La Puerta Abierta de Arequipa
The last few months have been full for the Cercado Team serving in Arequipa, Peru. The process of handing over leadership to those who they had been training began in earnest, the permanent building was built, an inauguration service held and finally the new pastor was installed and the church officially organized. The La Puerta Abierta de Arequipa church is no longer a plant, no longer under the leadership of missionaries, Extreme's first start to finish urban church plant is complete. Here are some of the highlights: The inauguration service:
Not only did they hold their first service in the new building on October 20 , it was at this service that the appointment of the new Pastor was announced. Going forward all Extreme Church plants will have national Pastors in place as part of the team but La Puerta Abierta de Arequipa tarted with Brian Tibbs as its Pastor and the call of a national pastor was a prayer request from the beginning. God answered with the call of Pastor Herman, who had worked with Extreme's Puno Team and has been a pastor in Puno for the past 5 years.
We inaugurated our new church building on October 20! There were over 200 people in attendance, and 20+ of them either made first time commitments to Christ, or renewed their commitment to Him. During this service, Pastor Herman was announced as the new pastor of our church. He has been pastoring in Puno for the last 5 years. Pastor Brian Tibbs is our current pastor, but will be leaving with the rest of the missionary team in December. As such, Pastor Herman will take the reigns of the local church and continue to lead it into the future.- Mike
Final Leader's Dinner:
The team met with the leaders of the church for one last dinner together and a foot washing ceremony.
On Monday night we had our final meeting with our leaders. It was a special time as we celebrated a (late) Thanksgiving dinner, and then we missionaries took time to wash our disciples/leaders feet and pray for them individually as one final act of love for them. Almost all of us were crying by the end, but it was a special time for me to serve and demonstrate my love for them one last time. Its bittersweet watching them take over all of the roles of the church as we realize we really aren't needed. But that has been our goal since the beginning and Monday night proved that we have reached that goal. - Sheena
The Final Service with the Missionaries, the Installation of the New Pastor and Official Organization of the Church.
Our work in Arequipa is completed leaving a officially organized church (no longer a church plant) with a Peruvian Pastor and trained leaders to carry on being the hands and feet of Christ in the Cercado district of Arequipa Peru. We look forward to seeing and hearing how God is working in and through this local church.