Justin & Alison Thompson
Lima Team Newsletter
Yesterday was Carlos’s birthday. Most people who have visited us in Lima have met Carlos. He’s almost like my right hand. Always there. For weeks now, he has been talking with Mark, the youth guys, and me about going to Casa Azul with him in Huaral, Peru, about ninety minutes north of Lima. He planned to celebrate his birthday with the men at Casa Azul, all of which are battling drug addiction. He bought food for more than twenty people, one of his favorite dishes Ají de Gallina. Additionally, he purchased for the group a birthday cake, the finest and best in all of Lima, according to Carlos. He wanted the guys to have a fantastic meal because he knows firsthand how difficult it is to battle drug addiction. He has been clean for twelve years after spending more than thirty-five years addicted to drugs. I love that Carlos gets very excited about serving God by serving the men of the Casa Azul community. I love that he gets us involved in his ministry. For as much as he sometimes drives me bananas, God is so gracious to allow me to see his work in and through Carlos. It’s as if I hear God’s voice whispering, “Oh, this is good. This is really good.”
So yesterday, Omar, Luque, and I accompanied Carlos to Casa Azul. The beginning of our time together was enjoyable. We entered to be with the men first a 9:00 AM, and then again at 12:00 PM. I taught a couple of lessons about God’s power to bring about change and transformation within us. We explored a couple of Bible passages and characters and talked about how transformation must take place on the inside. I shared a few passages about forgiveness and God’s faithfulness with even the most stubborn of people. Some of the men asked questions. All of this was enjoyable. However, once again, I got to watch God work as Omar spoke explicitly and directly to two of the men in the group. Before our second meeting with the guys, Renan, the director of the community, asked us to speak directly to these two men in the group. One is still a teenager; the other in his sixties. Both men felt like they were ready to leave the community; however, Renan and Carlos saw things differently. This was one of those situations where Omar understood much more than I did about what Renan was communicating to us. Part of it is the language they use in the community. There is a lot of slang to which I am not accustomed to hearing; numerous things that I’m unable to understand the exact meaning. As we were finishing our second meeting time, Omar asked to say a few things. He spoke directly to the two men about whom Renan had talked to us, and he did so with firm loving-kindness and tactfulness. God’s Spirit was working in Omar. I felt like I was witnessing the compassion of Christ in my brother as he spoke directly and kindly about his desire for these men to check their realities and his hope to see them not fall back into addiction but rather to fall into a relationship with Jesus Christ. Omar implored them to stay longer and continue working on the things that are meant to help them work through and face their addiction with identity and character. Again, it was as if I heard God’s voice whispering, “Oh, this is good. This is really good.”
Yesterday was not about me. It really wasn’t even about Carlos or Omar. It was definitely about God. He is doing great things through our Peruvian brothers and sisters. I’m thankful to have today to share with you two stories of God’s goodness through two faithful brothers in Peru. To God be all the glory!
During our last furlough, Alison and I created magnets for our supporters. On the magnets, we included a prayer calendar. Better said, we provided a specific daily item for which we want you to pray. I'd like to share that list here. Some of you might have the magnet on your fridge or elsewhere in your home. We are thankful for the time you spend in prayer for us. It is integral to what we do. If this is new to you, we would love for you to join us on the journey!
Pray for maturity among the believers in Lima.
We want our Peruvian brothers and sisters to grow in their faith in Jesus! This is core and fundamental to our identity as a church body.
Pray for wisdom as missionaries to follow God's plan.
To flesh out this prayer request, we plan to have Peruvians leading every part of our Sunday gatherings by August 2019. Our plan as missionary families is to phase-out and move back to the States by early-2020 (Thompsons) and mid-2020 (Clancys). While we have these plans, we ask that you pray for wisdom as we transition with Peruvians to this next phase as a church body.
Pray for new Christian believers.
We recently moved our Sunday location to Los Vinedos, an area which is centrally located for our church body. Our leaders made this decision mostly out of a desire to reach more people and make us more accessible to many people we have known for years. We are prayerful that our light can shine so that others might come to know Christ.
Pray for leaders to step up.
Here leadership is not just those who will lead our Sunday gatherings, but others who might also lead as shepherds or ministry leaders. Additionally, Mark and I will be leading a group of our more mature believers through a series in walking through conflict. I'm excited about the things that we will learn and incorporate into daily and church life as a result of this study.
Pray for wisdom as a church to follow God's plan.
As leadership transitions to Peruvians, we ask that you pray on their behalf to be wise as they listen to and serve one another. I ask that you remember them always in your prayers, giving thanks for the transformation that God continues to bring about in their lives and offering petitions that God will continue to form in them a spirit of hope, peace, and love.
Pray for the church to become more Peruvian.
This prayer request has to do with transitioning leadership to our Peruvian brothers and sisters. We desire for Peruvians to take ownership of this church body because we, as missionaries, will move back to the States in a short amount of time. I am thrilled to say that they are making positive steps in this direction, and the church body has done an excellent job participating in practices that encourage them to listen to and pray for one another.
Pray for our missionary families: the Clancys and the Thompsons.
Our families inch closer and closer to moving back to the United States. I've had a couple of people describe this experience as a really tough transition. It's complex. We will leave behind a world that has become our own. We will enter a world that will be unfamiliar to us, especially to our kids. Pray for us as we move closer to this transition. We will need you and your prayers!