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Lucille's Adventures in Peru Av. Fatima 820, #703, Trujillo, Peru --- www.perumission.org --- "Not all those who wander are lost." J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings

Do Short Term Teams Really Make a Difference?

PERU | Wednesday, 19 August 2009 | Views [311] | Comments [1]

Valera and me in Larco Church!

Valera and me in Larco Church!

Do short term teams (STT) make a difference?  What do they really have an impact?  Many people ask these questions.  And these questions are often debated.  I think STT do make a huge difference and for lots of different reasons, but my favorite example of the impact teams have lately is Valera.  She is an eleven (11) year old girl that wandered into a medical clinic that Trinity Presbyterian from Norfolk, VA was hosting.  She was alone.  Her mom and dad are separated.  She splits her time between the two homes, but they both work.  Her mom works from about 6 or 7 am until at least 7 at night.  Valera is alone most of the day taking care of herself.


You may recall from a prior post that Valera came to our medical clinic when we were in her neighborhood.  She was deeply touched by these gringos that came to her neighborhood.  They loved on her and talked with her and she got to see a doctor for free for a check up.  And God began to work in her life that day.  Since then she has come to church at Larco.  The first Sunday after the team had gone home she came to church with her father.  The next Sunday she was not there.  One of the team members from Trinity had left me money to buy her some books (Valera is very smart and we wanted to encourage her studies).  I had bought the books and brought them to church the next Sunday.  Unfortunately, Valera was not there.  I was so disappointed.  But we are praying for her as a church and mission.  That next week Chalo (an elder from Larco) and I went to visit Valera in her neighborhood.  We went deep into this poor neighborhood and found her home, but she was not home.  We visited with a nearby neighbor that ran the local tienda (store) and discovered that Valera was in school in the afternoons. 


We had a good visit with the neighbor, Isabella, and also invited her to church.  I was struck as we talked and walked through this neighborhood of how this precious little girl had a life so different from anything I could imagine and how many contrasts I see daily in these neighborhoods.  Valera is a precious girl with such a sweet and tender heart and despite living in poverty and conditions we cannot really understand, her light shines.  She is a light in a dark world.  She is a diamond in the rough.  Many of the homes where she lives are adobe brick homes with dirt floors and maybe a roof, maybe not---or maybe the roof is a ripped tarp.  Look in the Trujillo album for a picture of Valera’s street.  I took this from the end of the street with my back to the Pacific Ocean.  She lives on the left about the 3d house away from me.

And then I turned my back to her neighborhood and right there is the Pacific Ocean. (also in the Trujillo Photo Album)  Such poverty and dirt and desolation next to God’s magnificent creation of the Pacific Ocean.  This is just one example of the contrasts everywhere I looked!

It was quite a day visiting her home even though she wasn’t there.  Just being in the neighborhood was an emotional afternoon.  This past Sunday, I was hoping and praying Valera would come to church and she did!  What a joyful day!  Her mother came this Sunday and we had a wonderful visit.  Valera was so thankful for the books and purse I had given her from her friend back in America.  Valera was ecstatic over the books and you could tell honestly wanted to get home so she could start reading them.  She also asked me how to say several words in English.  She wants to learn English very much.  We had a chance to visit after church and during this time, Valera saw the kids going to Sunday School.  I explained what that was and asked if she’d like to go.  The look on her face as she lit up and said how much she’d enjoy that!  But her mom said they could not stay this day.  It would have to be another day.  Hopefully next Sunday!  Through this all, I kept thinking in the back of my head, I would never have met Valera but for the STT that came down to do a free medical campaign in her neighborhood.   She would not be in church reading the bible and looking forward to Sunday School.   Her mother would not be in church.  She may not have heard the word of the Lord and the sweet message it holds of free grace to her and a life eternal!  But because of a STT, she did hear the gospel; she is in church; she does want to go to Sunday School; and she did and continues to impact my own life.


Do Short Term Teams make a difference?  YES!  Do they make an impact?  YES!  Thank you Lord for STT and for all of the people who’s lives they touch and change.  Thank you Lord for Valera!  What a precious child!



Thank you Alleen for all your love and concern for Valeria! I am so comforted to know you are near. Melissa

  Melissa McCormick Aug 31, 2009 11:56 AM

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