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Blog Updates as the Smiths minister the Gospel in Peru

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A report from a short-term team. . .

Doug Serven is the campus minister of RUF at the University of Oklahoma. He brought down a short-term team of college students back in March. Below is his blog entry/report of their time in Peru and his observations of what God is doing in our mission here in Trujillo:


I think may have just now recovered from my trip to Peru. We had an overnight flight back to the states, and I can't sleep on planes, so I was up all night. Then I preached at CTK on Easter Sunday. Then, I got sick. Ugh. I think it was the stomach flu from my weakened state, but it may have been something I brought back from Peru. I was out all week long, lying in bed watching Arrested Development all week.

Peru was amazing. I have been to many missions throughout the last ten years in my travels. I've seen a good amount of places, listened to visions, prayed with missionaries. Peru Mission impresses me the most.

The team there is committed to Peruvian leadership. They are there to serve, not to take over. They are raising up, training and encouraging Peruvian pastors and campus ministers.

They're making micro lending commitments to women who are trying to better their lives but cannot get loans otherwise. Some of these women make cards, examples of which are on the website.

They're teaching English and starting schools. They need interns to staff these; one of our own- Katie Gaylor - went down there and served for 8 months. She had a wonderful time.

They're treating people in clinics - people who never could go to the doctor otherwise.

While we were there, we helped with or learned about all of those things. While there, we did conversation classes with university students and invited them RUF. We helped out on the second floor of one of the clinics. We sanded and painted the walls of the expansion project. We also helped haul out the booty of our demo project - they're looking to expand one of the churches and needed to get rid of the existing structure. And we met kids and played with them.

Trujillo is a poor city. There are pockets of prosperity, but it's honestly a third world country. They have a healthy respect for the church and for the gospel, but people need to actually hear it and believe it. They need our help, our prayers, our strength and labor and our people.

I'll be praying for them.

Thanks for the encouraging words, your service here and your prayers Doug!

Monday, July 28, 2008

San Agustin Language Institute Reaches Record Levels

On a very busy corner near the center of Trujillo you can find one of Peru Mission’s most visible ministries, San Agustin Language Institute (SALI). SALI, an English language center, was established only 4 years ago with just 10 students and this year hopes to hit its goal of 300 students. Attracting students of all ages, backgrounds, and levels SALI has continued to grow and develop. This year, SALI has grown significantly both financially and in attendance.

SALI is important to the work of Peru Mission for two main reasons: 1) it positions us to build relationships with Peruvians from all walks of life, especially college students and young professionals, and 2) the English language serves as a tool to help Peruvians financially, academically and in everyday life. In Peru, where international investment and tourism are rapidly growing economic sectors, fluency in English gives our students work opportunities and potentially better paying jobs. We offer scholarships to up to 15 percent of our students, many of whom would otherwise be unable to afford classes. Most of our scholarship students are already active in our churches or working within one of our ministries, and play an important part in our outreach to our unbelieving students.

One such student José Barriga, who has been faithfully working at our chapel in Clementina and taking classes from our Seminary, starting taking English lessons without any previous knowledge. He will graduate this year from SALI not only being able to explain in English how God is working in different communities, but he now has access to the vast amount of Christian literature that is not yet available in Spanish.

At SALI we provide what we believe to be the best language training in the city while providing a Christian atmosphere of grace and love. We currently have 7 American volunteers teaching English. We also provide jobs for 7 national teachers and 7 other part-time and full time Peruvian employees. We are able to pay them competitive rates and they receive valuable training and experience; all of which are hard to find in a country that struggles with high unemployment levels.

God has blessed SALI over the past few years and we are very excited to see what the future holds. Since SALI is a profitable business we are hoping this revenue will flow back into the community by supporting ministries that aren’t self sustaining such as our medical ministry. SALI has the potential to grow not only to new branches in Trujillo, but also to other cities.

Please pray the Lord will continue to provide American volunteers that we need as teachers on into the future.

Please pray that SALI would receive government certification as a formal educational institute which would exempt us from a 19% sales tax.

Friday, July 25, 2008

SALI Coffee House a success

The Coffee House was a fun and successful event. New friendships were made and some great music was performed by local musicians and our own interns and missionaries. Some great desserts and coffee were enjoyed as well as artwork from local artist on display. Thanks to all the SALI staff who help make this a success. Please pray for opportunities to deepen the friendships made with the unchurched musicians who attended.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

SALI Coffee House

As God calls the church to missions by "declaring His glory among the nations" (Psalm 96:2), He also calls us to go forth singing. Psalm 96 begins with a trifold command to sing to the Lord. Three times! This means that music and song are at the forefront of missionary endeavors.

