by Kim Higginbotham

ICA, Peru (BNc)- A large group of Americans just returned from a medical campaign in this city wracked last year by a massive earthquake.

On May 30 and June 6, a total group of 106 Americans left the U.S for Ica, Peru. The group was led by Jack Farber, of Latin American Missions, Valdosta, Ga.

Ica, an already impoverished area, was further devastated by an 8.0 magnitude earthquake last August.

The campaign was a medical and evangelistic effort, with people of all ages and walks of life participating, from young teenagers to those in their seventies.

During the campaign, a medical clinic was set up with doctors, nurses, dentists and pharmacists seeing to the townspeople’s physical needs. After each person came through the clinic, a Bible study was offered to any who would like to participate.

During the two-week campaign, 573 Bible studies were conducted, resulting in 48 baptisms.

A congregation of approximately 40 Christians already exists in Ica. They have a full-time evangelist, as well as a full-time intern from the school of preaching in Lima.

These men will be busy following up the contacts made during the mission effort. While many of the Peruvians were initially drawn to the medical clinic, it was clear to all that the campaign’s focus was not to cure bodies, but souls.

During the daytime while the clinic saw patients, other team members were door-knocking, conducting Bible studies, teaching classes to children, ladies, men and new converts and visiting local schools to teach Bible stories.

During the evening, there were classes for children and teenagers, while the adults participated in an evening service.

While this was my first campaign, I certainly hope it won’t my last. I was so impressed with all that I saw. What impressed me most is that I saw people who were truly “hungering and thirsting” for the Word of God.

While I went with some of the groups that went door to door inviting people to worship services and offering Bible studies, I noticed that it was so different from trying to do the same thing in a typical neighborhood in the United States. Nearly everyone seemed to appreciate the invitation, and many would invite those in our group to study with them right there on the doorstep.

To sum up the purpose and events from the week, there was a favorite story from one of our members on the campaign.

While she was door-knocking, she saw a house where there was a lady with her face pressed against the window, watching the campaign members as they knocked doors and talked to her neighbors. This campaign member, seeing that the lady was home and watching them, went to her house to hand her an invitation. The woman opened the door and said, “I’ve been waiting for you.” She not only accepted the invitation, but also a Bible study and was later baptized into Christ.

Very simply, that is what our week was all about.