CCB Peru Celebrates 25 Years

May 2, 2017 |

CCB Peru tribal students
The fog lifts each morning on the Ucayali River, as locals travel into Pucallpa, Peru, for trade, education, and work. Pucallpa, the capital of the Ucayali Region, is Peru’s largest port city, and sits at the Northeast end of the only highway extending from the Pacific coast to its region. It rests on the edge of Peru’s upper Amazon basin rainforest and is home to the CCB Bible Institute.

 

In 1992, the CCB or Centro de Capacitación Bíblica opened its doors for the first time, and in 25 years it has grown from a class size of six to an average of 50 students, representing over the years a total of 18 different tribal groups, and resulting in 360 graduates 90% of whom are active today in ministry.

This past January, the CCB welcomed 70 students from five tribal groups who will participate in its two-year program. Graduates immerse themselves with the local Shipibo-Conibo Tribal Evangelical Church Association, serving by making disciples, training others in evangelism, modeling leadership for the emerging generation, as well as carrying out social and community development projects that improve health and increase access to food, water and education.

One goal of the CCB is for students to discover and use their spiritual gifts to strengthen communities of faith, including their individual families. Students work diligently on thesis papers during their time at the CCB, while the faculty and staff, who are Peruvian pastors and lay leaders, mentor the students. As each program cycle brings new students, it also brings its hurdles. “Each year differences in language, levels of education, and customs of other tribal groups bring new challenges to the program of CCB,” SAM missionary Tom Hough explains. Despite these changes, the training center continues to grow and impact its community.

Tom expresses excitement when he talks about the impact of CCB’s outreach programs, set up through a partnership with the Shipibo-Conibo church association. He recalls, “[they] continue to travel through the vast jungle region of Peru into many different tribal groups… During 2016 more than 25 major trips were made… visiting more than 50 villages on 12 different river systems.” Tom speaks confidently, and hopefully, about the CCB’s purposes being accomplished, “lives are being transformed because of the efforts of the graduates through evangelism and discipleship. The process is working and tribal churches are being planted.”

The growth, momentum, and impact of the CCB is invigorating, and its continued success after these first 25 years will be the direct result of the time and resources that so many have given, and continue to give, to see this ministry flourish. Funding received to sustain the ministry of the CCB helps cover students’ transportation needs to and from villages, room and board, tuition, textbooks, and costs associated with medical care the center strives to provide. $600 enables an indigenous pastor to train for an entire year at the CCB, and contributes to the advancement of the gospel of grace in the Amazon basin of Northeast Peru.


Make it happen Will you donate to sustain the discipleship and pastoral formation work of CCB $50 per month sustains a pastor at CCB for one year. Help keep the momentum at CCB in 2017 as it celebrates 25 years.

To donate, visit: www.southamericamission.org/ccbperu.

Proclama. Psalm 96:3.

March 3, 2017 |

Proclama mobilization ministry based in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

“I’d like to tell you about Sandra. She is a dear friend and a member of my church in Santa Cruz. God placed a burden on Sandra’s heart for unreached peoples when she was 15, and that burden has developed into a calling to serve Him to reach the people of the Middle East.”      – Dana Wilson


In 1969, missionaries from South America Mission planted the Christian Missionary Church (Iglesia Cristiana Misionera or ICM) in the heart of Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The faith community of ICM still stands today, and they are sending Sandra to serve in cross-cultural ministry in the Middle East. Though it does not have sufficient funds to provide all of her financial support, this local church has recognized God’s call on Sandra’s life for ministry and God’s call for the church to help.

When Dana Wilson arrived to Bolivia in 1998, she attended ICM, not knowing what would come of her service there. She began working as an English teacher at the church’s school, eventually transitioning out of teaching into missionary mobilization. In her second year, Dana helped the church complete its first mission trip to share the gospel in a neighboring town, and by her fourth year in country, she joined the SAM Bolivia Missions Team.

Proclama. Psalm 96:3. Mobilizing the Church in Latin America.The Centro de Entrenamiento Transcultural or CET, based in Cochabamba, Bolivia, invited Dana to receive mobilization training in order to help local Bolivian churches develop a vision for their participation in God’s global mission. Though this encounter with CET felt like an accident at the time, 14 years later, it has become the resource and responsibility of PROCLAMA (derived from Psalm 96:3, which in Spanish reads, “Proclamad entre las naciones su gloria…’), an entity newly formed in 2015 (under Dana Wilson’s leadership) with a vision to see a missionary movement catalyzed from within the South American church to reach the Nations for God’s glory.…Read the entire article HERE.

