Located in the valley of three rivers, and overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the capital city of Lima sits on the central coastline of Peru in South America. Together with neighboring seaport city of Callao, it forms the Lima Metropolitan Area. Lima boasts of being the third largest city in the Americas and has a population of almost 10 million. It is also the home of The National University of San Marcos, founded in 1551 and considered the oldest higher-learning institution in the “New World”—the term used for the Americas in the Western Hemisphere.
Nestled in this urban area sits Castillo Fuerte Casa de Misericordia, which translates as “Mighty Fortress House of Mercy.” Deaconess Caitlin Worden, whose
home congregation is Salem, Coloma, serves as the director and oversees the daily functioning of the mercy house. She also teaches Christian education and focuses on connecting children and their families to the Word and Sacrament ministry of the church. Worden also cares for both their physical and spiritual needs.
Recently, the ministry finished its bi-annual Forum meetings where the missionaries pause and reflect on their work. Together, they study theology and review their daily mission practices, making sure they are in line with their end goals of preaching the Gospel and planting churches. Two new Castillo Fuerte sites were opened at the beginning of 2016 and are doing well. The team of missionaries is working hard to get them fully established and is excited about the future of the ministry in Peru.
Jeancarlos Ramirez, a church and now staff member shares in his video: “I was very impressed when I first came to the church … the pastor gave me books to read, one of which was Law and Gospel. I read it eight times. The church I was from was very law oriented … you can’t do this or that … in this book, I learned that Jesus died for me and He will save me from my sins. I liked that book because it showed me the love of God … I read it at a low point in my life, I had nothing. I now have a purpose in my life. Serving is my life … if I do something good at Castillo Fuerte it is because God put it in my mind to do it.”
You can view Ramirez’ testimony here. He is now taking pre-seminary courses in hopes of becoming a Lutheran pastor.
Please pray for Deaconess Worden as she serves in Peru. Remember the families and children of the Castillo Fuerte Mercy House, and pray for their growth and well-being. Pray for the unity and strength of the mission team in Peru as they bring the hope of the Gospel to the people of Lima.
To pray for other missionaries from the Michigan District, LCMS and learn where they serve all over the world, visit michigandistrict.org/missions-ministries/outreach/world-missions.
Photographs courtesy of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod