Jeyachandran Family

More than what we bargained for

18 Jul 2012

20 young people come from a church in the USA for a short-term mission in Arequipa. They performed in several places in our university campus - they did a dance, a skit and then gave a testimony. As a result,we had 7 students who wanted to follow Jesus and lots of others to follow up. We're really excited!

Short-term mission team from USA and CarlosCarlos (left) along with some from the short-term team

Now the challenge is for us to help them grow! The students are busy with so many activities and the concept of follow up is new to most of them. So it's been a challenge to communicate the priority of this. Please pray that we can be faithful - making disciples for our Lord Jesus and not just "converts". We can praise God that two students who gave their life to Jesus a year ago have continued to grow in their faith. Also praise God that one student took the initiative to find a Christian and asked for more information.

Teaching in the University

When the US team were performing on campus, they created  quite a crowd. Some computer science lecturers came down and asked what was going on. A Christian student introduced them to me. I've been keen to work with students and teach them web development. It's been a good way to connect with non-church people. The lecturers took me to meet the director of Computer Science. She was excited to hear what I had done as a programmer and was open to the idea of running a course. We had 30 students who expressed interest in the course, 12 of those completed an exam and 5 were selected. Praise God for this opening to connect with students and staff.

Connecting through English Bible Study

As a result of the US team, lots of people want to learn English. Christine and I already meet with several people and practice English with them. After speaking with the pastor, we've started a Bible study in English. We promote this as an opportunity to practice English with a native speaker through studying the Bible.

Thank you!

Thank you for your patience, generosity in supporting us and your long-term vision. We pray that God will do great work through your faithful prayer and generosity. More than ever we see the strategic nature of student ministry.

David with some studentsDavid chatting with students after a presentation

Please Pray

  • thank God for the students who decided to follow Jesus
  • pray that new Christians will be discipled
  • praise God for the opening to teach at the University
  • thank God for the opportunity to teach the Bible through English
  • thank God for the short-term mission team. We are so grateful for them.

 

More to Read

Why we can be optimistic?

Our next post will be about using social media to connect people with missions.

Can you believe a year has passed?

16 Jun 2012

Christine reflects:

It has now been a year since we arrived in Peru! WOW! It seems like a good time to reflect on all we’ve seen and done.

We touched down in the Peruvian capital of Lima on June 1st, heading 'home' to the city of Arequipa a week later. We were welcomed in many ways, with the first being the snow-capped mountains, standing out clearly during our dusk arrival. What a beautiful backdrop to the city!

Arequipa Airport

The volcano ‘El Misti’ at the centre, and on each side, a large volcanic mountain range covered with snow. Even now I feel happy to catch glimpses of them as I push a child on a swing, catch a bus to language school or have a moment where I can see all three peaks/ranges at once.

The second welcome was from the SIM team at the airport: as we struggled to gather our bags from the conveyor belt and smooth the children’s frayed nerves, I heard faint voices calling my name and turned to see people waving from the doorway.

Could they be waving at or calling me, I wondered? As we got closer, it was indeed for our benefit, as the SIM Arequipa team proceeded to hug and welcome us ‘home’. This memory still brings a tear to my eye.

The welcome continued, as we have been thoroughly orientated by our mentors, helped with everyday decisions and encouraged through cultural blunders and language difficulties. We now meet with our team every week for Bible study, prayer and fellowship. Praise God for our team!

Our third welcome came in the form of the language school. The teachers are friendly and celebrate all student birthdays with a cake (from a shop that makes delicious cakes).

Departing students are required to give a speech, after which the directors provide empanadas (pastry with meat or cheese) and pray for their future ministry.

Our language teachers have given us lots of homework, showed much patience with repeated mistakes and pulled many a face when we say things wrong. They also give us cultural advice and love to hear about our culture and traditions, which is great therapy when you are dealing with so many new things!

Christine with her language tutor Juan Carlos

I have to give my farewell speech at the institute in the next week or so. I still make a lot of errors and have a limited vocabulary, but can use the subjunctive (hardest part of Spanish grammar) from time to time, so am making progress. I recently completed the “Perspectives on Missions” course in Spanish, which greatly expanded my vocabulary. I will continue with informal language study.

The language institute was also helpful in providing friends for us in our first 6 months here in Arequipa. We initially tried to keep up with a British couple in our class, but to no avail. We also have a lot of German friends from the institute with kids of similar ages to ours, and it was great to see how the kids really connected despite the language barriers. The sad thing was that they were all bound for different parts of Peru, but we visited them recently and got to have some fun times together.

