Latest Event Updates

Occupy ’til He Comes

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Occupy ’til He Comes

May 1, 2024

Hello from Peru!

   It has been said, “Time stops for no man” and “All we can do is make the most of the time we have”. These statements ring true as we stay busy and try to use our time wisely until HE comes. We hope you enjoy our update.

   One of our former supporting pastors has been a missionary himself for the past few years and has started his own mission agency. Missionary Steve Harper, his wife, and two ladies from Venezuela and Costa Rica visited in March for a few days to present a ladies’ conference. We had a great time and look forward to partnering with them again in October for a three-day teachers’ training session for the ladies and another one-day conference.

   Darren and Rachel Townsend, the new missionary couple who will be working with us, also came in March for a three week visit and survey trip. Please pray for them as they await the birth of their first child in June and plan to move to Peru by the end of the year. While here, they both participated in our outreach program, Rachel helped with the children’s SS class, and Darren preached at our newest church, Ancla. Darren plays the banjo which was a treat in the church for those listening and great for me (Don) to have someone to “pick and grin”/minister with. He also brought a devotional for a youth outing for our first church, Calvario.

   The youth outing took place at a lake in the mountains about an hour away. Our group of twenty-five, including adults, had a great time playing volleyball, soccer, tug-of-war, sharing a picnic lunch, and fellowship around the Word of God.

   The second week of April, Pastor José and I were invited to visit and speak to a large group of public-school kids and their teachers and give each of them a John/Romans booklet to take home. After the morning session, we were to return that afternoon and speak to the other half of their students. Sadly, it was cancelled by rain. But each of those students were given a John/Romans booklet also. In all, we gave out around 940 booklets. We are confident that HIS Word will not return void.

   We are very busy planning an international Bible conference for September of this year. We already have commitments from missionaries and pastors from Peru, the US, Mexico, Chile, and Colombia. We are still waiting for confirmation from others who have been invited from Ecuador, Bolivia, and Argentina.

   Bro. Jim Fellure of Victory Baptist Press contacted me to say that it would “take a miracle” but they are going to try to have another shipment of Bibles delivered to us in time for our conference. What a blessing that would be! Please pray that, with God’s help, they will be able to accomplish this.

   Pastor Juan Carlos’ twelve-year old son, Juan Daniel, had to have emergency appendix surgery recently. He was at first incorrectly diagnosed with typhoid and sent home with meds. When he worsened overnight, they did a new set of tests and discovered the diseased appendix. God has blessed and he is recuperating very well.

  Great news concerning the legal case in Ecuador! On April 25th, the Ecuadorian attorney informed me that the case has now been annulled!  Thank you for your prayers.  It is a blessing to know this door is once again open. 

   We praise the Lord for 2 more saved at our Calvario church, a young lady and a young man, ages 21 and 26.

   We have placed four new photo albums on our website. See what God is doing here in Peru! And as always, we want to say thank you for your prayers and support of our ministry. May God bless each of you!

Serving Him for you in Peru,

Don & Carla Rich

 

 

Baffled Doctors, Saved Souls, & Lawyers

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Baffled Doctors, Saved Souls, & Lawyers

March 1, 2024

Hello from Peru!

   Yes, I said Peru. It seemed like the medical tests would never end, but we are finally back in Cajamarca. To bring everyone up to date, after the battery of medical tests that I mentioned in our last prayer letter, I had appointments and tests with an ENT doctor, then was sent to a neurologist. The neurologist sent me for a spinal tap and more blood work. In the end, all results were in normal ranges. That is a blessing to know, and we are praising God. That said, the symptoms continue. With all the doctors baffled and nothing pinpointed, it was time to return and get back to work. We are glad to be back and have hit the ground running.

   There is always ministry to be done wherever we find ourselves. While in the US, between doctor visits and tests we were busy in our home church. We enjoyed being involved in visitation, singing in the choir, teaching Sunday School, and preaching. Carla and I were also asked to sing at an elderly care facility where one of our church members lives. We put together a small group from our church and presented a program of music and gifts on Valentine’s Day. What a great time we had sharing scripture and singing hymns with the majority of the residents and workers there. The residents blessed us by their smiles and participation in singing and praising the Lord.

