The DeLand Family
Currently, Peru is hurting tremendously from Covid deaths (highest in the world per capita) and turbulent elections, and people in our village are seeking for hope. Because of this, more people are coming to our church services, and at our last church service 17 adults and 8 kids attended, not including our family. Thirty people in total! Praise God! They are also asking for Bibles to read, seeking counsel from us about family issues, and simply looking for some encouragement. Despite all the negative things happening around us, the ministry here is flourishing and we are seeing God working in individual hearts like never before.
Heather has been doing a wonderful job leading the ladies through different attributes of God on Thursday nights. As always here in Ayavirí, she never knows what to expect from week to week as attendance has varied from 1 to 9. Culturally, the majority of women here don’t share their opinion or ask questions when in mixed company, so the ladies’ meeting gives them the freedom to do so. Many are asking deeper questions and truly trying to understand God’s Word.
After the study is over, many stay around to fellowship until at least 10pm (last Thursday went until 11:30pm), and we praise God that the ladies are opening up more with Heather. She has also offered to meet on Saturday afternoons with some of the ladies who run the town stores. Mily, her aunt Julia, y Delia came this past week. Mily told Heather that this is the first time that she has ever studied the Bible. They each have a copy of the gospels. Please pray that they will read them.
Our kids’ ministry fluctuates in number from week to week as well, but the kids really seem to be enjoying the lessons and are hearing the Gospel through different Bible stories week after week. Due to my elementary English classes, one boy, Anthony has been coming to Bible club for the first time since our time here in Ayavirí. His parents never let him participate before, and it’s encouraging to see them trusting us more.
Youth group is probably one of the highlights of our week and starts at 4:30pm when two of the teens arrive to start making supper for everyone. Before the Bible study, some of the teens enjoy hanging out at our house, and Esther and Joseph have been enjoying teaching the teens some board games. It’s hilarious to watch teenagers get excited about playing games like UNO, Trouble, and Old Maid. During the Bible study, the teens are learning a variety of topics that address issues they can relate to, but we are also heavily focusing on the Gospel.
We have been thoroughly encouraged by eight of the teens that come faithfully each week. After the study finishes, a couple of the teens, David and Candy, hang out with our family until almost 10pm. Their friendship has truly blessed our kids.
In a week, we will be headed down to Lima to do some paperwork and will return back to the village July 2nd. We are looking forward to spending time with our family and friends in Lima and having some Christian community for a few days. We are excited about the opportunity to watch some church services online and be fed spiritually as well. Church planting work is exhausting, especially when you are all alone. Lord willing, our ministry partners will be returning very soon! Thank you for your continued support and prayers during this time. We are thankful for you.
Daniel, Heather, Esther, Joseph, and Caleb.