Dear Family and Friends,
Greetings from California! Yes, we have returned back from Peru 2 days ago and are now under a 14-day travel quarantine. Don’t worry, this is just required for those traveling back from Peru. We wanted to send out a quick update on our situation so that you can pray for us as we continue to serve the people of Peru.
These past three months have been very difficult for us living under a military quarantine in Peru. We are very thankful that we were able to have food, supplies, and a home. The Lord has been gracious to us. Unfortunately, under these circumstances, we have not been able to physically meet at church or do our children’s ministry. As always, the Lord continues to amaze us. He has been showing us that even in the middle of a pandemic, a military curfew, security concerns, and shortages of food and other essential items that He is Lord and He is in control.
Life has been difficult for our members as most have not been able to work. In some cases, people have sold their animals and possessions to be able to buy food for their family. For a while no one was allowed to even go out of their homes. Yet we saw the Lord’s hand at work. After a night of prayer where we asked Him for provision to help our church members, God answered immediately with some special gifts sent to help those in need. The Lord allowed us to bless those struggling to pay rent and we were able to buy food for those who were in need. We are beyond thankful for your generous heart!
Like churches in the USA, we decided a few months ago to do all of our services, women’s Bible classes and discipleship groups through Zoom. We have been busy texting and calling members and those we are trying to reach in order to encourage them and uplift them. An example of the fruit of our online ministry was seen in the life of a young girl who received Jesus though our Zoom service, praise the Lord!
Maria, one of the young ladies that Natalia has been discipling for the past 2 years has a friend named Eliana. Eliana had a dream one night that the Lord was calling her and that He wanted her to go to church. She knew Maria loved Jesus so she called Maria who just happened to be watching the live online service. Maria texted back that she was at church. Eliana responded by texting “I want to be part of the church too, please send me the zoom link!” Eliana was able to join the service and afterwards she stayed and talked with us. During the conversation that we had, she received Jesus in her heart! There are no boundaries for the Gospel, praise the Lord! Please keep her in your prayers. She is experiencing heavy spiritual attacks. The enemy is doing his evil work as Eliana’s mom has kicked her out of her home for becoming a Christian.
Some of you might know Peru is changing slowly but surely the way the country is governed. The president is doing anything he wants. People have been in home quarantine for the past 3 months and nothing seems to be changing. We started doing research, wondering when we will be able to meet again as a church. It turns out there will be no social meetings until at least June of 2021. This news completely broke our hearts. We love our church and really miss meeting together. We decided to start praying about what our next steps should be as a family. As we prayed for several weeks, the Lord started showing us that with the ongoing shutdown in Peru, this may be an opportune time to return to the USA to work on some specific things as we look ahead to our long term mission in Peru. As we have heard from Him, consulted with trusted mentors and leaders, we believe the Lord is clearly leading us to do the following:
- Keep serving and ministering with Refugio Community Church through zoom, exactly the same way as if we were in Peru. Our commitment to doing this is evidenced by Natalia doing her women’s bible study on zoom, 15 minutes after we arrived back to the USA. There is nothing that stops her!
- Continue to meet the physical needs of those that we serve through Anita and Jose, two of our amazing leaders. Currently they are staying in our home and are trusted by us to diligently care for our members. They will be able to take care of purchasing food or disbursing financial help as need arises. We will be sending them funds to pay the church rent and utilities or other needs for the church that we would normally cover.
- Get training on church planting. Pastor Sham had suggested this last year when we were back but we were concerned about the church in Peru and decided to put it off. Now the Lord is making it possible while still being able to pastor our church in Cajamarca. We met with Pastor Sham and he agrees with this plan to take this time to prepare, so we can better serve the community when we go back to Peru.
- Get Natalia’s immigration papers taken care of. This has been an ongoing issue and has caused us to go back and forth more times than we wanted to.
- Improve our health. Natalia has had some nagging health issues and we believe this will be a good time for her to take care of her health and be ready for ministry when we head back.
The Lord has opened the door for us to stay in a missionary home in Pasadena. This is a huge blessing! We continue to pray that God will continue to direct our steps and prepare us for the next phase in our ministry in Peru. We are truly grateful for your ongoing support as we minister in Peru. Meeting the needs of the poor, helping young women like Eliana come to Christ, raising up leaders like Jose and Anita are all part of what you have invested in! Muchas Gracias!!