   Upon returning to Peru, we settled in and began preparations for some visitors coming soon. We will share more about them in our next letter. We also will be hosting new missionaries Darren and Rachel Townsend for a few weeks. They plan to move to Peru later this year after the birth of their baby girl. Please be in prayer for them as they prepare for this blessing and for the transition to Peru.

   In February our church, ‘Calvario’, had a five-day VBS with great attendance and 28 decisions for Christ that are being followed up on. Those making decisions ranged from 10-16 years of age. During a youth service recently, another young lady also accepted Christ as her Savior.

   Our newest church, ‘Ancla’, is doing well. We have had one more saved in this church since our last letter. Now that we are back in Peru, we look forward to knocking on doors and doing all we can to help build up this new church. Please pray that we will see much fruit for our labor.

   Back in November we wrote of a problem we experienced in entering Ecuador to deliver Bibles in October. Since then, we have been working to resolve it. As mentioned before, it stemmed from a simple piece of paper that was not entered into their system back in 2015, although I had completed all paperwork. The saga continues. In December of ’23, we received an official letter from customs officials stating that the fine, including eight years of penalties would be over $22,000. Yep, you read that right. Ridiculous, huh? In those eight years I was never notified that there was a supposed “infraction”. We contacted a group of lawyers in Ecuador who stated that this was just a “corrupt and abusive” government that is trying to get money from foreigners. They stated that the way it was handled was a violation of my rights as a foreigner in the country. The lawyers and I have been submitting documentation and should hear back in the first part of March with a decision. Please continue to pray that this will be resolved to our favor. We do not want the actions of a corrupt government to keep us from personally ministering in the future where several doors are open.

   There is a photo album of the VBS on our website, rich2peru.com. Take a look and see how God is blessing!

   As always, we would like to thank you for your faithful prayers and support of our ministry here in Peru. May God bless each of you!

 

Serving Him for you in Peru,

Don & Carla Rich

 

 

“Rich” Blessings

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“Rich” Blessings

January 1, 2024

Hello from the “Rich” missionaries!

   Many churches introduce us as the “Rich” missionaries when we report on furloughs. And we are truly rich in God’s blessings. Our heavenly Father owns the cattle upon a thousand hills, and the hills under their hooves. Everything belongs to Him, and we are only stewards of his ‘richness’.

   Carla and I pray that you all had a wonderful Christmas and that you will all have a blessed 2024. Time is passing quickly. Christ’s return is closer than ever and there is plenty of work to do before that glorious day.

   One of the rich blessings that we are so undeserving of is how our faithful supporters responded to the Christmas Kids program this year. Because of your generosity we were able to bless around 1200 children, divided between two local schools and our churches. Each of our churches did a great job of planning and executing a program at the school near them with music, drama teams, tracts, snacks, gifts, and the Gospel preached. What a blessing it was to see them successfully handle such a big project. We were like proud parents as we received updates and photos of their work. It broke our hearts that we could not be there. But God blessed us with some faithful hardworking pastors and members in each of our churches who stepped up to the challenge. Calvario has already had six visitors to the church since visiting the school. Our other church, Ancla, has had three families visit after the program. The rewards of their labors are a great testament to their faithfulness.

   In reading this you may be wondering why we weren’t there with them, so let us bring you up to speed. At the end of October, Carla and I had routine physicals done while we were in the US briefly for two conferences in TX. I (Don) mentioned to my doctor that I had been feeling fatigued and light-headed for several months. He sent me to get a CT heart scan. We had the scan done, then returned to Peru. A week and a half later the results came in and my doctor called and wanted me to return to the US to “run more tests”. So, we had a meeting with our Peruvian pastors and gave them instructions as to how we wanted them to handle the Christmas programs. The next morning we left and, as we said above, they did a great job. Since returning to the US, I have had six more medical tests, including a stress test and a heart catheterization. They have also changed my BP meds at least five times. So far, no significant problem has been found but the symptoms continue. We are still awaiting the results of one test. We’ve had to change our return tickets once already. Our plans now are to return to Peru on January 17, barring no further testing. We are still praying for answers and your prayers are appreciated.

