Diary from La Union, Peru
I had once purchased a handful of Steps to Christ, translated in the Spanish language, from the ABC bookstore in Chatanooga, Tennessee. I wanted to have them available to pass them out. As time passed, they were just collecting dust. However, as I was packing for our Maranatha trip I rescued them from the "black-hole" of our home. I told my husband that I was not just going to hand out the books to just anyone. Instead, I planned on targetting my recipients.
I handed the first Steps to Christ to a young man named Hiner. On our Inca Ruins excursion, he was accompanying me back. As he helped me hop over a wide water ditch near couple happy hogs, I was moved to give him a Steps to Christ. Hiner was a member of the Evangelistic team and he helped out at both the clinic and in the construction of the church. He told me that he was the only Adventist in the family. He was getting ready to begin the Seminary this Fall. As I gave him the book, he told me that he already owned a Steps to Christ. I told him to go ahead and keep the book and pass it on. He showed me his favorite chapter in the book.
My second Steps to Christ went to another young man named Fausto. His family allowed our team to use their kitchen. He shadowed our group. He knew some English and was eager to learn more from our team. I asked him if he was an Adventist and he said that he used to be one. Everytime I passed Fausto, he would acknowledge me by my name. When I gave him the book, he was very grateful. I told me that the church has come to him. It's located in front of his home and that he needed to consider attending the church. Later on, I've come to realize that he was related to the North Peru Conference President-elect. On our last Sabbath, I could sense a sadness as he got all our email addresses.
I passed out Two Steps to Christ to two small shops that were nearby the church. I'm not sure if the owners will read them. But, one way or the other, I can imagine the books being used.
My last Steps to Christ went to a pregnant mother. It all started with a picture. As I finished my duties in the kitchen one afternoon and as I was returning to the hostel, I saw two little girls playing in the dirt. Their long braids, and dirty rosie cheeks caught my attention. One of the girls had a hole in the seat of her pants. I wanted to take their pictures badly. Their glance reminded me of the mysterious Afghanistani girl who captured many imaginations on the cover of National Geographics. Few days later, I saw their mother return with a refreshment cart. She looked very pregnant. Without much thought, I went over and handed her a few coins and a Steps to Christ. She was so grateful that she and the kids gave me a big smile and a hug. For some reason, their faces haunted me through sleepness nights. I told the Lord that I was willing to buy the children some outfits if He would provide the opportunity. He did! Selena, another member of our team, and myself took the mother and the girls shopping in the market. The girls were so elated as we found pretty outfits for them. Selena translated to the mother that the church we built was for their family. Also, that we would like to see the family come to church in their new outfits. When we returned, both Selena and I gave the family a small bottle of Tide and soap. Selena paid for half the cost of the outfits. We returned with the sense of satisfaction and hope that they will show up at church the next day. During our Sabbath Service in the brand new church, I kept turning back to see if the family came. At one point, I was resigned. However, Selena excitedly approached me. She pointed to the girls. They were cleaned up. They even brought couple other playmates. They stayed for the church potluck.
I'm not sure if all of my recipients will read the Steps to Christ. Hopefully, they will associate the book with our new church in La Union. Perhaps, they will consider visiting the church.