John & Natalia
PS. The whole story of how the Lord has taken us from a very strict military controlled country and brought us safely here to the States is too long, but we will do a blog with all the details later. We are blown away that we are here in California! When it seemed really impossible to do, the Lord made it possible. There is nothing impossible for our God!
Posted in Uncategorized by Hope Douglass with .
Dear Friends and Family,
It is good to be back here in Peru! As soon as we arrived, we immediately started in ministry work. We had the opportunity to start a one-week bible study for the church. This class was taught by a very good friend of ours, Juan Carlos. Many of our members took the Apologetics class. All those who took the class were very blessed to learn about the attributes of God.
Natalia started her women’s Bible classes and organized a baby shower for one of the ladies from our church. My wife doesn’t disappoint when it comes to organizing parties. Everyone one of the ladies had a really good time. Some of the ladies were telling Natalia she should be a professional party planner. I firmly agree!
Sundays were as usual, after the service the entire church stayed for lunch and enjoyed a time of fellowship. We all have been very blessed to serve with this amazing group of people.
While we were planning out our different activities that we do on a yearly basis, something not planned happened. What we have all come to know as the COVID-19 or the Coronavirus became a worldwide pandemic. Peru had its first case on March 6th. As you know my wife is a doctor, so we talked about this subject for many days, and specifically how this would affect our ministry. After much praying and guidance, we both decided that our Bible studies and services should be done online.
Many of you might have known that our missionary friend Elaina, from San Francisco had planned to stay with us for three months. The plan was for Elaina to work three times a week with my wife at the Belen Orphanage, but the Lord changed all the plans.
On Friday March 13th, my wife couldn’t sleep. She felt that something drastic was going to happen. Through the night she got up to pray and ask the Lord for direction. That morning after asking a friend for prayer, this friend happened to have very viable information regarding the Lima airport. The President of Peru announced the shutting down of the airports on March 15th, but the Lord allowed us to know one day before this happened through our friend. Since we knew that the airports were going to be closed for a long time, and that we were going to be in quarantine, we decided that it would be best if Elaina went back home that same day. It is amazing how the Lord allowed us to have the right information just in time!
For us to know this information ahead of time, it even crossed our minds to go back home too. My wife and I decided after praying, to stay here in Banos del Inca, serving the Lord using online technology.
We also told the young couple living in our house, Anita and Jose, that because of these circumstances they should either go and live elsewhere or stay in quarantine with us. They made the decision to stay with us.
God has everything perfectly planned. Jose is a professional video editor and now we are having to do everything through the virtual world. He is also a great musician and helps with the translations of the services. I don’t know where we would be without Jose and Anita, they have been a tremendous blessing to our family. Please keep them in your prayers. Anita is 20 weeks pregnant now!
Sunday March 15th, was our first Sunday service online. I think it turned out really well! We are having more than 200 people watching our service every Sunday! Natalia is also doing the women’s bible studies on Mondays. Hundreds of women are watching and learning about Jesus through the online teachings. We don’t know what the Lord is going to do through this time, but is great to see that a lot of people that were not coming to church for whatever reason, are watching us online now. Natalia and I are very excited to see what the Lord is going to do even through this time of crisis.
We have been in strict military quarantine for 30 days now and we don’t know how long this is going to last.
Here is the most current situation in our country:
Airports and country borders are completely closed. No one is able to get in or out of the country. We are not allowed to leave the house after 5pm. The driving of cars is not permitted. We can only walk to get our groceries and that is only if needed. The only reason someone is allowed to leave the house is for buying groceries (if you are lucky to find them) or buying medicines. You can only go to work if you work in a hospital, supermarket or pharmacy. Military and policemen are patrolling the entire country. They are even putting people in jail if they do not abide by these rules. The punishment can even be up to 3 years in jail. Children are not allowed under any circumstances to leave their homes.
