Exclusive stories from the mission field
Poor children faced pressure to sell trinkets rather than attend school, and local missionaries encouraged them to stay in class. Every day of the week, children also received nutritious lunches at the local ministry’s feeding center, giving them the health they needed to excel in class and helping workers sow the seeds of God’s kingdom.
Depressed since her marriage started to sour a few years ago, 32-year-old Ximena Flores suffered steady deterioration of her mental health, cementing her husband’s desire for separation. A schoolteacher with a 5-year-old daughter, Flores’ condition worsened when the COVID-19 pandemic forced her to teach online from home – where the sources of stress and conflict overlapped with work challenges. “Someone told me that there was another teacher who was a Christian and could help me,” Flores said. “She told me Jesus is the answer, and I said, ‘How?’”
At a small nightclub in rural Peru, the blaring music was drowning out the message a local missionary was giving nearby at a three-day gospel event. Villagers asked the nightclub owner to turn the music off, and he grudgingly consented. He was further annoyed when the preacher and other Christians visited him the next day and invited him to attend that night’s evangelistic event.
Victor lived in a slum area riddled with crime, a red zone where he was constantly on edge to protect the small family he had begun. He struggled to support them as a driver of a three-wheeler taxi. Though raised to worship idols, Victor believed in no gods as he faced the threat of COVID-19 with each passenger he carried.
A 54-year-old waste collector in northern Peru and his children had long fought with his wife, but he never thought she would leave.
A Sunday morning church service seemed as good a place as any for an armed stranger to begin looking for the man he had been hired to kill.
Inside the church building, he heard the preacher reading from the Bible about someone asking Jesus what the greatest commandment was.
It was the following, second greatest commandment, however, that caught the gunman’s attention: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
The children want to learn. The teachers want to teach. But neither the school in the Peruvian jungle village nor the schoolkids have enough money for school supplies like notebooks.
“Children go to school without notebooks, and teachers cannot do their job,” the leader of a native ministry said.
A young boy in one village told his mother that his teacher could not give him assignments because he had no notebook. His mother replied, “Let’s pray to God to provide.”
He had lost the woman he had married 11 years before when she finally decided she had to get away from the violence erupting from his addictions to drugs and alcohol.
Enrique knew his life was in ruins, but the 35-year-old electrician in Peru felt helpless to repair it.
When a neighbor in his village brought him to a native missionary’s church, he seemed impervious to the gospel preaching but liked the worship atmosphere. He returned to the Sunday services for months.