 

City Church, Lima, Peru

April 29, 2016 |

City Church gathering, Lima, Peru

Lima, Peru, is the “new global culinary epicenter”, according to a recent article in Condé Nast Traveler. If you ask Julio Chiang what makes Lima so great, he’ll talk about the cuisine, confirming epicurean journalists’ opinions. But he’ll become more reflective, too, thinking about the greatness of the city where he was born and now lives as the founder and lead pastor of a new church—Iglesia de la Ciudad, or City Church…

The City Church video was produced in partnership with Silent Images-www.silentimages.org

Yes, the ceviche is exquisite, but Lima finds its true greatness in its 10,000,000 people. It’s a fair question: “What’s so great about an urban mass of humanity?” For Julio, the heart of Lima is about millions of God’s image bearers, so close he can touch them, all needing the gospel of grace. Recently, Julio shared how Iglesia de la Ciudad is acting as a dispenser of grace in one of the world’s greatest cities:

The name of your church is Iglesia de la Ciudad. You prefer the translation, “City Church”. Why did you choose this name for your church plant?

We wanted our name to actually include the word “Church” because we believe the only hope for the redemption and transformation of Lima is the Church of Jesus Christ. It’s the vehicle for redemption that God has chosen.

Also, we’re a church that is for the city, or “city positive”, a church that builds for the welfare of the city. Over the years the church in many instances has separated itself from urban life and culture, but God, just as he instructed Israel through the prophet Jeremiah upon entering Babylonian exile, has called us to be connected to and serve the city.

Tell us about your logo for City Church. What does the design communicate? 

First, the vertical and horizontal lines represent city streets. They intend to remind you of an urban map. Then the small circle layered over the “streets” creates the image of a cross, conveying the concept of Christ at the center of our city.

City Church, Lima, PeruAnd then the way the streets and the circle intersect, the effect is a reminder of stained glass, which for us is about tradition and history. We need to emphasize certain historical traditions of the church and contextualize them for our culture today…Read the entire interview HERE.

La Cueva, a Beacon of Hope

April 26, 2016 |

La Cueva, Bogotá

Amidst the dark landscape of cyclical abandonment and the resulting orphan crisis shines a beacon of hope in a house called La Cueva. 

The group lets out a whoop of praise and the soft-spoken girl in the corner blushes crimson with unmistakable delight. She repeats her announcement that prompted the praise, making sure the right person gets the credit: “Gracias a Dios—thanks to God, I found a job.” Congratulatory hugs and songs of worship follow—a celebration of God’s provision for Cristal, a sister in Christ.

Cristal is one of the countless twenty-somethings growing up in Colombia without parents. Abandoned as a child and having spent the majority of her adolescent years in the Colombian child welfare system, Cristal now navigates the murky waters of adulthood—except she doesn’t do it alone.

Amidst the dark landscape of cyclical abandonment and the resulting orphan crisis shines a beacon of hope in a house called La Cueva.

La Cueva is a refuge located in the heart of Bogotá for orphans who have aged out of government care and are making the difficult transition into adulthood.

Those accepted into the house gain immediate access to a support network that normally would not be available to them: job opportunities, university loans, affordable rent, spiritual mentors and most importantly, a faith community. The latter is what makes this program so special.

Every Tuesday evening, upwards of 20 people arrive at La Cueva and pull together a hodgepodge of chairs and couches before settling in to a night of worship, prayer, Bible study, and of course, Colombian empanadas.

During this particular gathering, Cristal shares her news of having found a job. The announcement bears so much weight because her group of friends knows where Cristal has been.

Cristal’s Story

Cristal came to La Cueva when she had nowhere else to turn. She spent almost two years battling a life-threatening brain tumor without help or support from relatives. Though doctors feared she wouldn’t survive, Cristal overcame the odds. While searching for employment, Cristal faced rejection and disappointment because of a physical disability resulting from her illness. Yet God provided—not only a job but a community to celebrate it with.

