CCB Peru Celebrates 25 Years

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.

Redemptive Community

Redemptive

 

“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake, he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

—2 Corinthians 5:18-21 (ESV)

We are “redemptive” because of our redeemed state in Christ, and because he has made us redeemers.

It is a privilege that God makes his appeal through us, for all creation to be redeemed unto the Creator. It is also a calling for the maturation of our faith. For God to rightly use us to make his appeal to mankind, we must be rooted in Him, abiding in him, joined to his redemptive purposes for the restoration of righteousness, for the healing of brokenness.

As a community of missionaries who actively participate in cross-cultural ministry, we have the opportunity every day to sin against our brothers. We have the opportunity every day to misunderstand, quickly judge, and write-off the opinions and actions of our colleagues. In some ways, it may be easier to forgive the sins of someone outside of our missionary community, as they are the people whom we serve. But to forgive the sins of our fellow missionaries who we assume align with our goals and our expectations is often a humbling and agonizing process.

As we bear the image of God and are ambassadors for Christ, we must emulate His love, authentically in community, such that we “bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7, ESV). In the light of the gospel and God’s love for us, we must be agents of redemption: simple preaching will never be enough. We must live out the reconciled way, representing it to the world and building for it.

Being ambassadors for Christ is as much to do with who we are and how we live than what we do and the words we speak.

Loving Community

Loving

We’ve been praying recently through the aspects of our Identity: whom we desire to be. We’re Abiding, then Loving:

“Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:33-35 (ESV)

Christ speaks this to his disciples immediately after Judas leaves their presence at the Last Supper. These are the last moments that Christ has with his disciples all in one place, and he begins to speak to them with this message: love one another, so that others will know you that are mine.

Love is not only the command, it is also the branding of Christ—it is the means by which others know we are with Him and sent from Him.

Love is the source of our strength, the root of our hope, and the inspiration for our ministry.

We have the blessing to be ambassadors, but with that privilege comes a grave responsibility. As the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have no love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have no love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (ESV)

In praying through being a “loving community”, it is our question: what could life be like if the people we are sent to knew us only by our love? To what extent would the gospel advance further if we were known as the community of sent people who embody Christ’s love for others?

We have the wonderful opportunity to be beacons of hope and a people who lift others out of sorrow through the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ. Our first priority in response to Christ’s command is to find all avenues by which to spread His love.

May God be glorified in all that we do so that others will know we are with Him because we have loved them as He has loved us.

Abiding Community

AbidingIn the weeks following our SAM Centennial conference and celebration, our executive director sent out a prayer calendar, encouraging us as a mission to gather in prayer on specific themes through the end of the year and into the new. The first set of prayer topics comes from SAM’s strategy map, where we have identified “who” we want to be: an abiding, loving, redemptive, suffering, and growing community. First, we focused in prayer on being an “Abiding Community”.

This trait comes from John 15:5 which, in context, reads:

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.” John 15:4-6, ESV

Though it might seem obvious that missionaries abide in Christ, and though it may even appear to be part of the job description, there is great necessity for overseas cross-cultural workers to intentionally evaluate and work to stimulate their own relationship with Christ.

In Panama, we had a recurring discussion on the topic of Biblical “rest”, and an extension of that discussion is the concept of being an abiding community:

Aside from Christ, we cannot rest.

The need for a mission organization to dwell in God’s presence is made abundantly clear when looking at the statistical data for missionary “burn out”, or emotional and physical suffering due to stress. The following information comes from a report completed by Heartstream Resources, an organization dedicated to serving cross-cultural workers and enabling their mental and emotional success:

“In Holmes and Rahe’s original study [on stress], they found that when people scored 200 points during a given year, the cumulative stress had an impact well beyond that year. They found that 50% of those scoring 200 points were hospitalized within the subsequent two years for heart attacks, diabetes, cancer, and other severe illnesses. When the scores reached 300 points, 90% were hospitalized for these illnesses within the subsequent two years… The amount of stress experienced among cross-cultural workers averages around 600 points on the Holmes-Rahe modified scale, with levels peaking up to 900 and beyond for people in their first field term.” (Heartstream Resources)

Statistically speaking, it is only by the power and grace of God that missionaries can be sustained in cross-cultural work. Personally speaking, it is only by the power and grace of God that South America Mission has served the past 100 years, and continues to enable the advancement of the gospel in South America. Only a community of believers who abide in God’s power and love can effectively and healthily build for the Kingdom.

