By Chad Robichaux –
The week in Peru was incredible. With almost a dozen engagements the Mighty Oaks team spoke to military members from privates to generals, government officials, athletes, churches and the incarcerated. The team shared to a wide range of audiences, but with one common message… resilience, hope, restoration and purpose is found for those who choose a relationship with Jesus Christ. We thought we were their to bless and help that week, yet we were more blessed by the Peruvian people with their love and hospitality.
It’s quite a journey to make it to Machu Picchu, but worth it and the journey is definitely part of the adventure. Once there, you can’t put the ruins or the majestic views of the Andes mountains into words or even into pictures; this is what makes it worthy to see with your own eyes. I’ve been privileged to roam the 3 largest mountain ranges in the world; Himalayas, Hindu Kush, Karakoram… and now the Andes. What they all have in common is a vastness and power that I can’t help but see the beauty of creation.
Gamara, La Victoria Market, Peru.
I had my heart both broken and encouraged yesterday when we were asked to visit and speak to the girls in the Peru Girls Detention Center. The center housed young girls (ages 14-22), most with violent crimes such as homicides. Despite the incredible staff that clearly loves and cares for the girls, it seems they are mostly forgotten and left alone at the center – many seeming scared and hopeless about the future. Some even having their babies there because there is no place for them to go. We spoke to two groups; one was those who had to be separated due to violent behaviors, the others were in the general population. As the door closed us into the room with over 100 girls, I began to question what I could possibly say to encourage these girls… I could never begin to assume I know what they’ve experienced and what their lives are like – I was told many were raped by their fathers and trafficked, used and abandoned. How could I relate or help… so that is how I began. “I can’t pretend to know your story or struggles, or know what it is like to be here, so I can only share the story of my own childhood and what God has brought me through in my own journey”. It is my prayer that one day many of those girls will rise above their circumstances and learn God’s purpose for their lives to bring hope to the world. I pray one day they stand in front of a group of girls in a place like that and share their own story of redemption. I ended with letting them know I believe that for them. Luis shared some powerful words with some of the girls, Kevin & Russell ended the group session with a POWERFUL prayer of hope and salvation and nearly all the girls responded. I was so humbled to be there among these incredibly brave girls. I will be praying for them and the amazing staff, who are under staffed and under equipped… but they embrace these girls with love and compassion. PLEASE pray for them as well, they are God’s princesses… His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10).