Last updated: Aug 2019
If you followed me on social media for the last two years, you might wonder if I’m still in Peru or even still in ministry, based on the infrequent posts, while an increase in posts about writing. And the answer is yes, we’re still here in Peru and still in ministry, if there’s such a thing as “part time” ministry. I’m not sure, because I still don’t know what makes someone in “full time” ministry. In order to understand where we are at now, let me take a few moments to tell you what we’ve been doing and where we’ve been.
Lili and I have transitioned, while still living in Peru and considering ourselves a part of a ministry called Oikos. The name comes from the New Testament Greek word which basically means ‘extended family’ or ‘household’ of the people of God (see Romans 16:3-5 and 1 Corinthians 16:19 for examples of its use).
No, we did not name ourselves after our appreciation for Greek yogurt.
In early-mid 2014 as part of Oikos’s leadership we launched our own missional community called Oikos Cedros. This was in response to how the ministry of Oikos was expanding rapidally at the time and for an extended season. We are still part of the larger Oikos central “hub” and under our mentoring from Mark and Anna Burgess, while actively involved in the church (more on that below).
As we prayed about it in 2014, we all sensed God inviting us to oversee a new missional community (MC) right here in our neighbourhood in the district of Los Cedros, and that’s what we did for the next two years.
We first started meeting Monday nights with two of our ministry school students we had invited to join us praying and seeking God’s face for the specific strategy for how to reach our neighborhood, Los Cedros, and establish a growing missional community that would multiply itself down the road.
We saw over 15 of our neighbors and close acquaintances we prayed for by name in those meetings accept Jesus Christ as their Savior in the months that followed! As a result, we started having inductive Bible studies in our living room on Wednesday nights with a portion of them who asked us to help them read and understand the Bible. On these Monday night prayer times, one faithful sister kept bringing people to the prayer meeting who then accepted Christ into their lives, and others who received healing in their physical bodies. Sometimes both. In fact, more of our disciples have gotten saved from coming to a prayer meeting than not!
Our personal desire and interest is in pouring ourselves into disciples who will do the same (please visit my post Information, Imitation, and Innovation in Discipleship for way more detail), and create a disciple-making culture where our disciples can also make disciples, and multiply the Kingdom of God because it’s naturally a part of their own DNA from being a part of our community.
For more about our growth framework, either read this post or listen to this podcast episode “Disciple multiplication & Slow Burn Revival” (Link or download for later). After some time, we discontinued hosting such Bible studies, while still having other informal meetings and meals with many of those who were letting us pour into their lives.
We strongly sense the Lord is bringing the people He has appointed for this, and as mentioned we’ve already seen a few people, including new converts, start coming to our prayer times as soon as they heard about them.
Now Lili has been discipling and mentoring a small group of ladies we’ve met through me taking Jemina to a park every day and meeting other parents, as well as the other moms in Jemina’s nursery. At the time of writing (updating) this post, Lili has led two of these women to Christ and is continuing to disciple them while they do an Alpha course through our Iglesia Oikos.
Our vision is to train disciples with a passion for Jesus and a desire in our disciples to follow Jesus as we follow Him, and who will go make disciples themselves.
This is not something only pastors do, but people can be a huge impact on their friends, family and neighbors. This is the approach we’re taking: inviting our neighbors into our lives, whether they already know Jesus or not.
Since the word “missional” can mean all sorts of things to different people who hear that word, please check out this podcast discussion with Mark, Shaun and myself from late 2012 called “What is Missional Community?” [Link, or download for later]
Separate but interconnected to this, my main focus until recently has been as one of the teachers in the Oikos Escuela de Ministracion. In our first year (2013) we started with 6 students, three of whom came from the jungle of Pucallpa, where Oikos also has a network of fellowships who share our DNA, and just recently in 2019 saw a new church planted by a couple who were in that pioneer class.
With our two years of ministry school, we averaged about ten students each year before discontinuing it in 2019.
Working closely alongside Mark and another Peruvian leader, I was heavily involved in teaching many of the classes in both first and second years.
Unforeseen circumstances in mid-2017 and an unanticipated crisis caused Lili and me to prayerfully re-evaluate our priorities with regard to ministry and finances, particularly the blending of fund-raising and tentmaking (freelance working) that I have been doing for years. We had come head-first with the realization that our work and the pace we were attempting to fund it was just not sustainable, and simply put, neither one of us felt like returning (or moving) to North America for an extended period to attempt to raise support. In fact, we loathed the idea of raising support at all, anymore, and to take a year off and try convincing people to finance our vision would have been soul-sucking.
When praying about it and discussing it with our leaders, both back in North America and with Mark and Anna Burgess here, it emerged as an obvious ‘given’ that I was better off transitionining to working more online and generating income. At this time, I “raised more support”, but to invest in a coaching program called Client Kit in order to help me launch and structure my own business offering my high-ticket service as an author coach and ghost writer, helping first-time authors write and launch their book.
I’ve since been offering my writing services helping coaches, entrepreneurs, consultants and other itinerant speakers and anybody who wants to use their own book as a business card that helps open other doors for them, such as credibility, expert status, and speaking engagements.
The purpose of this business is to finance our vision and work on the ground here in Peru, so that from now on I’ll never have to say “no” to anything the Lord mandates for us to do because we lack the finances.
Lili has a gift and a passion for teaching children and ministering to them. She oversaw the Iglesia Oikos Sunday school and children’s ministry, and has come up with a lot of the lessons and plans that others have used in that and other children’s meetings during the week, as well as translating from English to Spanish many of the lessons other team members have used.
And like mentioned, as a stay-at-home mom with a toddler and a five year-old, Lili is also mentoring several of the ladies in our neighborhood, which keeps us all busy.
Hopefully this gives you at least an idea of what we are doing in down here for the time being!
While I am “tentmaking” and writing, we still believe in the value of partnership and the accountability that comes from being a part of a team that prays for us and our ministry. If you’d like to know more about how you can partner with us directly with finances to be used in ministry, please visit this link or view the appropriate tabs at the top of this site.