The final day has now arrived. There is a sense of urgency in the air as I realize these are the final hours that I will have to spend with the team that I have come to appreciate and love very much.

Being the last day I gave our last team devotion, in which I encouraged everyone to continue ministering to people in need and be a witness back home in their own communities. I also warned them of how, after having such a spiritually uplifting three weeks and becoming so close with each other, it would be hard to adjust back to normal life at home. You go through a time of missing the “family.” It was good and sad giving the last devotional that morning.

After we had finished devotions we had a busy time of packing – trying to see how much of the craft materials could be stuffed into the bags of everyone going back to California. All the craft supplies were kept in Charlie’s and my room so you can imagine it was a busy place. Once we had packed everything we went downstairs to eat at the restaurant in the hotel. (My last chance to help everyone finish their leftovers!)

peru-part-4-141We were going to be sprinting to the finish tonight because we have our final evening at the family conference. Since we were conducting the children’s seminar and youth sessions simultaneously it was great that the team always did such an amazing job with stepping in and picking up the slack when Elizabeth or I weren’t able to be there. The youth at the conference were a pleasure to encourage. They were very attentive and seemed to really grasp the concepts we were teaching.

p1130510Right after the conference we headed straight to the airport. We had another long night ahead of us. After saying all of our goodbyes to everyone we made a dash for the bus (autobus) and drove to the airport (aeropuerto). We checked our luggage and had our final meal of Papa Johns pizza. We then boarded the plane for home.

Our time in Peru had now officially ended. I savored every moment that we had together. As I reminisce over all that has transpired over the past few weeks, from childrens’ seminars to the trials we have faced, I have seen God’s hand at work each step of the way. His goodness to us has abounded in every circumstance and trial. We have faced disappointment when ministry plans were canceled and endured discouragement and heaviness having ill team members, even some serious emergency room experiences. Yet God, through it all, has shown Himself strong in our weakness. One of the highlights of the trip for me was when we were all feeling really discouraged and God led me to read II Cor. 4. It was intended for us that night. It spoke to me with such meaning and gave me so much encouragement that night in the upper room (top floor in the gym). God is good!

team-pictureSometimes I wonder who is really being ministered to: the people we go to serve or us. Our faith was built up as God showed us His awesome power at every turn. It was with sadness that I had to say goodbye to the most wonderful team I have ever led. Okay! The only team I have ever led. Wonderful none the less. The friendships that were built and memories that were made are great. Yet even greater is the fruit that we saw God give as we labored together for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom. Those are the lasting treasures we shall forever cherish in this life and in the life to come. Eternal reward that will never go away.

May all the team who are now back at home continue in the spirit in which they so diligently labored for the three wonderful weeks we shared in Peru. To the team: I saw Jesus in you. Allow Him to keep permeating every facet of your lives. Love Him wholeheartedly. Te quiero! Vive para Jesus! Que Dios te bendiga.

En Jesucristo,
Esteban, Stever, Daddy, Friend

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The Lord really worked in the hearts of the teens over the duration of the family conference. Pray that they remain strong in the Lord!

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Elizabeth hanging out with the kids in between giving sessions to the teens.

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We are going to miss the people from that church!

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Taking a final drink of Inca Cola before leaving the country!

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PS – Thanks to all of you who prayed for us. Your prayers made a difference and we are eternally grateful.

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