Wow… It’s hard to know where to start. We have been experiencing incredible things here in Peru. The country has been devastated by torrential rain, floods, and mudslides that have swallowed up cities all over the country. Many people have been left homeless, without water, without food, and greatly suffering. We are still working, and will be in the city Piura next week bringing medical aid, cooking for the homeless, and building homes.
In the beginning, as things were getting worse and worse, the Lord would not let me sleep one night. He deeply impressed upon me that He wanted to do something, and He wanted me to be involved. I went on a walk to pray, but the Lord was speaking very strongly and the walk didn’t last long. It reminded me of the time God asked Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward.” It was a short walk. Here is how the events played out over the next several days.
SATURDAY, MARCH 18th, 9:00 AM
I then called my pastor in Peru, John Bonner. We are currently planting a church in Cajamarca, and I told him what God was speaking to me, but that I also wanted to be on his team and move forward together. It was a great talk as he said he also wanted to do something, but didn’t know where to start. He told me to go for it, and do all that was in my heart.
I started planning and making calls. My first thought was the people need water. I told my good friend that I planned on buying a large water tank, and would try to find a truck to rent that would carry the water to those in need. He asked, “Who is going to pay for all this?” I shrugged my shoulders, and said I will for now, but I believe the Lord is leading… that couldn’t have been more true.
SATURDAY, MARCH 18th, 11:00 AM
As I left the Bible College I found one of our Peruvian staff members walking to town, and picked him up. I told him what the Lord was doing, and he started to get excited as well. The first thing he did was give me a donation, and then helped me locate a truck and buy the tank. Within a few hours we had everything we needed. That is not normal where we live, and we could see God moving in miraculous ways already. By the end of the day we had a 10 person team, all the transportation we needed, and the water tank ready to go. God was on the move.
SUNDAY, MARCH 19th, 10:00 AM
We have close ties with a small town called Chilete, and heard reports that they were in desperate need of water. We had also seen photos that the road was washed away, and that there was no way to pass. We began to pray (That is the common thread in all of this), and the following morning we departed from the Bible College at about 10 am.
The road was amazingly clean, and the washed out parts had been repaired enough for one car to pass at a time. Everyone was telling us it was impossible, but God opened the doors. Nothing is impossible for him.
SUNDAY, MARCH 19th, 1:00 PM
When we arrived in Chilete the first people we met were the police, and they wanted to help us get to those with the greatest needed. They threw Matt Carver and I in the back of the police truck, and lead us to different areas using their loud speaker to announce our coming. We visited several areas that day and were able to give water, food, clothes, and the gospel of Jesus to many who were in need. One area we visited had not received water in over 8 days!
We were able to pray with many people, and I will never forget hearing the response of one man whom we told that God had not forgotten him, and that He was loved by Jesus. He said after this, I am convinced. GLORY TO GOD!
SUNDAY, MARCH 19th, 8:00 pm
We arrived back at the Bible College safe and sound, but there was a sense that God wanted to do more. Then I checked to see how the finances had come in, and God had done above and beyond what I could ever imagine! We had enough to pay for everything we had spent, plus enough for a much larger trip. We were also able to help our sister churches in Lima with their outreaches. Where God guides, God provides!
MONDAY, MARCH 20th, 8:00 am
As a new day started, we had a mission team from Calvary Chapel Oceanside visiting us at the Bible College who wanted to get involved. We also had our good friends from CC Cajabamba wanting to join. Our team was growing, and we were just praying that God would lead us to the right place.
We knew that Trujillo, Peru had been devastated, but we also knew the roads had been getting worse each day, and the trip was much farther and along much more dangerous roads. We would need a bus to take us all. Would the roads be open? Would anyone be willing to take us? Where would we stay? Where would we minister? We needed GOd to move… and HE DID.
First, we got in contact with a sweet missionary family in Trujillo that was more than willing to help us, and said they had a place for all of us to stay. It was basically a rooftop turned into a 5 bedroom house with a leaky corrugated roof. It was perfect!
