The Call to Peru

Just prior to Christmas, 2003, a friend gave Bill and Lena two Peruvian alpaca sweaters. In 1993, while on a missions trip to Peru, God spoke to this friend, telling her to buy the sweaters and instructing her to wait until He told her who to give them to and when. Ten years later, God told her to give them to Bill and Lena. As she did so, she said, “There’s a message from God in those sweaters.”

Bill asked, "What is it?"

She said, "That's for you to find out."

So Bill prayed. Every day, he cried out to the Lord in a loud voice, "Oh God! What's the message?"

God spoke clearly, confirming what everyone suspected. The message was to go to Peru as missionaries.

Bill writes about two of the confirmations:
In March of 2000, my wife (Lena) and I were serving as collegiate missionaries with the Assemblies of God. While on a missions trip to Mexico, we drove through a barrio of economic orphans—a community of children, separated from their families by the harsh conditions of poverty. The community was composed of cardboard shacks covered in plastic garbage bags. A large crowd of dirty children in tattered clothing chased our van begging us to throw out anything of value. A veteran missionary working with us explained that their parents were migrant farm workers, hundreds of miles away, harvesting crops in another state. The children had been left to grow up on their own. I asked why they were not in school. We were told that, although public schooling was free, the government requires the families to pay the price of a school uniform. These families never earned enough to pay the nominal fee. The missionary continued to explain that the parents of these children never went to school, these children will never go to school and that their children would never go to school. Their only hope was to wait until they were old enough to work the migrant fields themselves.

I was deeply affected by the experience—specifically, five aspects of the children’s lives: (1) the extreme poverty, (2) the absence of adult care, (3) the seeming injustice that, for lack of a small amount of money, the children’s development (mentally, vocationally, and spiritually) was forever constrained, (4) the absence of hope, and (5) the potential for ministry. Where was the Church—the representative of Christ in this barrio? Who was nurturing them, protecting and comforting them? Who was telling them about the sacrifice of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit? Who was teaching them to read, so that they could find work, be liberated from poverty and drink deeply from the word of God? Who was doing the type of ministry that Jesus did? The barrio was as laden with strategic potential as it was heartbreaking. There was an opportunity to meet real needs, transforming the children’s lives with education and the gospel. As our van drove away, the dust from the unpaved road fell upon the children’s forlorn faces. They appeared as wanderers, “foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. (Eph 2:12)” Tears welled in my eyes and I prayed, “Lord, I beg of you, if you ever move me out of collegiate ministry, I pray that you will put me in a ministry where we can change the lives of kids like these!”

In January, 2004, shortly after we received the sweaters, I asked an Assemblies of God World Missions representative about the missions work going on in Peru. He said that the need was great and proceeded to speak of a ministry called ChildHope (formerly Latin America ChildCare). He informed me that ChildHope works with schools in impoverished communities, where they provide an education, gospel teachings, and ministries of compassion (such as feeding and medical programs). ChildHope is a ministry doing the work of the Messiah, transforming the lives of the poor. He continued to say that ChildHope in Peru needed a director. I remembered my prayer in Mexico and knew that God was ordering our lives. God inspired my prayer in Mexico to confirm our call to Peru and to ChildHope.

Many years prior, during a missions service, Lena had a vision of a woman and child. They were dressed like the indigenous people of the Andes mountains. Lena sensed that God was calling her to work with women and children as a missionary. When I left the meeting with the missions representative, I took a brochure on ChildHope home and asked Lena if she had ever heard of ChildHope. She said, "Don't you remember? After the vision, I looked into working with them." Lena sensed then that the time was not right. But, many years later, God brought it all together. Through a prophetic word, a prophetic vision and a prophetic prayer, God called the Shraders to serve as missionaries in Peru.