God is doing some amazing new things through Moravian men and women…and it’s especially exciting to see that sometimes those women and men are married to each other!
You may know about Vani and Shanti Pradhan and the work they are doing in Nepal. Maybe you have heard of Mohamed and Safiatu Braima and their ministry in Sierra Leone.
Now God has called my husband, Segundo, and me to be part of a new Mission Area of the Moravian Church! We give thanks to God for this opportunity to serve Him in our native country, Peru.
Bishop Sam Gray, Segundo and I were praying for this mission for a long time and our prayers were answered in God’s time. Segundo had served in Peru for more than 20 years and knows the area and the people quite well. He traveled to Lima on August 6, to establish contacts with the ministers and leaders who would take part in the meetings that were to be held in Chiclayo and Lambayeque, Northern Peru.
Pastor Sam and I arrived in Peru on August 13 (a good Moravian date!) and were welcomed by many friends and relatives. In our first conversations around the dinner table we began to see the great need for a church that might minister to people who find themselves in a place between the extremes of nominal Roman Catholicism and the new Independent Pentecostalism. Might the Moravian Church offer a way of bringing them together so that they, in turn, might minister to the unreached people in their area?
On Sunday, August 14, we visited two churches and one group that is working with children in Chiclayo and Lambayeque. The first congregation we visited in the morning is mostly young adults led by Youth Pastor Alex. In the afternoon we visited a group of young leaders who are working with about 100 children. Then, in the evening, we worshiped with a large congregation pastored by Brother Martin Luna. It was a time of fervent, yet orderly, congregational prayer, songs of praise and worship led by young musicians, studying the Word of God and being in joyful fellowship together.
Meetings with more than 20 leaders, ministers, young people and other interested folks were held on Monday and Tuesday. Following a Bible Study and Devotional led by Segundo, Sam offered a presentation about the Worldwide Moravian Unity and a brief history of the Moravians (with dates and information obtained from Archivist Daniel Crews). Later, we discussed essentials and non-essentials, finding areas of agreement and working through some of our differences.
We used an exercise in Asset Mapping learned at an Intersynodal Conference in the Southern Province to help everyone share about their resources, gifts and ministries. We talked about how they could come together in important areas of ministry and then how the Moravian Church in North America (through the Board of World Mission) might be able to partner with them and accompany them in their mutual ministry.
On Wednesday, August 17, after a period of prayer and Bible Study, representatives from seven different ministries signed a “Foundational Charter,” agreeing to call themselves the “Unity of Brothers and Sisters in Peru – a Mission of the Worldwide Moravian Church.” The founding members of the Mission Area include a Youth Ministry Endeavor, an established congregation, a Women’s Ministry in San Juan de Lurigancho, a missionary with a burden for reaching people in remote areas of Peru, an evangelist and a leader of a cell group in Lima. They also elected a governing Board that includes a Coordinator, a Secretary, a Treasurer, an Advisor from the Latino Ministries of the Southern Province (that is my role) and a representative from the Board of World Mission (brother Sam Gray). That board will meet to set priorities in mission and ministry for 2012 as we go forward together.
After Pastor Sam returned to the U.S., Segundo and I continued the important follow up work of visiting the various ministries, conducting Bible studies and Evangelism Workshops, getting to know the outreach efforts of the brothers and sisters, continuing discussions concerning Moravian polity and practice and answering questions that they had concerning the process.
We visited a group of children in Lambayeque and shared with them some bracelets, letters and Moravian pins presented by children from the Vacation Bible School at Bethabara and Fairview Moravian Churches in Winston-Salem – an example of many “connections” that are helping to make this ministry possible. It’s wonderful to see how God can bring us together in loving service! Besides the VBS children, other groups and individuals such as the Bethabara congregation, Brother Abraham Bruno, Sunnyside Ministries, the Latino Ministries Committee, the Board of World Mission and many others have already become part of this new thing that God is doing!
As my husband, Segundo, says, “this is a newborn baby that needs our love and care; we must all gather around her in prayerful support as God gives her the strength to grow and begin to walk on her own.” What a joy to share this ministry with my husband and with my brothers and sisters throughout the worldwide Moravian Church!
Hilda Regalado directs the Latino Ministries of the Southern Province. She is a member o Bethabara Moravian Church in Winston-Salem. Photos courtesy of Hilda, Segudo and Sam.