   In between doctor visits and the battery of medical tests, we have been enjoying time with family and our home church. Our SS teacher came down with Covid, so I’ve had the privilege of teaching the class for a few weeks in his absence. I also preached one Sunday night recently.

   Calvario (our first church) had a youth outreach dinner in November with a great attendance. They had nine young people make professions of faith that day! Three other individuals have also been saved recently, bringing the total to twelve since our last letter. And, just last week four adults were baptized in our church!

   Our newest church, Ancla, has continued to see new visitors and good services. For Christmas the building was full, with around 30 in attendance!

   We have placed more photo albums on our website, rich2peru.com. Take a look at how God is blessing!

   Carla and I would like to thank you for your faithful prayers and support of what God is doing in Peru. May God “richly” bless you all!

Serving Him for you in Peru,

Don & Carla Rich

 

New Work is Open!

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New Work is Open!

November 1, 2023

Greetings to you all,

   On September 3rd we had our first Sunday morning service at our new church, Iglesia Bautista Ancla (Anchor Baptist). The Saturday before, a group from our first church (Calvario) and others came to evangelize and invite those in the neighborhood. We had a great first day and have seen visitors in almost every service! On October 1st we added Sunday evening services and Wednesdays and they have been well attended. Please help us pray that this work will continue to grow and reach many with the Gospel.

   In mid-September Carla and I had some special guests. Moriah is the daughter of a former missionary whose family is very dear to us. They left Peru to serve in another ministry in 2014. We have known Moriah since she was two years old. Fast forward many years, I was privileged to be a part of her wedding ceremony a little over a year ago. To celebrate their first anniversary, Moriah wanted to come to Peru to show her husband Abe where she grew up. We had a great time that brought back many precious memories.

   In October we sent a note to those on our email list about our special Christmas Kids ministry. Once again, we plan to show the love of Christ by sharing Christmas gifts and snacks with the poorer children in our area. Last year we were able to distribute around five hundred fifty gifts to three different areas plus immigrant street children because of the help of our supporters. I grew my white beard out to a jolly length and used the opportunity to share a tract I created that says, “I am NOT Santa”. The inside of the tract continues… “But I know Someone who gave the best Gift!” The beard may not be as long now, but I still get stared at by children. It is just a perk to being a white-haired bearded gringo in a black hair and dark-skinned society. Mrs. “Not Santa” (my sweet wife Carla) and I get a lot of attention from children, especially around Christmas. This year we will be adding the kids around our new church to the groups we will reach. It is a big area with many poor families. If you would like to be a blessing to the children this year, please send the support to Central Missionary Clearinghouse with a note that it is for “Kids’ Gifts”.

   In our last letter we shared about delivering Bibles into Ecuador. We were able to get the Bibles to the missionaries at the border, but we were not able to travel further into the country ourselves. The system at customs showed that a required vehicle document was not received back in 2015 when we were there, and we would have to rectify that before entering. The error was found as they were “reviewing” their system. I wrote a letter that day explaining that the document had been presented and was apparently not entered into the system or the system was down that day. Interesting enough, the system was down for over an hour and a half when we were there in August. One month later I received an email that they needed more information and that it would have to be presented “in person” at the border. So, Carla and I made a four-day round trip drive to drop off the paperwork (total of 1 minute). Now we wait for a response again. How do you “prove” that a document was presented eight years ago if the document is missing and not in their system? Please pray that we will receive a positive response to rectify the situation. I have several opportunities to preach and teach in Ecuador and would also like to introduce our new missionary family to our Bible ministry outreach there.

PTL, we’ve had four more saved recently in our Cajamarca “Calvario” church! God continues to bless!

Bible Distribution Ministry Update – In less than three months the 23,338 Bibles and 120,000 tracts have all been distributed or promised. We were able to get them into at least four countries this year. And we continue to receive more requests. We give thanks first to God, then Victory Baptist Press and the Conversion Center for these blessings. We pray and trust that many souls will be reached and taught through the distribution of His Word. Isaiah 55:11

   Take a look at the new photos on our website (rich2peru.com)! May God continue to bless each of you for your faithfulness in prayers and support to our ministry.

Don & Carla Rich

 

 

Never A Dull Moment!

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NEVER A DULL MOMENT!

