Hello friends and family!
We wrote to you last when we had just landed in Trujillo at the end of June. Since then, we’ve moved into a new place! We live in a nice neighborhood with a small park, a few small grocery stores, and pharmacies all within walking distance. And we’re not too far from the church and Bible institute.
In the short time that we’ve been here, we’ve been acclimating to the city and trying to learn as much as we can. We’re like babies in a world we’re not really used to. It’s been six years since Racquell and I have been in Peru! We have a lot to learn and relearn.
In this area, God has been speaking to me (Shilo) His words to Peter on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had just died on the cross, resurrected, and appeared to His disciples afterward. This instance specifically, He came to restore Peter and give him direct instruction on what he was to do after Jesus’ ascent. Before Jesus could even walk away, Peter was already asking about other people’s responsibilities. To this Jesus responded: “…what is that to you? You follow Me!” (John 21:22).
These words are actually painted on a wall here at church now. And I’m reminded when I look at them, yes, we are new here. Yes, I could be doing this thing, or that thing, instead of what I am doing. But rather than comparing myself to others, or questioning my own ministry and responsibilities, the words from Jesus to me are: “Shilo, You follow Me!” Friends I encourage you, God is calling you to the same thing, before anything else, Jesus says to YOU, “You follow Me!”
Racquell and I have gotten a lot of opportunities right away to serve here with Calvary Trujillo and Calvary Bible Institute Peru. They are both growing ministries, with great teams of leaders and helpers. And there is a lot of work to be done. Pray that the Lord of the harvest would send more laborers!
A main responsibility Racquell and I have here is hosting and planning for visiting teams and pastors. Since moving, we’ve had three teams of short term mission trips from the USA come to Calvary Trujillo. The first was from our sending church, Calvary Chapel Lihue, then a team from Calvary Chapel Modesto, California, and most recently a team from Calvary Chapel Dothan, Alabama. During their visits we got to serve together with kids festivals/outreaches, street-witnessing, a medical clinic, and construction projects here on campus. Each team was so special and we were blessed by their hard work, their encouragement, and their like-mindedness – they all came to serve, with the goal of obeying the Great Commission and seeing the name of Jesus lifted up in this city and all over the world.
In other news, our semester has started! Most of our students have arrived, and classes have begun. This is exciting as Racquell and I start our first semester with CBI Peru. We have students from the US, Italy, Columbia, Chile, Mexico, Honduras, Bolivia, Peru and Germany. Please pray as we work together this semester! That we would be of the same mind, and that we would walk in the Spirit. The theme this semester at CBI is “Commissioned.”
Our prayer also is for the students to realize their calling to Jesus’ commission (Matthew 28:18-20), not just here in Trujillo, but all over the world. We would love to see Calvary Chapels and Calvary Bible Institutes planted all over South America, and beyond.
Something a bit more personal that the Lord has encouraged us with recently is these words of Jesus to His disciples: “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life” (Matthew 19:29).
We’ve left a lot of these things to serve Jesus here in Perú. But we were reflecting as a couple recently, how many people have loved and cared for Amalia at the Bible College and church. Between students, staff and other new friends, our little girl is well loved.
The day after this conversation, another staff member from CBI was talking about what a blessing Amalia is to her. She has nieces around Amalia’s age who she misses, and she feels that as she’s given up time with them to serve the Lord, He has blessed her with a niece in Amalia. It brought tears to Racquell’s eyes as she got to share how much we already feel like family with everyone here, and know that Amalia is going to grow up so loved by the people around her these “tios” and “tias” in the faith. On top of her family in the States, who also love her so much!
Again, it costs to follow Jesus. But just yesterday we heard Pastor Drew McIntyre say, “It costs you today to follow Jesus. But it will cost you more later, if you choose not to follow Him.” Rather than thinking about other people’s responsibilities or circumstances…what’s it to ya? Jesus is simply calling us to follow Him.
Thank you for taking the time to read some of the things we’ve been doing since moving! It has been an adjustment, and it is tough at times, but friends, it is worth it to follow Jesus.
It is truly a joy to be here. We love the people, especially the family in Christ we have gained in living here. There’s a lot more to share than could fit on this short newsletter, but we can always be reached if you respond to this email, a phone call, through iMessage, Messenger or WhatsApp.
- Pray for our taxi drivers. We take at least two, sometimes up to five or six taxi rides a day between all of us. The drivers almost always ask us where we are from, and why we are here. Probably because Shilo has light skin and blue eyes. Plus we’re still awkward and new in terms of cultural stuff…and our Spanish isn’t great. But pray for their salvation! We share the gospel with or invite almost every single driver we’ve had to church. Some have really been interested. Eduardo is one who you can specifically pray for.
- Pray for the people of Trujillo, and South America in general.
- Pray for CBI and Calvary Trujillo! God is doing amazing things with the students and church. We could write a whole newsletter just on all the specific things going on here. You’ve just gotten a taste.
- Pray for our family’s health! Racquell and I have each gotten sick in one way or another about 4 times in the 8 weeks we’ve been here. Amalia has, too. Our bodies are adjusting, but the flu, strep throat, fevers, colds – can and have been just another thing that slows us down and distracts us.
- Pray for our visas – we are applying for a change from “Tourist” to “Religious.” It is a process, as you can imagine.
- Pray for our pastors, Cory, Jaime, and Joaquin, and the rest of the leadership here.
- Jesus is building His Church all over the world. Lives are being changed right here in Trujillo.
- We are learning things daily about Peruvian culture.
- God is working on our hearts. We’ve heard the call from Jesus to “Follow Me.” And by the grace of God, we are doing that.
We love you all so much and thank you for partnering with us. Through your prayers and generous financial support, you have made this ministry possible for us and we want to let you know that this is the fruit of your labor as well. If the Lord leads you to partner with us financially, or increase your already generous support, you can do so by clicking on the financial button below or mailing your support check to:
Saving Grace World Missions
Yorba Linda, CA 62886
*Note “Stratton” in memo*
To check out the ministry we are serving with, please click the link:
By the grace of Jesus and for His glory,
The Stratton Family