Monday, July 24, 2017

Christian Challenge Peru Pre-Trip Update 2017!

It's finally here and boy, are we stoked! July 25th-August 8th, we'll be on mission in Peru! Though we've had an extremely busy summer, our mission trip to Peru with Climbing for Christ has always been on our mind. With all the training we've done for the trip, it's good to keep the mission on our mind to get us through the difficult workouts. When you remember you're doing it for God, you can endure a lot more. And you need that reminder when you're running 7.5 miles every other day for training...because running is awful.

It's really cool how God directed our footsteps with this trip. If you remember from past newsletters, last fall we talked about how we had three options for the summer. One of the options was that we were invited to a wedding in Croatia of a childhood friend of Rachel's from that area. With Rachel growing up a third-culture kid, she needed closure from her childhood growing up in Eastern Europe. TCKs are always encouraged to revisit where they grew up so that they can find that closure. Going to the wedding would have allowed Rachel to find that closure.

We also had been asked to go on a mission trip to the Philippines by a good friend of mine from high school. For years, we've been praying that God would bring us together on a mission trip and give us an opportunity to serve together. After already doing two mission trips to the Philippines, we have a heart to get back there someday. The mission trip would have also given us a chance to hop on over to Japan to visit some of our former students there and encourage them.

Our last option was the Peru trip. Now obviously, we wanted to do everything and would have if it had been God's will but as time went on, it was clear that the finances would only be there for one trip. By winter, we felt like Peru was where God was calling us. Then in April, Rachel's childhood friend surprised us by visiting us in Durango. And with that, Rachel got enough closure for the time being. A month or two later, I found out that the Philippines trip had actually fallen thru and been moved to another country. Looking back, we really feel like God answered our prayers and gave us direction towards Peru before things even unfolded.

This will be my third trip to Peru and Rachel's second. During past trips, our team traveled to the Cordillera Blanca and the Cordillera Huayhuash of the Andes. This year, we will be focused exclusively on the Blanca. We will return to areas we have been working in and push deeper into unreached areas of the Blanca. There is still a lot of uncovered ground. There's a lot of work to be done for the Gospel.

The people group we will be reaching are the Quechua people. They live in many different areas of South America but ours specifically live and work high in the Andes Mountains at elevations of around 9,000-16,000 feet.

Religiously, there are many different beliefs amongst the people. Some believe in Jesus. Some worship animistic spirits. Many worship both Jesus and the spirits. Still, there are others who only know of a creator. They know nothing about Him because no one has ever shared, and they've never seen a Bible. They are so remote, that no one has ever told them about Jesus.

Despite the differences of beliefs, the common thing amongst almost all the people is that they don't have Bibles. So like last two trips, our goal is to distribute as many Bibles as possible. Though we will be ministering in many towns, a lot of the people we reach will be literally too far from any church to attend it and get fed spiritually with God's Truth. They need Bibles in their hands to learn that Truth and protect themselves from being deceived.

Along with giving out as many Bibles as we can backpack in, we will be putting on church services, encouraging those who are already believers and seeking out divine appointments to share the Gospel with those who need to hear it.

During past trips, God brought divine appointment after divine appointment in our path. It was amazing. I've never seen soil so ready for the Gospel. I truly can't wait to get back and see what God is going to do this year. I can't wait to see how God has grown the seeds that were planted in years past. We saw a lot of people come to Christ. I'm stoked to see where God has brought them since we were last there.

I'm also stoked for our team this year. I will have served on C4C missions with all but two of them.

Jordan Rowley is back for another go. Jordan works for C4C at their headquarters in Rochester, NY. Another Rochester local, Gary Fallesen, will also be on the trip. Gary is the president and founder of Climbing for Christ. He's done many trips to Peru and was also on my first two trips to the Himalayas.

Then, of course my beautiful wife, Rachel, will be going again this year. It's always blessing when I get the chance to serve alongside my wife in the mission field.

This year, we also have Aaron Hemphill and his son, Ronen, joining the team. Aaron founded AustriAlpin, a climbing gear company out of the Calgary, Alberta area. Aaron was on my first trip to the Himalayas.

And of course, I can't forget one of our students, Lexi Hooper. Lexi is a student at Fort Lewis and came to us from Austin, Texas. She joined our Christian Challenge mission team that went down to Juarez, Mexico over spring break.

Rounding the team out will be Peruvians Jaime Jesus Servat and Edwin Milla. Jaime is our local missionary on the ground there. He is the one who returns to each area we visit to followup and disciple those God connects us with. Edwin is a professional climber, missionary, and our guide for the trip.

Feel free to click on each underlined named for more info on the team member.

You can also keep up-to-date with the trip as we go! We'll try and get daily updates up online about what is happening and what God is doing on the trip. You can follow online by clicking this link: Dispatches!

If you'd like to see what God has done on our past trips to Peru, get caught up on past trip reports. It's truly amazing what God did and worth the read! Click here: Peru 2014/Peru 2015!

Thank you for all the support and encouragement you give! We are super thankful for that! Check out our prayer requests below and keep us in your prayers! #Pray4Peru #Pray4FLC

Cheers and God Bless,
Mike and Rachel

If the Lord is leading you to give, follow this link to our giving options:

Prayer Requests:

- Sleep is always a hard thing to come by on these trips yet it's extremely important. Last trip, we lost power for twelve hours or so if I remember right the night before we were to fly out early in the morning. I ended up having to pull an all-nighter due to that. It wasn't a good way to start the trip and set me back for the rest of the trip health-wise. I'd pull two more all-nighters before the trip was over. That said, it's important the whole team gets good sleep so that we can be in good spirits and good health. Pray we would have energy, be in good spirits, and get good sleep during the trip.

- Spiritual attacks on these trips are always something we need people to pray against. On past trips, it always seemed like God would do something huge one day and the next day would follow with a big spiritual attack on the team. In talking with other missionaries in Peru, it seems to be what happens in the country. Not to be dramatic but it can be life and near death stuff as we've seen on past trips. It can also just be illness or injury...even in the lead up to the trip. Rachel has recently been getting bad headaches. Two days ago, I could barely get out of bed or breathe deeply due to back pain. Thankfully, that looks to be clearing up just before we leave after a lot of prayer. Keep praying for us and our team that God would protect us on this trip from any spiritual attacks. Pray that God would give us the strength to endure whatever comes our way. Also pray for everyone praying for our team because when you pray for our team, you're stepping into the battle as well.

- We fully expect God to change many lives on this trip. Pray that He would open doors for the Gospel to be received and understood. Pray that the Holy Spirit would be working on the hearts and minds of the people we are going to meet.

- On trips like this, there is always the chance of a rolled ankle while hiking or food poisoning at some point in the trip. Pray that God would keep our team safe and healthy from all those sorts of things.

- We trust God to provide for the ministry we do but would appreciate you praying as well that the funding needs of the mission trip and the ministry we do on campus would be met. If you would like to give toward the ministry or even the mission trip, there is still time. Go to: Give Now.