I was struck the other day by a description. I had called on some friends here in Lima and they were out. The “Watchiman” told them that someone had called, however he did not know their name. He described me as “Padre Blanco.” My mind made several flips. Blanco was what we used to treat our webbing belts and gaiters with in the “corps” or ROTC when I was in my teens. Blanco here means white as opposed to a darker skin shade and reflects some of the deep racism that can exist in Peru. The blancos were those of Spanish descent and thus the elite. My language tutor tells me that she is discriminated against on occasion, as her skin is dark. I confess not to understand entirely especially as a foreigner I see Peruvians as a wonderful and good-looking people. Yes I can see a great variety skin shades. Heaven forbid I should ever see myself as some part of an elite minority. Next week I shall be washing feet in Villa el Salvador – one of our largest and oldest shanty town areas. Jesus is the example – our only option is obediently to follow his example.
SAMS has changed its name. It is now official and we have a new logo. I like it. Some time back , when it was mooted that we would incorporate CMS-USA (Church Missionary Society), the question of name change came up. Now SAMS oversees missionaries all over the world. I suggested my own version – SENDING ANGLICAN MISSIONARIES SOMEWHERE. I was not surprised when they chose another! So here we are with a wonderful act of God – for that is how I see it. God has taken this wonderful mission society, which was only formed in the USA in the mid 1970’s, and has grown and transformed its ministry to become worldwide. God is so good! I am so grateful for the vision and dedication of those who started this ministry in the US. They kept it going through some very low times. They faithfully and obediently grew SAMS-USA. May God bless our future. BTW I hope to see many of you at New Wineskins April 8-11. There you will catch a vision of what God is doing all over the world as well as thru SAMS.
Easter is upon us but before Easter comes this most difficult weeks. Palm Sunday morphs into Passion Sunday and we experience palms of joy turning into betrayal, torture and death. On Maundy Thursday we celebrate Jesus taking upon himself the nature of a slave as he washes the feet of the disciples. On Good Friday Jesus going and suffering the death of a slave in the excruciating agony and torture of Roman Crucifixion. Saturday we will await what comes next. Will he? Won’t he? It is a day of spiritual emptiness.
Then comes Easter. God, who makes all things new brings us Jesus – resurrected, “He’s Alive.” We have a sure and certain hope. Jesus’ bodily resurrection is the victory of God in the reconciliation of the world to himself. Jesus’ obedient self –
Sacrifice makes real all his claims and all our hopes. Peter said, “You are the Holy One of God.” Jesus is. Because he is so we are made new. New Creation, Salvation, Rescue and Hope – what a gift! Come to Jesus, He is the One.
Lastly – meet Candy who is a wonderful member of the Shalom community. Deacon Pat Blanchard leads this wonderful ministry to the mentally and physically challenged. What a blessing to meet her in her pink shirt and dress. To meet her mother and the community of mothers who receive support, therapy and Gospel encouragement and instruction from Pat and her helpers each day of the week. Pray for Pat’s new enterprise. She has bought an old school building and seeks to transform it into a center for ministry, Christian care and love. She intends to live there in Pamplona Baja among her flock. I watched Pat lovingly construct with Candy the two tablets of the Ten Commandments from toilet rolls and string. She then went on to teach informally the mothers gathered about the ten commandments and retold the story of the Prodigal Son. This is what Anglican ministry in Peru is all about – caring for and bringing the Gospel to the least fortunate in our world, here in Lima, Peru. This is why it is a privilege to be here, to be sent here and to serve with such gifted and dedicated folk.