Here is what are we doing right now:
Natalia is encouraging the ladies from church daily through their WhatsApp group. She is also leading Zoom meetings for women’s discipleship class on Fridays and on Mondays teaching the women’s Bible study through the facebook live. Natalia continues homeschooling Alejandro through 7th grade and she just started Emily with Pre-K. Both of the kids are keeping her very busy!
John keeps doing the Sunday service online and also doing a Thursday night bible study on the Facebook page. He is leading prayer meetings through zoom with the whole church twice a week. On a weekly basis John makes phone calls to the members, to keep in touch with them. We have also started cooking classes online. Our goal is to keep our church encouraged and upbeat during this time of uncertainty.
- Safety is definitely our number one concern. We are worried that the longer this goes on stealing and physical harm might become an issue. I know that we are in the Lord’s hands and He will protect us.
- Natalia’s asthma has been getting worse this past month. Pray that her lungs get better and stronger. Breathing in this altitude doesn’t help either.
- Food Provision.
- Spiritual protection.
- For Natalia’s Immigration paperwork. To be able to travel back to the US in time for her future interview.
Posted in Uncategorized by Hope Douglass with .
Dear Family and Friends,
We are so excited to be back in Cajamarca, serving with the Refugio Church and running all the ministries. It was a big blessing having a furlough in the States, to see family and friends.
Here is a summary of what happened during our furlough:
We were able to speak with the Awana kids at Purpose Church, sharing about the Awana program we run here in Cajamarca. It left a big impression on our Awana kids when talked about the reality of the Peruvian kids that we work with. The Lord stirred their hearts. Many of the kids gave towards a special donation to our Peruvian kids to able to buy uniforms for their awana program. It was really amazing to see what godly and generous hearts the Purpose Awana kids have.
We had opportunities to talk in some of the Sunday school classes. The Church allowed us to host a dessert gathering in which we were able to show all the highlights of our ministry. It was so nice to see lots of our supporters, and we were blessed by the Mission team that came in July 2018, to come out and support us.
Through a missionary friend of ours that works here in Peru with us, we were able to get in contact with the Green Valley church in Placerville. The Church covered for all our travels, so that we could do an interview with them and talk to them about the work we are doing down here in Cajamarca. In the very near future they will send a mission team down to work with us. We are so excited to see what the Lord will do through this new relationship!
Last week we participated in a Pastor’s retreat with our mission agency pastors. It was so encouraging to remember that no matter what kind of spiritual warfare we may be going through or any hard times that we endure, we do all this for His glory! Being able to witness a person’s life transformed by the power of the gospel, is well worth it! Thank you all for your prayers and support. You are all big part of our team. We are so greatful and blessed to have you all as partners in this ministry.
Posted in Uncategorized by John Gunderson with .
Dear Family and friends,
I would like to thank everyone on behalf of my family for all your love and support. It has been a wild and crazy past few years here in Peru! God is doing something very special here. I know that I haven’t written in the past few months but I would like to highlight some of the exciting things that have been going on. I am sorry it has been a very busy time for us. I haven’t had the opportunity to put a letter together.
All the ministries that we have been doing are the same but God has been blessing each one with more people. This is just the highlights of what has been going on for the past few months besides the regular ministries.
August: it was such a thrill to have my parents and younger siblings Rebekah and Noah here with us. It was great to be able to show them what usually happens on a weekly basis among our family here on the mission field.
We had a mission team here from Purpose Church Pomona serving with us for two weeks! They helped us in doing a VBS and we had around 60 kids learning about Jesus. The group also ran a sports camp with around 50 kids and an English camp for all ages with around 60 people. It was a big blessing having Pastor Sham, Ana & Jim Powell, Ernie & Lori Perez, and Paula Lantz with us. On the last night, we had a celebration with all the children and their families.
September: We had Dr. Ryan and his wife Carrie come and join us for the weekend. Dr. Ryan is the head doctor at the Osborne Head and Neck Institution in Los Angeles. They came to search out Cajamarca, as they will be doing their next medical mission here. It will be great to have Dr. Ryan with us in March of 2019, as they will be operating on over 100 patients. He will bring a team with 30 members for a 10 day trip. We ask for prayers as for the best way to reach out to the families and also the doctors that will be coming down and doing the medical work.
