Thursday, August 2, 2018

Christian Challenge Mission Peru 2018 (Pre-Trip)!

It's finally here and boy, are we stoked!  August 3rd-16th, 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 up to eight miles every other day for training...because running is awful.

Before we jump into the trip, a little update on ministry and life.  One of our former Japanese students just recently got saved.  After Fort Lewis, she moved back to Japan and eventually moved back to the States to marry her boyfriend whom she met during her time in Durango.  Over the years, the ministry has been able to keep in touch with her and continue to pour into her.  A few weeks ago, she contacted us letting us know her decision.  It's amazing to see how God kept pursuing her after we were able to plant seeds so many years ago!  We're super excited!

Another highlight of our summer was getting to speak at The Church at Redstone, CO.  They're a church that supported Rachel's parents during their years as missionaries.  The church has since partnered with us.  They've been a huge blessing to us.  Not only is it always fun getting to share what God is doing at the Fort but it's also so encouraging to be around people excited for what God is doing.  It was a really refreshing time for us being up there.  It was something we really needed after selling our cabin.

That's right, we sold the cabin!  Not going to sugarcoat it.  It was a nerve-racking experience that took years off our life.  Seemed like it was hurdle after hurdle, all of which seemed like possible deal breakers.  It seemed like every time we thought we could take a deep breath, we were punched in the gut again.  It got to the point that when we saw a plume of smoke rising from the forest a little over a mile from the cabin less than a week before closing, all we could do was laugh.  Like seriously?  This is getting ridiculously absurd.  We've overcome everything else and now there is a forest fire moving our direction.

It was like Satan really didn't want us out of the cabin and moving into the new place.  But God had helped us clear every hurdle thus far, and we just had to trust that He was still moving.  Thankfully, the fire was contained quickly.  And then a couple days later, the 416 Fire blew up.  At over 50,000 acres, they say it won't be out until the snow flies this winter.  This fire was a little farther away from us though but still could have given the buyers cold feet.

In the end, we closed just around the date I was originally thinking we would when we put the cabin on the market.  With as much opposition as we came up against trying to sell the place, I think God is going to do some big things at the new place.

The new place has already been a big blessing.  We've been in a drought this past year making the well at the cabin dry and the rain capture system we installed at the cabin ineffective.  People were also having major issues hauling water due to wells going dry across the area and more people needing to haul upping the demand.  But with the move, we've had plenty of clean water thankfully.  God was providing.

Due to the fire, the authorities ended up closing down the national forest, meaning trails and roads were closed to the public.  That included our mission trip training area.  With the wind direction, even if it had been open, the smoke was blowing directly on the area we run.  At that point to try and run in that, you're probably doing more damage to your body than good.  Where was the only place that was open and free of smoke during our training hours?  Our new neighborhood's trails.  Come to find out, these trails were a much better workout with a lot more vertical gain than where we had trained while living at the cabin.  They'd prepare us for Peru much better.  God was again providing.

Looking back, we can definitely see God's hand directing our steps to get us to a place that would be perfect for us.  He knew what was coming before we did and was already working behind the scenes to prepare a path thru the drought, fire, and smoke.

This summer, we've also been able to have team meetings at our place now that we are much closer to town.  It's been really good spiritual prep for the trip.  Obviously, physical prep is really important too so we've been doing training hikes with our team once a week once the forest opened back up.  I think we're all pretty well prepared at this point.  That's good because we leave tomorrow.

This will be my fourth trip to Peru and Rachel's third.  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 Huayhuash.  It's a former stronghold of the communist terror group, the Shining Path, though they haven't been active in the area for years.

This is one of the areas we focused on my first trip.  We will return to areas we have been working in and push deeper into unreached areas of the mountain range.  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 9,000-16,500 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 three trips, our goal is to distribute as many Bibles as possible.  Though we will be ministering in some 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 also stoked for our team this year.

Jordan Rowley is back for another go.  Jordan works for C4C at their headquarters in Rochester, NY.  Another Rochester local, Jesse Fallesen, will also be on the trip.  He is the son of the president and founder of Climbing for Christ.  Jesse was on one of the first C4C trips to Peru.

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 three students, Lexi Hooper, Aurora "Duckie" Murga, and Ava Worm, joining us.  Lexi was on the trip with us last year but this will be Aurora and Ava's first time in Peru.

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.

We'll be posting daily updates so if you are interested in keeping up on what God is doing, you can click here: 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/Peru 2017!

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.  Two trips ago, 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.  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 altitude sickness or 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.

- With us selling the cabin, we had to spend a lot of money we weren't expecting to fixing things just to get it to a point where it was sellable.  Though it was worth it for us and the ministry, that set us back a bit.  We also still need to pay off the plane tickets for the Peru trip.  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.