06.07.2005 // Bill Bachman's Trip to Peru

Greetings! As many of you know, I recently went on a mission trip to Comas Peru with a group of 19 from Fellowship Bible Church here in Nashville.I've been back for a week now and life is pretty much back to normal. There is really too much to tell about all that happened on the trip, but here's some of the story: Comas Peru is a suburb of Lima on the west coast of South America. There it hardly ever rains so there is virtually no grass which leaves us with dust, and a lot of it. There are also few government regulations on sanitation and emissions, which leaves it on the dirty, smelly, and smoggy side of things. My church here in Nashville has partnered with the Christian Alliance church in Comas so we were down there to help their church grow and generally sharpen each other. My specific role on this trip was to play music, work construction, and video everything (I'll have pictures soon coming from a friend who was along with us). It was also fun for me to speak Spanish as much as possible, everyone on both sides of the language barrier got a kick out of that. (I'm admittedly a spanglish hacker.)

The worship team that I play with regularly in church was all in attendance so we played for the Saturday evening/Sunday services there. We played pretty well and ended up playing more and more whenever they could fit us in. By the end of our week there it seemed that I'd even been adopted as the drummer with the local worship band. There were a few rehearsals, but more often than not we took the "hit it on the fly" approach with broken spanglish instructions between the bass player and myself. Those guys playing in Peru know how to jam and it was great to play with them--the joint was rockin! We also spent a lot of time working construction on a new church that's being planted in a neighboring town. What existed when we arrived on the scene was the raw metal framework consisting of eight uprights and the cross braces for the thirty foot high roof. The objective was to get this cleaned, primed to seal against rust, and finally painted black. Since everything is dirty and dusty there, before you paint you need to use a pressure washer to clean the surface. This is all well and good, except that there are no pressure washers. We climbed up the uprights with our bare hands and scrubbed every square inch with our "sheep" (cotton wads that were not yet woven into fabric). To make matters more difficult, there was no water involved in this process, so you can only really get it so clean. Once that was "done" (you could barely tell what had been cleaned and what hadn't), it was time to paint rust proof primer over the welded joints. This was done by climbing and then painting the welds with a brush while holding on for dear life with the other hand. The final coat was done with spray paint, but not spray paint as we know it. We had hand pump sprayers that would leak all over and make a huge mess (though some of it would actually spray!) Since this required two hands to operate, we had rope tied around our waists and the upright so that we could freely lean back and spray. The work we did was very hard, tedious, and completely unsafe by American standards, but it had to be done that way and we did it cheerfully (as a general rule). It's another house for the Lord which is now nearer to completion in a place that is so in need. I must say that it was an honor to work on it, even under those conditions. On the last day went far up into the hills to feed some young school children who were very much in need of the fortified milk and bread that we had. Without people supplying and giving this food to them, they would not have had any breakfast. We would be entering a classroom (made in a tent) with a tray of milk & bread and hear them cheerfully chanting, "leche, leche, leche!" The milk (leche in Spanish) that we brought them meant so much to them that some of us were almost crying as we gave it out. The joy that the breakfast brought to them was one of the most beautiful things I've ever witnessed. Materially I would liken Comas Peru to an average thrift store here in the states. There are virtually no "nice" things there, and what's there is dirty, scuffed up, partly broken, and repaired with coat-hanger wire or duct tape. The average American would walk through and find virtually nothing of any value and refer to it as trash, washing their hands as they left the store. However, this is what they have there and it does not adversely affect them at all--they joyfully make do with what they have. They have way less stuff than we do in the states, but they definitely seem to have more joy with what they have. People are people, we're all made in God's image and are of unfathomable value to our Lord. They made it perfectly clear that our stature in this world and our possessions are truly of no eternal value whatsoever. The people we worked with in Peru are some of the most beautiful souls I've ever encountered and I thank them for all of the lessons that I learned there. They were thankful to the point of tears for our time and effort, as well as for us caring enough to invest part of our lives to go there and build the kingdom along side with them. The idea is that we were there to give to them, but I personally feel like I got as much out of it as they did (if not more). The light of Christ will shine through all who know and love Him no matter skin color, rich, poor, beauty, language, etc. I'm thankful that His light is shining brightly in Comas Peru and am honored to have been chosen to go there and help them. Thanks a lot for the prayers and support that allowed me to go out to the ends of the earth! God bless, -Bill
Bill Bachman's Peru Event Gallery