September 1, 2023

Hello from Cajamarca,

   In July, Carla and I celebrated 20 years as missionaries in Peru! We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate this milestone than to have a mission conference in the first church we established. Just like life as a missionary the conference planning was not without its challenges. We invited two missionaries that our church supports to give updates and preach. We also planned on Darren Townsend, the new missionary coming to help us, to preach one service. Well, one missionary got dengue fever. The other’s wife had medical problems so he couldn’t leave her. And Darren’s wife still didn’t have her passport so they couldn’t make it. We quickly realized that God had a different plan. I preached on Friday and Sunday. Missionary friends Stacy Dassow and his wife Jennifer were coming to celebrate with us, and I had asked him to be prepared just in case. It was a blessing to have him preach on Saturday and again on Sunday. We also had our dear friends Jesús and Tracy and their son George come to celebrate with us. You may remember them as the family we asked prayer for when they were going through a long and tedious adoption process here in Peru. Another special person in attendance was a man I led to the Lord when he was 74 years old. Salvador is now 92! What a great week of celebration and remembering what God has done in these past 20 years!

   Speaking of celebrations, our first church (Calvario) celebrated its eighteenth anniversary on August 14. We had a great attendance in each service, including Sunday when there were around 240 in attendance! A man I have been inviting to our church for almost the entire 18 years finally visited with his family. God has truly blessed this work. It is very humbling to think back on how He guided us to this area of Peru and then helped us plant this church right after we finished language studies. It is all to His glory.

   Back in May we wrote about joining with a small group to help them establish a church. On July 9 we formalized the work as Iglesia Bautista Verbo de Dios (Word of God Baptist) and celebrated its first anniversary since they started meeting together. A few weeks later a group from our first church came to help evangelize and invite those in the area to visit the church. We have already begun seeing some growth and have seen six professions of faith in that work. Please pray that we will continue to see fruit for our labor.

   In our July letter we wrote that we were praying and looking for a location to begin our fourth church plant. On July 18 we signed a rental contract on a building in the area we had chosen for the new work. The first services for Iglesia Bautista Ancla (Anchor Baptist) are scheduled for this Sunday, September 3. This building was formerly used as a bakery. It will now be used to serve the Bread of Life! Please continue to pray for this newest work to be established and that we will reach many with the Gospel through it.

Bible Distribution Ministry Update – The container of Bibles and tracts arrived in Cajamarca the exact day that we were celebrating 20 yrs in Peru and many of our church family helped unload them into our facility. Distribution began immediately and in just six weeks all the tracts and most of the Bibles have been distributed or promised and set aside for delivery.

   We were blessed to have Worth and Ken, dear friends of our ministry, come to travel with me (Don) to make Bible deliveries into Ecuador and to the jungle river port of Yurimaguas. New missionary Darren Townsend was able to fly in also to help with these trips. At the river port we placed many cases of Bibles on a barge to send to pastors in the Amazon region of Peru. We traveled for a total of eleven days and delivered over 3800 Bibles.

Update: New missionaries Darren and Rachel Townsend finally received Rachel’s passport. She recently had some medical issues arise and are waiting for a doctor’s clearance to be able to move to Peru. Please keep them in your prayers. They want to be here a.s.a.p., and we are looking forward to having them here.

Take a look at the seven new photo albums on our website (rich2peru.com)! May God continue to bless each of you for your faithfulness in prayers and support.

Don & Carla Rich

 

Sad Ending Leads to a New Beginning!

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Sad Ending Leads to a New Beginning!

July 1, 2023

Greetings to everyone from Cajamarca, Peru,

   Many of you have been praying with us about our church on the coast of Peru in the city of Guadalupe. It has been suffering for over two years. The Covid pandemic sadly revealed the true faithfulness of the people there just as it did in many other churches both here and in the US. The Guadalupe work continued to decline after much effort to help it revive. After ministering there for six and a half years, with much prayer and searching for God’s will, we felt it was time to close the work. But this sad ending has opened the opportunity for a new beginning. The first week of June we moved Pastor Juan Carlos and his family back to our area in the mountains and will be starting another work a couple of miles from our first church. Its name will be Iglesia Bautista Ancla (Anchor Baptist Church). If you remember from our last letter, we have also recently begun working with another national pastor to build up a church on the other side of our city. Having all three of our works spread strategically across our valley will allow us to work together for the common goal of reaching Cajamarca for Christ. We have a rented building for the second work and are seeking the third location now. Please pray that God would grant us wisdom, provide the funds needed, and open the necessary doors.

