Ciudad de Dios, which means “City of God,” is a poor area on the outskirts of Arequipa. It is here and in other areas like it where many people from the highlands of Peru have settled as they search for a better life in the city. The streets are made of dust, the homes have no running water or sewer systems, and the people work hard just to live. But in the midst of this difficulty, something beautiful is forming.
El Camino, a TEAM-related church in Arequipa, has been ministering there for several years. Currently there is a team of people who go to Ciudad de Dios regularly to lead a ministry to children, teens, women, and men. There are also people who walk from house to house seeking to engage the people of the area in conversation and begin a relationship with them. As a result of this ministry, there are several women who are preparing to be baptized.
So far, this teaching ministry has taken place in the home of one of the women of Ciudad de Dios, but soon it will be moved to the newly constructed community center where we hope to help meet the physical needs of the people. Some of the women have learned to make knitted hand warmers and other products of alpaca wool native to Peru as well as crocheted handbags made from recycled plastic bags. The training time for these workshops is also used as a time of teaching the Word of God and for fellowship among the women. As their skills improve, the women can supplement their incomes to help improve their living conditions and better care for their children.
In addition to the knitting and crocheting, our goal is to establish a day care center and perhaps other workshops so that people can learn job skills and thus have a more stable life. Eventually we would like to see this community development project become part of a church that reaches the whole area of Ciudad de Dios.