Thursday, 20 August 2015

Breaking bread with Jésus

I didn’t think it was possible to sweat so much until I went to Tarapoto!  The Methodist church only started here in the Amazon region of Peru 5 years ago, through missionaries from Brazil.  The membership is still small, but I shared in the Saturday School when 17 children poured into the small room they use as a church, as well as some mums and babies.  

In the evening, we met with some of the leaders.  New Christians with no training and little Biblical knowledge, but with hearts on fire for spreading the good news of salvation.

After sharing their hopes and dreams - we gathered around a table and shared a simple meal, literally just bread, a cup of hot water and, for me, a camomile teabag.  There was a tremendous feeling of equality, sitting round the table, talking about issues of faith and life.  There was no pretence, or status, it was very ‘real’.  We even discussed the Falklands!  For me, this was a profoundly moving experience of what it must have been like to be part of the early church.  

Next to me was Jésus and his wife Rosa. Then there was Luis, a dentist, who had just operated on an HIV patient that no one else would treat.

Another Rosa was on my other side, with her big laugh, and great sense of humour, even if I couldn’t understand what she was saying.  At the other end was Victor, the pastor, and his lovely wife Angela, who are expecting a baby in four months. Their commitment to growing the church in this very poor area, among people who are mainly migrants with no regular income, and the way I witnessed them empowering women to speak, was heart-warming and humbling. 
Here is Pastor Victor with his motor bike, outside the church which is also his home - please pray for Victor and Angela, and the wonderful disciples of Christ I met in Tarapoto.


Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Finding a Welcome in Peru

After being in transit for 28 hours, I have finally arrived home from Peru! What an experience! What have I learnt?  Riding in a moto-taxi in Tarapoto is great fun! The traffic in Lima is completely mad, unbelievable and no holds are barred! Chichi morada, purple corn, is a lovely drink.  Peruvian people are warm and friendly and we can share a sense of humour if not a language. Oh, and you can't put toilet paper in the toilet!

The church has so many needs but a great vision. 

Here is Bishop Samuel Aguilar outside Casa Metodista, with Luis Ruiz, the co-ordinator of Volunteers in Mission, one of the NMAs we support. 

Casa Metodista (on the right below) is a listed building, dating from the 1920s, which the church is hoping to restore and develop, with an ‘Open door’ policy.

Located in a cultural area of Lima, this would help raise awareness of the Methodist church, as well as generating income. With 70 bedrooms it could also provide residential accommodation for students coming to study at a much needed Wesley Theological College.  The dream is also to provide a meeting place for the many migrants who leave their families to come to Lima. At the moment they meet in parks so the church wants Casa Metodista to be a place of welcome for them.

I have learnt so much, and it will take a while to process it all.  Right now, I need some sleep !!!!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Camp Meeting and Love Feast at The Cloud

Felt very close to God today, standing in a field, speaking of God's love, and feeling the wind in my hair. 

A very moving Camp Meeting and Love Feast to celebrate the 200th anniversary of The Cloud Methodist Chapel and Sunday School, on the Cheshire/ Staffordshire ridge.

Built in 1815 by the Primitive Methodists, it is the earliest still in continuous use.

Four preaching stations, group prayers, singing and sharing testimony created an amazing sense of fellowship. 

Friends of Harmony sang a moving song by Katherine, 'God Friends Family', expressing her experience of God at work in her life when her daughter was seriously ill. Sunday School mums and children sang, and everyone joined in.

And God enjoyed it too!