Brenda J. from Wind Lake, Wisconsin graciously shares her time in Peru with us below.
A new life started for me on June 30th, 2013. I was given an opportunity to take my first ever mission trip to Ayacucho, Peru. I was given a week to spend time with the indigenous people of the Andes, the Quechan people and their families. I was able to learn about their experiences first hand from Pastor Romulo and his wife, and daughter Mabel. Pastor Romulo started the Love and Light Learning Center in Ayacucho. Pastor and his family are working to keep the numerous children (and families) that have been left behind and forgotten from the previous decades of terrorism and guerilla warfare in and around Ayacucho off the streets, in God’s arms and provide the teachings of Jesus Christ.
I was in a very beautiful place and around amazing and beautiful people that had endured the terrible experiences of torture, kidnaping, stealing, and other atrocities by a terrorist group known as the Shining Path. It was hard for me to wrap my head around such terrible things and comprehend they really do happen and people are left to live in horrific poverty because of someone else’s acts of violence. Many of the victims were Quechua and ‘campesinos’ who have little influence in society. They live in remote places and usually lack the resources or capacity to make their voices heard. These shocking acts have left the area in poor condition and numerous families extremely poor. They live in mud houses with dirt floors and are lucky if they have running water and a roof. So many families share houses. The children are taking care of children while the parents are trying to find work or are out working making minimal Soles (Peru’s currency), not enough to support their families. There is no clean running water and no electricity.
It was the love that came from the children, from their parents, from Pastor Rumulo and Mabel that made it seem surreal. It was from the moment we arrived and walked out of the airport to see the smiling faces and welcoming arms of these wonderful people. These kids were so pure, so innocent so loving and they are all living a life that we here in the States really don’t think about. Some of the kids stood back a little, the older ones more so, the little ones were all over us as we showed up that Monday to start the work that was needed to provide the Learning Center the new roof on the top floor so the kids could have a dry and safe place to learn and a nice place to have a daily meal. This is possibly the only meal these children get every day.
I was so thrilled to have the opportunity to meet my sponsored child Anghelo and bring him the gifts I picked out for him to share with his family. I met him the first day we were there and we were pretty much inseparable all week. Always a hug and a smile, he would come and find me every day. I’m so grateful and blessed to be able to share the love of my heart and the love of God and Jesus Christ with him through the Learning Center. I am fortunate to be able to sponsor his youngest sister too. He and both of his sisters are now able to attend and get a well-balanced nutritional meal. They have been given the opportunity to stay off the drug-revenged streets.
I’m hoping as the Learning Center continues to grow, they are able to continue receive the Lord’s blessings and share with those that are in dire straits and in need of God’s light and warm embrace.
People say they leave their heart in San Francisco, I left mine in Ayacucho, Peru. I hope Daisy, Gabriella and the remaining children find their sponsor. I know there is someone waiting for them.