Elim. The oasis in the desert. The ministry in El Milagro that God is using to transform the hearts and lives of the weary and broken hearted.

If hope and joy are contagious, so are hopelessness and despair. My first month in Peru taught me that hard truth. Life for the average Peruvian living in El Milagro is largely defined by hopelessness. For many of them, they spend their days [and/or nights] digging through trash and burning the leftovers.

The beauty that surrounds them is impossible to see through the dingy haze that never lifts. In this, the physical landscape mirrors perfectly the spiritual and emotional landscape of all of those who are trapped in the hopeless cyclical current of life in the garbage dump.

Raised in leftover clothes, playing with trash for toys on dirt mounds scattered with broken glass, the kids of El Milagro have little hope of a different life. They are born there, so they will spend their lives there. They are surrounded by smoke and flies and learn to accept it early on. In time they too will begin to make the fires that fill the air that will surround their children, who will then repeat the process.

It takes a Gracious Savior and an Almighty God to breathe life into that which is truly dead, to change the course of an ever-moving current. My Savior is gracious. My God is almighty. He is breathing life into El Milagro. He is creating an oasis in the middle of this physical and spiritual desert. Through Elim He is providing a new source of income for mothers. With the bracelet ministry comes hope, hope for a better life for themselves, hope for a better future for their children.

While the mothers work, the children play and learn in a safe and joy filled environment. Discipleship programs assist the teens in growing into young men and women who love the Lord and are filled with His purpose and promise. Whether God calls them to remain in El Milagro or to go on to other places, it will now be their choice. They now have opportunity. They now have hope.

With a lot of effort and six buckets of paint, God used me to make visually apparent that which was already spiritually true. Living water can be found in that wooden building just outside the walls of the dump. All who are weary can come and rest and be refreshed by the One who has not forgotten them.

“When the poor and needy search for water and there is none, and their tongues are parched from thirst, then I the Lord, will answer them. I, the God of Israel will never abandon them. I will open up rivers for them on high plateaus. I will give them fountains of water in the valleys. I will fill the deserts with pools of water. Rivers fed by springs will flow across parched ground. I will plant trees in the desert… I am doing this so all who see this miracle will understand what it means- that it is the Lord who has done this, the Holy one of Israel who created it.”
[Isaiah 41:17-20]