|

High in the Andes, April 2008

Peru tiny woman
Happy to know she’s in your family: Santa Lucia Viscencio Ramos. As is common in Peru, her third name is her father’s and her fourth name is her mother’s.

Dear Friends,

The tiny woman pictured above, Santa Lucia Viscencio Ramos, is not much shorter than the average Peruvian woman living high in the Andes Mountains. Her poor diet has not allowed her to grow beyond four feet. Now sixty-six years old, Santa has never been married, and she’s been a Christian for eight years. She lives in two tiny rooms with walls of crumbling concrete and exposed log rafters. Working eleven-hour days as a maid—six days a week—she is paid only $14 per month plus three meals a day. Santa was quite happy to receive $100 for much needed necessities from her spiritual family whom she’ll one day meet in heaven (that’s you!).

In March, I spent ten days in Peru, one of South America’s poorest nations. It was my first time there, and my first time to eat guinea pig, a Peruvian delicacy! I was so glad to serve, on your behalf, precious children, the very poor, and devoted pastors. My report and photos follow.

Thanks so much. Your compassion is making a difference and testifying of the grace of God in Peru, and in many other nations of the world. — David

Micro Loans: Major Blessings
The Micro Loans Fund at work in Peru

mirco-loan lady peru
Dina Zotica Diaz de Arnao, happy to expand her tiny store with a $200 micro-loan from Heaven’s Family

People who start businesses must have some capital to begin, and so most need a business loan. But what if you were so poor that you had zero collateral and no banks would give you a loan? Such is the plight of many of the world’s poor, including millions of honest and hard working followers of Jesus. Banks won’t even lend them $200. Shouldn’t their faith in Jesus, however, and a consistent testimony be enough collateral for fellow believers, like us, to trust them with a $200 loan?

Using gifts to the general fund of I Was Hungry, we gave micro-loans to four Peruvian Christian women. One of them is Dina Zotica Diaz de Arnao (pictured above). She already has a small store in the front room of her little house, but her inventory is extremely limited. Along with the small income that her husband earns from scavenging and selling recyclables, they are just scraping by. Dina was overjoyed to receive a one-year loan of $200 that will enable her to significantly expand her inventory. Her pastor, Jose’ Ernesto Castillo Medrano, has faith in her, and he is administrating her loan.

The other three Christian women in Peru who received micro-loans also have small businesses that they are now expanding with our help. When their loans are repaid, the funds will be loaned to other hard-working believers. Micro-loans are a proven means of helping the poorest of the world’s poor rise from poverty with dignity.

micro-loans in Peru
Maria Gutierrez de Regaldo, Cardenas Currasco de Coral, and Bethsabe’ Pricila Arnao Diaz with her daughters

Learn how you can help

Jesus Still Feeds the Hungry
The Food Fund at work in Peru

food fund center peru
A little bit shy of a gringo with a camera: A small girl coming with her mother to the feeding center.

Lima, Peru, is a sprawling city of eight million inhabitants, many of whom live in “neighborhoods” of tiny shacks built with mud brick walls and tin sheet roofs. Our primary contact in Peru, pastor Ruben Cano, has been reaching out for many years in such places by feeding children three times each week and planting churches in their neighborhoods. He doesn’t believe that he should preach the gospel to the hungry without giving them food. So pastor Ruben follows Jesus’ example, providing bread both from earth and heaven.

While I was in Lima, I visited an impoverished neighborhood on the outskirts of Lima where Pastor Ruben has a vision to open another children’s feeding center and church. Many of the families who live there make bricks for a living (see next story). I was blessed to entrust pastor Ruben with $1,000 from Heaven’s Family for start-up funds, plus make a pledge of $200 a month to purchase food for his new feeding center, and give him funds for a plane ticket to the U.S. so he can raise more funds. (If you would like him to visit you, let me know.)

I also visited a previous feeding center and church that pastor Ruben started five years ago. There was lots of joy in that place where, three times each week, children (116 in all) gather for a substantial meal. Most of them folded their hands to pray before eating. After lunch they stayed to watch puppets act out Bible stories. I’m so glad we can support these good works.

food fund center cute kids
Happy for a good meal in a place of love and joy

Learn how you can help

The Brick Pit People
The Food Fund at work for the Garcias’

food fund brick people couple
Their bricks behind them: Romulo and Andrea Garcia pose for a happy photo.

