A late start to Pucallpa, Peru
-By Dr. Luke-
Nine friends from Calvary Chapel and I had planned a trip to Peru. We woke up early Sunday morning and headed up to the Albuquerque Airport for our flight, and when we got there, they notified us that our flight from Peru to Dallas had broken down. The soonest they could get us on another flight would be Thursday! “Alright Father,” I thought, “I prayed that Your will would be done, and that means I can't complain when it is done!” We gathered together in the Airport and Pastor Ray prayed with the team and for our travels. We all went to our own homes and waited to hear from the Lord. Late that night, as I was getting ready for bed, my phone rang...it was Ray. The Airlines had gotten us all on a plane the next morning (Monday) at 11:00 a.m. to LAX and then from LAX to Peru at 9:00 p.m. “God is good!,” I said and went to bed after enjoying a bonus night with my wife and kids.
Everything was so smooth at the ABQ airport and we arrived at LAX without any trouble. We were able to eat at In and Out Burger there in L.A. and made it back to the airport with hours of time to spare. We were told that the plane had just had the tires changed and we boarded around 9:00 pm. We sat on the plane for over an hour and the captain came on the speaker and informed us that we all weighed too much to allow the workers to remove the jack from the airplane landing gear. We all had to leave the plane and let them try and remove the jack. They could not! Hours passed, many employees came and left, many 'engineers' came and kicked the tire and left. Eventually, at 4:00 am, they canceled the flight. They arranged for a hotel stay and rescheduled everyone (almost 400 passengers) for 8:00 pm the following day (Tuesday now). We were starting to think that perhaps God wanted us to stay home! It was frustrating at this point, but we went to the hotel and checked in at 5:30 am. The hotel informed us that the airline had paid for the night, but no meals would be covered and our checkout time was 12:00...uggg. The team checked into our rooms and 'enjoyed' a few hours of sleep. Ray had negotiated a checkout time of 1:00 pm on Tuesday and we all met in the lobby then and headed back up to the airport.
We gathered together at one of the hotel restaurants, prayed, ate and had wonderful fellowship together. As frustrating as the trip had been so far, we were still in high spirits and ready to serve! We boarded the plane and left on time to Lima. At Lima, 8 hours later, we boarded another plane to Pucallpa. An hour and a half flight and 2 days late but we had arrived!
|Praise the Lord...we finally made it!|
Pucallpa is a beautiful city of almost half a million inhabitants in the middle of the Amazon rain forest. Up until a few years ago, the only way to reach the town was by plane or by river. The climate is extremely humid and pretty much hot year round. Even though June is their winter, it was 90 degrees and 90% humidity there. Being two days late, we had no idea how we would be able to do everything that we had planned to do.
|View of new sanctuary|
|Inside new sanctuary|
God had put it on our hearts to have a marriage conference, a children's vacation bible school, a women's tea meeting, to pour a concrete floor and get electricity hooked up for a new meeting place that is much larger than the one that had, and to encourage the church there by showing them that we love them and have been praying for them.
|Pouring the floor|
|we had to shovel dirt and rocks into the mixer|
|the pros did the mixing and poured it into wheelbarrows|
Towards the end of the trip, I had the opportunity to speak to Pastor Caesar's wife, Brigitte. I wanted to know from her perspective how our presence impacted her personally. As I approached her, I said, “Brigitte, I hope you know that we are not doing this on behalf of America, New Mexico, Belen, Calvary Chapel, or our families. We are doing this because God has called us to be here. He has chosen us from the hundreds that were invited, and we have answered that call. We answered that call because we love Jesus, we love His church, and we want to show that love and to obey His command of the Great Commission.” As she began to cry, she told me that we were an answer to almost 18 years of prayers. They have prayed for someone to help them, someone to see and know that they were there, and someone to reach out and help to do God's work. They have been praying specifically over the past several years for God to help them with a bigger place to meet. They had outgrown their small concrete patio and had begun to work on a much larger space that had cement columns and a sheet metal roof. We were an answer to their cries. She explained that, from her perspective, we were workers that the Lord had personally sent as a demonstration of His love for the church there. We ended the conversation in tears and with a hug she went on her way to serve the women at there new sanctuary.
|Sunday service in the new sanctuary|
|Phil and I with our switches, outlets, and light fixtures|
|The brightest building on the block!|
Danielle and I had to leave early after church on Sunday to work and, thanks be to God, the trip back was smooth and easy! I learned so much about the wonderful people of Peru and enjoyed the atmosphere, the culture, the food and the fellowship. My prayer is that the Lord will open doors and allow me to return to serve Him there soon. I am so thankful for the experiences that He has allowed me to live through and it still brings me such joy to serve Jesus Christ, my Master and my Savior.