Then, we started to see if God would provide the transportation. I have a friend with a bus, but I was very unsure that he would take us to Trujillo, especially because we wanted to leave the next day. Time was of the essence! So, I got two brothers together and we prayed that God would move his heart, give us favor, and open the doors. Within 30 minutes we had our bus. So amazing!
Next, we needed the truck for the water tanks. We needed a truck to haul 4,000 liters of water and much supplies over very dangerous roads and then have the drivers stay with us for two nights risking getting stuck. We had just met our drivers a few days before, and I wasn’t sure. Within an hour they were ready to go… God can do anything.
MONDAY, MARCH 20th, 9:00 pm
After, running around buying food and supplies we had packed up hundreds of bags of food, Bibles, clothes, tents, blankets, diapers and much more. We had several tons of supplies including the water. The team was working, and we had 27 people ready to make the trip.
TUESDAY, MARCH 21st, 6:00 am
The truck had arrived, the team from Cajabamba had arrived, and the bus was on his way. We just had one big problem… our well had run dry. NO WATER. Our leaders began to become frustrated and discouragement was beginning to take hold. We stopped and prayed, and had some very good times of conversation and prayer with our leaders. Then our construction foreman said he knew someone with a well that could fill our tanks. We just needed him to answer his phone this early and give us permission to fill our tanks with 4,000 liters of water from his well… I wasn’t sure. Within an hour our tanks were filled. GOD IS GREAT!
TUESDAY, MARCH 21st, 8:00 am
After praying, all 3 vehicles left from Cajamarca. The water truck, the passenger van, and the car from Cajambamba. We continued to pray in the van, and as we headed down the mountain we were stopped almost immediately. The roads were not clean this time, and we hit a giant mudslide with a car stuck in the mud right away. We were stalled for about an hour, but finally were allowed to slowly pass through the mud. We continued down the mountain passing through various mudslides and washouts, but we made it to the coast safely. Only 3 hours to go to Trujillo.
TUESDAY, MARCH 21st, 1:00 pm
As we started out on the coast the roads seemed fine at first, and I almost thought everyone was exaggerating… then we came to a lake. There were people in the road with pumps trying to pump the water out of the lake that used to be a road. Cars were being guided through so they wouldn’t sink, and eventually we all made it through.
We continued to get stopped, and proceed slowly through lakes, rivers, complete washouts, dismantled bridges, and broken roads. As we got closer we heard another bus from the other direction say, “No pase” That means there is no way to pass to Trujillo. We decided we needed to keep going and see for ourselves, and we continued to pray. More and more people were telling us we couldn’t get through, and we continued to pray.
TUESDAY, MARCH 21st, 4:00 pm
As we got closer to a city called Paijan, we were told that Paijan was the closest we could get to Trujillo. We were also told that the rains and mudslides come every afternoon and we were getting close to being in danger. As we continued forward we saw rains clouds in the distance, and cars passing us waving their fingers at us and telling us to turn back. I will never forget sitting in the front of the bus continuing to go forward into what seemed like an impossible situation. I just had a deep sense that God was leading.
We arrived at the big mud washout and there was a bus much like our stuck sideways in the middle. Locals were charging to guide cars through, but as they looked at our bus they said only 4x4s could make it, and we needed to turn back. They told us that there was bridge by the coast that might take us, so we tried for that.
When we arrived there were police officers waiting, and they said our bus was too heavy. We would collapse the bridge. We were stuck again. We decided to pray, and we found another local who said there was another way on some backcountry roads. We were very skeptical, but after he explained it to us we prayed again, and decided to try it. We went towards the country onto a dirt road, under a bridge, and down the coast. We almost got lost once, but we were advancing again! God opened the door.
