March Newsletter

Dear Family and Friends,

We are glad to share in all the big news that has been happening here in Peru.

Belen ministry: We finally started the cooking classes in the orphanage. There are 20 girls from the ages of 15 to 17 who are taking this special cooking course. Everyone is so thrilled, even the kitchen volunteers want to participate in these classes!  Thanks to the City Hall the girls who finish 100 hours will receive a government certificate. This certificate will enable them to find a nice job when they turn 18 and they have to leave the orphanage. It’s amazing how the Lord works! 50 percent of the girls in the cooking classes are girls that didn’t want to attend  the bible classes.   These Bible classes were being taught by Natalia and the ladies from the Church.  After we started these cooking classes for these young ladies, they are seeing the love that we have for Christ and for them.  Now they are more open to talk with us and trust in us more.

 

First Medical mission 2018! This was a very tiring few days but we were very blessed to have an amazing eye doctor from John Hopkins along with a few others from the states, working with us at the local hospital. The team came for only 3 days and checked on many of the local patients.  The doctor and his team have scheduled 30 of these patients for cataract surgery.  The surgeries will be taking place in June.  Our God has everything under control and He works everything according to his perfect plan. We saw many people coming to see the eye doctor and we were able to show the love of Jesus to them.  After the medical campaign was done, we invited the local hospital’s doctors and workers to pray with us. One of the local doctors opened his heart out and shared with us about a very personal problem involving someone in his family.  He was crying out and asking for prayers!  We are looking forward to seeing what the Lord is going to do in June!

Men’s bible study: We are excited to share that we had our first men’s retreat!  It was also the way we started our new men’s Bible study group. On Saturday’s from 6-8pm we have a nice time of fellowship with dinner and a study of the word.  Right now I am leading the guys through 1 John.  It’s great to see a group of 15 men growing in the Faith together.

 

Women’s breakfast and Bible study: This ministry is going very well.   Many of the women started coming only to the breakfast study but now they are also coming to the Sundays services. It’s exciting to see all these women coming to learn more about Gods will in their lives and falling in love  with Jesus. We definitely are witnessing a change in each person’s life! This makes all the hard work worth it!

English classes: Every week we have new people coming to learn English, but the most exciting thing is that some of them end up coming to church to learn about God’s word!  The past 2 people that have started coming to the English classes are 2 refugees from Venezuela. We can see the pain in their eyes when they talk about the situation in Venezuela.  We were able to sing happy birthday to one of them in the last class.  Then we invited him to the men’s bible study and he came.  Actually both of the guys are coming to the study and also to the church!

Memorial service: John was asked to do a memorial for a Canadian that died here in Peru.  His family wasn’t able to take his body back to Canada, so he was buried here in Cajamarca. We celebrated his life here with his Peruvian friends. They were really grateful. What we loved most about doing this memorial was that people who were around burying their loved ones were listening and paying attention to what we were sharing about Jesus and His love for us.

Sports club: We are currently playing baseball with the kids. They love learning this new sport! All of these kids are so precious.  They really love Jesus so much and we love them! For Easter, we had a little party here at the house with these kids and we did an egg hunt with them.  It was so much fun! We also taught that day about what Easter really means for us as Christians.

We continue serving at the local church.  I still continuing to preach on occasional Sundays.  Natalia is helping with the worship, and now our son Alejandro has started playing the piano for the worship time!  We are so proud of him!

Family updates:  Alejandro continue his music lessons and home schooling. He is really happy that he is getting to participate in the worship by playing the piano.  Please pray for his heart to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and that he obeys with a happy heart.

Emily has started going to a daycare close to our house.  In time she will be able to stay on her own with the other kids and the three teachers but for Natalia is staying with her.  We feel we don’t need to rush our little baby girl. We hope that in the future she will be able to stay there by herself.   That will give us a little extra free time in the mornings, YAY! Please pray for health especially that we are going through the flu season right now.

Natalia is having a rough time with her health, but nothing is going to stop her serving Jesus!  She recently found out she has fatty liver and has to be on a strict diet.  Please Pray for health, self control and content.