October: what an exciting month for our Church. We went on our very first mission trip to a small city on the coast of Peru called Pacasmayo. It was great to see the Church come together in unity and help a church establish there. The women from both of the churches also had a nice tea party and Natalia was invited to teach to the ladies. This was a great opportunity for our church to step up and lead. We had 95% of our church members participating in this mission trip! It was 42 of us from Refugio Community Church. Here is some of what the team got to experience: cleaning the church before the inauguration, the tea party, baptisms at the ocean (2 people from each church got baptized) outreach at the boardwalk with our children’s ministry, two different dramas and a worship concert. Everyone had the opportunity to serve the Lord.
Women’s Retreat: The Ladies of our church had a wonderful weekend together as they celebrated in their annual ladies retreat. There were 26 women who showed up and enjoyed the nice weekend to encourage and to exhort one another. I want to brag on my wife for a second. I am so amazed by how gifted my wife is in the area of teaching. I heard great things about her teaching as she covered the whole book of Ephesians with the ladies. The theme of the retreat was butterflies. How we are new creatures in Christ, like the butterfly is new and a beautiful creation that comes from the gross, ugly caterpillar.
November: I know we just started this month but I wanted to share about our next big event. With Thanksgiving coming up and it being my favorite of all the holidays, I wanted to make sure we celebrated here in Peru. We will be having our first Thanksgiving meal together as a church. We already have people wanting to donate ingredients towards this special meal. What a blessing to see everyone working together.
We are very excited to announce that we will be coming home in December until the middle of January 2019. We look forward to seeing many of you! Keep an eye out in the church bulletin for a get-together with the Gundersons. At this luncheon, we will give you a larger debrief of all that has been going on this past year.
Blessings and Love to all,
John, Natalia, Alejandro and Emily
1. Health (physically and spiritually). Always one of the prayer requests. I can’t tell you how important prayer is for this.
2. Finish the year strong!
3. The upcoming year and all that will be going on. (Provision, prayer support, future of the Refugio church, the upcoming medical mission, the high-school team coming down for a short-term mission trip
4. Spiritual protection and wisdom to guide the church.
Posted in Uncategorized by John Gunderson with .
Dear Family and Friends,
We can’t thank you enough for all your love, prayer and support. It has been an amazing privilege to be able to serve here in Banos Del Inca, Peru. God is doing some amazing things in this part of Northern, Peru. Here is the latest of what has been going on in the ministry fronts and our home life.
A medical and dental team from Baltimore, Maryland came and worked with us. We were able to take this team to the Belen Girl’s Orphanage. This was an incredible opportunity for us to know the girls on a more personal level. Natalia broke into tears when she asked one of the girls about her life because of some of the issues she was having. At the age of 7 this young girl was sexually abused by her uncle and this happened for many years. She was able to finally escape from this family member and that is how she ended up at the orphanage. This is only one story of one the young girls, hearing story after story you will find that many have gone through the same type of situation.
Women’s Ministry: The ladies have been studying the book of Esther for the past few months. It is very exciting to share with you all that one of the young ladies, who we see as a future leader for the Church, has started to help Natalia with some of the teaching. It is very rewarding to see those who are maturing in the Faith, step out in Faith and start to use their spiritual gifts that God has given to them.
Awana: Oh my goodness, we are thrilled with these kids! They are learning so much about Jesus, memorizing Bible verses. The best part is that these 20 kids are consistent and committed! These kids are so sweet they just melt our hearts! We couldn’t be more grateful for this Awana program in our Church. We have so much fun playing the games, singing the music and watching all the kids learning from the Bible!
This past month, I was officially named as the pastor of the church. It has been extremely challenging and we have had to deal with a lot of spiritual attacks. We are blessed though because it’s an honor and a privilege to be a witness of men and women coming to know Jesus Christ and have their lives transformed!
Worship:Natalia continues serving on the worship team. For the next 3 months she will be leading worship while our worship pastor is away in Germany, serving with refugees. Please keep her in your prayers for strength and wisdom in the area of worship.