We have since moved away from making friends in the institute, to making local friends. We love our pastor and his wife (Efraín and Dorcas), whom we often mention in our blogs. Efraín has been a great mentor to David and an eye-opener to life in Peru. The sweet man even lets us know when we are breaking cultural rules, such as last Sunday when I forgot to kiss him hello, so he pointed to his cheek, leaned in and said “kiss!” How embarrassing! But we love his honesty and know he does not take offense.

We have also had a couple of play-dates with a mum from church and her daughters, which has been great for our kids and enabled me to make new friends, too. Another friend often visits me at home with her sister or boyfriend and recently announced her engagement, so we are now looking forward to our first Peruvian wedding.

There are also regular events at the preschool, so we hope to soon invite a few of the preschoolers over to play, which is something Annabelle keeps requesting.

Amelia and Annabelle at an event at preschool

I also enjoy chatting with Mums (and sometimes Dads) while watching our kids at gymnastics class. I did the same thing when the girls did ballet last year, as it is 2 hrs a week Spanish practice I could not otherwise 'fit in' while looking after the children. Please pray for opportunities to share about God's grace in this setting, and that my Spanish will improve so I am up to the task! David is also blessed with several outlets for friendship, including web developers and students, who often visit our home.

This year has brought a lot of change for us: we found the language homework commitments and required memorisation extremely difficult. Sometimes homework went undone and verb conjugations require continual practice.

Having both of us doing Spanish classes made it hard to balance the children's needs with our own. David often wanted to get out and have peace to complete his homework, but so did I. David felt a bit constrained in the classroom, preferring language learning while out and about, so switched to this approach after we completed all the grammar. Another adjustment is that David has to do a lot more traveling and often must attend events on public holidays and weekends, which I find hard at times. Please pray for me and the children as we adjust to this challenge. Another adjustment is missing friends, play-dates and playgroups from home. Sometimes I feel lonely or down, but God is gracious and I am learning to use these moments to work on the most important relationship of all.

We have come a long way in just a year’s time. Having arrived with 9 suitcases, travellers’ Spanish and 3 cranky children, we are now settled in our own home (with ample provisions), an intermediate level of Spanish and kids who seem less cranky, know quite a lot of Spanish and even play in Spanish at home.

We have settled into life here in Arequipa and see the promise of many rich friendships in the years to come. Having reached this first milestone, we will now get more involved in student ministry, the reason we are here. Thank you God for your provisions for us this year, and thank you everyone at home for your support and prayers.

Starting a Church in an Andean Town

01 Jun 2012

What would it be like to work at starting a new church in a little Andean town? Our friends, James and Julia Henley from the UK are up for the challenge. We met at Spanish school in Arequipa and it's great to catch up with them again. We're spending a week as a family visiting some of our friends who've now moved away.

James and Julia Henley

James and Julia live in Urubamba, a beautiful town in the Sacred Valley, close to many famous Inca ruins. The people living here are the Quechua, who are descendants of the Incas. James describes one of their biggest challenges is to build trust and friendships with the local Quechua people as they work to start a church. Quechua people are naturally reserved and their history has given them reason to be suspicious of outsiders. Huge numbers of the Quechua were killed when the Spanish invaded in the 1500s and this began a long history of oppression. The Quechua suffered during the years of terrorism with the "Shining Path". About 20 years ago there were hundreds of forced sterilizations as part of a government anti-poverty programme that aimed to reduce the birth rate among the poor. There are still stories of babies been stolen from mothers and then sold internationally. Given all of this it's no surprise that as foreigners it's a challenge to earn the trust of the Quechua people of this village.

James and Julia are however confident in knowing that God has already been and continues to be working among these people to bring them to a relationship with Him.

Urubamba

Please pray:

  • thank God for sending James and Julia to this town
  • that God will help them break down the barriers and build strong friendships through which they can share Christ's love and hope
  • that many in this town, Urubamba, will love and follow Jesus. 

 

Do you have any ideas for James and Julia as they work to build friendships?

Video of our life in Peru

30 May 2012

We had lots of fun making this video. In 3 minutes we try and share our ministry and a bit about our family.

Thank you to David Moroccoyri Choque and his band for the music. David is from our church.

If you'd like to receive updates from us, please signup for our newsletter. (you can unsubscribe anytime).

 

More to Read...

 

We'd love to get your feedback on our first video...

ReachOut e-track - Saturday 26th May

20 May 2012

If you're interested in Missions and you're in Sydney check out the next ReachOut E-track. ReachOut is a Missions Network that includes our mission - SIM. Christine & I have been to the main ReachOut conference several times and it's always inspiring.

