We often say that our experience as church planters is like a roller coaster ride. It is therefore a real miracle and testament to God's faithfulness that our church in Cusco is soon to celebrate its 2nd anniversary (anniversaries are a BIG deal here in Peru.)
When we started the church 2 years ago we felt as if we were doing absolutely everything ourselves , setting up , cleaning, preaching, leading worship, running the kids group. Our language was limited, we had little cultural wisdom or experience, we had never even been part of a UK church plant before! The only thing we had in those early days was a lot of energy, enthusiasm and through the power of your prayers God's help .
In time God has built up a small group of believers , when we went back to the UK for a few months recently we gave different people in the church responsibilities and it has been a joy to see church members using their time and skills to serve God in different ways. We were really sad to lose one of our key families during the time that we were back in the UK and we do sometimes have our moments when church planting in a different language and culture is so hard and frustrating that the fleeting thoughts of returning to pastoral ministry in the UK seem very tempting, ( at least we can speak the language fluently there!)
Yet when the encouragements come they are absolutely tremendous. It is great to have the Roper family serving with us and helping us with our Childrens and Youthwork, yet their goal as most missionaries is really to do themselves out of a job, meaning that in the few years that they are here they need to train up Peruvians to take responsibility for leading and running these activities. Our boss told us that every activity/club/visit they do should be done with a Peruvian. Well that sounded great in theory but I don't think any of us believed that with the few folk available at our church that we would see this theory put to practice.
Here comes the really exciting part... in recent weeks some new people have started attending our church, one is keen to serve with the childrens' ministry, another is a gifted musician who is already helping with the music in the services and others are expressing a desire to become more involved so not only do we have missionary co-workers, God is sending us national co-workers who understand the language and the culture and who also have a passion to make Jesus known in our community. Gracias a Dios para su fidelidad!