The Peruvian churches are in great need of musicians, singers, and composers. As I (Allen) have labored and prayed about the strategy of our music development efforts, the thought has frequently come to mind, "If only we had more musicians!" Just a few talented, humble, Christians musicians who would be a steroid shot in the arm!

SO, this Thursday evening, I am joining with our English Institute "SALI" to close out the winter semester with a bang! We are using a Coffee House venue to attract non-Christian musicians to come and play. It is our hope that God would use this event as a pre-evangelism tool to befriend new networks of musicians.

Please pray that God would connect us to non-Christian musicians, with whom we can befriend and share the Gospel and eventually join the church.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Starbucks has landed in Trujillo!

Today, Starbucks Trujillo official opened for business, and yes, we were there to give them some business!

Although the Starbucks coffee chain has been in existence since before 1980, it is very new to Peru and South America for that matter. Peru was actually the first country in South America to receive a Starbucks. The first Starbucks opened on August 19, 2003 in Ovalo Gutierrez of Lima, Peru one of the most prominent business and restaurant districts in Peru.

"Welcome to sbux (Starbucks) Trujillo"

And finally, Allen enjoying a great cup of Starbucks coffee and the Peruvian sun at the same time.
Many economists anticipate Starbucks to soon pass McDonald's as the worldwide United States brand. According to Wikipedia, Starbucks is the largest coffeehouse with over 15,000 units in 44 countries. To read an interesting article concerning the opening of the first Starbucks in Peru, click here.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Getting Ready for "Fiestas Patrias"

Yesterday, to the delight of our girls, we hung our Peruvian flag. You will see most Peruvian homes, businesses and institutes proudly displaying their flag the month of July in anticipation of "Fiestas Patrias". Most Peruvians believe it is obligatory and they will be fined by the government if they are without a flag on their home.

The "Fiestas Patrias" or Peruvian National Holidays are celebrations of Peru's independence from the Spanish Empire. Fiestas Patrias consists of two days. July 28th commemorates Peru's independence from Spain won by Jose de San Martin and July 29th is a day to honor the armed forces and national Police of Peru. All schools receive a 2-3 week vacation and there are lots of festivities and parades. This is the most important holiday to most Peruvians, being even a larger celebration than Christmas.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Thanks Plains Presbyterian Team

This week we are privileged to have the youth group from Plains Presbyterian Church, Zachary, LA with us, led by their youth director Campbell Silman. They have been doing some needed demolition work at our Larco church. They have also been touring the different branches of Peru Mission and playing a little soccer in the neighborhood. Yesterday Allen took them to visit the Clementina Community (see June 11th blog below). Here are some pictures of their work at the Larco Church:

These are some hardworking kids, there is even one that has been working with a broken thumb.
And lastly, a picture of Pastor Campbell Silman enjoying a peruvian rocoto pepper:

Thanks Plains Presyberian Church for your prayer and financial support to our family and our mission and thanks for letting your youth come down to serve our mission!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Week in Cajamarca

Wow, we have had an excellent week in Cajamarca! Our family flew to the beautiful mountain city of Cajamarca last Sunday to meet up with the Bradford and Ramirez families to help with a short term missions team from First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, MS. This team has been incredible, working 12 hour days seeing patients in the make-shift medical/dental clinic and also doing an outreach in one of the public elementary schools here. Dr. Derek Thomas preached twice on Sunday and held a module seminary class on Justification by Faith Alone.

Our family also had a really neat experience flying to Cajamarca on an eight passenger airplane; just us and the pilots. We were sitting next to the pilots and could see out the front window which was incredible considering we were flying through the Andes Mountains! The best part is that it took only 30 minutes in comparison to a 7 hour bus ride up the twisty Andes and queasy girls.

We missionaries were really served by this team, not only by their encouraging fellowship, but their medical and dental attention they offered our families. Thanks Dr. Craig Flowers for bringing Mary Allen's vaccinations!
They called Dr. Thomas (pictured below) the "red rooster" because he wore bright red scrubs as he served as a dental assistant all week long.
Allen stayed busy translating in the medical clinic, helping out with the music and sports at the school outreach, and meeting musicians of the Cajamarca congregations. Abigail was also able to help out some at the school outreach with English class, the sports, and making friends.
We also squeezed in some site seeing while we were in Cajamarca, which was incredible! We hiked the amazing ruins of Cumbe Mayo. . .

...visited Los Baños de Inca and climbed Santa Apolina. . .

Many thanks to the crew from First Presbyterian Church!

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