Perspectives from Peru
News, Stories, and Resources from PC(USA) Mission Co-Workers Jed and Jenny Koball
In this edition...                                                                 DECEMBER 2015
  • Peace through Perspective: An Advent Message from Jenny and Jed
  • A New Season of Hope in La Oroya
  • Living Simply in the Amazon: a YAV Thanksgiving 
  • When I Change, the World Changes: Marching for the Climate
  • Making Progress in our Funding Shortfall
  • Jenny and Jed in the U.S. in April of 2016: Itineration Schedule
  • Celebrating 2015! Photos and Hi-lights! 
Peace through Perspective:
An Advent Message from Jenny and Jed

Now let me suggest first that if we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.—Martin Luther King Jr., Christmas Eve Sermon, 1967

For us, God’s mission for the Church was never really about going somewhere else to fix a problem. Certainly understanding and addressing poverty and injustice are central to our work, but such work reflects the deeper purpose of God’s mission for us—learning to live together in Peace. This learning begins with a new perspective—a world perspective. Perhaps I should not be so struck by the relevance of words preached by Martin Luther King Jr. nearly 50 years ago. After all, the story on which it is based happened over 2,000 years ago and bears a message that will be relevant for generations to come. 

On that Christmas morning so many years ago a child was born who was Christ the Lord. And in that birth God opted to be present in this world by choosing a life on the margins of earthly powers—in the jungles of northern Peru, in the streets of urban Lima, in the poisoned haze of La Oroya, perhaps in a neighborhood near you. God chose the vantage point of human struggle and suffering from which to understand the “cruel realities of the world” and commence the long and arduous walk toward the Kingdom Come right here on Earth.


A New Season of Hope in La Oroya
In the moments prior to a critical meeting with the Governor of the Region of Junin to discuss a specialized health care program for families in La Oroya affected by heavy metals poisoning, our partners of Joining Hands organized a prayer vigil outside the Governor´s office. (Photo taken by Jed Koball)
A recent letter campaign aimed at securing new and improved health facilities for heavily polluted communities in Peru is being called a success. The campaign was launched as part of an ongoing initiative to address growing health concerns for citizens of La Oroya and other communities in the region of Junin that have been impacted by mining operations. A significant number of signatures on the letter came from the U.S. including numerous Presbyterians.

**NEW** Video about our work in La Oroya
In three minutes hear the magnitude of the problem and our strategy in addressing it. 
Living Simply in the Amazon:
a YAV Thanksgiving
After an hour and a half flight from Lima to Tarapoto, a three hour car ride off the main road, and another hour and a half up stream in a dug out canoe, we made it to the Tingana natural reserve in the high jungles of the Amazon in the Region of San Martin. A community of 20 families cares for the reserve as they welcome adventurers like ourselves to live with them in their traditional and simple way of life. We took Daniel and Shaina, our two Young Adult Volunteers for this year, to Tingana for the first of four one-week long retreats we host during the year to help them reflect and process their experiences of service in Peru. One of the central components of the YAV program is Living Simply. And so, in the natural reserve of Tingana, without electricity, plumbing, running water or internet or cell phone service, we celebrated Thanksgiving and the First Sunday of Advent by meeting the challenges of cross-cultural service with gratitude. There was no turkey to carve, yet neither was there a Black Friday or Cyber Monday to tempt. There was the simplicity of fishing for our meals, mimicking the sounds of birds and monkeys, admiring the colors of flowers, caterpillars and butterflies, singing songs of praise, resting in hammocks, telling jokes by candle light, and absorbing the generations of wisdom of those who care for the life-giving jungles of the Amazon. To learn more about the blessings and challenges of Living Simply, follow the blogs of Shaina and Daniel
Do You Know a Young Adult who Would Like to Serve for a Year?

Go HERE to learn more about the YAV program! 
To hear more about the impact of a year of service, read this prayerful article from former Peru YAV Blake Collins! 
When I Change, the World Changes: Marching for the Climate
In the weeks prior to the gathering of the nations in Paris where governments of the world will express their commitments to mitigating global warming and adapting to climate change (COP-21), the Interfaith Commission of Peru: Religions for Peace hosted a panel discussion to reflect on Pope Francis´Encyclical ¨Laudato Si¨. Given the circumstances in Paris following the terrorist attacks and the context of the Pope´s call to collective action, it was necessary for us to reflect on deeper root causes of profound unrest in the world. Terrorism, poverty, growing inequality, racism, violence against women, will continue to shape and scar the human race until we find simple and sustainable ways to live together in this common house we share. This will imply significant and even sacrificial changes for some of us, beginning with a strategic shift in our thinking away from ¨development as prosperity¨ and towards ¨development as harmony.¨ I´m grateful for the wisdom of faith leaders like Sheik Mohamed of the Islamic Association of Lima, Juan José Bustamente of the Buddhist Community, Rosanna Rivera of the Bahái faith, and Rabbi Guillermo Bronstein of the Jewish Association (all pictured below), as well as representatives of the Brahma Kumaris, the Catholic Church, and various Evangelical Church leaders. Their contributions were rich, inspiring and hopeful. It was in this spirit of Hope, Peace and Joy that evangelicals joined with other faith traditions in Lima and in solidarity with others around the world for the Global March for the Climate. May we all continue to walk together in harmony in God´s call to care for Creation. 
Making Progress in our Funding Shortfall
Director of World Mission, Hunter Farrell, recently shared that as of the Fall of 2015 the funding for Presbyterian World Mission has increased by 18% since the same time a year ago. Likewise, funding specifically for us (Jed and Jenny´s positions as mission co-workers) has increased by an average of 10-12% per year since 2012, not including this year, thus bringing us ever closer to being ¨fully funded.¨ While we still have a ways to close the funding gap, we are grateful for the tremendous support provided by so many of you. 