So, what did we pray for?

We prayed for passion, we prayed for perseverance, we prayed for hope, we prayed for peace: we prayed for God’s presence. To be an abiding community of believers, South America Mission must be filled with, and surrounded by, the presence of the living God. Only through Him can His kingdom come.

 

Celebration of a Century

SAM Centennial Celebration, September 21-16, 2015, Panama.

As we arrived, slowly trickling in from various pockets of the world, there was an overwhelming sigh of relief. We made it. SAM’s celebration of a century was about to begin and we were finally there!

Our missionaries gathered with SAM leadership, our board of directors, various family members and supporters, along with many ministry partners to celebrate the glories, triumphs, trials, and history of South America Mission over the past 100 years. The setting could not have been more picturesque as we worshipped within walking distance from a breathtaking shoreline at the cusp of the Pacific Ocean.

Every day was a cause for celebration and praise to the great God who has sustained our mission and ministries this past century.

It was made clear, however, from the moment of our first official gathering that this week in Panama was not for the sole purpose of reflection. We had gathered to fellowship and rest as we look ahead at what God holds for South America Mission in the next 100 years.

On that first night, our board of directors served us communion, intentionally entering a place of humility and servitude, and ultimately setting the tone for our celebration. We were encouraged by pastor Worth Carson of Granada Presbyterian Church to enter into a place of Biblical “rest” and consider God’s warning in Isaiah 30:15 to those who neglected to rest in the Lord. He continued on throughout the week to expand the topic of physical Sabbath rest into a calling that God has placed on our lives to physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, rest in His promise and sovereignty in all things.

Before each evening session, a hum of excitement whipped through the gathering place as missionaries from all over South America exchanged stories and finally met their fellow workers face to face. Even during the afternoons when we had a break from meetings, if you walked through the resort grounds you would not go far before encountering a new group of missionaries, supporters, or family members finding new stories to tell and new people to encounter.

Each morning and evening there were workshops and teaching sessions to edify, connect, and exhort us. Bob Moffitt, president of the Harvest foundation, exhorted us to remember the Church’s role to not just proclaim the good news but to demonstrate it as we build for the Kingdom in our communities. Captivated and convicted, we continued to discuss the role of discipleship and holistic ministry throughout the week, considering the ways our current ministries can be enhanced in this capacity.

One incredible and crucial element to our week in Panama was hearing from author Philip Yancey across multiple evenings on the topics of grace and prayer. The stories he lavished upon us from his personal travels and personal struggles exemplified his charge that we must continue to expand our capacity for grace in our ministries and pursue a life filled with prayer.

We were amazed to hear stories of how God is working currently in South America. From Lima, Peru, José Raúl Galindo welcomed us into his ministry, Decisiones Con Valor, which ministers to men from the burgeoning middle class of Latin America. SAM missionary Jorge Enciso shared about a house church movement in Bogotá, Colombia, that is reaching the city with the whole gospel through evangelistic and community development initiatives. And finally, SAM missionary Alex Chiang challenged our perspective by giving us a Latin American viewpoint on the role North Americans have in the advancement of the gospel in South America.

For 100 years South America Mission has grown by God’s grace to captivate hearts for the gospel and bring people together in His name. We are redeemed children of God. We work to reproduce authentic disciples of Jesus, to multiply dynamic, beautiful churches that are shaping Godly leaders and transforming their communities.

We are South America Mission, and we are joyfully stepping into the next century of God’s work in South America.