John-guidance and wisdom.  To be a good leader for my family and the Church.  Please pray that all of my Immigration paperwork is done correctly and that I will be able to receive my residency card.

We appreciate your love, support and your prayers.

 

The Gundersons

 


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Back In Banos Del Inca

Dear Friends and Family,

We are so excited to be back in Banos del Inca, Cajamarca. Having been here for the past several weeks it is very exciting to report that God is doing some amazing things here. I will try to keep this letter short but I want to share what God is doing in this part of Northern, Peru.

First let me give you an update on all the ministry fronts:

Belen Ministry: The girls were very happy to see us! We told them, that all of you are praying for them.
We will now have an additional cooking class that will be on Fridays from 9am-1pm. pant will be given an official certificate from the government upon completion.

 

Women’s Bible Study: Natalia started the breakfast Bible study for the women three weeks ago. It takes place every Tuesday at 8:30am-10:30am. They start with a nice breakfast, buffet style and chatting with christian music in the background. Then they start the Bible study part of it around 9:15. Right now they are going through the book of Esther. Lastly, the ladies close with a time of prayer.
I cannot believe how much of an impact this time of study has made on the women of our church! I also can’t get over the fact that 15 women are showing up on a regular basis. In fact we had a new lady that came last Tuesday and she committed her life to Christ! Manuela one of our ladies in the church invited this lady to come to a breakfast and she ended up crying and receiving the Lord at the end of the Bible study. I thought that was awesome!

English Classes: I am so thrilled that we have around 20 new faces in our English classes that take place on Mondays and Tuesdays. I have already seen 5 of the 20 new people get plugged into one of our other Church Ministries. This is why we created the English classes. I knew that this would be a great way for people to get plugged into our church.

Sports Ministry:
We have only had two Sports clubs take place but it’s great to see some of our older kids really growing and maturing in their faith. For the next few months I will be teaching the kids baseball and doing stories from the Old Testament for our bible time.

Awanas: We have finally been able to connect with Awanas International in Peru, and we will be starting an Awanas program in March,

Lord willing! There is a lot of work to be done beforehand but I know that a month and half of preparation will be sufficient time to get things done.

Medical Clinic: We are just so amazed by God! An ophthalmology team from John Hopkins has contacted us through a friend. There is a group of Christian doctors that want to bless the community of Cajamarca with free eye surgery. In the next 3 weeks the main doctor from the department of Ophthalmology at John Hopkins is coming with his wife to meet us. He will check on the future patients to be blessed with the surgery. The whole team will be coming in June of this year to take care of the patients. Natalia has a lot of work to do before the team comes. Please pray for open doors in the local hospitals and God’s guidance.

Family Update:
Alejandro has started his fifth grade year of homeschooling. Along with homeschooling we have found a place for Alejandro to advance in his musical talents. He is so happy to be taking piano lessons again!

Emily: We have found a very nice small daycare where Emily will be going for a few hours each morning. We really think that she will enjoy it because she is very energetic and loves to be around other kids.

Natalia and I have added two cute little bunnies to our family. They are really cuddly and the kids love to play with them. We are looking forward to starting our garden project.

Prayer requests:
1.For the members of our church, to continue growing in Faith and being more consistent in being a regular attendee at church and for us to be able to guide them according to God’s Word.
2.The new pastor of our Church, Adolfo. That he grows in wisdom and guides the Church according to God’s will. For him to be more prudent and learn to wait upon the Lord. Church Unity and strong relationships.
3.For us, we need prayer to have wisdom and God’s guidance in all the ministries that we are doing. We are very busy and we need to be wise in how we use our time.
4.For our family’s health and the kids to feel love.


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October Newsletter

Dear Family and Friends,

This month has flown by so fast! We have been working in the same ministries we shared about last month.

 Belen Girls Orphanage: with the help from the church and donations we were able to throw a party for the girls. It was a time to celebrate them and also that they all wanted to follow Jesus.

