At 12,800 feet above sea level, in the little Peruvian mountain town of Ayaviri, we stood shivering. Chilled to the bone, the warm welcome we received from our Andean brothers and sisters quickly strengthened our resolve.
Surrounded by toothless smiles, 'hermanas' (sisters, literally) shuffling around in their five layers of skirts, countless handshakes, and eagerness to receive teaching from their leaders, we soaked it all in. We quickly realised how much we would be learning from these humble people.
After spending only two days in the Puno region of Peru, we were impacted by how God is moving in his church in the Andes mountains and watching how he is using the ready and willing.
As so often happens when my husband, Paris, and I go to visit church leaders with a specific purpose, God amazed us with additional blessings and lessons. After signing a partnership two years ago with one of the biggest denominations in Peru, we’ve been trying to share the vision of sports ministry with the church leaders.
Our goal with this partnership is to equip and build up leadership within the denomination. So, we went to meet them and the response was overwhelming, specifically in their desire to adopt new tools in order to share the gospel and make disciples of youth.
“We’re losing the youth in our town. This would be perfect!”
“When can we start?”
“I’m a church planter and this would be a great tool!”
“It’ll be really important to use sports in a positive way and use them differently than the world does.”
As the leaders excitedly approached us with questions, we could hear their passion for God and desire for his kingdom to expand.
While we there, Pastor Juan approached me with excitement and a heart for partnership. He proceeded to tell me of the huge need they have for outreach and service in his region of Puno, and the incredible way that God has provided people and resources along the way to help them thrive in a region that lacks so much.
As Paris and I prayed with Pastor Juan, God brought to my mind all the other faces and stories we had encountered in those couple of days. Stories of hope and expectancy; eager faces, always smiling from ear to ear, ready to accept any guidance given them in order to further God’s kingdom. Loving people, longing to see their neighbours come to know Christ personally.
As God brought all these things to my mind, he reminded me of his parable in Mark 4:26-29. He tells us that when we sow the seed, whether it’s day or night, the seed grows and continues to produce until it’s ready for the harvest. When we are faithful and obey God, it is his power and work that moves and grows the seed.
Just as God brought this passage to my heart to encourage the leaders of the church in Puno, I hope it also encourages you. Are you ready and willing? Will you sow where God asks and trust that he will grow the seed in his time and power? May we all, as God’s children, look to our Father with hope, expectancy and excitement as He grows His Kingdom!