Medical Mission Team:
We worked along with a great group of ophthalmologists from John Hopkins. They performed 12 cataract surgeries. These operations took place in the local hospital and we were able to build good relationships with the doctors there. After having worked with the ophthalmologist from John Hopkins for a week the ophthalmology director of this hospital made a decision to follow Christ. There were 2 patients that particularly touched our hearts. One lady that loved Jesus, told us that she wants to be able to see so that she can read her Bible again. This brought tears to our eyes. It’s Interesting because she was one of the more difficult cases that the doctors had to handle. For a moment we thought she wasn’t going to be able to see at all! We were praying for her during the surgery and after it. The very next day her cornea wasn’t good, we thought she would need to go back to surgery to fix it, but we kept praying. Then on the second day after her operation her eyes worked perfect! It was a miracle! Even the doctor started jumping and yelling, “it’s a miracle!”
All of the patients that were being operated on were legally blind but now they can see! It was a privilege to be part of this team. They are even willing to come back next year and perform more operations.
Alejandro: Started regular school! This was an answer to prayers because he was very lonely and sad. We found a small Christian school that is only 10 minutes away from our house! He loves it and has already made some friends.
Emily: Is getting so big! She loves going to church with her favorite dress and loves giving sweet greetings to everybody that comes into the church! She is a future usher!
Natalia: Her liver is recovering slowly. It’s hard to have a special diet. She just recently got her permanent green card and had to travel on a short notice to the states to keep everything in line with her residency. I was so happy to have her back!
I am feeling more and more comfortable preaching. It’s very challenging but it has been a good challenge. I feel that the people are very responsive and are really starting to grow more in their faith. God is Good!
Posted in Uncategorized by John Gunderson with 9 comments.
Hello Friends and Family,
We wanted to give you an update of what has been going on here in Banos Del Inca in May. We will send a new one in the next few weeks showing the month of June and July.
- Belen Ministry: Along with our every other week visits we also did a few events with the Belen Orphanage.In May with the help of our church members and a good friend of ours from Lima we were able to throw a children’s festival for the girls.
- Women’s Ministry:
For Mother’s Day we had our first annual ladies tea party. It was a very blessed time for the women of our church and some friends from other local churches. All the women had never experienced a tea party before, so it was fun to see the big smiles on their faces. Natalia taught the story of Mary and Martha. How to put our priorities in order. Before anything, serving Jesus comes first. Natalia did a great job teaching to over 50 women.
We are thrilled to announce that we have officially started Awanas in Cajamarca. This is the first Awanas program here in this northern part of Peru. Natalia and I are now official Awanas international members as both missionaries and as a church. This will allow for us to start other Awanas Programs here in Peru. At our inauguration of Awanas we had 25 kids. It was a lot of fun! The staff loves Awanas just as much as the kids do. Most importantly it is so awesome to see the kids growing in Faith.
- Church news: Because of difficult circumstances among the leadership of the church, for the past month we have been placed in charge of the Refugio Community Church here in Banos del Inca. I am now preaching every Sunday. Natalia continues to be in charge of the women’s ministry and helping in the worship.
- Mission teams:
We had a youth group visit us from Baltimore. They came in May and we had the opportunity to go inside the public school to do evangelism. We shared the gospel to over 500 children and many of the school teachers. Praise the Lord, many of the children and a few of the teachers made a decision to follow Jesus!
- Other Announcements: We have hosted many missionaries and friends of missionaries in our home over the past couple Months. I don’t even know when was the last time we were only the 4 of us, lol. We had a baptism and a baby dedication! This was our first!
- Family news: Natalia continues dealing with her medical problems, but she is doing a good job of eating healthy, in fact all of us at the house are eating super healthy now! Emily continues growing into a beautiful little girl! She is so sweet and well mannered! Alejandro loves having people coming over to the house all the time! He is so friendly! John is being challenged to study more and more the word of God and keeps taking care of our different ministries along with the preaching on Sundays.
- Prayer Requests:
Posted in Uncategorized by John Gunderson with 5 comments.
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.
Posted in Uncategorized by John Gunderson with 2 comments.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Posted in Uncategorized by John Gunderson with 7 comments.
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!
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.
John, Natalia, Alejandro & Emily
Posted in Uncategorized by John Gunderson with .
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.
Posted in Uncategorized by John Gunderson with .