Between towering snowcapped mountains and the bustling streets of Arequipa, Peru, lies the land of the outcasts. If not literally, at least practically.
Nowadays, the local taxis won’t even take you there, as our international projects officer Fernando Marquez recently discovered while trying to access the arid mountainside – a sort of colonized wasteland of dust, volcanic rock, brown parched grass and semi-breathable air.
No one wants to go there. No one wants to live there. Which is another way of saying: that’s exactly where God wants us to be! But the challenges there are daunting.
To climb the mountain is to confront reality in all its messiness, dysfunction, contradiction and ambiguity. Behind the doors of the brick hovels are raw, unedited, sound-bite-resistant stories of hunger, joblessness, alcoholism, drug addiction, violence and despair. So we jump into the mess. Or rather, Cross partner Elohim Evangelical School jumps in – loving sinners, welcoming the least of these, feeding the hungry, educating children. Hoping to change a life.
Thanks to Elohim Evangelical School, the Gospel is being preached. Pray that they hear it. Pray that where sin, darkness and suffering abound, grace will abound all the more. As Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”