Then, we had people tell us that the coastal entry was also blocked with a mudslide, but we continued to move forward. When we arrived the mudslide was very minor, and we passed into a city called Huanchaco. We were almost to Trujillo and things looked like smooth sailing… then they had the road blocked with sand bags, and we couldn’t pass. We were going to have to navigate back roads to get to Trujillo.
TUESDAY, MARCH 21st, 7:30 pm
It was getting dark and the whole team was getting hungry, so we decided to look for a place to eat and found a place that was still serving… chicken, of course. We were blessed to get a good meal, and right as we were finishing the rain started and the power went out… it was time to move.
TUESDAY, MARCH 21st, 9:00 pm
We proceeded towards Trujillo and finally made it, but when we did it was incredible. The roads were either complete lakes or covered in shin-high mud. I couldn’t recognize where we were even though I had been there before. People were still trying to live their normal lives, but it was impossible. We finally made it to our destination at the house of our missionary friends, and we all had to put rain boots on because of the mud and water everywhere. We made a plan, prayed, and went to sleep.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22nd, 6:00 AM
We woke up early to get started on the day. The plan was breakfast, devos, and be ready to go. I went to be alone with Lord and I read from John chapter 4. And these two verses jumped off the page: “Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.‘ Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” I knew God was calling us to a specific work this day, and that He had great plans in store.
We had a great group devo with Pastor Shawn from CC Oceanside, and then shared in a time of prayer. The coolest thing was that family members of the team from Cajabamba began to join us. Cousins, sisters, nieces, and more… they were all ready to help, and waiting for a church in Trujillo. God was moving in so many areas.
This is probably a good time to share some background. In the beginning of 2016 God began to impress upon both my heart and my wife’s heart that he was calling us to something new. he was reminding me that He had called me to feed the sheep, and to go to places that did not have the blessing of solid churches and Bible teaching like I had experienced in the United States. That is why I came to South America, and God was moving us towards that end. As we prayed God began to put Trujillo on our heart more and more, and to make a long story short after several visits, much prayer, we believed that the Lord had confirmed our call to plant a church in Trujillo in January of 2017. Our plan has been to move there at the end of the year, and begin the work the Lord is calling us to. Then Trujillo was devastated by rain and mudslides, and God began moving us there for this time, or as it says in Esther, “For such a time as this.” We now have even more confirmation, and a group of people waiting for our return. Please join us in prayer for open doors and provision!
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22nd, 9:30 AM
We arrived at an area of Trujillo called Buenos Aires that had been devastated. Many homes were broken down, many were without basic necessities. The first area we visited was in great need, and we began to give out food, tracks, and Bibles. We were able to pray with people, visit homes or remnants of homes, and God did amazing things. We used our loud speaker to share the hope of Jesus with everyone in the area. It was a bit overwhelming to be honest, but God was beginning to move. We also felt like there were other places with even more need, and decided to move on. The challenge was finding the places with the most need, and the places where God wanted us to be. People were telling us all kinds of things, and we were just trying to discern. Praise the Lord, a government official joined with us to help lead us around the city. We finally prayed with a group of ladies who received the Lord, and told them God wanted to use them just as he used the Samaritan woman in John 4, that they would reach all the people of their neighborhood with the gospel of Jesus.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22nd, 11:00 AM
The next place we came to had some running water, so we decided we wouldn’t stay, but then something happened. Ministry started happening in every direction. One of our team members was sharing the gospel in a home and they were receiving. The pastor and his wife from Cajabamba, Juan and Sandra Alegre, were invited into a house, and the whole family received the Lord, the missionary from Trujillo, Ronny Silva, had a crowd around him intently listening to the gospel, and another group were very interested in the Lord and they called me over. They all received the gospel, prayed to receive the Lord, and received a Bible with joy. They were asking me when I was going to come back. At this point, I was being introduced by others as Pastor Cory of Calvary Chapel Trujillo. That took me back, and I don’t know what the church will be called, but I could see the Lord working.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22nd, 1:00 PM
After several stops, we finally reached an area behind the city stadium. This place had no water, little food, and many of the house were completely destroyed. Also, the roads into the community were completely destroyed and cars could not enter, so the people were isolated. We knew this was the place that God wanted us to minister. The problem was an official had told us that more rain and mudslides were going to come through the city at around 2:00. We were on the clock!
