Recently Billy finished leading a 4-week Trauma Competent Caregiver training at a Christian Missionary Alliance Church in Breña, which is close to downtown Lima. This was our first in-person training with prospective mentors for the Caminando Juntos mentoring program since previous iterations of the training have all been online.
The story of how we connected with the CMA church in Breña starts way back in 2020, and it is yet another reminder of how God has been at work for years through various organizations and individuals, preparing the way for us to build the Caminando Juntos mentoring program. It starts in Guatemala of all places!
Back in mid-2020, Billy had the chance to participate in a virtual mentor training hosted by Somos, a Christian organization based in Guatemala. Due to the pandemic, the training moved from an in-person event to an online format, opening the opportunity for many different individuals and organizations across Central and South America to participate for the first time. As they started to receive multiple requests for information about how to become a mentor from people outside of Guatemala, Somos reached out to Paths of Hope and asked if we would be their point of contact in Peru since they do not have a presence here.
Shortly after, they put us in touch with Ana, a Peruvian psychology student who lived in Lima and was currently volunteering at a children’s home. She shared her heart for working with vulnerable children and teens, and she signed up for one of our first Trauma Competent Caregiver virtual trainings. But that was just the beginning!
A few months later Ana mentioned she would like to introduce us to her old youth group leader, Pastor Adrian, who is now the head pastor at the CMA church in Breña. She felt like he would be a great partner for Paths of Hope, as he has a long history of working with at-risk youth and is an adoptive father himself. Over the last couple of years Billy and Pastor Adrian have met a few times to talk about their shared vision to see the church take a more active role in this ministry.
Fast forward to March 2023 and we have now launched our mentoring ministry at the Puericultorio Pérez Araníbar. As we considered how to grow the program and recruit more mentors, Pastor Adrian and his church were at the front of our minds. We set up a meeting with a few specific asks in mind. First, would they be willing to start a mentor ministry as a church to serve the Puericultorio. Second, could they offer their church building as a place to hold an in-person Trauma Competent Caregiver training (which the first step in becoming a mentor). Third, did he know of other churches and pastors that Billy could reach out to since the cold calling had not been successful.
Yes, and yes were quickly given as answers to the first two questions. The third ask – for contacts Billy could reach out to – was a total God moment. Adrian told Billy that he should get in touch with two friends of his from seminary, César and Ramiro, who are now pastors at other churches close by. Years ago, they had all been involved in a ministry that worked with kids living on the streets in Lima. As Adrian shared, he had no idea that Billy already had plans to meet with those very two pastors the next day!
Before his meeting with Pastor Adrian, Billy had been cold calling pastors that were close to the Puericultorio, searching for others who were interested in becoming more involved as a church. Of the 15 or so that he reached out to, one pastor, César, responded almost immediately. He said that he was interested in meeting over coffee to learn more about the mentoring program and even asked if he could bring another pastor from a different church, Ramiro. The meeting was set up long before Adrian gave us their names, but it was clear to see how the Lord had been preparing the way. Adrian’s recommendation was confirmation that we were walking in the right direction.
It was a bit surreal to start the 4-week trauma training with the 22 participants that represented the 3 participating churches, and it was humbling to see that the plans for this unbeknownst to use started way back in 2020 when Billy participated in the mentor training hosted by the Guatemalan organization where he first met Ana.
Join us in praying for the training participants as they determine their next steps in becoming mentors.
As always, we appreciate your prayers for us, our ministry and for the country and people of Peru.
– Kate, Billy & Will