Adapted from Jonathan and Julie Stillwell’s November 2015 prayer letter. The Stilwells serve in Trujillo, Peru, at Gethsemane Baptist Church and at Peru Baptist Bible College.
Julio Córdova stopped to talk with me after chapel this morning.
He came from Peru’s jungle area to the Bible college in 2012 with a wife and four children. His wife, Vidalina, suffered culture shock due to moving from her agrarian jungle life 20 hours away across the Andes Mountains to our big city life on the desert coast. The children arrived undernourished, inadequately cleaned, and poorly dressed. A month after arriving, Vidalina gave birth to her fifth child. Life was tough for them.
Now, nearly four years later, their family’s situation is much different. A builder in our church had given Julio work for two years. A fish vendor in our church hired Vidalina as a maid while she sold fish at the market in the morning. People from other churches provided clothing for the children. The family today has adjusted well and is healthy.
Julio will graduate in December, Lord willing, and he plans to return to the jungle. The rural church that he pastored as a layman prior to coming to the college is now pastored by another layman. Julio wants to minister in the capital of his jungle province, the city of Juanjui. Bordering the Huallaga River, the city has 30,000 people and no Baptist church.
He stopped me after chapel because he wants to present his future ministry in our church in January. He will also share his burden with the churches in Trujillo, seeking God’s resources for planting a church in Juanjui. Joy, wonder, and satisfaction filled my heart as I saw this man who once struggled now taking charge to extend God’s truth.
Julio’s story repeats itself in similar ways each year at the Bible college.
We at the college continue serving in this ministry because of the fruit we see in lives like his. The college has produced scores of pastors over the years, and it is a significant ingredient in the multiplication of churches in Peru.