- Written by Kimberly Pepmiller Kimberly Pepmiller
- Created: 25 June 2014 25 June 2014
Most of us do not remember when we became believers of God. For many, Christian beliefs were just part of childhood and growing up. However, can you remember the excitement and enthusiasm you felt learning about God and his promises? As adults, it is still powerful to attend church, continue to develop our faith and create meaningful relationships with those with similar beliefs. We use the church building at Saint John’s as a sanctuary to impart, develop and share our faith. How would your worship and faith change if there was not a building where you could attend church?
This is a familiar scenario for new believers in the Amazon rainforest of Peru. The Shipibo are an indigenous people who live along the Ucayali River in Peru. They have an oral culture, where traditions, values and other important information are passed from generation to generation by story-telling. As a result, many of the people do not know how to read or write. The Shipibo have a native language, but they prefer not to speak it in front of outsiders, so many people learn Spanish as a second language. For those who cannot read, studying the Bible is not an option. For others, only parts of the Bible have been translated into the native language.
There is a Peruvian missionary named Ricardo who has been serving the Shipibo people for over a decade. Ricardo and his team have created a program called Oralidad. This is a Spanish-based oral method of sharing the stories of the Bible. This method is similar to how the Shipibo people share their stories throughout the generations. As the Shipibo people begin to hear and understand the gospel through Oralidad, they being to desire to have a place for worship. However, the Shipibo people do not have the resources to build a church on their own.
This is where Lifetree Adventures, a part of Group Publishing in Loveland, comes in. Lifetree has partnered with Ricardo, and they send teams down to Peru to help construct the church buildings for these Shipibo people. Helping other believers of Christ build a place where they can worship God: what a neat way to share the gospel!
There are seven of us from Saint John’s who will be traveling to Peru in July to help serve the Shipibo people on a Lifetree Adventures mission trip: June Donaldson, Sam Gardner, Loren Maxey, Janet Maxwell, Tim Maxwell, Tom Miles, and Kimberly Pepmiller. We will depart on July 19 for Lima, Peru, and then travel on to Pucallpa, Peru, where we will board a riverboat along with other mission trip participants. We will sail down the Ucayali River until we reach the Shipibo village we will be serving. During the week we will help construct a church for the village, interact with the people and play with the children. Our residence for the week will be the riverboat where we will sleep and have meals. At the conclusion of the week we hope to have completed a new church home where the Shipibo villagers can worship God and have a place to deepen the roots of their new Christian faith.
In addition to helping construct a church building, we would like to provide some needed material items to the Shipibo villagers. We are seeking your help to collect needed supplies that these people will find useful in their daily lives. Supplies for the Shipibo people will be collected at Saint John’s from June 30 to July 13. Please place your donations in the box that near the Welcome Center.
Here are the items that we would like to deliver to the people of the village where we will be working:
- Spiral notebooks
- Colored pencils
- Pencil sharpeners
- Flip-flops for children and women
- Children's clothing (new or gently-used)
- Small or medium adult clothing, particularly women's (new or gently-used)
- Hair accessories
- Plastic bowls, containers or jugs
Thank you so much for your support of these Shipibo people! We are looking forward to spending the week serving these new believers in Christ. We hope to return home with a deepened faith in Christ Jesus as well as a new understanding of what it means to live simply. There is no doubt that we will benefit from our service to others as well! Pictures and stories will follow once we return home. We appreciate your prayers and support as we embark on this international service mission trip!
“Hesed” is a Hebrew word that means “kindness”, “mercy”, “loyalty”, “loving-kindness” or “steadfastness.” It’s the way God intends us to live together—a “love your neighbor as yourself”, active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living contradictory to our fallen natures. The “Heseders” are continually looking to work together to share some small measure of God’s extraordinary love. Won’t you join us?