Near the neighborhood where Pastor Ruben will soon be starting his newest church and feeding center there are wide pits that have been dug to a depth of ten feet or more. Local families work in those pits making bricks by mixing top soil with water. The mud is packed into molds, from which the wet bricks are then dislodged to dry in the sun. Each family is paid about 3 cents per brick. Ten thousand bricks nets only $300.

We found Romulo and Andrea Garcia and their five children working together one afternoon, using forked hoes to mix water with soil. Everyone in the family works every day, although child labor is technically illegal in Peru. The Garcia’s 10′ x 18′ “house” is made of stacked mud bricks (no mortar), and consists of two small rooms with a dirt floor (see photo below). They rent the land their house is built on from the man who owns the brick pit. I kept thinking to myself, What if I had been born into such circumstances?

My only consolation is knowing that, because of our help, pastor Ruben will soon be starting a new church and a children’s feeding center in the Garcia’s neighborhood. Perhaps their hearts will be touched and they’ll find Jesus. Please pray for them. You can view the two-minute video, The Food Fund, that shows the Garcias making bricks and some of the children at one of Pastor Ruben’s feeding centers.

brick people cute kid food fund

The Garcia’s home 4-year-old Roger knows how to make bricks

Learn how you can help

TDMM: Now Distributed in 18 Languages, Including Spanish
The Books for Pastors Fund

the disciple making minister many languages
To date, 79,000 copies of The Disciple-Making Minister have been printed in eighteen languages and distributed in at least twenty nations, mostly to pastors. I brought copies of the Spanish version to Peru and gave them away at our pastors’ gatherings in Hauraz and San Marcos. I also made arrangements while in Peru for our first printing in South America.

Thanks for helping us equip pastors in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America (and even the U.S.) with a 500-page book that many of them cherish. I was astounded to recently learn of a $1,000 gift from a Kenyan pastor (a huge sum in his economy) who wants to see every Kenyan pastor have his own copy! You can order your own English copy of The Disciple-Making Minister online.

the disciple making minister peru
Three Peruvian pastors with their new copies of TDMM

Learn how you can help

Our Older Orphans
The Education Fund

older orphan par dim myanmar
Dawt Par, age 18, lives in Myanmar and must soon leave her orphanage

Note: This section of our newsletter is a partial reprint of last month’s Orphan’s Tear Update, sent to all orphan sponsors.

Praise God that 862 orphans and unwanted children in seven nations have been sponsored through the Orphan’s Tear division of Heaven’s Family. But what happens to the older children once they must leave their orphanages?

Very few, if any, move on to higher education. Most must find a way to support themselves, and so they look for a job. Without skills, however, only the most menial jobs are available—the kind that pay very little. For example, a laborer in Myanmar who works in the fields will earn just one dollar for a ten-hour work day. The same rate is paid to road workers. These hard-working laborers are trapped in grinding poverty all their lives.

For those who have skills, however, there are better jobs. So we’re beginning to make an effort to provide some skills training for our older orphans to help them better support themselves once they leave their orphanages.

In Myanmar, we’ve just launched a sewing school through the purchase of fifteen treadle sewing machines and by providing a teacher’s salary for a year. We’ve also just begun special English language classes by paying for two teachers’ salaries for a year. And we hope to start classes for computer training, hair dressing and watch repairing. These kinds of skills can open doors of opportunity for our older orphan children that would otherwise remain closed.

We hope to do much more of this kind of thing, not only for our older orphans in Myanmar, but also for our older orphans in Pakistan, India, Tanzania, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Haiti. Many of our orphanage directors have talked to me about this, but I’ve always explained to them that we just don’t have the funding. But I’ve been praying, and I think I have a God-inspired idea to turn dreams into reality. To learn about that idea click the link below.

Learn how you can help

April Schedule

April is a month of more travel. I’ll be in Colorado Springs and Denver April 6-11, Baton Rouge April 19-20, and Newport News April 24-27. For more information please send us an email.

From My Heart…

I can’t express how much we appreciate your partnership as we reach out around the world, building God’s kingdom and caring for the “least of these” among Christ’s family. This newsletter only reveals a small part of last month’s fruit that has been made possible by your prayers and gifts. May God bless you so that you can continue to lay up treasure in heaven where your heart is.

David

Parting Shot

peru grumpy lady
Not everyone in Peru is happy all the time! Photo courtesy of Gretchen Jones