   We have some other news to share. Our permanent/immigration visas were finally approved, and we picked them up from the immigration office in Lima on May 22! Thank you for your prayers as we were going through that process. This now frees us up to be able to cross borders more frequently to deliver Bibles, preach and teach, and to have the needed time for furloughs instead of the limitations we had before.

   In May, the youth of our church, Calvario (Calvary) did a great job setting up a day of celebration for Mother’s Day. It included special music by the different age groups, scripture reading, a drama, preaching, and gifts for the mothers. We posted a photo album on our website of the event. We are proud that the youth of this church have begun to grow and become more involved. In one of the recent youth meetings a young man 18 years old was saved.

   Another milestone… Recently the new pastor we are working with asked the small group how many years each one of them had been saved. It dawned on me that I was completing 50 years as a born-again believer! On June 3, 1973, at the age of 14, at Rocky Branch Baptist Church in Woodland, AL I accepted Christ as my Savior. I was baptized two weeks later. I still remember the spider that was floating in the baptistry! Although I haven’t always been faithful, I praise the Lord that He has. As the years have passed, Psalm 71:18 has become one of my favorite life verses. There is still much work to do, and I want to be found faithful.

   Please be in prayer for the new missionary couple who are coming to work with us as they begin their missionary journey. Darren and Rachel Townsend are planning on being here by July 10th, Lord willing. This will depend on Rachel receiving her passport updated with her married name. We are praying that they will make it in time for a special event. Carla and I will be celebrating 20 years on the mission field on July 15th! We’ll share the details of the celebration in our next prayer letter. Stay tuned!

Bible Distribution Ministry Update – As I am writing, the container of 23,338 Bibles and 100,000 gospel tracts has made its way through the Panama Canal and is on its way to Lima, Peru! It is scheduled to arrive on July 4. There it will pass through customs. Then it will be trucked to us here in the mountains. Please pray that all goes smoothly.

Thank you so much for reading our updates and praying for us. May God continue to bless each of you for your faithfulness in prayers and support.

Don & Carla Rich

 

 

 

The Calm After the Storm and a New Work!

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The Calm After the Storm and a New Work!

May 1, 2023

Hola desde el Perú (hello from Peru),

In the past two months we have experienced flooding in the northern areas of Peru caused by a cyclone in the ocean off the coast. The desert coast of Peru normally receives an inch or less of rain per year, so it was not prepared for the heavy rains that it received. This caused many homes to be destroyed, bridges collapsed, roads washed away, and many mud/rockslides in the mountains. There were reported to have been at least 59 killed and several missing because of the flooding. If that wasn’t bad enough, the El Niño phenomenon came in behind the hurricane because of warm waters off the coast, causing more heavy rains and flooding and increasing the damage. We had to postpone trips to our coastal work several times because of road closures and dangerous conditions. PTL we were able to visit once the weather calmed down.

The political rioting has all but ceased in the country with no real change having occurred after much destruction and many dying in the violent uprisings. Back in March, a small troop of Peruvian military was attacked by a group of between 800-900 protesters in the southern part of the country. They forced the soldiers to retreat while throwing rocks and physically attacking them. At least five soldiers drowned as they tried to cross a river to avoid the mob. The soldiers were there to try to maintain peace and order in this hot spot of the protests. Please pray that the calm that we are experiencing now will continue.

On a different political front: Peru’s former president Alejandro Toledo was recently extradited from the US where he had fled and had been avoiding prosecution for corruption since 2019. This brings to a total of three the former presidents in one Peruvian prison and another former president under house arrest because of his health and age. I recently read that one woman who has run for the office of president a couple of times has decided not to run again. Who can blame her with the odds of ending up in prison? BTW, her father is one of the incarcerated former presidents.

