Standing outside the town coliseum in Tarma, Peru, on our first day of ministry in June, I heard someone calling my name from down the street. From the sound of the voice, I knew it wasn’t one of my short-term team members, but who in Tarma knew my name?
I turned my head, surprised but thrilled to see two young Peruvian men, César and Gerson, hurrying towards me!
Three months prior
Back in March, I had accompanied a team to Tarma for a short vision trip. I had met César and Gerson on my final night in Peru, at a good-bye party. Both college students, César was studying to be a tour guide, and Gerson was studying to be a nurse. After hearing the gospel, both had lots of questions. César’s father had recently passed away, and he was struggling to understand how God could be good and why He would let this happen. Gerson was the quieter of the two, following César’s lead.
Neither was ready to trust Christ that night, but I answered every question that I could and committed to praying for them both… and I did. But I didn’t expect to see them again.
Yet, here I was, standing outside the Tarma coliseum three months later, watching these two young men approach! I quietly thanked God for this reunion – and invited César and Gerson to join me for the Tarma high school basketball championship game in the coliseum. They sat with our team and met everyone.
While we cheered from the stands, I thought about our team’s packed schedule. I wanted César and Gerson to hear the gospel again, and I wanted to sit with César and answer more of his questions, but I wasn’t sure where I would find that time. We were mainly ministering to high school students that week… so I invited them to help our team as we presented at their former high school the next morning.
Following the presentation, they joined us for lunch. Although I thought that was it, God desired something different. César and Gerson respectfully invited themselves to join us the next day… and then the next day… and then the next. We gladly allowed them to join us, but we did more than that, too – we welcomed them into our community, and we continued sharing the gospel with them. But this time it was different.
Hearing, sharing, living, loving
César and Gerson had heard the gospel in March, but now, through their help in translating for our team, they were actually helping to share the good news with their fellow countrymen. They heard the message again and again throughout our week in Tarma. And by spending time in our community, they also saw the gospel lived out amongst a group of believers. César and Gerson saw us love each other and the people of Peru in the context of a community. In the midst of the ministry activities on our schedule, we also just hung out together.
On Thursday evening, we returned to the coliseum, and one of our students shared his testimony. Gerson (the quiet follower) trusted Christ – Praise the Lord! But César was still not ready. He had more questions about faith and God. However, at the end of the evening, when one of the national Peruvian missionaries shared the gospel again, César also put his faith in Christ.
The ministry continues…
Although our short-term team had to return to the U.S., we know our friends are in good hands. Due to our partnership with ReachGlobal and the national missionaries in Tarma, César and Gerson have ongoing discipleship and encouragement right there in Tarma – strong believers to come alongside them in their journey with Christ.
It was a privilege to go to Peru and share the love of Christ with the people there – and to see the gospel transform the lives of two young men!
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For ongoing life transformation as Gerson & César continue pursuing the Lord.
Make an online donation to the Peru Church Planting Fund.