Georgia Team Visits Missionaries in Peru

Click image to watch a video of St. Mark, Brunswick's Mission Trip 2012

Parishioners at Saint Mark’s Brunswick feel blessed to call Townsend, Dawn, Lucy, and Lily Cooper members of their parish family.  It has been a year since the Coopers made the decision to leave the Brunswick for Lima, Peru to follow God’s call as medical missionaries.

 As part of the church’s ongoing support, a group of 13 pilgrims traveled to Lima on July 15th to join the Coopers for a week of work in the field.  Even though the work they did differed from the Coopers regular medical activities, the labor the group provided helped to prepare the foundation for a future clinic situated next to the Anglican Church of the Holy Family in a shantytown called Villa Maria, just outside of Lima. The primary objective for the team was to construct the foundation for a barrier wall that will protect the property.  They knew that it would be a week of physical labor, but nothing could have prepared the team for the scale of the task that awaited them.

 The church, which is still under construction, is built into the side of the mountain with one of the four walls being the mountain itself.  The property boundary wall was to be built 25 feet ABOVE the church.  When they went to visit the site on the first day, the short-term missionaries were in awe of what was expected of them. How could they dig a foundation 25 feet above the church on a mountain filled with rocks and sand that pose as a danger to anyone who walk on its slope? It seemed like an impossible task, but they were determined to give it their best shot.

The task was to work along a narrow walking path where the wall had been marked off and dig into the mountain, creating a 5-foot wide ledge where the foundation of the wall could be set.  This involved breaking up much rock, and hurling countless rocks and wheelbarrows full of dirt down the mountain.  The Rev. Al Crumpton wrote, “This exercise reminded me more than once during the week of Jesus saying that if you only have faith of a mustard seed, you can move mountains (Matthew 17:20)…I thought to myself that may be the case, I just never thought I or we would be moving the mountain one rock at a time.”

The area where they were working was bleak at best by North American standards.  There were no paved roads, no running water, and no sewer system.  All you could see from where they were working were shanties and rock covered hills with no vegetation.  In spite of the dreary and bleak environment, the group experienced God’s presence in the warm welcome they received from the people of the area.

 Where the group saw limitation and impossible circumstances, Jesus opened their eyes to unforeseen possibilities and sent people who were right where they needed to be to encourage them.  Crumpton says they learned in a real and tangible way that God has no limits.  He writes, “In fact, God often encourages us to reach beyond our own perceived limitations to realize greater achievements that are locked within our own abilities.”

Much was accomplished during the week in Peru by the team was impacted in a significant way.  They were inspired by the life the Coopers have chosen in service for the Lord.  The group was also encouraged by the people of the area who don’t take anything they have for granted plus the deep devotion they have in serving the Lord.

The team went to support the Coopers and serve in Peru, but they received much more than they expected in return.  Crumpton writes, “All I can say for now is that we are blessed to have had this wonderful life-shaping mission experience in Lima, Peru.  Our prayers and support continue for the Coopers and those with and whom they serve.”

The Rev. Al Crumpton’s sermon on this experience is online here: Peruvian Mission Trip Sermon

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