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Laura-Lee Lovering

January 2024

Prayers Already Answered

Greetings friends,

Happy New Year and all that! Last week I had the pleasure of travelling to Lima, for the Peruvian Baptist Assembly and stayed the weekend for some recovery time. As usual, the event involves a lot of sitting down and reading verbatim of reports, but it's also the opportunity to catch-up with friends and acquaintances otherwise dispersed around the country, all the while enjoying the beautiful grounds of the Finca Bautista, equipped with football pitch and swimming pool. This year was also an election year for the Board and its Departments - for some this resulted in a relief from duties faithfully completed, for others the result was a relief to be able to continue. Do keep praying for the leadership of the Convención Evangélica Bautista del Perú as the dust settles, pray for God-given vision especially for those taking on new roles and God-given guidance for those carrying on.

In my last newsletter I spoke about the anticipated Natural Disaster Prevention Awareness training for the Piura Baptist Regional Association, which took place successfully on the 29th December. This was a BMS-sponsored event (thank-you!), initiated and delivered by the Social Action Department of the Regional Association. Given that the SA Department is essentially one person, Pr. Renxon Rodriguez Ruiz, I have been glad to be able to pitch-in in various ways. We have now organized a second event for the 16th February which will focus on the formation of Community Civil Defence Committees, which is our main goal as an Association. In theory, once we have set up our own Committee, registered and trained by the Civil Defence Office, the Association will have direct access to all sorts of prevention and relief resources provided free of charge by the Peruvian Government. Please pray for continued engagement by the churches for this second event that the right people from across the Association will be inspired to volunteer to be involved in the Association Committee. Please pray for the event itself as Pr. Renxon has warned me that he may be travelling outside the country on the 16th, in which case I'll be taking the lead. The good news is that we've not had significant rainfall so far and we're merely feeling the benefits of the above-average temperatures!

On a personal note, some of you will know that I celebrated a birthday a few days ago. The Baptist Assembly is always scheduled around about the same time, which also helps me mark off the years which I have been in Peru. It is indelibly fixed in my memory that when I first arrived here in January 2012, I arrived in time to come straight to the Assembly. This provided multiple shocks for me as this was the first Baptist Assembly I'd been to, ever. And then I celebrated my birthday. This year, after the Assembly finished I stayed on in Lima for what turned into a birthday weekend of different treats. This included the luxury of going to the cinema and watching an English-language film that wasn't dubbed into Spanish and meeting up with an ex-BMS Peru mission worker, spending the day strolling around Lima's CostaVerde and stopping to consume various tasty things at appropriate intervals. My birthday meal of choice was ceviche mixto, something I've taken quite a liking to since living in Piura. It's the perfect hot weather food (especially when living on/near the coast): consisting of lime-juice marinaded raw fish and seafood, it's cold but way more tasty and filling than salad. Later in the day we proceeded to offset any ceviche health benefits with ice cream and other desserts - thank-you Margaret!

For the month of February I have a goal of constructing the first eco stove for the church-community project at 'Km980'. Please keep praying for the eco stoves as I can already see God answering! I had hoped that a partnership with A Rocha Peru would mean we could borrow their eco stove expert to come and train a couple of willing men from Km980, saving us having to work it out for ourselves only using a written manual. Our last meeting revealed that this would not be possible and the best they could offer us was the construction manual and then technical evaluation once we had built some stoves ourselves. I was a little exasperated until I realised that the Lord had already led me to the ideal community to start in - the community that had witnessed eco stove projects in neighbouring villages but had missed out for lack of funding and/advocacy. But there were several men in Km980, husbands of the church women, who had tried building their own eco stoves based on what they'd seen but couldn't complete them for lack of resources - so we wouldn't be learning eco stove construction from zero at all.

The second answered prayer for the eco stoves came in the form of a carpintero metálico. Although most of the eco stove is constructed from simple, low cost materials like bricks and cement, it also requires some key metal components - the most key component is the cast iron hotplate which is the stove's cooking surface. I know a couple of welders from church but I knew this wasn't quite within their remit but I didn't know whose remit it was...until a little over a week ago when I was invited to visit the church-community of a second church interested in eco stoves. I was a bit reluctant to go as I was afraid it was a bit ambitious to start talking to church no. 2 when I was still wondering how to proceed with church no. 1. Whilst I was there the pastor's nephew arrived to consult on a little construction job he's doing at the church. Turns out this young man is a carpintero metálico who makes things like metal chimneys and hotplates...

Thank-you for your continued prayers and support for BMS and my work here in Peru, without which I know I couldn't be here. In this coming month I'm also teaching an online intensive course on Creation Stewardship Theology and Practice through the Trujillo Baptist Seminary for the first time and later in the month I'm travelling to Iquitos to be a speaker at a Christian leadership conference. So lots of good challenges ahead and your prayers for my effectiveness and spiritual sensitivity in each of these arenas is also much appreciated.

Every blessing to you all.

Love Laura x