Now that we have stepped down from Vineyard, it seems to be the case that we’re being given different opportunities. Yesterday, I was approached and asked to preach at one of the largest churches in the city. I am yet to accept this invitation (and might well not), but I have agreed to meet with their leadership team next week and spend some time speaking to them about the benefits of small groups and my experience in them.

The church in question is from the IEP (Peruvian Evangelical Church) denomination, which is fairly formal and traditional (as much as you can be when the evangelical church as a whole is less than 100 years old), but they are keen to explore new ways of doing church and their status as a very large church means that any idea that is implemented successfully there is liable to be taken up elsewhere too. With my experience in Vineyard, I am convinced of the benefit of small groups and it is exciting to think that God could be using me to make a difference in the wider Peruvian church.

Since Friday we’ve been playing hosts to 3 Americans from Vineyard who have come up to Huancayo with a view to relocating here (one already lives in Lima) or to somewhere in Peru, but the altitude has affected one so badly that I’ve just put her in a car to take her back down to sea level and another one is in bed with headaches and nausea not wanting to go anywhere just yet. Is this encouraging anyone else to think about visiting us?!

We had hoped that today would be a simple job of picking up the relevant papers from Vineyard (through whom we get our visa), but unfortunately they weren’t all ready, not helped by the fact that they had lost the bit of paper we’d given them with the instruction on about what was required. We ended up having to go to the Public Registry to ask for documents and they won’t be ready for a few days. Tomorrow we’ll put the documents in for stage one of the three stage process, but other than that we cannot make any progress until these other documents come out, so we’ll be going to go to Chincha and visit some friends there who are going through a marital crisis.

If I had to pick a favourite bit of our trip so far, then it wouldn’t be the waterfalls. They were amazing, but we had a fantastic time last night. One of the members of the Vineyard and a close friend asked us to chat through some things with her and pray. We were happy to do so and it was a very special time for all three of us. It was really special to minister together as a couple and see how the different gifts that God has given us could both be brought to bear on the situation. I think it was a special night for our friend too, with some releasing and some getting better acquainted with the Holy Spirit going on. Wow!

Last night we “lead” a young adults group, which was a bit of fun and today we took the service at La Viña, speaking on God’s heart for the poor (my favourite subject!) and the need, as a church, to get off our butts and do something; that church exists to reach others, not so much to feed ourselves and get fat. It seemed to be well received and we can only hope that it galvanises the group into a bit more action over the coming weeks and months.

They’re a lovely bunch and already there are people suggesting that we should stay!! As an example of their friendliness, in the evening the pastor, Pascual, invited Rach and I to see his team, Olimpia, play Rubio Ñu in the Paraguayan football league. I spent most of the evening explaining to Rachel who had just scored!!

It’s very hot!!

We went to the Vineyard church this morning and it seems to have imploded to some degree since when Rachel was there. Lots of the old faces weren’t there (which is perhaps to be expected after 8 years away), but not many new faces had replaced them. The pastors tell us that last year was difficult, but the corner has been turned and things are looking up again.

Saw Arthur and Pete off at the airport. Always sad to say goodbye to our few and far between visitors (though, of course, having them around is a real encouragement and joy), but can’t be too downhearted this time since we ourselves are leaving in a couple of days. Can’t wait!!

My busy week and a half translating in various conference sessions and workshops for Arthur and Pete has reached an end. They’ve gone really well, but it is quite tiring to be constantly thinking in 2 languages and trying to remember who needs to hear what.

Off to Lima tomorrow (after giving a workshop on home gardening) to take Arthur and Pete to the airport before flying off ourselves on the 2nd to Brazil and Paraguay. Feeling exhausted, so hoping that a break will be just what the doctor ordered.

We’ve been spending a fair bit of time in San Jeronimo, a nearby village where there is a Vineyard church plant, this week with Arthur and Pete. We’ve seen lots of people showing up to hear about the Kingdom of God and then receive training in how to pray for other people. The real encouragement being that the various churches in the village came together to have a joint meeting and hear the teaching.

The slight disappointment perhaps was the only a handful turned up the next day, though all of them were from the Vineyard group and they were very willing. We prayed for around 30 people perhaps over the course of the morning and we saw some amazing stuff going on – backs healed, headache gone, people touched by the peace of God…

I personally had the chance to pray with a lady who’d had a stress-related headache for the past 4 years (since separating from her husband). As soon as I touched her head, my hand became really hot (a sign of the Holy Spirit at work) and a minute later she was saying that she was completely pain-free. Wow!!

In the end, we had to leave, but the locals from San Jeronimo were so enthused by what they were witnessing that they just couldn’t bring themselves to pack up and go home!

Today were were back, this time to do an afternoon workshop on the importance of giving children boundaries (part of a 2 day series on parenting). It was relatively poorly attended (perhaps 15), but once the session finally got under way (about an hour late), it was actually a good time and helpful for those that were there. We hope for more and more of the same tomorrow.

Back up in the mountains with Pete and Arthur from Plymouth Vineyard (as well as being reunited with Rachel) having had 3 days in Lima running a Peru Vineyard conference on Kingdom of God and the Healing On The Streets ministry that Plymouth are involved with. It was a great time and I, as translator, surprised myself with how much Spanish I actually know. We saw God move and many people touched and some people healed from a variety of ailments, ranging from sore throats to bad backs and bad knees – great stuff!!

It’s a rest day today (for Arthur and Pete anyway), but then tomorrow we’re doing the same training and I’ll be translating again in San Jeronimo, a small nearby village where there is a Vineyard church plant.

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