This group was a combination of construction, medical attention, children's programming and development. They purchased a transitional house in Belen (the slums of Iquitos) and began the first phase of construction work at Santa Thomas, our crisis foster care facility. The members of this group went above and beyond by impacting the lives of families and individuals on personal levels, including assistance in education, housing and crisis intervention. The facility purchased by this group is now our crisis foster care center. What an awesome team.
Pacific Press® Publishing Association (PPPA) in Nampa, Idaho, sent a team of 14 people to Iquitos, Peru, for two weeks in July. The group helped volunteers from the People of Peru Project renovate a piece of property for use as a Child Crisis Center.
The Child Crisis Center property was purchased by PPPA in January of this year and donated to the People of Peru Project—a nonprofit ministry run by Adventist Paul Opp. PPPA raised the funds to purchase and renovate the property through a golf tournament in May, which generated almost $17,000. The funds were also used to purchase literature to distribute to residents in Peru, as well as to help fund other needed renovation projects in Iquitos.
Chuck Bobst, PPPA vice president of production and coordinator for the Peru project, says the mission partnership between People of Peru Project and PPPA started through a personal connection Bobst had with Opp. “I had been praying for a way to get involved more directly in face-to-face mission work, both personally and as a part of the PPPA family. We are missionaries every day at Pacific Press, but we rarely see the face-to-face results. One Sabbath day, I was praying in church for a sign as to how to become involved, and Paul Opp came up to me and invited me to lunch to talk about his project. Because of the variety of needs and projects the People of Peru Project had, it became a perfect fit for a multitalented group to go and share their talents, as well as a great mission project for Pacific Press to get involved in,” says Bobst.
The Peru mission trip team members each raised money for their own travel expenses to Peru. In addition, Pacific Press donated $500 toward the expenses of each employee that went on the trip. The 14-person team consisted of Jacob Bindernagel, Robin Russell, Rudy Martinez, Dottie Chinchurreta, Alphid Florian, Rebecca Hilde, Melissa Shelly, Rhonda Weygandt, Ted Rickwa, Pat Rickwa, Sam Sullins, Marlene Sullins, Shirl Bobst and Chuck Bobst.
While in Peru, team members assisted with various renovation projects, helped medical teams, fed children, distributed clothing, handed out hygiene kits, and conducted health surveys to help the People of Peru Project determine the needs of local residents. In addition to humanitarian assistance, some team members were involved in nightly evangelistic meetings and a Vacation Bible School for children, as well as distributing the literature donated by PPPA. Many of the team members found it hard not to help everyone they met. “There is such a need there. They have so little,” says Rhonda Weygandt, Nampa Church member and an employee of PPPA. Weygandt helped feed children and build a fence around the Child Crisis Center. “It was amazing to see how God used us to accomplish His work. Through our actions and projects, we touched the lives of many people. God’s family has reaped the benefits through many new church attendees and one new baptism," says Weygandt.