She sat across the room from us, a short girl with a strong presence. We had never seen her at one of our monthly meetings of mission mobilizers in Peru before. The pointedness of the questions she asked immediately caught my attention. Latinos are not usually straightforward or direct in their conversations, and as an American from New Jersey this rare quality in Latin America appealed to me. We had no idea then just how close we would get with her.
Yussei (pictured front left) is a youth pastor at a small church in San Juan de Lurigancho, one of the districts on the outskirts of the greater of Lima, Peru metropolitan area. She had been involved with her local church for years, but had struggled with the idea of a global focus in ministry versus a local one. She had some involvement in mission projects before, as they are understood in her church. But she always understood global and local as competing ministries, not complimentary ones.
“At the beginning it is feared that by having a vision for the world I would lose my attention for the house (local church),” she says. “We are afraid to invest time, talent and treasure in the global mission because we feel it would cause us to lose investment in the local. But nothing is further from the truth. When we open our lives and ministries to the global purpose of God, we truly begin to fulfill our local purpose as well, and God opens his heart and His treasures.”
As we befriended her and began to share more and more with her, she was convinced the Lord was at work and sensed clear guidance from the Lord that she would somehow be involved in a ministry with global impact, though she still had much to learn. Through a series of divine events and circumstances, she took the Perspectives course in 2016 which the CMM Team coordinated in Arequipa, Peru. It was a 10-day intensive course geared for pastors, church leaders, missionaries and mission agency leaders only. But Yussei was very motivated, and ended up with the highest grade in the whole class.
We slowly began giving her some small projects and resources, in part to help us in our translation, but also to expose her to the materials. One such resource she helped us proofread as it was being translated into Spanish was Steve Shadrach’s powerful book on personal support raising, The God Ask. As she read through each chapter, she would often text me some comment about how powerful it was and how it spoke to her directly.
“Most of all, I have tears of gratitude,” she texted me one day, “for having been part—even if only a small piece—in the links of the great chain of making this real resource [available] among the Spanish-speaking workers. It could have been anyone else to whom they entrusted this… But God and you entrusted me with this privilege that has edified me… and affirmed convictions of my calling, challenged a broader vision of the ministry, and [helped me] discover the strategy of The God Ask.”
Afterward, Yussei had the opportunity to attend the first ever Coordinator Training for Perspectivas in Argentina. This would mean purchasing an airline ticket. My wife encouraged her to put into practice the concepts she had just learned by proofreading The God Ask book. She took a step of faith and asked the mission board of her denomination very boldly if they would fund her travel to Argentina to take this training. To her surprise they agreed to cover half her expenses, but then later changed their minds to cover 100 percent. Yussei was seeing the biblical principles of raising support work! Right now, she is the only certified coordinator of Perspectivas in all of Peru.
As we continued to meet and work and pray with Yussei, we shared a copy of the Xplore study with her. Immediately her heart began to stir as she thought of her church in San Juan de Lurigancho and how she can help mobilize them using this simple, yet powerful resource.
“At last the map was completed…” she shared with us. “When I received a copy of Xplore, I knew it was a resource that had to be shared to ignite vibrant sparks in every heart. I wanted to start at home, in my local church, and I received almost immediately the green light to teach this to our young people. But that was not enough. I wanted the whole church to learn this, because the mission of God has no age limits. It is given to all.”
It took a little time, but finally she was able to get the Xplore study on the schedule of every small group in the church: young people, adolescents, adults, new believers, leaders, and several pastors. For seven weeks the whole church focused on the Word of God, the World of God and the Work of God. She taught it to the small group leaders on Tuesday evenings, and they in turn taught it to each of their groups on Saturday.
We are thrilled at the impact this has had on Yussei’s church. Beyond the wonderful, festive celebration the church had at the end of the study where new commitments to God’s global purpose were given, and a new chorus of prayer for the nations was birthed, we bless God for more personal, practical impact it had on individuals lives.
“The fruit was not a flower of one night,” she shared. “Rather, families assumed a vision for being global Christians, even children who have learned from their parents who have gone through the Xplore Study now assume their role in sharing Jesus with their friends. The youth group leaders, worship team, and other ministries are now ministries with a vision for the global purpose of God. Powerful offerings have been raised even in the midst of scarcity, and hearts are linked to the mission of God in ways I would have never imagined… people are praying for unreached people groups like never before.”
But perhaps for us, the CMM Team in Latin America, one of our greatest joys is that Yussei has become our first national staff member. It is a huge step of faith for her. She has to raise support in a culture that is not used to supporting even full-time missionaries, let alone a mobilizer who will remain living and working from her own country. But she has already opened several doors for us to meet folks and influence networks. In some cases, these opportunities could have taken years. We are honored that she would labor alongside us as a fellow mobilizer and believe the kingdom will benefit from us teaching and learning from one another.