A new chapter has begun in the story of Kids Alive Peru, which builds upon the previous chapters of faithfulness and fruitfulness. Mike Fietje, our long-time field director, has recently stepped down from this post. We greatly appreciate Mike and his wife, Diane, and their family, and we look forward to learning more about how God will lead them going forward. We also rejoice in the appointment of the next field director, Dan Anderson. Dan and his wife, Katie, along with their children, have been serving alongside of the Fietjes in Lima for years. Dan and Katie began by gathering a new leadership team for Kids Alive Peru for three days of meetings at our base in Pucallpa. This team consists of the site director couples from Lima, Andahuaylas, and Pucallpa. We are thrilled to see this group of Peruvian leaders step up to take more responsibility in the ministry, which we trust will increase the impact on the nearly five hundred children we serve throughout Peru.
A second group of interns arrived in June. Their presence has helped us in the ministry on many fronts, from working with the children to assisting with and serving alongside the three service teams that have come so far this summer from Illinois, Maine, and Arizona. The children in our programs really enjoy the special activities that occur with visiting teams, and they benefit long-term from the projects that these teams help contribute toward both financially and with their own manual labor and expertise. These teams helped to renovate important storage space for the Mission TEC Care Center, build a gazebo at the Orchard Children’s Home, and provide a facelift for the classrooms at the Care Center. A number of team members also became child sponsors, which greatly encourages the children (and sponsors alike!) and helps to sustain the holistic care that is provided by Kids Alive Peru.
The Mission TEC Care Center once again serves as host to the Calichines Youth Soccer Outreach for children from the surrounding communities. Our daughter, Rachel, has enjoyed playing on one of the 24 teams that compete in this tournament every Saturday evening. These events draw a few hundred people from the community for a lot of fun and “football.”
Rachel just turned nine-years-old on July 6! She has been so blessed with special friends here in Peru. She had a blast with the team of friends that gathered to help her celebrate, including the girls from the Orchard Children’s Home.
As a family, we have also been encouraged by the visits of friends and family. We are so glad that the Rittenhouse family included us in their itinerary of visiting different areas of Peru.
Shortly after their visit, we enjoyed an extended visit with Kristin’s brother’s family (Brent and Mandy and their children, Luke and Ben; along with Mandy’s niece, Kayla). Caleb and Jacob loved being with their cousins, and Rachel enjoyed having Aunt Mandy and Kayla around to give her some more playmates and special attention. For Kristin and Mark, their visit and fellowship provided timely encouragement and opportunities to connect with the surrounding community and relationships that have meant a lot to us here in Peru over the years. We all rejoiced at the growth in the ministry of Kids Alive that has occurred since their last visit three years ago.
We have enjoyed following this year’s World Cup from Russia. The entire community has been immersed in this experience. Peru played really well, though they did not advance beyond their three first-round matches. Still, they ended with a strong victory over Australia. Peru’s World Cup enthusiasm and national support caught the attention of many, prompting one German journalist of the Newspaper Bild to write the following after Peru’s exit from the world stage:
“The Peruvian team after 36 years returned to a world cup surprising with its good team play in its two games; they did not faint in their attempt to win demonstrating technique and honor. And it could not be otherwise having the greatest encouragement ever seen from their fans. The Peruvian fans enriched the tournament with their joy, their chants and unconditional support for their team, which persisted even after its elimination. As a sports journalist I can say that in all my life I have never seen anything like it; they have honored their country, both the national team and its wonderful fans. Believe me when I tell you that this is not the end, it is only the beginning, Peru has returned as never before in decades. Peruvians, be proud of your team, they have earned the right. We all want them to continue to enjoy their elegant football and their fans who have left us loving Peru. We will miss them; they are winners!”
Finally, an important member of our security team, our German Shepherd dog, Shadow, celebrated his second birthday with his three number one fans!
Thank you to all of you for remaining faithful members of our team here in Peru with Kids Alive, and remember that we count it a privilege to be part of your team in all the places where you serve!
Mark, Kristin, Caleb, Jacob, and Rachel
Discipleship and Development, Kids Alive Peru
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