Natalia keeps discipline here at the house, and she is really excited because one of the young ladies decided to study theology at the Bible College. She started her first class this week.  We definitely see her as a future leader in the church.

I have been teaching a few Wednesdays and also preaching some Sundays.  Its funny, this wasn’t our plan, I never thought I was going to be preaching in a church.   I have to say I spend more time studying the Bible now, and it has been a blessing. Natalia says I am doing a good job and she also said that I surprised her, she had no idea I could preach! To be honest, I didn’t think I could do that either.

We are still teaching American football in the sports club.  English classes are going well.  We started a second day for classes.  We now have a basic level one class and basic level two class.

We traveled for a week to Lima to help out at an orphanage named Amparo. Many years ago before My wife Natalia came to the States, she used to work with this orphanage and assist them with their medical needs.  We have always kept in touch with them. The director of this orphanage is a good friend of ours. Unfortunately, many years ago they stopped having help from the Lima church.  They also stopped receiving donations that were coming through the church.  For the past 5 years our friend Mario and his wife Patty have been supporting the 12 kids they have at their home along with their own 2 children with his secular job.  This year he lost his job.  When we heard about the situation, it really touched our hearts and the Lord opened doors for us to go and help them.  With the help of our good missionary friend Nitro, who is a contractor and has been in the construction business for over 40 years, traveled with us to Lima to build a chicken coop for them. Right now the kids at the orphanage are only eating vegetables, rice and sometimes quinoa.

While in Lima, we stayed in the orphanage.  The orphanage is a very beautiful and peaceful place.  The kids are so sweet.  It broke my heart to see all the needs that they have.  While in Lima, we decided to make a donut party to help them with some money.  We sold donuts and coffee to some old friends of Natalia.  Not only did they  buy donuts and coffee, God put in their hearts to help even more.  They are right now planning an activity called “Pollada” which is basically a BBQ party to sell bbq chicken.  All the proceeds that they make will be going towards the orphanage. Please pray for this event and for these kids.

Our Family: this month we celebrated our little Emily’s 2nd birthday!  It’s so hard to believe that she is 2 years old now! She was only 8 months the fist time we came here to Cajamarca.  She is the sweetest little girl in the world!  She is a huge blessing in our lives. We are so grateful for her life.

Alejandro finished his school year, he did a great job!  We are so proud of our son!

Prayer Requests: 

Please pray for Alejandro, his health is not the best lately. A couple months ago he started complaining about feeling tired.  Then he didn’t want to eat as usual and he was getting more tired than normal.  A couple weeks ago we realized he has anemia.  Meat and fish are really expensive here so we mostly eat chicken.  It seems that it wasn’t enough for him.  He is growing very fast and needs better nutrition.  Natalia has started making Liver twice a week and making him vegetables shakes along with giving him proper vitamins. Please pray that he recovers fast. It’s sad to see a young 11 year old boy asking to go to bed at noon because he feels tired.

Pray for our trip home.  We are going to California at the end of November and staying for seven weeks. We would like to thank an anonymous person for a big donation that has allowed for  us to buy plane tickets. And also our parents that are allowing us to stay with them while we are in the states. God is always faithful!  One of the main reasons for why we will be going to the states is to work on immigration paperwork for Natalia and Alejandro. With all the changes in immigration rules they have to come back to the states every 6 months which can be very costly, so our plan is to ask for a special permit that will allow us to be out of the country for 2 years so we won’t need to go back as often. This is going to be a very important prayer request.

 

For our marriage. It’s so challenging to find time for us as a couple with all the work we are doing. We love each other so much but sometimes we just need time for just us, but around here there is not much for entertainment and good restaurants. My wife always says that the best food in Cajamarca is here in our home! Pray that I can be the husband that shows her Christ love.

