Sunday, November 27, 2011

He asked me to bring him bibles…

NOTE: There are no pictures included as I want to make sure that the people in the story are not made to feel uncomfortable. They are new believers and I do not want to ask them for their pictures in order for me to "show" them to people back home. I apologize if it takes from the story, but I felt it was quite important.

It was late evening as I cautiously walked down the wet and extremely slick cobblestone street where I ran into Alex and Edgar. It was there that the story really unfolded. You see, Alex and Edgar were walking together with their leather bound portfolios full of paintings. They are vendors that sell their works to the tourism market. Alex nearly brought me to tears with one simple request…He asked me to bring him bibles.

I had met Alex and Edgar when we first arrived to Cusco. In fact, I had met their whole group of vendor friends. One of them had invited me to play soccer with them during their weekly routine soccer time. I, being a good missionary who loves to play soccer, decided to join them. It was there that I realized that I was surrounded by a group of ruffian young Peruvian vendors whose lives were not what one would generally call wholesome.

They spend a lot of time in Plaza San Blas where we have our restaurant, The Meeting Place Café. Over the course of my time in Cusco, I have gotten to know these guys quite well. They have also gotten to know me and my purpose for being here in their country.

It was a few days before my recent trip to the US that I was informed that Miguel, one of my vendor friends, had made a decision to follow Christ. I was so amazed and surprised. I quickly inquired about what had happened, and found out the story.

It went something like this;

Edgar, one of the ring leaders of this group of vendors, has a brother who is a Christian. For a long time, Edgar had been the recipient of a faithful brother who loves him and wants to see Edgar’s life reformed by the love of Christ. It took a few years of work, but Edgar finally conceded that a life with Christ was really the place he ought to be. It was then that Edgar gave his life to Christ.

Shortly thereafter, the group of vendor friends started to see Edgar in a different light. He really changed. He stopped doing the things he used to do. No more cussing, drinking, fighting. His life cleaned up. He formed a joy in his life. He really changed. The other guys could see it.

It was not long after that Edgar started to connect with his buddies over the subject of Jesus. They started to dig into the possibilities of giving their lives to Christ as well. Within a short period of time, a number of these guys had given their lives to Christ. One by one, this group of ruffians was changing, and it was not just a little change. These guys were being transformed in a huge way.

When I left for my trip to the US, the count was somewhere around 5; Edgar, Alex, Jose, Forrest, and Michael. In fact, Michael came clean with a bunch of past issues and we found out his name is actually Mario. He is a free man now that he finally came out and let go of his tainted but forgivable past. God is good to clean the slate. What a comfort he must feel! He now uses his real name. The significance of changing his name back to his given name is huge. He is done with his fake life and now is moving forward in his new life with Christ. He celebrated his decision by being baptized last month. What a celebration it was for Mario.

As for my vendor friend, Alex, the one that I ran into the night before I returned to the US, he knew I was going to be heading to the US soon. He had begun working on me to bring him some original Nike shoes from the US. Each time I would see Alex during the month before my departure, he would remind me about the order that he had placed with me; Original Nike size 42 any color, any style. I never made any promises, but he was as persistent as a typical Peruvian vendor trying to sell a painting to a tourist. Each time I saw him before my departure, he would remind me about the shoes. The night before I left, I ran into Alex and Edgar.

There they were, Edgar and Alex, looking for tourists to which they could peddle their paintings. As we struck up a conversation, once again, Alex brought up the subject of the shoes. This time it was a bit different. He was not so worried about the shoes. He had changed his tune. There were other things more important. You see, he had given his life to Christ and quickly determined that those around him needed the same relationship with Jesus that had recently transformed his life. He needed the tools to reach these people. Alex told me not to worry about the shoes, but rather, he asked me to bring him bibles.

As excited as I could be, I told him that I would figure out a way to get him some bibles. When I returned from my trip, I was able to bring Alex about 20 bibles. They needed them for the cell group that meets in the home of Edgar’s brother, Walter. With these bibles, they can use them for the new people that come and may not have a bible. They can also use them during the group time and if someone needs one to take home, they are able to give it to them to study and use in their own homes.

They invited me to a bible study in the home of Walter as they wanted me to present the bibles. It was little awkward as they really made a big deal about the bibles. But it was wonderful to see people who are desperate for God’s word. I brought with me a guest as well. We had a wonderful time connecting with some local Peruvians that love Jesus. They sing like tomorrow will be the last day of their life on Earth. What a refreshing thing to see; People pouring their lives out to their savior in song. Praise God, he asked me to bring him bibles!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Scott made it home in one piece!

