Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Tarata & Ticaco

Hi, I just thought I would write a little about my weekend because the rest of this week looks as though it might get a bit crazy and I may not get round to this if I don’t do it now.

On Sunday three of us set off up to Tarata. Chris, one of the members of last year’s ‘MisiĆ³n Recate’ team, and I headed for the Baptist church. Chris has accompanied me on all three visits and I have appreciated his company, not just in terms of the drive but someone to be with you in case something goes wrong. (The AA apparently doesn’t cover the Tacna-Tarata road). In this regard I am thankful to all who give so generously to Baptist Missions so that the Mission can provide reliable vehicles. The other member of our party was Rueben (the radio station technician) who was going to another evangelical church he had been invited to. They were having a baptismal service and he had been asked to preach at it. Upon arrival he realised they also intended him to perform the baptisms. He hadn’t brought a change of clothes but apparently they were able to find suitable attire from somewhere for him to baptise four people in a pool in a nearby river.

Anyway Chris and I went to the Baptist church as planned and shared a lovely time with the believers there. At the end of the service we were treated by the small Sunday school class who sang a favourite hymn of my parents ‘Montes y Valles’. I don’t know the name in English but will add it in when I remember or am reminded.
Over lunch we worked out that the work in Tarata has existed for 66 years. The Pastor was saved at 18 and is now 84 years old. The Pastor and his wife are thankful to God for His faithfulness over all these years and also for the support of both missionaries and visitors from Ireland who have come as far as Tarata to be an encouragement and get involved, when possible, in the work there. They shared numerous stories of how God had blessed them over the years, too many to share here.

In the afternoon we headed for Ticaco, a town near Tarata, and after bumping along a dirt track we were thankfully finally able to visit an elderly lady named Gregoria, the object of our past failed attempt. She is a lady who attended the church in Tarata even when the road was not as accessible as it is now. According to Pastor Orestes, unlike many others, although she was illiterate she had a good grasp of basic doctrine and shared the gospel message clearly with many in her town. Many who have been on past Baptist Mission teams that have visited Tarata have probably also gone the extra mile and had the privilege of visiting this lady.

She now lives in this house with her brother who is much younger than her. He shepherds goats but is not always there or able to provide the support necessary when he is.
She is now very old and frail, almost blinded with cataracts and so deaf that I think all the neighbours were privy to the conversation we had with her. She was surprisingly lucid and remembered many who had visited her in the past even if not by name.
She suffers from arthritis which causes her a lot of discomfort and pain, especially her in elbows she said.
Her living conditions are very basic, and apparently recently she set her kitchen on fire trying to cook. St the minute a niece brings her food most days so she doesn’t attempt cooking. I read to her the 23 Psalm the same passage I shared with her 5 years ago when I accompanied the 2004 mission team who visited Ticaco with Derek Baxter. We prayed and then Berta the Pastors wife led us in a hymn that Gregoria knew by heart.

It was such an honour to be able to share something of God’s Word with someone so isolated.
It was also a pleasure to be able to leave a few gifts of food to encourage her and perhaps even help boost her health.
She was complaining about having developed a cold, so we left her eating one of the mandarins we had brought from Tacna.
The visit really touched our hearts and Chris especially expressed how his heart had gone out to her. As we left we wished we could do so much more but that is when you have to trust that we have a God who knows all about it and will provide, even for Gregoria, in ways and means we cannot even begin to properly understand, as He has done up to now. Please pray for Berta as Gregoria is only one of many elderly people in the towns surrounding Tarata that she visits almost weekly. Pray that she would know God’s strength as she seeks to share God’s Word with many of these elderly people, some who are believers and others who are still seeking but willing to listen.
Pray also for others in difficult circumstances, some similar to Gregoria and others with distinct problems, whom other missionaries and BM workers seek to minister to. In a sense Gregoria is only one example but others could be written about. Please continue to pray for the work of Baptist Missions here in Peru in all the various areas and facets of ministry.

Pray for me as I start marking essays (the students did hand some in eventually) and as the term draws towards a close. Please also visit as I continue to seek future ministry possibilities here in Peru and especially the Lords guidance in this. Finally I would ask you to pray for Gregoria that she would know God’s comfort in her life there in Ticaco and also that the Lord would bless Pastor Orestes and Berta as they serve Him faithfully in the Tarata valley.
God Bless,
Alistair.

3 comments:

THE MURPHYS said...

Hi Alistair, sounds like a really interesting trip. I am sure Chris really benefited from having the opportunity to travel with you. Send him our regards. It is great to see that he is so involved with things. God Bless

Baptist Missions Shankill Team said...

Alistair - Had tears in my eyes with happy memories as I read this Post- Was praying for your visit and God obviously answered - Derek

Alistair said...

Hi. Thankyou all for your comments. Dave & Alicia, I have valued Chris' company and it was interesting after so many years.

Derek, I hope you got my e-mail where I sent you a copy of some of the photos I took. If you didn't get it let me know and i can send it again. I hope the Shankill project is going well,and I might get a chance to call down once I get home.

Thank you all for your prayers they are truly valued.
God Bless.