The workers and leaders at the orphanage were wonderful. The first Sunday service was lead by Matt Smith, the director of the place. The music was almost native Indian sounding with a tom-tom, a wooden/grooved instrument played with a stick, and a tambourine that the children played. They also lead in all the singing. There must have been 8 to 10 verses in each song and we stood the whole time. If I said it was a blessing my knees would argue with me, but it was…a blessing. The children aged in range from 5 to 15 and there were 18 + one visitor. Their daily routine included morning worship every day, then breakfast, and then VBS for the first 2 days (Mon/Tue). After that they had testing at their school in town on Wed/Th/Fri. from 8 till noon then VBS in the afternoon with the FBC team. They rode to town for school every day in one Mitsubishi SUV all at once. The road to the school from the orphanage is as you might suspect- a single lane, switch-back laden, close to edge of the cliff nail-biter. All 18 kids and the driver in this one vehicle with a rear-end door held closed by bungee cords.
Wednesday went fine, they made it to school and back to the orphanage as expected. However on Thursday, July 31st ,Terry and I were having coffee at the hostel while most everyone else was sleeping in since we were not going to the orphanage early that day. As we were sitting in the dining area one of the other church’s team members came in and frantically said we needed to pray. As she was saying that Jan came into the room and told us that there had been an accident. The other church’s team member said that is why we needed to pray. In the next two minutes 6 of the other church’s team members came in to the room and asked if I would lead in prayer. This was a team of doctors who were there for a 3-day clinic in the town of Cachora. I prayed, Jan joined in holding hands and bowing his head to pray along with Jovannah and all those present, as I asked God to protect the children and driver. Two of the doctors went immediately to the sight down the mountain, about a 15 minute hike to the wreck. We heard several variations of what happened, but in the end no one was killed and only 4 of the 19 children were sent to the hospital about an hour away. Terry and I gathered the rest of the team, informed them, and then went to the clinic in town…about a 5 minute walk. When we got there the children were all transported there by the one little ambulance. Many of the children were sitting in the clinic, two of the worst hurt were in the ambulance waiting for any others that might need to be transported to the hospital. Savannah, Terry, and some of the team members sat with the children trying to comfort them, praying with them, and singing hymns to help ease their emotional stress.
The vehicle ended up rolling down the cliff about 40 feet into a ravine, pinning 3 boys underneath the rear of the SUV. Some of the girls thought the boys were dead, but God had provided a small portion just deep enough for the boys to avoid being crushed, just bruised. As God would have it there was a mobile crane 5 minutes away doing some construction work in the area that was there almost immediately to pull the car off of the boys and out of the way.
That evening at dinner Savannah lead the team in listing how God had provided for the need at the moment the need presented itself. The team came up with four pages of how God provided, which included the doctor’s present from North Carolina, the mobile crane, and all those American teenagers and leaders there to comfort them and help them get back to normal within 48 hours. She astutely pointed out to the team that those children will always remember that wreck and associate it with the FBC Peru Mission team and the love they shared at that moment. Relationships had already been established, and the Spirit of God used those relationships to His Glory and their comfort.
We were beaten down physically and emotionally drained, but spiritually renewed; and we made it home on time thankful for the opportunity to serve our Lord and our church.
Thank you First Baptist Church, and all those who contributed financially and prayerfully to your mission to Cachora, Peru.
In the Name of Jesus,