 

Love,

 

John, Natalia, Alejandro & Emily

 


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September 2017

Dear Friends and Family,
We are so excited to share with you all the things that have been going on in Cajamarca. 1st we would like to share with you that 3 weeks ago all 49 of our young girls in our orphanage ministry (Belen orphanage is an orphanage for young ladies that have been in prostitution and sexually abused) have accepted the Lord. Praise the Lord! Since March Natalia has been in charge of visiting this orphanage with a group of ladies from church, on a consistent basis. Every visit that was made, two things always happened. 1. At the end of each visit the girls would always ask them if they were coming back? 2. Spiritual attacks and something always went wrong (tv not working, dvd not working, dvd player not playing, computer not working). This happened every visit! After all these months the girls finally trusted in them. It’s awesome to see God’s hand of work upon these girls who once ignored what they were sharing but now are excited each time to be with them and learn about Jesus. Now they welcome them with hugs and kisses, even calling them “mom”.
Here are some recent updates:
2. Natalia is discipline a small group of ladies in our home once a week.
3. I have recently been made an elder at the church and given opportunities to teach Bible studies on Wednesday nights and even teach an occasional Sunday.

4. We were able to bless one of our Belen girls with dental work. This 16 year old had an accident and lost her front teeth. With the help of a missionary team from San Francisco and the pastor’s family, we were able to cover her expenses.
5. We did our first clinical outreach with a Missionary group that was here to put a roof on a church up in the mountains . We saw 78 patients from 8months to 98 years old. This was a very successful trial run. It helped us to see what we will need for future medical outreaches.
6. Originally, we thought to continue working with the Bible school this new semester that started in August, however, God has changed those plans. Clearly we see God calling and leading us in a different direction. Now, 100 percent of our work will be focused in the city of Baños del Inca and Cajamarca.
7. Natalia along with the pastor’s wife are organizing the first women’s retreat of the church. It will take place September 29-30th. Natalia will be teaching how to be a godly mother. I have the privilege of cooking for their lunch.
8. We finally had a date, it was really needed! Thank you for your prayers.
Please keep the following in prayer:
1. Emily is still struggling with constipation.
2. Alejandro’s good friend is leaving us shortly with his family to start another church in Chile. Please pray that he can find another good godly friend.
3. Natalia-after the loss of our baby, she has been having hormonal issues. Sometime she feels down, body aches and lacks energy. Please pray for strength and peace.
4.John-prayer for wisdom and direction in how to guide my family. Since we are leaders in the church, prayer for wisdom and knowledge. Many come to us asking for advice and how to deal with their problems, especially issues in their marriages. This can be very stressing.

We love and appreciate your trust in us. Thank you for being a part of this team.

Love,

The Gundersons


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Gunderson Family Update July 2017

Dear Family and friends,

I apologize, we wrote this letter back in July but we never sent it out.  I know it has been quite some time since we last wrote a newsletter but I would like to catch you all up on how our missionary journey is going.  After we came back from the states we continued to serve at the Bible College.  During this time God strongly laid it on our hearts to start a sports club.  The Lord opened many doors for us to be able to start it.   First we started with soccer classes and now we are doing basketball.  Aside from teaching a sport we like to use this time to teach the kids a Bible lesson.  Many of the kids have received Jesus!

In March, we moved out from the Bible College in Llacanora and into the city of Banos del Inca.  For the past Four  Months we have been in this new location.  God moved us in His perfect time.  He has blessed us with a very nice house which we have been able to open up to many people.  Some of the activities that we have had in our house have included cooking for a missionary group, hosted missionaries, a barbeque swim party for our sports club, hosting a baptism and many gatherings after church. One of the big events that we have been able to be a part of since we have been here is in the planning and catering of a wedding.   The bride is a member of the church but the groom didn’t like or want to be a part of the church. This couple had been living together for the past 16 years without marriage.  Here it is so common for two people that love each other to live together. In fact by other people they are called husband and wife.  One reason for why they live together without marriage is because a wedding is so costly.  A couple of ladies in the church had been encouraging this young lady to get married because she was living in sin.  My wife came along and insisted that they get married!  Finally Carmen and Cesar went through with their wedding and the two became one.   When Cesar  saw all the things we did for his wedding and the love of Jesus being shown, his heart changed toward the church.  Now he is coming to the Church.  I pray that he will soon come to know Jesus as his Savior.   Another way that God has used this wedding, is now a few other members of the church who are living together without benefit of marriage are praying and wanting to get married.

