Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Before we left for Peru, we had been asked for photos of BJ in Peru by our contact there. We had no idea how they would be used, only that there would be a surprise waiting. We had no idea what to expect.

While there, the Lord gave me opportunities to speak in several churches, all of whom knew our son. I can tell you there were many surprises awaiting us. It was a very healing time for Deanna and me.

I can also tell you that late in our journey there, in the city of Piura, we were scheduled to go to a "visitation" and were given few details of what that meant. We had the students change out of their drama costumes, and headed off in our bus. We left the main part of the city for the desert rim. By the time the bus slowed, we had reached the poor edge of town. The homes were not tolerable by our standards. They would have been condemned long ago.

Yet this was a community that was full of people. We left the paved road for its sandy replacement and began making turns into what looked like the ends of the earth. As we rounded the final corner, Deanna and I felt as though we had our throats and stomachs grabbed simultaneously.

Between the ramshackled sections of houses, amid the blowing sandy breeze, an entire community had turned out to celebrate their guests of honor. They were holding a sign that read, "WELCOME! BJ WILL ALWAYS LIVE IN OUR HEARTS!"

Unsure what to make of this, we all got off of the bus, and headed into the waiting crowd. We entered to loud applause. It was a bit unsettling. You'd have thought we had won some great championship.

We were guided to the sign, where we stood. At that point, the crackle of a microphone broke the chaotic din. Pastor Luis began to share with us what was happening. Across the way from the sign, stood a freshly painted light blue wall. It was the front of a row home which had been converted into some sort of school.

It was painted up with letters in dark blue and red, which declared it's name. "MISIONERA BETANIA, PROGRAMA EDUCATIVO PRE ESCUELA BJ."

This was a pre-school with a Christ centered focus which carried our sons name!

Pastor Luis began to share the story of how this came about. In the wake of BJ's death, God had given him a dream that included starting a school in the poorest section of town, where thieves and other unsavory characters lived among the people of Piura.

He was to open a Christian pre-school that would minister to families of that area, and to the orphans who had been left behind by parents who were incarcerated or whom had disappeared.
This school was to carry the name of "BJ" and was to symbolize the life of a young man sold out for Jesus, and was meant to inspire this generation of children.

This was to be the first of many schools like it.

Pastor Luis began on faith. He had no money and no furniture or books to begin the school. Knowing that where the Lord leads, He also provides, he began to move forward in obedience. tables were constructed from discarded materials. A building was provided. Classrooms were set up, and the Lord even raised up teachers. Two young women with beautiful spirits who receive no pay, they trust in the Lord for His provision for themselves and the school (one of them is named Deanna).

As the dream began to take shape, Pastor Luis began to pray that the Lord would send BJ's parents. He did not know them. He did not know how to reach someone who knew them. He only knew that in order for the Lord's will to come to pass, that it would be necessary for Beej's parents to come. He prayed in earnest for this.

In the schools first year, 10 students came. They worked hard in pretty bad conditions to make significant progress in their own lives. There are no plumbed toilets or running water in this school. We would never even inhabit an area like this, yet these precious children learn here daily.

That group of children graduated and moved on to first grade. Those 10 children are now at the top of their class, and 27 pre-schoolers have replaced them at BJ's school. Deanna and I met the children and loved on them. We were invited inside to see the learning environment. It is dark and dreary, yet filled with hope and the dream of what is yet to come is alive!

Pastor Luis did not ask for money. He simply cast the vision the Lord laid firmly in his heart. He celebrated the answered prayer of our coming, and told of the Lords powerful impact in the communities of Piura, through BJ's life...both while he ministered there for two summers, and since his death.

The Word of God says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27

The vision that Pastor Luis is pursuing has clearly come from the heart of God. He is trying to set forth a passion that will enable the poor and outcast of his city to come to know Christ, and to serve with His principles in their lives.

He told of a nearby building, just four blocks away, that would be better suited to their needs, and had indoor toilets and running water. He only had a little time to come up with the funds to lease it. There was a Jehovah's Witness group waiting behind him to lease the same space.

I have to trust the Lord at this point to see this through. I wanted to hand him a kingdom of riches to fulfill his God-breathed dream. I do not own such wealth. I serve a God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. If He sees fit to raise up necessary support to put feet to this dream, then I will Praise Him! If He doesn't I will continue to Praise Him.

It is my hope to return to Piura, Peru in December. I would like to revisit this school and bring them further hope and encouragement.

I have seen my God minister mightily in a land where they have little. I praise Him that men and women who love and serve Him are not caught up in the pursuit of material gain, but are looking out for the welfare of the next generation...perhaps the last generation before Christ's return.

I believe He is teaching me to be more selfless. I know I need to be, if I am to allow Him to make a real difference through me.

The crowds of people treated Deanna and me as though we were gods. They wanted to touch us. They wanted us to touch their elderly parents and kiss their children. We did so. It made us uncomfortable, and broke our hearts simultaneously. It is difficult to convey how it feels to be in a position where it feels as though the hope they have is in you, instead of in the Lord. We literally had to be drug from their midst as they closed in around us.

We know God has a plan for them. We pray He truly brings the hope of Christ to their lives.

Pastor Luis is doing what he can, but more is needed. For the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are just too few.


There are a couple of pictures taken in front of the school on the aforementioned awestar website.


At 1:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please post how we can contribute to a fund for this school. Perhaps you could deliver the funds?

God Bless,
Greenfield, Indiana


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