A letter from Rusty Edmondson and Sara Armstrong in Peru
September 7, 2010
Imagine this scene. A brightly dressed group of young adults and their team leaders from western Pennsylvania were hard at work on a cold, rocky hillside. Gray dust covered everything. Partnering with the youth group from Iglesia Evangelica Peruana NE, they were building a church at Kilometer 29, a very poor remote area an hour outside of Lima. After the heavy work of building a huge stone retaining wall, a concrete slab had been poured on this steep hillside. Now a plywood church was going up on this concrete slab. Fog closed off the view of the agricultural valley down below. Houses made of woven mat walls with plastic or tin roofs dotted the hillside. A few women made their way to the public water taps while the others tried to make ends meet laboring as farmworkers in the fields below. Most children went to school each morning but some climbed the mountain to laugh and play with the “gringos.”
In the midst of the work I get a call from Louisville, Ky., on my cell phone — a first in my two years in Peru! It was a staff person from our national office who needed information for a visa request. Two distinct worlds collided in that moment as I chatted with someone thousands of miles away in a completely different reality.
In the midst of the call I noticed some bright spots on the hillside. Children were moving stealthily up the hill armed with water balloons. They launched balloons at the work team, rousing shouts of surprise and laughter. The work came to a halt until the skirmish ended. The time we had spent playing with these children each afternoon on the dirt soccer field had finally paid off. Teaching these initially shy children to play frisbee, softball and octopus tag started some wonderful conversations. Now the Peruvian children were initiating play, laughing and joking with their North American visitors.
Worlds of differences were colliding and coming together at the same time.
Thanks be to God.
Rusty and Sara
The 2010 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 294