museum of Religious Art). I learned much about Peru and its culture, the people, more about the church and witnessed God’s work at hand on the mission fields. Spending time with the Dillon Family and hearing Scott Dillon’s (MTW’s Cusco Team Leader) perspective on missions was enlightening. Our last night in Cusco we enjoyed the hospitality of our sister Claudia who cooked us a traditional dish from Colombia where she is from and shared with us her testimony and perspective as a single Latina woman on the mission field serving in multiple ministries and having the role of assisting the Cusco team in developing a Latino cultural context. I am grateful for our time together and the connection we had. We shared tears and a deep understanding of one another’s testimony.
While in Cusco and since returning, Pastor Omar and I have been envisioning our own children and youth at CTKD serving on short term missions trips. We have shared our hopes and desires with Pastor Moses, the Elders and the church and will soon begin to come together prayerfully to plan a trip for the near future. Join us in praying for our youth throughout our congregation that the Lord would work in their hearts and give them a desire to serve in global missions.
I leave you with MTW’s Cusco, Peru team webpage. Please take some time to visit their page and see the faces of our faithful brothers and sisters in Christ serving on the mission fields of Cusco and the manys ways you can give and pray towards their efforts.
Thank you Pastor Omar for the invitation and for your support during our travels. Thank you to Pastor Moses and the Elders and my whole CTKD church family for fully supporting my trip. I am forever grateful. May we all continue to use whatever gifts we have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
Glory be to God in the highest!