peru 2023

Our Brothers and Sisters in Peru

October 12, 2023
Alyssa Matz

When you visit somewhere new, it is often expected that you will encounter many new things: a new culture, a new language, and many new people. As I packed my bags last week to go on a trip to visit Browncroft’s partner church — Alianza Cristiana de Miraflores in Lima, Peru — this is exactly what I was preparing myself for.

I said to myself, “Okay, I’m going to have to meet unknown people. I’m going to have to learn their customs. I’m going to have to brush up on my Spanish. I’m going to have to be prepared for so many new things over the next week.”

But as I sit here on the airplane ride home and reflect on the past week visiting our brothers and sisters in Peru, my mind isn’t focused on what was new to me. Although there were many cultural differences, all I can focus on is what — or rather Who — made us the same.

The visit was incredible! Our Browncroft team consisted of myself, Pastor Rob, Kelly Fasoldt, Trisha Smith, Cyndi Carson, and Beatriz Flores. The team from Miraflores was so welcoming and hospitable. They constantly greeted us with friendly faces, warm hugs, and delicious food. We were blessed to be able to help with their Family Conference that weekend, each of us teaching a particular breakout session. Trisha and I got to teach on Family Discipleship, Cyndi taught about Parenting, and Cyndi and Kelly co-led a session for children.

Although there were many cultural differences, all I can focus on is what — or rather Who — made us the same.

We also met with the staff team from Miraflores to discuss our church partnership, ministry strategies, and future initiatives that we would like to pursue together. But before we got into planning we sat down with the staff and shared prayer requests. It was so interesting to hear that many of their prayer requests echoed ones we have here for the families at our church.

Then we all gathered in a circle and prayed for one another in both English and Spanish. Even though many of them couldn’t understand us, and many on our team couldn’t understand them, it was an incredibly powerful time. Two churches from different continents, coming together with the same mission — to serve God and others well.

A highlight for me was getting to visit a local rehabilitation center alongside Pastor Rob and Beatriz. This center, supported by Miraflores, helps young men who struggle with substance abuse find healing. Miraflores regularly comes to give these men hope through the message of the Gospel.

This visit was so inspiring to me. As Browncroft’s Congregational Care Coordinator, I was very interested in how they handled rehabilitation and mental health in another part of the world, and I got to have a brief conversation with a psychologist who worked at the center — a young female mental health professional just like me!

There is something indescribably powerful about believers from different places worshiping the same God together.

I asked my teammate Kelly what a highlight of the trip was for her, and she said that it was so exciting to dream alongside the leaders at Miraflores.

“Their heart and vision for ministry is such a blessing,” she said.

Kelly also shared her personal testimony in front of the entire Miraflores congregation on Saturday night and described this as the “greatest blessing” of the trip. Not only was Kelly blessed, but she blessed so many others with her words. So many people shared how they were inspired by her testimony — people from a different country, whom she had never met, whom she spoke to through a translator!

On Sunday morning Pastor Rob gave a message to the congregation at each service. We worshiped alongside the church members and felt so welcomed into their family. In that moment I wasn’t focused on the culture, I wasn’t focused on the language barrier, and I wasn’t even focused on all the new people around me. I was focused on one thing — worshiping the One who created us all. There is something indescribably powerful about believers from different places worshiping the same God together.

The entire team left Lima (full of delicious food and with many new friendships) inspired and excited for the future. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Miraflores, so be on the lookout for more opportunities to connect with them and to serve with our brothers and sisters in Peru!

About The Author

Alyssa Matz

Alyssa Matz is Browncroft’s Family Ministry Coordinator and Congregational Care Coordinator. A graduate of Roberts Wesleyan College, she loves using her spiritual gifts to serve others. When she isn’t at church, Alyssa enjoys reading, writing, photography, hiking, and a good chai latte.

Further reading

You’re Invited to Summer Nights!

As a church, we want to create space to connect with each other during the summer. Instead of replicating the activities we do during the rest of the year, our intention is to provide space for community and reflection. This summer we are trying something brand new called “Browncroft Summer Nights."
Read more

Embracing Summer Sundays: Serving the Next Generation

Summer Serve is a golden opportunity for our church community to engage with the next generation in meaningful ways. By investing time and energy into serving kids, we plant seeds of faith and grow personally as disciples of Christ. Consider signing up to serve at least one Sunday this summer!
Read more

Jesus Culture: Restoring the World Through Ordinary Life

The Church of Jesus is called to be light in a dark world—a world that has always been at odds with the kingdom of God. We are called not simply to defend our faith, but to bring it to life in our homes, schools, workplaces, and communities. Over the month of June, we will be discussing practical ways that we can do this in our everyday lives.
Read more