Jeyachandran Family

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.


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.

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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.


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


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


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?

Why we can be optimistic?

07 Feb 2012

I am excited that every people group in Peru will be reached for Gospel. Though we may play only a tiny part in God's plan, I am confident that hundreds of thousands of people in Peru who currently do not know Jesus will one day worship Him as Lord and Savior. Am I just a silly optimist? Is this just a crazy dream?

There are a couple of very good reasons why we can be confident. Patrick Johnstone, editor of Operation World, explains this in detail. He gives two reasons why not just Peru but the world will be reached by the gospel.

Firstly, Jesus promises it. The job he gave us to do will be completed. In Matthew 24 Jesus promises that the gospel will be preached through the whole world. Also in Revelation 7:9 we read about "a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb".

Secondly, the statistics demonstrate that this is actually happening. While the church in Europe and other parts of the west have been in decline, in Latin America, Africa & parts of Asia the church has been growing strongly. Globally there was a hard patch in the mid 20th century where we had 60 years of stagnation but in 1950/60 something dramatic happened. This continued in the 1970's with massive growth in Latin America. In the 1980's it was China and now it continues in India.

Patrick says that while he is optimistic there are still dangers and challenges. He sees the main danger being the fragmentation of the evangelical church over secondary issues. A challenge is that we need to have a long term perspective. Anything that is done quickly is not necessarily going to get quick results - let alone the long-term transformation of a culture.

See the full interview with Patrick Johnstone here. 

Patrick Johnstone Part 1 of 2 from U.S. Center for World Mission on Vimeo.

So bringing this back to Peru - we're seeing the church continuing to grow. We also see so much potential. In our ministry area with university students there is currently only a single full-time Christian staff worker for all of southern Peru - which is a massive area. What would happen if we could have a staff worker for each city and even each University? We also see an openness to the Gospel and people are willing to discuss Spiritual issues.

Here in Peru there are dangers and challenges too. The danger I see is with rapidly growing churches that teach that the Bible promises prosperity and health. The subtle message they promote is that God solely exists to fulfill our needs rather than our need to submit to Him. The challenge on the other hand is to have Bible based churches working together and supporting each other. These are exciting times and also times for prayer.

Taking Christmas to the Community

28 Dec 2011

Christmas is a great opportunity to give and to reach out to the community. 

Here are photos from two events in the lead up to Christmas. The first was an event for handicapped kids. It began with a little play from the group of university students that I'm now getting to know better. It told the story of a girl who didn't want a present from Santa. She's dragged by the ear by her grandma to Santa who cannot believe that a girl doesn't want a present. The girl explains that Santa's gifts are fine but she has already been given a gift that is amazingly precious, will never break, will never get lost and will not just bring joy for a couple a couple of days but for all time. Santa (and the kids) press her to reveal this gift which she finally shares is her Lord Jesus.

We all celebrated with hot chocolate and paneton. Paneton is a light fruit cake which is yummy and traditional at Christmas. Each of the kids then received gifts - thanks to the generosity of the church.

The parents of handicapped kids have a hard life - even from just the physical point of view. Very few can afford a car and many cannot even afford a wheelchair. Without wheelchairs many of these kids spend most of the life inside their homes. Our pastor is a coordinator with the charity Joni and friends and slowly more people are getting access to wheelchairs and support. He sees this very much as a mission to an often unreached part of our community.

The following day we visited "El Mirador" which is a new neighbourhood a bit of a distance out of town. It lived up to its name which means "The View". 

El Mirador

El Mirador

Here we had a similar events with lots of kids. Here we are again enjoying hot chocolate and paneton.

David with Kids

The crowd really engaged with the Christmas play.

El Mirador Crowd

Please pray

  • thank God for Christians who are passionate about reaching their community
  • that we can work towards addressing some of the huge needs we see
  • that those who have heard the message will experience God's amazingly precious gift


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