Peru

By Vonda Drees

Have you ever looked at the daytime sky and wondered about the stars? We know they’re there, we just can’t see them.

“What could they look like?” was the question given to the children of the ILEP (Iglesia Luterana Evangélica Peruana) congregations visited by LEAD’s Peru Immersion group in July of this year. The science-minded children wisely stated, “El sol ES una estrella.” (The sun IS a star). The question was well-received and imaginations were ignited with paper and crayons.

Pastora Yoli helps children at Fiel es Dios (Faithful is God) Lutheran Church in Iquitos, Perú, work on their daytime star pictures.
Pastora Yoli helps children at Fiel es Dios (Faithful is God) Lutheran Church in Iquitos, Perú, work on their daytime star pictures.

The Star Project was one facet of our experience together. Ask the folks who were part of this LEAD pilgrimage and you will discover many more.

LEAD Peru Pilgrims (not listed in photo order) – From the LSU Campus Ministry:  Pastor Mike, Matt, Beau, Sarah; from Bethlehem in New Orleans:  Pastor Pat, Danita; from Kinsmen in Houston:  Kristen, Stephanie, Doris;  from Living Word in Katy:  Miranda, Marian, Omi, Andreina, Ellen, Vonda;  and from Emmanuel in Greenvine:  PJ
LEAD Peru Pilgrims (not listed in photo order) – From the LSU Campus Ministry: Pastor Mike, Matt, Beau, Sarah; from Bethlehem in New Orleans: Pastor Pat, Danita; from Kinsmen in Houston: Kristen, Stephanie, Doris; from Living Word in Katy: Miranda, Marian, Omi, Andreina, Ellen, Vonda; and from Emmanuel in Greenvine: PJ

For devotions, we studied three stories from Acts about the early church. Then, during visits with the leaders of Fiel es Dios, Talitha Kum, El Buen Pastor, Vida Nueva, Cristo Salvador, Filadelfia, Luz Divina, Emanuel, San Juan Camino de Esperanza, and Belen, we heard the stories of their journeys as congregations.

Leaders at Cristo Salvador share the history of their congregation.
Leaders at Cristo Salvador share the history of their congregation.

ILEP is still a young church. It was just fifteen years ago that the first Peruvian pastors were ordained. We heard the beautiful witness of Ana Maria at San Juan Camino that in the midst of the complications of being a young church, they are trusting God for guidance.

Ana María surrounded by the children of San Juan Camino
Ana María surrounded by the children of San Juan Camino

The youth at Belen Lutheran Church shared a skit about the greatest treasure of all:  God’s word. In her sermon, Pastor Irene led us in an exercise that showed us that God’s promise breaks the chains that bind us, something we can count on each day.

Sermon illustration at Belen… every person had their hands “chained”
Sermon illustration at Belen… every person had their hands “chained”

At Luz Divina, the kids’ theater group presented a rendition of “I say a little prayer for you.” And this we know is true… they remember us in their prayers, as we remember them in ours.

There is a story told in the Bible about wise men being guided by a star that belonged to the child born king of the Jews. They followed this star to the place where it stopped over the child, and they were overwhelmed with joy.

Lynsay of Filadelfia shares her star picture.
Lynsay of Filadelfia shares her star picture.

The interdependence of the global church is perhaps sometimes hard to see, like stars in the day sky. Yet, as we seek Christ in our midst, this interdependence is evident as we pray with and for one another, as we learn from one another about the ministries in our contexts, and as we stay connected in one another’s lives through social media.

Look for this Star Project to make its way into LEAD’s devotional posts on Facebook during Advent this year.  You are invited on this journey to seek the Divine, accompanied by our global companions in both Peru and Central African Republic, as together we follow the star of wonder.

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