Spring is approaching south of the Equator. Sunshine will soon begin to break through the waves of chilly fog and clouds blowing in off the Pacific Ocean here in Lima, Peru. Although we’re actually in the same Time Zone (CST) as many of you, the weather, customs, and spiritual climate could hardly be more different!
Below you will find a few updates and prayer requests regarding numerous ministry trips all over Peru. Please intercede for us in the way that Paul taught the Colossians: “Pray also for us, that God may open a door for the word, to declare..Christ.”
In our last update, I mentioned we were on our way high up into the Andes for a long weekend of ministry. Those few days were amazing, full of prayer, preaching, and fellowship. On top of that, I think I experienced the most amazing scenery of my life (misty sunrise with glacier-clad 20k foot Andean peaks in every direction) on the final day of the journey.
We were able to return to this breathtaking region as a family in late July, and again in late September, with even more trips in the works:
First, two friends from the Dominican Republic have joined up with two young men from Lima to do an evangelistic backpacking trip over the highest range in the Peruvian Andes. The goal is to share the Gospel locally AND train for future treks in forbidden regions of Tibet.
Second, the Lord opened the door for us to minister in the large Andean prison again for the first time since the pandemic began. We preached, prayed, and gave out books and Bibles and eye-glasses to both prisoners and guards alike. It is always a hassle to get permission, but it was worth it. Many prisoners are hungry for the Word, good books and Bibles, and fellowship.
Pray for safety on the highways and trails, open doors into the prison, and for soft hearts among all those who hear (and read) the Word that we will proclaim!
La Rinconada: Take Two
In early October, we are preparing to take a second short trip to the highest city in the world, the mining outpost (city!) of La Rinconada. I previously took a small team there in early 2016 and have been waiting to return ever since. However, since we didn’t acclimate properly for our first visit (I walked around like an 85 yr old grandpa), we are doing things a bit different this time. More time to acclimate at “lower” altitudes (12,800 ft), combined with better transportation, should give us more opportunities for ministry!
Pray that God would strengthen us both physically and spiritually for our outreach to this truly out-of-this-world location amidst the craggy glaciers of far southern Peru!
Northern Summer = Southern Winter
Back in the middle of the winter (July), we took a series of trips all around Peru. We snaked along the Pacific Coast by car, squeezed ourselves into little “tuktuk” three-wheeled motorcycles and bounced all over cratered (potholes) village roads, coasted on airplanes over the towering tops of the Andes, and traversed the tributaries of the Amazon by boat. One thing that is fascinating about most of these places is that the weather is not what you would expect.
Chilly Coastal Deserts
Ica and Ventanilla are populated places located in extremely arid regions with little to no rainfall each year and, although they border the Pacific Ocean, the ground is as desolate and sandy as the Sahara Desert. Our visits to a number of churches in these locations were marked by cloudy, damp days, hot drinks, and thick blankets at night. The believers we met were mostly poor but friendly, joyful, and hungry for the Word!
Antarctic Air in the Amazon
Puerto Maldonado and Iquitos are two Peruvian jungle cities in opposite corners of the nation. Puerto Maldonado is far to the southeast, near the border with Brazil and Bolivia, and Iquitos in the far northeast, not far from Colombia and Brasil. At certain times of the year, cold fronts from far to the south (Argentina, Patagonia) push their way north even into the Amazon Jungle basin. Although we missed the brunt of the cold fronts, we were still blessed to have cooler than normal weather during our ministry trips to both of these cities!
God’s Word is Greater Than Groceries
Food and Bible giveaways have continued as requests have come in and the funds have been provided (you know who you are!). All told, literally TONS of food has been given to needy families in Peru and Venezuela (and a certain Asian country). Of course, there have also been many wonderful opportunities to preach the Word during these times of distribution!
Pray that God would provide for peoples’ physical hunger, but also grant a spiritual thirst that only Christ Himself can quench!
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The West Family
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Cor. 13:14)