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Youth Trip to Peru

Youth Trip to Peru
The Value of Another Perspective

Most people have had the experience of driving down the road and having a passenger exclaim, “Watch out!” In that moment it is terribly tempting to get frustrated at the gasping passenger.  Some people, perhaps even a person on staff with a youth ministry, get defensive and want to suddenly prove that she does not need help with anything ever and that she has all things under control at all times.

But the truth in that moment is that the passenger exclaims because she has a different perspective and could see a danger that the driver could not see.  The passenger speaks out in love and care, willing to take whatever response gets lashed out at her in order to bring helpful information to light. 

Often the Lord uses others to bring light to the darkness in our lives.  Such is the case for many of the students and adults who have gone on the youth trip to Peru.  The students and adults alike have expressed the honored blessing they have received from being exposed to a perspective different from their own.  They have communicated what a privilege it is to hear of God’s love and care in the lives of people no matter the circumstance.

The Southwood Peru team will travel again next summer to the mountains of Peru in order to serve and build relationships with boys who live at a group home.  The boys have fewer material possessions than the Southwood team and are living in the home because of difficult family situations.  The Southwood team has consistently found that they end up being served by the boys much more than they serve.  With their limited resources, the boys overwhelm the team with a welcoming spirit and concern for the American team’s wellbeing.  They long to share God’s blessings with the team, both material and spiritual.  Over campfires and the brightly starlit nights, the boys have been willing to share with the team how they have seen the Lord’s faithful work in their lives.

What a humbling experience to be reminded that God is a faithful God when times are hard and when times are easy, when the harvest is plentiful and when one’s soul feels in drought.  There is a deep and rich advantage in spending a week with these boys who long to share their stories of God’s strong refuge in their lives. One cannot help but walk away humbled by their stories and service and reminded of ways in which the believer often seeks things other than God.  What a beautiful reminder to consider the cross and its central importance in all of our lives.

When the Lord uses another person and their viewpoint to reveal your need for him, what is your response? How often do you intentionally engage a person who has a different point of view from your own? Consider asking a Peru team member whom you have sent how seeing a different perspective has impacted their understanding of God. Here are two of their answers.

“When I was in Peru, one difference I noticed was how important “family” was. In church, I would usually hear the phrase “brothers and sisters in Christ,” and in Kusi that seemed to have a much stronger meaning than I had ever thought about. It was great to be able to take my Peru experiences and apply them in my life as I met new people and started building relationships after moving to college. I also feel that it strengthened my relationship in Christ because I got to witness how blessed I was in my life, and how He wants me to treat everyone I meet the same way I was treated in Peru—like family.” 
—Michael Moultrie

“Going to Peru showed me just how much of a little “Christian bubble” I had grown up in.  God’s love for His people isn’t affected by skin color, language or social status.  Despite the few material items they have, they considered themselves abundantly blessed by God.  They don’t view the circumstances they have been placed in as something negative.  God’s love for them is worth so much more than money or materialistic things.  My biggest takeaways from the Peru trip would be to find joy in all situations and to look past differences because Christ loves us all the same.” 
—Mary Morgan Plott