Justin & Alison Thompson
Lima Team Newsletter
Another church retreat is in the books. This one was different than all the rest. Most of you who know me probably know that organization and administration are two of my gifts. As such, retreat planning is no big thing. It’s in my wheelhouse. However, as our time inches closer to phase-out (approximately two years), it’s time to hand over leadership responsibilities to Peruvians. This year, we put together a five-person leadership team for the retreat. Ivan, Carla, Lucero, Ynes, and Omar did a fantastic job. On top of organizing the details of location, food, budget, fundraisers, and activities, they also planned the themes and lesson topics. All together we had a wonderful time of spiritual encouragement, great praise, powerful prayer, and loads of fun. I left the retreat overwhelming thankful for many things that I saw in our Peruvian brothers and sisters. God is going great things. Below I’ve included a few of the photos from the retreat.
After Carmen's lesson on prayer, we got to it. We prayed. I gave specific instructions for each person to spend thirty minutes in prayer. When it was all said and done, every single person at the retreat had spent ninety minutes in prayer at four different prayer stations! What I love is that we are learning how to pray. And to think that just a few short years ago many people in our church body were afraid to pray. God is doing great things!
Peruvians decided on the theme for the retreat this year. They choose to focus in on three themes, namely integration and unity, prayer, and forgiveness. Ivan taught on integration and unity. Carmen gave a lesson on prayer. And Luis spoke about forgiveness. Each person did a wonderful job exploring Scripture about those topics and giving us excellent things on which to reflect.
Omar organized the worship for the retreat. Over the past several months, the congregation has done a fabulous job encouraging our youth as worship leaders, and it has been amazing to watch how music has united our young people.
oh what fun!
We had a lot of fun at this retreat. Water ballon volleyball. Skits. Swimming. Volleyball. And so much more! It's fun watching this church grow as a family.
Lima Team Newsletter
The biggest event on the horizon is our church retreat. It is this weekend! I was looking back at our records, and this will be our seventh retreat! Approximately 33 Peruvians will be a part of the fun. I'm most excited about how Peruvians have taken over retreat planning while I've coached them some throughout the journey. Five Peruvians, people who I've mentioned before - Ivan, Carla, Lucero, Ynes, and Omar - have done a great job learning to coordinate details as a community. We have learned a lot of lessons, and there indeed are more lessons ahead. Our focus for this retreat will be integration, prayer, and forgiveness, and Peruvians will be the primary teachers for each of these areas. They have given us missionaries the task to compliment what they do! I take this to mean that it could get interesting down here this weekend! I want to boldly ask you to please pray for our seekers to commit their lives to Christ. There are a handful of people at Aliento de Vida who are regulars among us; however, they have not publicly confessed Jesus as Lord or been baptized. I am hopeful that a handful of conversations will move these people to take that step of faith and give it all to Christ! To God be all the glory.
Hope in Death
It’s been three months since Carlos Flores passed away. Carlos is the father of Lucero, Carla, and Rosario - three of our church members. Mark and I spent six months reading to and praying with and over Carlos. In those months, his health had taken a turn for the worse as he fought his cancer. It’s tough for me to imagine fighting something like cancer as a non-believer. What hope is there where Christ is not present? While Carlos lost his ability to speak in the last couple months of his life, on one occasion, he mustered enough strength and voice to speak, “Perdón.” Forgiveness. Mark and I both believe that in the last couple months of his life, he handed his life to God. As I watched Carlos deliver his life to God, I experienced Matthew 10:39 in a new way. “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” Carlos found peace, and it showed. Sure, he only had a few days left, but that decision was his greatest because it shined forth as an example of light for his family. To say God is good is a wild understatement. He is that and so much more!
In January we formed discipleship groups because we saw a need to have a more intimate time of study and sharing. Our team goal is to make Aliento de Vida a Peruvian-led church by August 2019. This timeframe gives us 18-months to make this transition and is the first time that we have shared our goal publicly. We see these discipleship groups as essential to this process. As with everything else in Peruvian culture, we are struggling with consistent participation. It’s a typical frustration in our mission work. I ask that you pray for Peruvians to understand the importance of discipleship and to fully commit themselves to grow in their relationship with the Lord through these discipleship groups. I genuinely believe that the desire is there, yet we need a breakthrough. Perhaps your prayers will be that breakthrough! Let’s make Luke 11:9 come alive. “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” May we find richness in his Word as we study it in community!
bible time share
Speaking of richness in his Word as we study it in community, I recently invited four individuals from the Littleton Church of Christ and four individuals from Aliento de Vida in Lima into an experience of dwelling in the Word together. At the Littleton Church, you might have heard about this experience on Sunday mornings called "Bible Time Share." I desire to see people from my supporting church and the church in Lima engage in listening practices that help us more fully participate in missional partnership. It has been a helpful time to learn how the Word of God speaks to people in different places and for us to grow in our appreciation for how big our God is. I want to say one thing in regards to this rich experience. I’m thankful to our partners in the gospel (YOU!) who set apart time to pray for us, to give to us, and to check in with us. Partnership is vital to what we do, and I’m thankful for the community of believers who stands with and hold us up in this noble work. Thank you!
about the thompsons
Justin and Alison Thompson, along with their four children, Cailyn, Corban, Carter, and Chloe are missionaries in Lima, Peru. The Littleton Church adopted the Thompson family and their work in June 2012 as one of our lead mission points. Our partnership in their work ushered in a new vision for missions at the Littleton Church. The hope for this new vision is to more fully partner with a mission point, taking a more active and participatory role as a church body.
The Lima Team moved to Lima, Peru with a goal to plant churches and share the gospel with Peruvians. The metropolis of Lima has a population of almost 10 million inhabitants and is geographically located in the center of the country along the Pacific Ocean. It has certainly proved to be a difficult mission field, but one which has produced good fruit. After lots of prayer and discussion, they established themselves in a district in the southern part of Lima called Santiago de Surco. The church body, Aliento de Vida, is mostly made up of first generation Christians who have come into a relationship with Jesus Christ as a result of the work that God has done through the team, through Bible studies, marriage enrichment, sports activities, and everyday relationships. It has slowly grown from a handful of people to an average of 30 Peruvians meeting together on Sundays. Since moving to Lima in 2009, three of the families on the Lima Team have healthily phased out of the work and have returned to the United States. The Thompson family and their teammates, Mark and Kami Clancy, continue to work toward their goal of placing Aliento de Vida under the leadership of their Peruvian brothers and sisters and phasing out of the work.