In fact, many of you are among the individuals, churches and presbyteries that are Responding in Creative Ways to Keep PC(USA) Mission Co-Workers in Service!    

If you have not yet given this year, or would like to make an additional gift, please know that your gift will be matched through the end of the year!! 

Please donate HERE! Thank You!!
Jenny and Jed in the U.S. in April of 2016
Itineration Schedule
April 2-4     Kings Grant Presbyterian Church     Virginia Beach, VA
April 7        Princeton Theological Seminary       Princeton, NJ
April 9-10   First Presbyterian Church                 Webster, NY
April 15      St. Andrew University                      Laurinburg, NC
April 17      Doylestown Presbyterian  Church    Doylestown, PA
April 20      Bensalem Presbyterian Church         Bensalem, PA
April 23-24 Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church      Bryn Mawr, PA

Through worship, educational events, social gatherings, and more we will be sharing stories, successes, and challenges of the ministry we share with our Joining Hands partners in Peru. We will also be present to prayerfully discern together with you and your congregation about becoming more creatively and strategically involved in mission partnership. 
Celebrating 2015!
Photos and Hi-Lights
2015 brought both of us success, fulfillment and new challenges in our shared ministry as mission co-workers. Among the many hi-lights, certainly we would name the visits from many of you to Peru to join with us in addressing root causes of poverty at the local and global levels, as well as our visits to you back in March! Of course, we could also speak to the advances made in La Oroya (as articulated above) and the continued growth of the YAV program. On a more personal and professional level, we would also hi-light the following:
  • Jenny was able to organize and lead training workshops this year for Host Families of Young Adult Volunteers, as well as for Organizations that receive the volunteers. As one host mother noted, ¨we should have done this years ago!¨ Jenny´s hope for growing the YAV program includes growing ownership of the program by building relationships among host families and receiving organizations. In this way, the YAV program becomes more than just a program, rather a mission shared by many. 
  • Also, through the many relationships the Jenny continues to cultivate through the YAV program, she has become increasingly involved in two particular efforts: Addressing Violence Against Women, and Providing Access to Education to the most marginalized communities. Jenny is working closely with partner organizations in addressing these issues both at the local level and together with Jed in connecting these initiatives with partner churches in the U.S. 
  • Jed continues to enjoy speaking, preaching and teaching opportunities across Peru and even in the U.S. (via technology). Most recently he was a keynote speaker at an International Conference on Climate Change for Evangelical Churches from across all of Latin America. Also, he was recently invited to help lead a national working group entitled, ¨Religion, Spirituality and Development¨, which is an initiative to involve the Church in addressing the deep issues of globalization. Jed continues to produce materials (videos, webinars, articles) addressing the issues of trade policy, the extractive industry and the role the Church can play in these efforts. 
  • Looking ahead to 2016, Jed has just begun studying Portuguese in order to communicate more effectively with Brazilian partners, particularly in relation to the care of the Amazon. Also, both Jed and Jenny look to develop their skills in Peruvian Sign Language as they relate with the hearing impaired communities that struggle to access education in Peru. 
These are but a few hi-lights of our professional work and development, but what we would really like to share with you are a few hi-lights from this past year of our life beyond work! In the photos below: 
  • With great thanks to our friends of Giddings-Lovejoy Presbytery who visited us in June, we finally made it to Machu Picchu! This was our first trip together to Machu Picchu, one of the seven wonders of the world, and undoubtedly a mysterious and mystical place that left us with much to reflect. 
  • We were able to take a quick one-week trip to the U.S. in August to spend time with Jed´s family. Jed´s Dad (in the photo with Jed) had a difficult year in 2014, following a fall and broken hip. He now lives near Jed´s sisters in the NY/NJ metropolitan area. After a lot of therapy and recuperation, Jed´s Dad is doing much better and enjoying being near his family and grandkids. 
  • Because we both travel frequently for work, healthy living is sometimes a challenge. We took it upon ourselves to ¨get in shape¨. To this end, we ran our first 10K together. While we did not make record time, we did make it to the finish line! 
  • One of the many joys of living in Lima is being near Jenny´s family. This year we not only celebrated the matrimony of her brother Pepe and sister-in-law Sara, but also the first birthday of their daughter Layla! 
  • And, we celebrated our 5th anniversary in October by getting away to the high jungles of Tarapoto! Among the many activities: hiking, swimming, fishing, kayaking, we were also able to get on a 4-wheeler and stir up some dust on the mountain roads.
Finally, a word of thanks to each and every one of you who continue to support us, pray with us, walk with us, laugh with us, cry out with us, and celebrate life together with us! May the God of Life and Light be born anew in you and your communities this Christmas and in the year ahead! 
You are receiving this e-newsletter because you and/or your church have supported Jenny and Jed´s ministry in Peru through prayer, actions, and/or financial gifts.

Thank you! 
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To see previous editions of Jed and Jenny´s ¨Perspectives from Peru¨ quarterly e-newsletter and/or any of their previous Mission Connections Newsletters, please click HERE! 
Jed and Jenny´s Mailing Address: Avenida Brasil 3059, Dpto. 1201, Magdalena del Mar, Lima, Peru