SOUTHGATE, MI – Calvary Baptist Church of Southgate recently went on mission to Peru. Here is their story.
It took a year in the planning, but the Lord opened the door for me to lead a team from Calvary Baptist Church in Southgate to Peru on a mission trip. I was joined by my wife, JoLinda, and two other ladies from the church as we made our way to South America in the second week of August this year. We went under the auspices of Tom Cox World Ministries, which has a long-standing relationship with many Peruvian churches. Our team from Michigan was joined by a man from Texas, Ken Bowie, who had been a missionary in Peru for many years, and was the TCWM liaison while the team was in the country.
We traveled for more than 20 hours from Detroit to Miami to Lima and then on to the destination city of Piura in northern Peru. Piura is a city of 377,000 in the northern desert area of Peru, just south of the Ecuador border. It is flanked by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Andes mountains to the east. The city is one of the oldest in South America, being the third Spanish city founded in South America and the first city established in Peru in 1532. The language is Peruvian Spanish, which is very similar to Spanish spoken in Mexico. The city is located in the southern hemisphere near the equator, so when the team was there in August, it was the dry season with temperatures in the 80's during the day and the 60's at night. Being in the southern hemisphere, our team had the awesome experience of seeing The Southern Cross constellation in the night sky as the stars form a large cross.
We were welcomed by the First Baptist Church of Piura, a well-known and historic SBC church in the area. Pastor Raul Lopez and his church family extended the team excellent hospitality and provided many ministry opportunities in his church, as well as a church plant in the neighboring village of Sechura. Ministry opportunities included me preaching in the two churches, conducting a half-day training conference to 40 pastors and their wives on church revitalization, a WMU meeting where each of the ladies on the team spoke to over 50 ladies, four one-day Vacation Bible Schools in the two churches for over 100 children, a four-day Medical Clinic to 80 patients, featuring the expertise of one of the ladies on our team who is a Registered Nurse, an evangelistic service for 90+ teenagers, and daily evangelism using a pantomime drama called “The Sin Box”, which dramatizes a person trapped in sin by the devil, but rescued by Jesus.
Glory to God, the results of the mission trip included 53 Peruvians making first-time professions of faith in Jesus as Savior, with many more re-dedications of faith in Jesus as Lord! Pastors and their wives were very thankful for the revitalization conference and planned on implementing the truths in their churches all across northern Peru. The women of the WMU in that area were very responsive to the testimonies of the ladies on the team and really appreciated the “mission dolls” they were given. Each woman promised to give their doll to a needy child and share the Gospel of Jesus with that child. Mission Dolls were also given to the children in some of the Vacation Bible Schools.
This mission trip was very rewarding for everyone on the team. Personally, I feel Jesus was glorified and His kingdom work was accomplished. We had the joy of leaving new believers in Peru and helping Peruvian churches be revitalized, as well as help some hurting people with their medical needs. Mission trips are life-changing for me, as well as each and every person who goes on them. I encourage every believer to go on “mission” somewhere in their Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and uttermost parts of the world!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Dan Russell is the Executive Pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Southgate, Michigan, a Church Strengthener for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan, and an adjunct professor in the Christian Ministry Department of Spring Arbor University at two campuses in southeastern Michigan. He has 36 years of pastoral experience, including lead pastorates in Missouri, Kansas, and Michigan. He and his wife, JoLinda, live in Brownstown, Michigan, and have three adult children, along with seven grandchildren.