Now for some exciting news! We have been approached by a small group who have tried for a while to start a church but have been unsuccessful. After much prayer and discussion, we have partnered with Pastor Erik Alvarado to raise up another work in our area. Our valley has grown to a population of around 250,000 allowing the opportunity to reach more souls through solid Bible preaching churches. The name of this new work will be Iglesia Bautista El Verbo de Dios (The Word of God Baptist Church). Your prayers are much appreciated as we begin this new endeavor.

Our Cajamarca church, Iglesia Bautista Calvario, continues to see new visitors, souls saved, and a growing youth program. Since our last letter we have seen 2 more souls saved and 3 baptized! It is great to be able to focus our efforts on our other works knowing that this church is doing well. Pastor José Zamora has developed into one of the best Peruvian preachers we know and does a great job as pastor.

Bible Distribution Ministry Update – Victory Baptist Press had another delay caused by printing plates being on backorder for months. PTL they were finally received, and the printing process is almost complete! We hope to have the next shipment within 2 months.

We have heard from the young couple who are moving here as new missionaries. Darren and Rachel Townsend are expecting to be here within a couple of months. We are looking forward to receiving them and enjoying working and fellowshipping with them in the years to come.

Until our next letter, may God continue to bless each of you as you faithfully pray and support the ministry here in Peru.

Don & Carla Rich

 

 

Updates, Changes, Blessings, and Souls!

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Updates, Changes, Blessings, and Souls!

March 1, 2023

Hello from our summer rainy season in Cajamarca, Peru,

   For those of you who receive our prayer letter by email, you’ll notice we’ve made a change so that you can easily print the much nicer version by clicking the link you receive. It has a colorful background and prints great! We have just learned how to use this option in our mailing system. We hope it will be a blessing to you. If anyone receiving the regular snail mail letter would like to change to email, please let us know by emailing us at “donrichperu@gmail.com”.

Political unrest update: If you read our last letter, you know that the former president was arrested, and that the vice-president replaced him. Since then, the country has been in turmoil with riotous protests. They calmed down a bit for the holidays. But as soon as the New Year holiday was over, tens of thousands of protesters in the south of Peru went back to the streets. They took over cities, caused several airports to close, and blocked major highways. The death toll climbed to around 50 or more. A police car was found completely burnt with the officer’s body lying burnt beside it and his three weapons had been taken. A congress woman’s house, a grocery store, and other buildings were burnt to the ground. Firemen were afraid to put the fires out for fear of reprisal. By the first week in February the protests had become mostly peaceful again. Congress has repeatedly denied granting the demands of the protesters. Only time will tell how it will all play out. The majority and worst part of this uprising has been in the southern part of Peru.

On the other side of the coin, here in northern Peru the scene has been quite different. There are smaller protests, little to no violence reported, and roads that are blocked are only closed for a few hours at a time. Cajamarca is known as the Peruvian capital of Carnaval (Mardi Gras). Because of Covid they have not celebrated for the past two years. They are making up for it this year and trying to recuperate many lost tourism dollars. Normally Carnaval is celebrated for about a week. This year they started celebrating around the first of February and continued throughout the month with the central days being the 18th through the 22nd. This included large gatherings for concerts, street fairs, parades, etc. As you can imagine, a lot of alcohol was consumed as they partied in the streets. There was estimated to be over 70,000 tourists in our valley during that time.

Only in Peru: In January I was asked by a national pastor to borrow some of our tables for a wedding. On the evening before the wedding, he and another man came to pick them up. As they began to leave, the pastor invited Carla and I to the wedding. When I told him that I didn’t know the couple he said it was the guy with him picking up the tables and introduced me. Can you say awkward? Then he said he actually wanted to ask me to ‘preach’ at a wedding! Remember, this is the evening before the event. On the night of the 7pm wedding, we arrived on time. As is normal here, most everyone arrives late. No one was there and the church was locked. Long story short, the wedding started a little before 8:30pm. Just another day in Peru. Congrats to Wilmer and Alicia on their marriage.

Speaking of common occurrences in this country, Carla and I continue to wait for a decision by immigrations on our request to change from resident visas to immigrant visa status. We were told it would take weeks. We are now in our fifth month of waiting. Please continue to pray that it will be approved.