We unloaded several thousand liters of water, and the majority of our supplies at this spot. We had to haul the supplies back into the depths of the community. It was hot and the scene was very sad, but everyone was just serving with all their heart. Food and water got into areas where people had none. People were breaking down everywhere, souls were being saved, and God was doing miracles all over the place. I don’t know all the stories, but I want to share a few that I will never forget, and I pray that God’s name will be high and lifted up through each story!
First, I made the trek to the back with Pastor Juan and his wife Sandra. As we arrived to an area that was completely demolished, we realized we had already handed out most of the food we brought, and we needed to go back for more. I knew I would be able to go back the fastest, but I could see God was about to do something with this group of people, and I was conflicted. I volunteered to back and with the help of others we brought back a bunch of supplies. When we arrived the whole group had received the Lord, and we gave them the supplies. The point of this story is that when we are fully surrendered and submitted to the Lord, and just willing to do anything, God can move. It doesn’t matter who is the mouth or who is the feet. It was awesome to see.
The next story is the man with the 18 day old baby. I will never forget Rueben and his baby. They arrived to the bus where all the supplies were kept, and as he came near I just said, “Do you have anything, do you even have diapers?” He said, “That’s why I am here.” I almost tear up just thinking about it… The thing is, a group from our team had just took the last of the diapers to bring them to the back of the community. I just remember it being so muggy and feeling so faint, but I knew I had to get something for this man. A couple of guys and I took off after the group, and eventually caught them. I was able to grab about 20 XL diapers… I think the diapers were bigger than the baby, but the father was so thankful. After I gave him the diapers, the Lord just impressed upon me to not let this man go until he had received the Lord. I grabbed him by the shoulders and began to plead with him father to father. I was thinking of my own little girl, and I told him I couldn’t let him go until I knew I was going to see him in heaven. I began to share the gospel and we both started tearing up. God moved Reuben’s heart, and he, myself, Verano, and Santiago (2 students at the Bible College) prayed with him to receive the Lord. He was crying, but knew he had been visited by God. I told him I would look for him when I come back to Trujillo. Me and the guys walked back towards the bus helping each other not fall down from heat exhaustions as we walked… just amazing. TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Another experience I will never forget was when we thought we were getting ready to leave, and someone from the community, not someone from the team, suggested that we pray together. We began to hold hands and more and more people joined our prayer group. I asked a student from the Bible College to pray and said I would follow. Karina Minauro prayed with compassion and boldness and shared the gospel, and I followed by praying that everyone would know that they had been visited by God this day. As we finished two hardened Peruvian men were standing with their heads down and weeping… I came over and the could barely speak. They knew God loved them and they wanted Jesus. We talked with them, and then they prayed with us to receive the Lord. They left that day praying amongst themselves with fresh water in their hands, and a new life in Christ as well. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Finally, I did not see this happen, but I was told by the group as we were finally leaving that a family chased down our truck, and they were yelling they wanted to receive Jesus as well. Of course we stopped, and several of our students prayed with this family to receive the Lord. God was just doing a work and nothing could stop it. HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD?
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22nd, 3:30 PM
We finally finished our day and had lunch with our team that had grown to over 40 people with those had joined us in Trujillo. Then as we heard the sirens ringing we headed back to the house we were staying at with a missionary family and began to dig a barrier around his front gate and garage with the mud in the street. We saw many people doing the same, and creating mud bags (sand bags filled with mud) to keep the water out. Praise the Lord, the mudslides stopped abut two blocks before reaching us.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22nd, 7:00 PM
We gathered around to share our experiences and kind of download from an incredible day. It was amazing to hear how God ministered in everyone, and through them. There was a wonderful sense of unity as people commented on how they had not heard even one complaint, and how God had done miracles as we depended upon Him in prayer. Just an unbelievable day is so many ways.
