An answer to prayer: Christ Church (Plano, TX) Men’s Construction Team in Juliaca

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“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. . . . [B]ecause this [persistent] widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out.” Luke 18:1-5

Like the persistent widow in Jesus’ parable, Padre Luis Quispe was unrelenting in raising prayers for help for his church in Juliaca! For four years, Padre Luis prayed that the diocese would send a mission team to work on the premises of Santa María Magdalena.

And his prayers were answered in the form of the hard-working men’s construction team from Christ Church, Plano, Texas.

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The men’s team, with SAMS missionaries Kym McDaniel and Madison Murray, Padre Luis, and Luis’s mother Nati (who cooked for the crew!).

Christ Church has sent a men’s construction team to Peru each year for many years. For one unforgettable week, the men leave behind their suits (for one of the men, a fire suit!) and computers for old clothes and basic tools.

At Santa María Magdalena, the mission was to sand and paint the chapel and courtyard walls and to prepare the grounds of the courtyard for the new tile walkway that professional “maestros” would lay after the team returned home.

“Before” and “after” photos testify to the lasting difference a one-week mission can make:

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Sanding the chapel walls to prepare them for painting.

Beautifully painted chapel.

Today’s beautifully painted chapel.

Sanding the courtyard walls.

Sanding the courtyard walls.

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Priming the courtyard walls.

Chaos before the order.

Chaos before the order.

Kym is a detail person!

Kym is a detail person!

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Yes, more walls need painting!

Hauling out dirt, to prepare the courtyard for re-tiling.

Hauling out dirt, to prepare the courtyard for re-tiling.

The courtyard today.

The courtyard today.

Beautifully painted courtyard walls.

Beautifully painted courtyard walls.

A poignant thread ran through the week of hard labor. A long-time member of the construction team, Dave Zebe, had passed away before this year’s trip. Knowing how much he would have wanted to be with them, the men dedicated the week to their friend. They arrived in Peru wearing shirts with his name (shown in the group picture, above), and on the memorial wall in the courtyard, he is remembered.

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Sketching out the team’s memorial wall.

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The completed memorial wall.

Did the week present a few unexpected twists? Absolutely!

As it turned out, God had a few more people in mind to help with the mission. Besides SAMS missionaries Kym McDaniel and Madison Murray (who served as the team’s translators) and Luis’s mom Nati (who cooked for the crew and supported their morale with her good humor), two German tourists met the team at their hotel and decided to become members.

The young German tourists added their names to the memorial wall.

The young German tourists added their names to the memorial wall.

In the delightful way God brings people together, the tourists met the team when the hotel’s receptionist called Kym down from her room to translate for the women who spoke English but no Spanish. The young women embraced the work at the church while spending time with godly people serving Christ. Who knows what they will do with the seeds of love and service they have carried back to Germany.

Another take-away story? The general strike that shut down much of the city and outlying areas.

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Rocks and glass thrown onto the streets by strikers to prevent travel in the city.

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Padre Luis on the red motorcycle, with the construction team and German tourists in the green service car, hoping to travel through the strike to visit Lake Titicaca. A wild adventure, successful only for the tourists.

To read about the strike and how Padre Luis came to the rescue–on his motorcycle–to escort the two German tourists toward their next vacation destination of Lake Titicaca, visit the team’s blog at: http://peruconstructionmission.blogspot.com.

On the blog, slide shows, videos, and day-by-day observations capture the week of work, laughter, and spiritual growth.

 

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