January 29, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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One of the heartbeats within the Calvary Vision is rooted in global missions, and we have the opportunity to partner with incredible global missionaries like Aileen Alegre. Aileen works with Calvary Chapel Cajabamba, nestled in the mountains of Peru, helping to reshape their community with the love of God. We had the opportunity to hear an update on how God is changing their community forever.
Cajabamba is a beautiful rural town centered between many mountains, so secluded and obscure that most Peruvians don’t know of its existence. It can blind you with its tranquility and simplicity of agricultural living. You can feel a sense of home and safety at every corner. You quickly become familiar with every smile you see and every “hello” you hear. Still, underneath that first layer, is the frightening darkness that has imprisoned this wonderful community for so long: injustice.
After living here for over eight years, I’ve been able to peel back some layers and found just how bad it really is. Women are beaten by their partners due to underserved jealousy. They’re also murdered and poisoned for simply saying “no.” Young girls, as young as you can imagine, are beaten and sexually abused by a relative or stepfather. Teenage girls are assaulted as they work in the fields. In too many cases, we see these victims silenced, ashamed, and in bondage to their abuser. They don’t believe in justice. They’ve experienced injustice from their abuser, the government, fellow neighbors, and male family members. They’ve experienced too much machismo to think they have rights or an identity. Machismo is a Spanish word that describes the attitude and entitlement that men have over women, which is why most men believe they need to hit their women to get them in line and why most women accept that kind of behavior as normal.
In rural communities like Cajabamba, machismo is a disease that runs rampant and unchecked . . . until now. God has begun to expose this dangerous disease using the voices of victims. God started opening doors about five years ago when nurses and doctors recognized us as the church that helps victims of abuse and abandonment. We had no idea we had gained that reputation until the Social Justice Committee called us to join them in this battle. Members of this committee included many heads of government departments.
Everyone at Calvary Chapel Cajabamba was amazed God had opened this door for us. So, we began working closely with these entities to rescue victims from their abusers. They would call us whenever they needed to provide victims with clothing, food, and a place to stay. We provided them with a hotel room for a long time, but then God moved in the hearts of the people in our church, and they began opening their homes for these victims. They not only provided them with a comfy bed and a warm meal, but they also made them part of their family, shared the gospel of freedom, and trained them in whatever skill they had so they could gather the pieces of their lives and make something of themselves.
We had no idea what God had in mind when He started showing us the depravity of our beautiful home, Cajabamba. We felt so helpless. And when we did get a chance to help, it never felt like it was enough. But now, seeing all that God has been able to do with the little we had to offer reminds us that He wants us to be available and do the best we can with what we have been given. It may not be much, but in His hands, it’s more than enough.
We’ve seen so many lives changed because of God’s grace and the justice He brings when He enters people’s hearts. We’ve seen Him work miracles on behalf of these people, get justice for them and their families, and redeem what the enemy tried to steal from them. We’ve seen Him use victims to share the saving truth of the gospel to reach other victims seeking justice. It’s incredible how He never wastes one thing. He continues to work and bring justice for those who have no voice.
What an amazing work God is doing! Because of your generosity and prayers, Calvary is able to partner with missionaries like Aileen to change our world! To learn more about how to support global missions, please visit CalvaryFTL.org/Missions. To give to our Global Missions Fund, visit CalvaryFTL.org/Give. We know abuse doesn’t just happen overseas. If you or someone you know is suffering, call us at 954-977-9673.