In the city of Banos del Inca we have had the pleasure of being a part of La Iglesia Refugio (The Church of Refuge).   During our time that we have been a part of this church, we have started an English class two days a week. On Mondays we do Lectures and on Friday we do a conversation club.  God has blessed this class!  We now have over 40 people coming to the class and some are even becoming a part of the church.  On Fridays we visit a couple of different orphanages.  Wednesdays we have our midweek Bible Class.  Some of the classes I will be leading.  Sundays we help with translation because the services are in Spanish and English.  My wife also helps out with the worship.

The Family:  Emily is now 20 months old!  Time is going too fast!  She has quite the vocabulary and even understands both English and Spanish.  One of her favorite things to do is climb!  Alejandro is working extremely hard on his homeschool.  We are very blessed to find another homeschooling American family with a boy that is the same age as Alejandro and two sisters.  He has found a best friend here.  Every Friday we have a small homeschool co-op.

Prayer Requests:  1. Health for the family, especially the kids.  This time of year it can get so chilly at night.  Many kids get really sick during this time of the year.

2.  Emily has been having constipation issues.  Please pray that her stomach will work properly.

3. Provision:  There are many needs here but we need to be wise in how we administrate our support that we receive.

4. Protection:  Spiritually and Physically. We are constantly under Spiritual attacks in many ways.

5. Our marriage: We are looking forward to having a date soon.  I can’t tell you how long it has been since my wife and I have had a date just the two of us.

 

Love John, Natalia, Alejandro and Baby Emily


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Our Adventure has Begun!

Dear Family and Friends,

I apologize that it has taken so long to write our newsletter.  We had a severe thunderstorm and lightning hit our towers, so it left us without internet for a while.  A couple weeks ago I wanted to send this letter out but we had a painful event take place in our family.  My wife had a miscarriage. She was 8 weeks pregnant but the baby had no heartbeat and was not forming properly.  This made us very sad but we have peace knowing that our baby is with Jesus.2016-cajamarca-1141

These past weeks that we have been here we have had time to adjust to the altitude, worked on some ministry outings and are continually praying about the New Year as we plan to move out of the Bible College and into the city of Banos Del Inca. Our family is adjusting well to the altitude.  In this higher altitude you can easily lose your breath.  We need to constantly remind each other to put on sunscreen and drink water. The scenery up here at 9000 feet is beautiful, our God is very artistic!

  • Ministry Outreaches: We had the opportunity to travel to a small little town called Matara. Matara has a population of 3000 people.  We had the privilege to share our testimonies and even pass out 100 New Testaments in the only school in this area.  We are looking forward to coming back in the future.  Another opportunity that we had was at the Bible College.  With a few of the students from the Bible school we did a Dental checkup for the kids in the Llacanora Community.  One of our favorite outreaches was sharing at a juvenile hall for girls.  Here there are 50 girls from the ages of 6-17 years old.  The majority were involved in prostitution and also raped.  We worked alongside with a dentist offering them free dental care as an excuse to get into the institution.  All of these girls have had a tough life, so at first they were very suspicious, cold and even some were disrespectful in their reception towards us.  When we finished all of the program, after sharing, drama and music these girls broke down in tears and received Christ as their Savior, Amen!

One of my personal favorite ways to evangelize is when I am taking taxis to tpic-7-cajamarca-2016he city.  The trip usually takes 20-30 minutes and the driver can’t go anywhere so I always have the opportunity to share my faith.  In fact, I have become close with one of our drivers.  This was definitely a heavenly appointment.  For many reasons Roger and his wife are desperately seeking a new Church to attend.  They invited us to their house for coffee and bread.  It was a very blessed time with our new friends.  Both are involved in a children’s ministry in a very poor area close to the city.  Roger has invited me to share a small bible study for the parents.

