The last week of February, a seven-member mission team from St. Philip’s (Frisco, Texas) worked at Santisima Cruz church in the Puente Piedra district of northern Lima. Long-term SAMS missionary Kathy Decker joined her sending church to work alongside Padre Benjamin Salas and his lovely wife Livia.
Taking advantage of the children’s summer vacation from school, the team’s central mission was a children’s program. As a testament to the community’s love for Padre Benjamin and Livia and its fond memories of last year’s St. Philip’s team, the program was filled to capacity!
Each morning at 9:00 a.m., up to 60 neighborhood children squeezed onto wooden benches on either side of outdoor tables.
Latecomers sat on the ground and used tarps or planks of wood for both bench and table.
In one of the Bible-related crafts, the children drew self-portraits after learning that God made each one of them unique and beautiful.
Time with the children also included outdoor recreation–thankfully on a nearby plot of FLAT land–using all kinds of fun equipment.
This little boy brought his own toy!
And what to do with extra chalk and a cement wall? Praise graffiti, of course! So many reasons to praise God!
Jump rope was so popular that Padre Benjamin turned it into a contest back at the church.
And given Padre Benjamin’s musical talent, it’s no surprise that music was a part of the week as well.
The children also learned about brushing their teeth, and they really seemed to like their gift of toothbrushes.
And throughout the week, a little work was done around the church grounds.
St. Philip’s is dedicated to partnering with Santisima Cruz in the years to come. It shares Padre Benjamin’s vision of a property made secure by necessary retaining walls, followed by a chapel. And it hopes to build lasting relationships–and to continue to share Jesus’ love–with the children of Puente Piedra and all the community that surrounds Santisima Cruz.