Cristal’s faith community is just one in a larger movement of house churches called Ciudad Corazón (“Heart City”) spreading throughout the greater Bogotá area. The Ciudad Corazón movement, under the leadership of Jorge Enciso, seeks to see the city, country, and continent transformed by the power of the gospel. While the movement comprises small groups of believers and nonbelievers alike who meet in the context of a living room, the impact goes beyond the four walls of a residence. That’s where programs like La Cueva come into play.

La Cueva is just one facet of Fundación Comunidad Viva—a Christian community development foundation (founded by Enciso) that works to empower the local church to be an agent of change in broken neighborhoods through opening community centers and initiating tutoring programs, Bible clubs, sustainable agriculture projects, and Vacation Bible Schools. The house church movement and foundation work together to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the communities across the city.


 

Fundación Comunidad Viva


The momentum of Ciudad Corazón and La Cueva shows no sign of slowing down. The house churches continue to multiply and every month come together from all over the city to celebrate the work God is doing. And there is much to celebrate. Cristal’s story is one of many that gives testimony to lives being shaped and transformed by the gospel manifested through the local church.

View the April edition of FrontPage, in which this article originally appeared. 

Reflecting #Urbana15

January 22, 2016 |

Reflecting #Urbana15

Since 1946 Urbana has been a meeting place for those interested in learning more about missions. Every year it seems that attendance is ever more diverse and far-reaching. There is no better place to observe the diversity of the conference than in the group worship sessions and exhibit hall. During the week we were encouraged to ask ourselves: “Whose story will you tell?” We were directed to learn from and experience the diverse context of the Body of Christ and to recognize our own tiny part in its story.

Led by Erna Hackett we engaged in worship through story and song in a number of forms. Aiming to avoid cultural appropriation and promote understanding we were treated to songs in the context of their stories and singers.

Language and rhythm barriers were broken as we made a joyful noise to God.

In the exhibit hall, five of us staffed the South America Mission booth during the week. We were privileged to speak with students from all walks of life. Some came with impressive credentials: degrees in civil engineering, theological studies, nursing certifications, a pilots’ license, or a life of experience growing up overseas. Others came with wisps of passion and shreds of vision for what God might be calling them into. Still others arrived admitting their own ignorance about Latin America’s people and culture, seeking to learn more about our mission and the people we serve.

One thing that struck us during the week was the amount of students and adults from the countries we served who, after studies or careers in the US, desired to take the Gospel back to their birthplaces. South America Mission has been growing in partnership and membership with Latino missionaries, enabling cultural insiders to speak in ways unique to them in places dear to us.

We strive to be an organization that not only serves Latin America but also serves with Latin America.

It was beautiful to meet people from the places we had served – cities in Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil, and Peru – who articulated the desires we have for those places, but with a sense of urgent ownership. Others from Guyana, Paraguay, and Uruguay spoke to us of places we have been praying to move into.

One recognized through time in the US that though she had come from a loving church family, the church is so much larger and more dynamic than one building or denomination. She wants to return to her city with her theological and engineering studies to participate in God’s movement in the greater city.

Couples of mixed heritage sought to bring their diverse backgrounds to the mission field. As cross-cultural workers we daily walk in the holy tension of cultural differences and can benefit from the testimony such marriages bring to the conversation.

Their sensitivity to issues of race and culture bring much-needed perspective to the missions conversation.

A few students wandered, overwhelmed by emotion, from one booth to the next, seeking to make sense of their newly awakened convictions in regards to their birthplaces. We were able to pray with them and offer counsel in ways more personal than official. Our own stories of God’s provision and sovereign leadership acted as cups of cool water in the face of their whirling emotions.

It was challenging and humbling to try to encapsulate the collective personality of SAM in just a few minutes, to seek to encompass 100+ years and untold centuries of prayer and labor in a few words. The challenge was to move away from jargon and into truth, into personal connection. The challenge was to listen and discern what God was doing in the life of each person before us, encouraging them in pursuit of that mission whether that meant serving with SAM or one of the other hundreds of organizations represented at the conference.

God’s church is so much larger than our ethnic identity. His movement is greater than one continent. His Spirit is more powerful than our limitations and others’ words. It was exciting to share my own story and hear the stories of others. It was a privilege to share SAM’s story, and remarkably refreshing to experience how SAM’s story fits into God’s story. As each strand is braided together, something marvelous and harmonious is formed.

This is the Body of Christ.

