Since my last update, my friend Jessica and her husband Terry went to Peru and Jessica completed her research project for her Master’s in Public Health by doing a needs assessment in the 3 main identified shanty towns that Camino de Vida provides wheelchairs to via Free Wheelchair Mission. The findings have been heartbreaking to read, yet extremely valuable to show the significant need in these areas. Some of the challenges that face these households with a disabled member in Peru include but are not limited to the following: Extreme poverty, unsafe living conditions, reduced employment opportunities, limited food supply, limited access to education and adequate health care, poor housing conditions (dirt floor, no sanitation, ineffective protection in homes from elements), and physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse. Her findings showed that individuals with disabilities and their caregivers report a desire for
LOCAL (and free or very low cost) therapy services as they cannot afford to travel to any place away from their homes. As I said before, the need is GREAT! Jessica not only did a needs
assessment, but also formulated a strategic plan that would help to start improving access to healthcare for these people, as well as how to start a trial therapy clinic at each location. I'm excited to work alongside Camino de Vida in this vision and feel like there is a more clear direction for how to get started once I am down there. I am so incredibly grateful for Jessica's
expertise and interest in these people with disabilities in Peru. I am hopeful that this trip down there was not the last that her and her husband will take. (: If anyone would like more information on her findings, let me know and I would be happy to talk with you more about this.
So, this leads me into what the next step is for me. Well, as the title of my blog says, I continue to move forward, yet I am sitting still. I continue to take Spanish classes to try and get a base for when I go. I have also begun the support raising process in faith that God will provide, even in these tough economic times. I am confident that if He wants me there, He will provide a way. That being said, I still have the issue of my condo. A few weeks ago, I met with a woman from my church who is a realtor. Her news was not good, but I needed to hear it. Basically, she said that the reason that not one person has looked at my place since I've put it up for sale last October, is because it is overpriced for the comparables in the area. She said that my condo is sellable, but for about 40,000 less than what I owe on my mortgage that I currently have
on it. She said that right now, no mortgage company would even approve a loan for the amount that I need for a mortgage which is why no one is even taking a look at it. She suggested I take it off the market, try to pay down the mortgage and then sell it or rent it. I will be honest, this information was so discouraging. I did not realize just how bad the market had gotten for me to have a 40,000-50,000$ decrease in the value of my home since I purchased it in 2006!.... I know that I am not alone in this situation, am thankful that I still have the ability to pay my mortgage, have food to eat and clothing to wear, and yet, I am still saddened by this information. So now, I am just trying to figure out what to do. I know that even in this situation that seems so incredibly impossible that God has a plan. I look forward to seeing how our amazing God does this impossible thing. He did it for Abraham and Sarah with the birth of Isaac in their old age, He has healed the sick, made the lame walk, and brought people back from the dead. I know that He has this all figured out and so I just wait patiently to see what He is going to do. So, as I mentioned above, I am moving forward in faith to raise support for my initial 2 year commitment that I have made with TAP. I need people who will support me in prayer, in financial commitment, and in emotional support. I will be sending out letters of support this week to those I've prayerfully considered to help support me in this endeavor. Below is a copy of the letter that I will be sending. Feel free to read and pass on to others that might be interested in supporting this cause in any of the 3 ways I've asked for above. Thank you so much for your continued prayers for a creative solution to my condo situation as well as for the beginning endeavors of raising support. Blessings to all of you!
Dear Friend in Christ
Greetings and Blessings to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am writing
to share with you a new journey that God has put in my heart. After serving on a short term mission trip to Peru I was impressed by the courage and strength of the disabled living in extreme poverty. The experience left me with a longing to provide rehabilitative therapy services and the love of Jesus Christ to the disabled children and adults in Peru who are living in extreme poverty.
My vision is part of a larger vision of Camino de Vida church in Lima, Peru that was shared with me following my first trip to Peru in May 2010. This vision is to provide therapy and other medical services to the children and adults in Peru who are disabled and living in extreme poverty in order to improve their quality of life. Camino de Vida has invited me to come and work alongside them in developing this vision.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will
In May 2010, I went on a short term mission trip to Peru with Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM). I was part of a team who distributed wheelchairs that are made out of plastic lawn chairs, a simple wheelchair frame, and mountain bike tires for navigation on rougher terrains. We gave these chairs to children and adults with disabilities who do not have the money to buy one themselves. These people were and are home bound. Stuck in their 1-2 room house with no interaction with the outside world, no opportunity for education, no hope for a better future. The
thing that impacted me the most wasn’t their poverty, which was extreme, but the potential to get stronger overall, and interact with others if they could receive therapy on a consistent basis. That image and all the other stories were imbedded into my head and heart and haven’t left me yet.
During my discernment process, I sought out council from various sources and was led to seek information and assistance from The Antioch Partners (TAP). TAP was started in 2007 in as a strategic alliance between Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship and The Outreach Foundation to help reverse the decline in the numbers of missionaries sent by the PC(USA). With core values including evangelism and working in partnership with the global body of Christ, TAP has been a good fit for me from the beginning. Their initial support to help guide me through the discernment process and their ability to look outside the box to the type of work I am feeling led to do in partnership with Camino de Vida has made me very happy to be partnered with TAP. I am excited to be a part of this ministry that supports the church and individuals who are moving forward in their calling. Currently, I have made a 2 year commitment with the option of re-committing to future terms as God leads me.
Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf
unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer and the mute tongue shout for joy. Isaiah 35: 3-6
I look forward to the day when: God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. Revelation 21:4
I am currently raising partners who will support me in prayer and finances. Being supported in prayer is vital and just as, if not more important than finances, to the success of any missionary endeavor. In terms of finances, I will need monthly pledges totaling $3,167, which includes salary, housing, language studies, and insurance. In addition, I will need to raise a one-time expense of 7833.00 in initial outgoing expenses which includes international airfare, cross-cultural training, visa, etc. I would like to invite you to prayerfully consider partnering with me in this ministry to improve the quality of life for the disabled children and adults living in extreme poverty and to share the love of Jesus with the people of Peru. If you have any questions or would like to meet with me to talk more about my ministry, please do not hesitate to contact me. Enclosed is information how to partner with me financially and my contact information if you would like to let me know how you feel led to partner with me. I look forward to hearing from you! Que Dios te bendiga (God bless you.).
In His great name,
327 Wisconsin Ave 3a
Oak Park, IL 60302
WAYS TO GIVE:
Personal Check: Make checks out to The Antioch Partners and put "Alfonsi support" on the memo line. Mail to:
The Antioch Partners
7132 Portland Ave, Suite 136
Richfield, MN 55423
You may give without having to remember to mail your check by completing the Electronic
Giving Request form found on TAP’s website www.theantiochpartners.org Click “Giving” to locate and download the form.
To give online using your Visa, Master Card, Discover, or American Express card (or e-check), go to www.theantiochpartners.org and in the left column, click “Giving.” Then click“Donate Now” which will take you to a secure online form where you can enter your name and billing information. Under the category, “Donation Information,”select “Partner Support” and then select
“Alfonsi, Lisa” as your Partner of choice. TAP will be notified after your gift is received.