In February, a van load of our youth took a day trip to a mountain zoo about one hour away. We are praising God that six souls made decisions for Christ that day!

At the end of February our Cajamarca church held a very successful Vacation Bible School. We had between 90-100 children in attendance along with a good group of mothers who received the Word. Two mothers made professions of faith in Christ! You can see pictures of the VBS and more on our website, www.rich2peru.com.

Bible Ministry Update: We are patiently waiting to hear of the shipping date for the next container of Bibles. The target date is tentative for around April or May. We continue to receive requests weekly from pastors and missionaries in Peru and other countries. Please pray for Victory Baptist Press (VBP) as they work hard to get the precious Word printed and delivered. Also, a big thank you to those who help support VBP in their printing efforts.

May God bless each of you for your faithfulness to pray and support the ministry God has given us here in Peru.

Don & Carla Rich

I’m Not Santa!  No Soy Papá Noel!

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I’m Not Santa!  No Soy Papá Noel!

January 1, 2023

   In the US I am just another old man with blue eyes, grey hair, and a beard to match. But in a country of dark-skinned people where very few have grey hair, I tend to be more of a novelty.  Children take a second and third look and many tug at their parents and whisper (or not) “Papá Noel” (Santa).  As anyone can tell you, I am not a fan of this character and the distraction it is to the true meaning of Christmas. BUT this year I decided to take advantage of a ministry opportunity.  I allowed my beard to grow out to attention-getting length.  I created a gospel tract with a picture of the jolly, red-suited guy that says on the cover (in Spanish), “I AM NOT SANTA”.  Bro. Bill Goins of Calvary Stand ministries helped with the graphic design. I give this tract out to anyone whose child gives me a second look or even adults who seem to notice.  It has been a good way to get a smile as I share the Gospel.  One child literally squealed when I gave him one and his mother was very happy to receive it.  I have seen many stop and read it. I have also had many other great responses to this tract. Once they open the tract it continues inside, “But I know who gave the best Gift!”.  It goes on to explain Who that is, why they need that Gift, and how they can receive Him.  Knowing that we were going to go to the poorer neighborhoods again this year with Christmas gifts, I had plenty of tracts printed and placed one in each of the gift bags so that they would go into the homes of the children.  I also preached in one gathering using the tract as my outline.  Sharing God’s gift can be a lot of fun and is always very rewarding.

   Speaking of the Christmas gift program, we want to thank each of you who sent extra to help provide something special to many kids from poor families.  The packages included a special toy, along with the “I’m Not Santa” gospel tract, a coloring book, another booklet, and a special fruit bread treat.  We were blessed to be able to deliver 350 gifts this year.  What a joy to see each child’s face as they received them.  Pictures of one program where we distributed them is on our website, along with other new photo albums.  www.rich2peru.com

   Back at the end of November, we hosted several graduates and a professor from a seminary on the coast of Peru.  They were taking a trip to celebrate completing their classes.  It was great to see these future church leaders and encourage them in their calling.

   December 7th was a fast-moving day in politics in Peru. Congress was planning on voting once again to see if they had enough votes to remove the sitting president.  President Castillo tried to avoid it by announcing that he was dissolving the Congress, which would make him a dictator.  Moments later it was announced that Congress had quickly voted to remove him.  Next on the news we heard that he had left the capitol building and was attempting to get to the Mexican embassy to seek asylum there.  But his driver drove just a short distance where Police were waiting with a roadblock.  Castillo was detained and he is now being investigated on charges of conspiracy and rebellion against the constitution and the country.  The vice-president was sworn in that afternoon.  There have now been six presidents in the past five years.  And many are not happy with the new one.

   The next few weeks were filled with violent protests throughout Peru demanding Congress be shut down and that the new President leave office.  The protests include blocking of the Pan-American Highway and other roads throughout the country with burning tires and piled rocks, forcefully taking over an airport and some police precincts, burning buildings, and other riotous acts.  The protesters wanted immediate elections to replace the former president instead of the vice-president finishing the ex-president’s term.  There have been at least thirty deaths caused by the riots with well over seven hundred reported injured.  The protests calmed down somewhat for the Christmas holiday. But, just two days after Christmas a large group of an indigenous jungle tribe (the Ashaninka) loaded up in big trucks to travel to Lima to be part of the protests to shut down Congress. They were stopped along the way by police. Many bows and arrows were confiscated from the group.  Large groups are already planning more roadblocks and protests into the New Year.  Only time will tell how it will all play out.  Please continue to pray for the country of Peru and your missionaries in this uncertain time.