THURSDAY, MARCH 23rd, 7:00 AM
After an early start, we departed from Trujillo at around 7 am. The first challenge was that all the gas stations were flooded and not functioning, and our bus was almost out of gas. Praise the Lord, on the way out of Trujillo we found one that was still servicing, and were able to gas up and get going.
THURSDAY, MARCH 23rd, 11:00 AM
The trip back took a total of 13 hours, when it normally takes around 7. One of the coolest parts was our first big delay, due to the mountain basically crumbling in one spot, we stopped in a very small village called “Pay Pay” (The stories of how they got this name were hilarious, and included gringos not paying for things). What we found is that the village was being rationed to a couple gallons of water per family per day. We still had a little water left in our tanks, and we began to fill their buckets and barrels, and share the gospel. We prayed with people to come back to the Lord, we helped bring water to wash a baby, and God did amazing things right there in this little village. After a while we had run out of water, and served the people, and as we finished the road opened up. It was obvious that God had a divine appointment lined up for us in this small village
THURSDAY, MARCH 23rd, 3:00 PM
As we continued up the mountain it began to rain again, and we knew that was bad. As we arrived to Chilete the road was completely closed and the river was about to submerge their bridge. They said we could try another lesser used road, and arrive on a back way to Cajamarca. Our driver was very reluctant because he said if we get stuck on a backroad, it will be a long time before we receive any help. We decided to try anyways, and after some scary moments, including passing an active slide before it got too big, we made it. We arrived at the Bible College around 8 pm safe and sound… It was such a whirlwind, but God had done so many amazing things.
FRIDAY, MARCH 24th 7:30 am
Bible College devotions. Mike Palotto, the missions pastor from CC Oceanside, asked if his team members could quickly share, and then asked if I would finish. Each team shared so beautifully of what God had done, and everyone had a verse that God had spoken to them. Then, as I came to speak, I had a verse that Gd had spoke right to my heart:
“These things says He who is holy, He who is true, ‘He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens’: ‘I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.'” -Revelation 3:7-8
I am not an overly emotional guy, but this morning I could barely get the words out. I was choking up and fighting off tears. There was so much raw emotion mixed with real fruit, and it was overwhelming. I shared some of the stories above, but what really was impacting me was that my wife and I have been praying for Trujillo for a long time, and we believe that back in January God had already confirmed that we were to move there and plant a church… we could see it coming together right before eyes. Jesus said He would build HIs church, and we getting to be a tiny little part of that.
Then John Bonner got up to speak, and while I had not mentioned the church plant that morning, he said that he had seen this once before when Peru was hit by a large earthquake, and now he saw God raising me and my family to pastor His church in Trujillo. It was a special moment, and one we will not soon forget.
That is the end of part one. We have continued to help support relief missions through other parts of the body in places like Huarmey, Peru, and I am planning to fly to Piura, the most affected city in Peru, with Pastor Manolo from Calvary Lima to meet a team compromised of Calvary Chapels in Peru, Guatemala, and Colombia. God is still working!
PLEASE PRAY FOR US, AND PRAY FOR THE CHURCH PLANT. We need your prayers, as only God can build His church. We are excited about not just emergency relief in Trujillo, but long-term care for the people there. We are praying for people to join us on the front-line, as well as back-line support. We have need of hands on site working with children, evangelism, youth, and much more. We will also have greater financial responsibilities, as well as the need for administrative assistance in the states. We hope to create a non-profit organization in the states that can enable us to do more, but we are praying for God to put the burden on the right people. Thank you for praying, and for being a part of God’s work in South America. It truly is a privilege to serve Him, and spend our lives on His behalf!
You can email with questions about how to get involved here: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Kilgus Family