A couple months ago, Mark, Anna, Amanda, and I sat down for our weekly Monday night vision, and fun night. Each week we sit down and laugh, talk, and ask each other what God has been saying to us in terms of life, ministry, and the communities that we work in. The main topic that night was if we thought the Pacifico community would be interested in doing an outreach. If so, where would they be interested in giving back to the community.
If we are realistic, we didn't really know what to expect, because the reality is these people are impoverished, and when they hear "outreach" they naturally assume "free stuff." It is one of the biggest obstacles that we have in discipleship when working within shanty towns. We are fighting against several years worth of government handouts, and ONG giving.
However, we were optimistic about our community. We have been seeing God work in miraculous ways amongst the people, not only during Church, but also in the small groups and in their daily lives. So we decided to ask each small group if they were interested in doing an outreach, and, "who, what, where, and why." To say we were pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. We were blown away.
They said they wanted to go to San Genaro Dos, where the "neediest of the neediest live." We had never really heard of the place, but we were intrigued. Doing some research we found out that it was on the adjacent mountain next to Pacifico. It is one of the newer communities, and it is full of people coming from the provinces for work within Lima. We found out that because it is so high up the mountain no one does any sort of outreach to the people. It is too much of a "hassle" to do it.
The people in the small groups were fired up! They plan to do a Chocolatada, which is a handout of hot chocolate, panetone (fruit bread), and gifts. However, it was clear that there was something more here, within the planning. As leaders, we didn't just want to do an event. If we were going to go anywhere we needed to do it with the vision that the people in Pacifico could begin to disciple and teach people in San Genaro Dos. Not only were we going to do skits, games, and an evangelical message, the small groups wanted to love on these people. They wanted to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
"Are you serious???" Yes.
They want to do it.
We know it will be messy, and require a lot of work. We also know it is "last minute" even though we have been working on this for a couple of months now. (Unfortunately for Americans, culturally we have to wait for certain things before a decision can be made here in Peru).
The other day we spoke with the district "rep," Angelo, who oversees the communities on the mountain. He personally has 18 communities he represents to the local and national government. He explained to us that there are over 1,500 children on the mountainside, and there is roughly 4-5,000 people on the mountain. Um, yeah. And the closest church is not quite at the foot of the mountain, and they are unfortunately well known for not doing much in the community. (We believe God will change that though!!!)
On December 18th, the day of the outreach, Angelo, expects approximately 800 children to come to the event. He said this will be the kids that really need some love. In fact, he is going to personally make sure the event tickets go to the right place. Not only that but he will do the work to get a location from the municipality, plus provide us with sound equipment and a place to cook all the hot chocolate. (This type of support from someone we have never previously met is unheard of in the two years that I have been in Peru.)
So where do we need your help?
Prayer and financial support.
If you have observed our ministry at this point you know that our goal, if we do events, it is to give love, find people that need Jesus, and then we start working with them. This opportunity is a way to further the discipleship of people in Pacifico, as well as share the love of Jesus with a mountainside that currently has zero outreach. We need your help to plant seeds of love.
We are not setting an amount because the more we receive the more we can outreach. However it will be a multiple thousand dollar project, and literally every penny will count, and literally every penny will go to loving this community!
So what do you think? Can you help the Pacifico community bring the Good News, and some toys to these kiddos?
If so, "click here"!!!