  • 2016-cajamarca-1193Our Family: Little Emily is walking and climbing everywhere! It can make us extremely nervous! It is so funny to see her dancing every time she hears music. For some strange reason she loves country music! She has stopped nursing this week and her acid reflux is almost gone!  Each day it seems like she is learning a new word.  My favorite word that she says is “Daddy”!

Alejandro is having an amazing time here!  He has become a big helper, especially with laundry and doing the dishes!  His mornings are usually for homeschooling and in the afternoons we let him go and run around with all his friends.  Sometimes he thinks he is just another one of the students at the Bible College.  The students are very nice to him.  They play ping-pong and foosball together.john-cel-982

A couple of things that have made me excited about our time here is how much I have drawn closer to my son and how little time he spends on the video games.  It’s a simple life here.

My wife has had a difficult time adjusting to the mice and humongous spiders that make it into our house from time to time, but she loves being able to bless others with her medical skills.  Aside from this, it has been a huge blessing to work alongside with my wife!

We are learning that the Missionary life is full of challenges but we are also learning that all we need to do is depend on Him.  Please keep us in your prayers, especially for protection.  Since we have been here at the school, it has been robbed three times.  Due to these robberies, all of us guys have had to take on a night time watchman shift.

Time and time again God continues to show us His faithfulness!  We are blessed and honored to be the feet of those that go and bring the good news!  There is no better place to be than in Gods will.

Thank you for your prayers,pic-1-cajamarca-2016

John, Natalia, Alejandro and Emily


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We Are Going to Peru!

Dear Family and Friends,

We are excited to share with you the call that the Lord has laid on our hearts to go and serve Him in Peru! For some time now the Lord has been leading us to answer the call to serve Him at the Calvary Chapel Bible College in Cajamarca, Peru.

Many of you might know that I studied as a chef in the Le Cordon Bleu program in California and graduated from the Bible College in Peru. During my two years of study at the Bible school I met Natalia. Natalia used to work as a pediatrician in Peru and was also involved with children’s ministry at church. Before we got married we believed that God had a place for us to serve him using our unique personal skills. Since we have been married, we have been praying for God to show us where he wants us to serve.

Right now we are home schooling our 9 year old boy Alejandro and will continue do so on the mission field. He loves to be challenged and enjoys the company of other people. Our son is very chatty, smart and energetic. One thing is for sure about our boy, he loves Jesus with all his heart! Emily our little baby girl is now 7 months old. Praise the Lord, she is overcoming her acid reflux! This is something she has been fighting with since birth. She smiles and giggles all the time, and just recently started crawling!

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Our ministry in Peru is going to be in different areas. During the week I will be in charge of the kitchen at the Bible College. My wife will be taking care of our kids and provide medical assistance to our surrounding community. We want this to be a way that we reach out to people and see them come to Christ. On Saturdays, we are going to work as a family creating a sports club for the kids. The sports club will include teaching different sports, giving small bible studies and provide the kids with a healthy snack. Another way we will reach out to the community is by giving free English classes.

1d2b57bc-e6e5-4f5f-852a-35fa8983c19aOn Sundays, we are going to attend the local church and serve in any area where there is a need (worship, translating, Sunday school and ushering). While we were in Peru visiting this month God gave us a little glimpse of what He has in store for us! During our time at the Bible College, we had the opportunity to cook for the graduation dinner. While in Lima, Natalia was invited to give a bible study for the girls youth group and I was in charge of providing the food. We also had the privilege to be used by God to help one of our good friends who was falling out of the Faith, come back to Jesus! There was an opportunity to meet up with one of Natalia’s childhood friends, who is not a Christian and pray over her baby as she was scheduled for a C-section. As we sat down and began to write down this letter she wrote us a text. Her text read, “The Lord is amazing and she is so grateful for all the blessings she has from Him.”

We look forward to writing our next newsletter from Cajamarca, Peru!  May God continue to bless you and your families.

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Blessings,
John, Natalia, Alejandro and Emily


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