Published in  
April 3, 2024

Through The Lens: Peru

A short-term mission trip is so special because it gives you a chance to glimpse what God is doing around the world. This March, we had the opportunity to reunite with our dear friends from Eternal Wave in Lima, Peru, for a week. Recently, newlyweds Jacqui and Ethan from Ride Nature Florida and Karol and Juan from Ride Nature Latin America have transitioned into new roles as trip leaders for each respective headquarters. Together, with their servant hearts and unending love for the Lord, they have proven to make an incredible team of leaders. Especially for a trip like the one we were soon to embark on.
Jacqui Rushing, Karol & Juan Carranza, and Ethan Rushing.

Our team consisted of people from all over the Americas (Florida, Costa Rica, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Colombia, Texas, and Michigan), and it was through our diversity that God graced us with unity, cooperation, and friendship.

Our first day was spent meeting and reuniting with Carlitos, his family (who has grown one member bigger since our last visit), and some of the staff from Eternal Wave. That Sunday, Carlitos walked into church with a trail of wide-eyed gringos behind him. Fortunately for us, even though most of our team didn’t speak Spanish and couldn’t understand the words in the worship songs or the sermon, our God doesn’t need language to make His presence known or for us to respond in praise. Sometimes, we stumbled over the lyrics on the screen, but mostly, we just closed our eyes and lifted our hands, and this was the posture that would remain amongst our group for the rest of the week!

Every day of the trip consisted of four things: up before dawn, surfing, a prayer with a new friend, and Lima traffic. Honestly, with the number of Uber drivers that heard about God and Ride Nature, we could have considered it its own form of outreach! In addition to our blossoming Uber evangelism, we helped the Eternal Wave crew with their beginner-advanced surf lessons as well as hosted free sessions for anyone passing by. Much like members of the body of Christ being called to specific giftings, some of us were able to help with instruction in the water, while others brought food and initiated intentional conversations with those on the beach.

The icing on the cake was the skate competition we hosted in San Miguel skatepark at the end of the week. The park sat on the literal edge of town with the ocean hundreds of feet below us. Throughout the week, we skated with locals and spread the word that we were going to host a contest. When the time came, there were over 60 people – skaters, bystanders, and the park’s security officer – all gathered and curious.

The contest itself was so rad and a complete success. The bowl looked like a kaleidoscope as one skater’s run seamlessly made way for another’s. A skate contest is a percussive symphony of claps, cracks, and slides accompanied by a choir of encouraging onlookers.

By the end of the contest, everyone was hyped, engaged, and ready for the results. But before giving out prizes, Anju directed everyone to sit at one of the ramps (gathering skaters is like herding cats, so he had to promise not to make them sit for more than 5 minutes). With a paint marker, he drew a circle on the ramp and began to share about a God who loved his people so much that He died for them in order to have a relationship with them. The Three Circles gospel presentation took shape boldly juxtaposed by the crude and worldly graffiti underneath. While Anju shared for those few minutes, all chatter and fidgeting ceased, and Jesus’s gift of grace and redemption was declared! Please join us in praying that Anju’s message stirs the hearts of all those in attendance toward the Lord.

After the Gospel was proclaimed, we passed out prizes to the contest winners. Repeatedly, these skaters heard, “It’s not us giving you this gift but the grace of God,” followed by “Jesus loves you.”

I’m so grateful to God for the opportunities He gave us during this trip to Lima. We had such sweet fellowship with Carlitos, his wife Rosalyn, his two children, Lon, Luchito, Chino, and each other. We returned home with heads, hearts, and spirits held high, reflecting on all that the Lord did in and through our entire team. We look forward to continuing to share the Good News of the Gospel alongside our Peruvian family for many years to come. ¡Gloria a Dios!

Trading in the endless pursuits for one that leads to hope and life, together we become The Pursuit Collective.

Photography By: Paige O'Neil and Alyssa Hall