Still Trending: #Urbana15

January 8, 2016 |

#Urbana15

From the day after Christmas until New Year’s day, five of us from SAM were in St. Louis for Urbana, a missions conference held every three years by Intervarsity.

We rubbed shoulders with over 10,000 college students, high schoolers, thousands of additional Intervarsity staff, and thousands more representatives of missions organizations and seminaries around the world. The five of us attended sessions and seminars, and staffed a booth where we met with individuals interested in serving overseas in South America.

Though there was no shortage of big-name speakers and challenging teaching, what spoke most deeply to me came from our morning Bible study in the book of Matthew.

One morning, a few of us from the SAM Urbana team met to study Matthew 20:1-16, a parable Jesus uses to describe the kingdom of heaven. Jesus uses a parable not to be cryptic, but because the reality of heaven is so beyond our comprehension that we can only understand even the smallest facets of his Kingdom by comparing it to something we already know.

In this parable Jesus tells of a landowner who goes early to town to hire workers for his vineyard. They agree upon a salary and get to work. A few hours later, the landowner sees more workers milling about, and offers them a job in his vineyard. He does this two more times during the afternoon. Towards the end of the workday, the landowner goes into town once more and, seeing yet more empty-handed workers, he offers them a job in the vineyard as well.

At the end of the day, the vineyard owner goes to pay his workers. He tells his foreman to first pay those hired last, and each worker gets his wages. The catch is that all the workers are paid the same—the rate agreed upon by those hired first. The ones who worked all day are understandably indignant, but the landowner gently reminds them that they had already agreed on their pay, and that it is his own choice to pay the other workers generously.

Something about being in the diverse, global context of Urbana made the text come alive in a new way.

Usually I identify with the first workers. After all, I have been a Christian since birth. Surely that counts as an “early in the day commitment.” Those who live life without God, coming to the Lord late in life are the late workers. But today the story read a little differently.

Urbana Director Tom Lin, our opening speaker, encouraged us to stop thinking about how to tell our own story, encouraging us to participate telling God’s Story. This Urbana centered around the question, “Whose story will you tell?” If we take up the Great Story as we read this passage, could this parable not be greater than my own puny fable? Greater than the span of one lifetime?

What if we read the parable of the workers within the context of church history?

I am the late worker. I have come to the field in the cool of the evening to put away tools and help carry bunches of grapes and bundles of weeds laboriously cut by those who worked since dawn. I did not choose the tools of the Biblical Cannon or sharpen the knives of reformation and doctrine. I did not cultivate swaths of land untouched by the gospel. Perhaps I have laid a hand to the few remaining patches or gleaned those few fruits left behind. But I certainly have not risen before dawn and missed the comfort of bed and meals. I have not labored in the heat of persecution, and any sweat marking my brow is from shaking off the lethargy and ease of the morning. I only lend the smallest aid and take part in completing what began long before me.

Yet in my small perspective I like to think that I am an early worker. I like to suppose that I deserve a full day’s pay, looking with condescension on those late workers arriving a step behind me.

Are we not a late-in-the-day generation?

But we share more than simple chronological similarity with the late workers. We share the attitude. We spend our extended youth and adulthood waiting for a personal invitation from the landowner, unwilling to step forward with the other groups, or finally “ready” to work long after the true start of the workday. The landowner stands calling workers, but we assume he is talking to someone else. The landowner stands calling workers, but we wait in uncertainty for a personal address and a more appealing offer.

“I’d go Jesus, just make it clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is me you are calling and not the guy standing next to me. Make me an offer I cannot resist.”

At Urbana, OMF Director Patrick Fung recounted to us how Jesus invited Matthew to leave everything, including a wildly lucrative business and “Come, follow me”. He observed that as terrifying as it would have been to obey the call, it would be much more terrifying to sit in uncertainty as the Son of the Living God turns to walk away.

“Make me an offer I cannot resist, Jesus, then I’ll know you have truly invited me to work in your harvest.”

Christ has called us. The landowner is calling all workers to the field. Are you listening? Will you choose as Matthew did to follow the one who calls us into storm and glory, or will you risk waiting too long and being left in the dust.

Never is it too late. Even late in the day workers are embraced and given their wage. You are not guaranteed a personal call. You are not guaranteed ease and comfort. But you are guaranteed the company of the author and finisher of The Great Story.

Do not tarry, for this might be the 5 o’clock call. Join in the harvest and taste His good fruit.

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