   Carla and I are still waiting to hear from immigrations about our request to change from resident visas to immigrant visa status. Please continue to pray that it will be approved.  This will help us as missionaries in several ways.

   The New Year will be a busy one for us with new ministry opportunities, visitors, another container of Bibles to distribute, ministry trips, and another milestone in our ministry.  These will be shared in future letters.  Thank you for your faithful continued prayer and financial support of the ministry God called us to.  Each of you are a blessing and an encouragement.

May you have a Blessed and Happy New Year!

Don & Carla Rich

 

 

Believe It or Not!

Posted on Updated on

Believe It or Not! Peruvian Elections and more!

November 1, 2022

   I apologize in advance for starting our letter with politics, but with all that is going on in the US politically I thought you might enjoy a laugh while reading about how it is elsewhere.

   Regional and local elections in Peru took place on October 2. In one city a 20-year-old was elected mayor. In the US he wouldn’t be old enough to do many things but here he is old enough to run a city. Then there is the man who lost the mayoral election in his town, and he was the only one on the ballot! All Peruvians must vote or pay a fine. There were so many who voted blank ballots that there were more of them than the candidate received. In still another election, two men received the same number of votes. They will now gather the national election authorities and toss a coin to see who becomes mayor. You can’t make this stuff up! Speaking of politics, our Peruvian President Pedro Castillo is being accused of running a corruption ring and paying for votes. This is the third attempt in sixteen months that they have tried to impeach him. If you will remember I wrote in 2020 that Peru had three presidents in five days! The excitement never ends! Welcome to Peru!

   Covid restrictions are lessening finally. The government recently announced that masks are only required in public buses and in medical facilities. It is great to see people’s faces again. There is still a three-vaccination mandate for living in the country.

   Please be in prayer as Carla and I have applied for “permanent resident/migrant” status. It is a process that takes a couple of months to complete, and we’ve heard it is hard to get approved. We only know of one missionary who has received it. If approved, it would be a blessing both financially and timewise. We have always had to renew our residency every year, paying fees, filing papers, etc. The new status would allow us to just get a new ID card every four years. It would also be less restrictive, allowing more time while on furloughs and for out-of-country trips for distributing Bibles, etc.

   Back in September we had a visit from missionary Darren Townsend, his girlfriend Rachel, and her parents Van and April Coker. While here Darren proposed to Rachel! They are now engaged with a wedding date set for mid-January. What this means for us is that help is on the way! Darren and Rachel are praying to finish deputation so they can arrive in Peru next Spring. They will be working with us while they pray as to where God would have them work permanently. Our prayer is that they will be staying in our area. Would your church like to support a new missionary? Please consider this great couple who love the Lord and would be a great asset here in Peru!

   On October 16th we celebrated the 6th Anniversary of our Guadalupe church with an attendance of around 20. It was also the last service in the church building as we enter a period of transition. As we mentioned before, this work has suffered in the past couple of years with an average attendance of about six to eight. After much prayer we have moved to “house-church” services. We are praying that this will promote more involvement of the members and allow for more growth.

   Printing of the next shipment of Bibles from Victory Baptist Press has been delayed because of difficulty in getting employees in the print shop. They now hope to begin printing sometime this week. Please be in prayer for them as they continue to provide the Word of God for many all over the world, including us in S. America.

Ministry opportunity – We plan to distribute Christmas gifts to poor neighborhoods again this year. If you would like to help with this, please send the support to Central Missionary Clearinghouse with a note that it is for “Kids’ Gifts”.

   Carla and I want to praise the Lord for six more souls saved in our ministry since our last letter!  Six more who won’t have to face God’s wrath but will live in his love for eternity.

   There are three more photo albums on our website, www.richperu.com. Take a look!

May God richly bless you all as we head into the holiday season, celebrating our great God and his blessings.

Don & Carla Rich