Twice now in the last two years, a group from UPC has gone to a community near Lima, Peru, called Catorce de Febrero. In this community, they have been a part of the ministry of Food for the Hungry, which is doing work in the area of leadership development, of helping people work with questions about their own lives. Mark Schuldt was on the most recent trip that went from UPC. He was interviewed by Dave Rohrer in services on June 10.
DR: Mark, as you had the opportunity to be a part of that trip and that community, in what ways did you have the opportunity to share hope?
MS: Well, first of all, it was a little different than I think a mission trip would be. Typically I used to think of mission trips as going to do something, like in Mexico when we build a house. We leave some kind of physical evidence that we were there. But this was a lot more like Paul journeying to the churches. We just went to encourage them, be witnesses of all they are accomplishing, and to give them a pat on the back. We went to receive hospitality from them—sit in their homes and pray with them and affirm them and what God is doing in their community.
DR: Sounds like they shared as much hope with you as you did with them.
MS: Very much so.
DR: Were there any surprises?
MS: I was very surprised in that we truly lived what the church is supposed to be. The whole time, we were in people’s homes, we worshipped with them, we met with them and prayed with them. We listened to several sermons throughout the week. We really experienced church, and we never once set foot inside of a church building. It was probably the most church I’ve had in ten days. That was different.
DR: It sounds like the community was together in a spirit of prayer quite often.
MS: Very much so. They welcomed us into a prayer partnership that was there before we were. They feel a very strong connection with us in prayer. They had our team in prayer and entire year before we came, which is before many of us knew that were coming. And they still have us in prayer. They are also very encouraged and enthusiastic about us praying for them.
DR: Would you teach us how to pray for them?
MS: Absolutely! The ways we can be praying for them are that they will be able to continue to pass this ministry to the community that’s there. Food for the Hungry has started it and they’re teaching how to lead it, but they have no intention to keep ownership of it. They want to be able to move out of the community and have the community live into the very powerful ministry that’s going on there. We can be praying that more people in Catorce will join up and take leadership of that program. It’s already thriving, but the more the merrier.