Happy New Year! It seems like the holidays were awhile ago now that we are all back into our regular routines. I pray you all had a wonderful December celebrating the holiday season with family and friends but most importantly remembering the greatest gift we can ever receive, salvation through Jesus Christ! We are so thankful for all your prayers and support in this last year!
Starting in January, I have started working full time at Sanctuary RV for this busy winter season and am trying to figure out my new schedule. December was a whirlwind between our trip to Peru, back for a week recovering, and then finally we flew to KS to celebrate the holidays with our families for the last 10 days of December.
I want to take this post to fill you all in about our trip to Peru December 5th-13th. We had an amazing time with Craig and Daisy Tippie and their precious church family. The most impactful thing that has stuck with me from this trip, is the way their church truly resembled the body of Christ. In our time there, we gathered with the church members, fellowshipped and worshiped the Lord at least 5 of the 8 nights. It was such an incredible example to us! On mission trips, we always go with the intention of serving and blessing the missionaries and community there, but every time we end up leaving so blessed through the amazing people we meet.
Our group of 5 arrived in Lima, Peru late on Saturday night then drove 3 hours to Huacho and got to bed around 2am. Then Sunday morning, Dec. 6th, we got up and went to church. Craig, the missionary, had our 2 interns, Josh and Theo, share their testimonies and then Ethan brought a short sermon while our other team member, Chris translated.
Some shots of Huacho, Peru. It is very dry there and possibly rains a couple times a year. Huacho has a population of around 55,000 people is about 3 hours north of Peru’s humongous capital city Lima.
On Monday, we got right to work on our project for the week. We repainted in the church, cleaned, and built a wooden backdrop for the stage area. It took all of us to accomplish this project in just a couple days.
In the evenings, we would go over to the skate park to invite the kids and community to come out for the different events we had going on that week. Our various events included a 2 day surf camp, movie night at the church, and Wednesday and Friday night services. The response we had from the BMXers and skaters at the park was pretty incredible. That first night, we had at least 5 kids from the skate park come on their own to the church. We showed The Purpose film, an action sports gospel film Ride Nature produced a couple of years ago, gave them popcorn and shared a message with them. From that day on, several of the kids from the park began coming to everything we invited them to and by the end of the week one kid asked how he could commit his life to Jesus!
Like I mentioned earlier, we offered a surf camp for 2 afternoons during the trip. Even though Huacho is coastal, many of the locals don’t know how or have ever gotten the chance to surf because they don’t have access to a board or wetsuit. We packed up two cars and headed out on the dusty bumpy road to Pastor Craig’s favorite spot to surf. While out there, we caught some waves, had great fellowship and ended our days with a group bible study. While out there, we were also able to witness to some of the local surfers who frequent that beach.
Our team, Chris, Theo, Josh, myself and Ethan, taking a short break in between surf sessions (I did not surf).
Another sweet highlight of the trip, was that the church members threw Ethan and I a surprise baby shower. The ladies spent all day decorating, preparing food, making a beautiful cake, and planning games. We felt so loved and cherished as they prayed a blessing over our growing family.
On our last day, we held a skate and BMX contest/outreach. One woman at the church volunteers weekly at a local orphanage, so she was able to bring down a group of orphans for face painting and skateboard lessons. Also, I was able to walk around with a couple girls inviting people to the church and sharing the gospel. I was so challenged by this young lady’s boldness and heart to reach her local community.
There are so many other awesome things that happened but there is just not enough room to share them all with you. However, major highlights of the trip include: all the sweet fellowship with the church members, seeing growth and attendance by numerous skaters and BMXers at the church, riding in the local mini taxis, seeing some ancient ruins, a trip to the market and all the awesome relationships we built.
Please keep Craig, Daisy, and Calvary Chapel Huacho in your prayers. We pray that all the seeds planted take root and that leaders in the church continue to rise up and stay consistent in weekly skate park outreach. Also, be praying for the vision of a “House of Ride Nature” coffee/surf shop to serve as a light and bridge to the community.
January has been a busy month with many ministry transitions along with my transition into working full-time as the activities coordinator for this season at the RV park. Since I have been out of the RN office, except Mondays, Ethan has been going in 5 days a week. As I said, Ride Nature has also been transitioning as we had to say goodbye to a few team members at the end of the year and last week we welcomed in a new staff and intern.
- We have a staff member in Ethiopia right now finishing up a film project Ride Nature has been working on for the last year. The film Megabi will come out some time later this year. http://www.megabifilm.com
- Ethan and a group of 5 other guys are headed out to Haiti on Thursday, 1/28, for a vision casting mission trip until the 1st. Please be praying that the Lord opens doors and uses them for future ministry opportunities.
- Be praying for our summer trip schedule and that the Lord would orchestrate the details of all the trips and who He would have go on them. We don’t want to have to be the one recruiting and convincing people to come but that the Lord would be working in their hearts.
- Ride Nature is still looking for a building and expanded our search up to Ft. Myers. This isn’t a step the ministry would want to take unless the Lord blessed our move up there.
- Please keep Ethan and I in your prayers as we are still trying to figure out another housing option. We are open to renting but rent under $1000 a month in this area is almost unheard of. We are praying that the Lord opens up another door that only He can and we can give Him all the glory!
***Praise Report!! We found out on January 5th that we will be having a baby boy at the end of May! I have still been feeling great and have had perfect checkups!
I will leave you with a picture I took a few weeks ago at our Monday morning bible study on the beach. We are so blessed that one of our staff members is a gifted worship leader so we are able to worship on the beach together each week. It it so incredible to be in God’s creation, see it, feel it, and hear it while worshiping the maker of it all!
We pray blessings over your family in 2016 and that we all will get to witness God’s great work this year! From us in Florida, stay warm! 😉
In Christ’s love,
Ethan and Sandra