WHEN?

Saturday, 26th May 2012, 6:45pm. Supper at 9:15pm. All over by 10:30pm.


WHERE?

Sydney Missionary and Bible College (43 Badminton Road, Croydon). 


SPEAKER?

Tim Blencowe lectures in preaching at Morling College and serves as pastor of Macquarie Baptist Church as well as Baptist Chaplain to Macquarie University. Tim is a friend and we studied together at the University of NSW.

For more info...

Keep up to date with the ReachOut Missions Network events with their Facebook page.

Our next post will be a video of our family in Peru. We can't wait to share this.

Perú and the Ends of the Earth

17 Apr 2012

One of the things that inspired me to do university ministry in Perú is the possibility of getting students excited about God's mission. Students in Arequipa come from diverse backgrounds - imagine if they were inspired to take the gospel to unreached parts of Perú and beyond! I've just been part of a training course where Pioneers is working towards this goal, not just with University students, but with the larger church community. The aim is to give people an understanding (and experience) of missions and then give them the opportunity to take on further study. Christine is actually doing the in-depth three-month course at the moment.

Experiencing food from a different culture

So in just three jam-packed days (9am-7pm) we looked at how missions was part of God's plan from the start: the history of missions, cross-cultural ministry and mission strategy, just to name a few aspects

Learning about cross-cultural communication through a game

Allen George from our mission presented a training guide for potential Latino missionaries. This is an amazing resource and has been over a year in the making, thanks to Chris Conti and her team in Lima.

At the end I found out that several people had a strong desire to take the gospel to the Quechua people who live in the Peruvian highlands where there are still many unreached communities. They connected up with people who were fluent in Quechua and are making plans. There was also one person who was willing to go to a strategic nation that is generally closed to western people. Thanks Pioneers team. What an exciting and inspiring conference!

Rain in the desert

09 Apr 2012

It never rains here in Arequipa. We're living in a desert. Well, that's true except in the wet season - late December, January, February and a little in March.

We've just been through the most severe wet season in 30 years. This meant lots of broken pipes, flooding in the streets and frequent water cuts.

Storing water

Christine with the many containers we use to store water

We had one really difficult day without water. I made the assumption that if the water stopped, we still had 120 litters of water in the hot water system. I was wrong! When the water stopped, so did the hot water. Someone explained that when the water is cut, there is no pressure to drive the water through the hot water system. It was a frustrating day not being able to flush toilets or wash dishes and fortunately it only lasted a day.

I went out and bought several large containers to hold our water backup. So when the later water cuts came we were fine.

Christine is under our make-shift rain water catcher. We purchased this to protect the washing machine from the sun but accidentally discovered that in heavy rain the water funnels to one point where we can catch it in a barrel. It's ironic that the water cuts are during times of heavy rain so it's great to be able to catch the precious rain water.


All the containers you can see (above) were used for storing (a ridiculous amount of) drinking water.


Water purification technology has come a long way. Previously missionaries had to import an expensive water filtration systems from Europe. The local people boil their water, which in the long run is also expensive. Now it's easy to purchase here these inexpensive two phase filter system. The first (black) unit is a paper filter that removes all the particles. The second (white) unit is a carbon filter that kills the bacteria.

We've learnt a few simple lessons that have made life so much easier. I think that both in Australia and here in Peru we are very aware of how precious water is. 

Photo Tour of our Home

02 Apr 2012

Here are a few photos of our home plus the kids. We live on the second floor of a Peruvian family's home.


Kids bedroom

 


Annabelle posing - who does she get that from? Styrofoam can be a lot of fun. This is our little balcony where we have our washing machine and we dry our clothes.

 


When taking photos I sometimes ask them not to smile and this is what happens.

 


Annabelle enjoying dancing! This is our study and possibly where we can have students stay.

 


Living and dining area

 


Ours and Samuel's room

 


The view of El Misti (the volcano) from the study window

 

Thank God for our home. We love the place - it's close to markets, shops and the university where David hopes to work. It's also convenient because there are lots of buses from here into the city.

In our next post we'll share what it's like when it rains in the desert  - water shortages and flooding at the same time.
 

Can how we work together make a difference?

14 Mar 2012

I'm in the office of "Corazones Unidos" ("United Hearts"). This is an organisation which supports people with disabilities, providing practical help with wheelchairs and also helping to bring this community together. It is a partner organisation of Joni Eareckson Tada's "Joni and friends". Our church here, Calvary Chapel Arequipa, works with this organisation - our pastor Efrain manages the office and coordinates events along with his wife.