Well, I have to recap a little bit about my recent trip to the US. What a whirlwind of activity!!!

First of all, I need to say thank you to the Alumni Board at NNU for nominating me for the Young Alumnus of the Year award…This was the main reason that I was able to come back for a visit. What an opportunity it was for me to share our ministry and God’s call on our lives to so many. My time in Nampa included a number of activities at the university such as morning devotionals, business classes, ethics panel discussion with business department, chapel and award ceremony, a reunion lunch with class of 96, meetings with project heads working on cross cultural studies and MBA program possibilities, a business alumni function, as well as interviews from various students and faculty. What a great time for me to share what is really at the forefront of my life-service for Christ through missions.

While on campus, I was able to connect one on one with a number of people that may be interested in volunteering/joining our ministry for various lengths of time. How encouraging it is to know that we have a lot of people that are interested in joining our work in Peru. That lets off a little pressure for sure.

In addition to my time at NNU, I was able to visit with my Nampa home church and update them on our current ministry. Thanks Karcher Church of the Nazarene for standing behind our family! Thanks for your hospitality---I never once had to spend a night in my car or a hotel... In addition, the food was outstanding. It was good to see many of the faces and spend some quality time with those that are supporting us through prayer and finances.

After Nampa, I went back to California, as I was given the opportunity to share in my other home church-The church I grew up in. While there, I was able to reconnect with many folks as well. It is always great to go back to Oroville Church of the Nazarene and see how things are going there. What an exciting church! One funny thing that has happened each time I have spoken at Oroville, is that the worship team is so able to bring the atmosphere of worship to such an exciting level, that I find myself singing my voice away. Then I realize I have to speak for two services…Absolutely brutal, but don't stop doing it! Even though my voice was thrashed, God still knows the heart. It was a pleasure to worship with you all.

For the lighter side of things, many of you know that I was able to spend some quality time doing some things I love, with some of the best friends a guy can have. My plane ticket was covered and the award ceremony was pretty close to hunting season. Do the math! After an entourage of begging, my family gave me the green light. From then on, it was pretty much like old times around the Englund house; Getting my stuff all ready and setting by the door weeks in advance, me never shutting up about the upcoming adventure, all the worry about if it will work out, will I be healthy enough? how much will it cost? All the preparation phone calls to my buddies in which we recap the past 10 years of hunting trips each time we talk. I think I get to be pretty annoying when I get excited about things like that. Maybe that is why I get the green light…They cannot wait to get me gone so I will stop driving everyone nuts….Regardless, it all worked out great. A 6 point bull elk, 4x5 muley buck, and a bunch of birds…I did find out that I lost my touch with the marksmanship…Took me a bit to get my edge back…It finally came…I guess it’s kind of like riding a bike. Speaking of riding a bike: Thanks Brent and Von for taking me out riding one afternoon. Also, thanks Al for sharing your precious motorcycle with me. You guys are great Amigos!

For the business side of things, I was afforded numerous opportunities to connect with people. I had a threefold purpose to the trip. One was to join NNU in the Award celebration and support the university as much as I was able. Second, the fun hunting and guy time reconnecting with friends, and third, the business part of missionary work; The support raising part that requires a lot of one on one with people.

Some of these purposes coincide with each other. For instance, I was able to have some guy time with some of our support team. So to justify the fun, I can say I was working…yes, I am a businessman at heart…

One major focus of the business side of my trip was to raise the necessary funds to start our new missional business, MotoMission. Keep an eye out for our printed newsletter. It should be coming out before the end of the year and will spell out the details of this amazing project. For those of you that heard it first hand while I was in the states, please continue to pray that God will lead this project to places only He can know. We are quite excited about the future of this awesome project that will serve the needs of kids through education, Christ based interaction, and basics needs such as food.

We have made some good headway on finding financial partners for this project. We still have a little bit more to go. Please keep the project in your prayers. I am still looking for more partners so don’t be surprised if I you get a phone call from me. Once you see how this project is set up, you will want to participate somehow. It is a compelling type of project…pure grass roots ministry…people who love Jesus…pouring their lives into the lives of others…If anyone is interested in learning about it first hand, you can call me or email me. You won’t be disappointed!

That is all for now. I do have a lot more to write about, so keep your eyes open for more stories. Thanks for following our adventures…Many Blessings!