Efrain and Dorkas

I'm currently doing something really simple - backing up several years of computer records that had never been backed up and setting up a boot password. In a place where computers are often a target for theft, this is a good idea.

David at the computer

Our pastor is currently working on a much more pressing need. Their lease on this current office is running out and they need to move out of this building. So how do we find space with an incredibly tight budget?

Efrain has been speaking with businesses, churches and individuals in the area to see if someone is willing to rent space at a highly subsidised rate. It involves knocking on doors of business that seem to have a spare room and explaining the work of Corazones Unidos and seeing if they are willing to negotiate a price. It also involves visiting other local churches and seeing if we can work with them. Often rooms may only be used once or twice a week and there is the potential to somehow share the space. I'm learning a lot of about how things work here. It's so important to have of a strong network of friends/contacts and it is also so important for churches to work together.

Maybe the love of Christ can be shown just as much in the way that we Christians work together as in what we do.

Dog Bite

06 Mar 2012

I knew the run on Saturday was going to be hard but I got a surprise I didn't expect. I ran with Allen, our team director and fitness fanatic, and another friend. Both these guys are in training for a marathon in Lima. About half way into the run a little dog chased us, along with a bunch of other street dogs. Normally they get close but not too close but this one bit my ankle. I stopped and shouted at it and it scuttled away. It was a small bite which hardly broke the skin. We stopped and washed the bite area and then we continued our run - another 6 km home.

Later we decided that even though the risk of rabies from such a superficial bite was incredibly low it would be safest to get the rabies vaccines. My cousin Deepa also pointed out that the consequences of rabies are so severe that it is never worth the risk. Someone in her family had a horrible death 30 years ago when bitten by a someone's pet dog.

Hospital Visit

6am on Sunday morning I headed to a hospital nearby to get the vaccine. At first they wanted a referral from a doctor but eventually agreed to let me see a doctor. The doctor told me that here they had only limited amount of the anti-rabies vaccine and this was reserved for people who had been bitten on the face or on the arms where the risk of contracting the disease was high. He said that there was a private clinic I could go to but this was open only Monday to Friday. I began to explain that I really needed my first injection within 24 hours of getting bitten but I could see that was not going to get me anywhere. With the limited resources they had, I was a very low risk case and was not a priority.

This was my first experience in a large Peruvian hospital and the place made me uncomfortable. The bed that I saw had dried blood stains on the foam where the plastic cover had worn off. I was glad I wasn't sick. As I walked out a nurse ran out after me. She explained that there was another hospital at Goyeneche, not too far away, that could probably help. She spoke to reception and they made a phone call for me. The reply was that they couldn't help me today. The lady at reception suggested that I just turn up in person at the hospital and see what they say. So I hopped on a bus to Goyeneche hospital.

Second Try

This was a beautiful 100 year old hospital. It was a bit run down on the outside but was a clean and friendly hospital. I found the anti-rabial centre and had a great chat with the doctor here. Apart from rabies he also has a specialisation in venomous bites. We talked how dangerous it is to live in Australia with so many venomous snakes and spiders.

Back on the topic of my bite we discussed the 8 injections I would need. Ideally if we could find the dog that bit me, they could check if it had rabies and save me a lot of pain. In my case that was not possible. The doctor warned me of possibly allergic reactions and side effects of the injection. He said I had to abstain from alcohol and smoking - not hard for me to do. He continued with a list of other things I had to avoid for the week:

  1. spicy food
  2. exercise
  3. sex
  4. getting too hot or cold
  5. coffee
  6. eating too much cold stuff eg. ice-cream
  7. pork

 

Allen, our team director and doctor, found this list was quite amusing and has had fun suggesting ways I could break many of these rules at the same time. I've tried to be a good patient and I've only broken two rules. No they're not the ones you're thinking!

So everyday I go in for an injection and it's all free thanks to the Peruvian government. Apart from an aching arm I have had no adverse side-effects. Thank God that we've got good medical help in Arequipa. Also, thank you for those who have prayed for me.

What have I learnt from this?

Several people have suggested I stay away from stray dogs. Running seems to attract dogs that want to bite so requires caution. I normally carry a couple of stones to scare these dogs.

As for keeping away from stray dogs generally... Some of them are just so cute and they're happy to come up say "Hi!" (actually "Hola!" because they're Peruvian). Here are two pictures of dogs on the street that did just that.

Do I really need to keep away from the friendly stray dogs?

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