Jesus, Te Amo!

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What is holding us back from a full relationship with Jesus Christ? The prevalent them for me this year in missions has been my relationship with Jesus. This carries over into every relationship that I have inside and outside of missions. I have been reading Rediscover Jesus by Matthew Kelly, and he speaks about deepening our relationship with Jesus. He says our fear and brokenness can be obstacles to a full relationship with Him. Beating ourselves up, unwillingness to forgive ourselves and others, and self protection from past experiences and past hurts can all be obstacles keeping us from having a deeper and more loving relationship with Jesus. Our culture and all its distractions can keep us from seeing the beauty of the life God invites us to live. All these things can prevent us from living out the teachings of Jesus. To follow the teachings of Jesus is Love, and to love God is to follow his commandments. 1 John 5:3 NABRE “the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” Jesus is God, and He wants us to go to Him and to be closer to him through living out a holy life. It is good to go to confession weekly or ask God for forgiveness often, to adore Him in adoration or in front of the tabernacle at least an hour every week, to say rosaries weekly or daily, to ready the bible daily, to have daily personal prayer time, to go to extra masses or services and to grow in our spirituality through a spiritual director. Simply, we can grow closer to Jesus by spending time with Him. One of our priest here in Peru, Padre Leopoldo, gave me advice to spend time in the presence of Jesus every chance I get. I can use my morning prayer time to have time with Jesus when I have access to the blessed sacrament. Why not make time to go to Him? He is always there for us and loves us immensely; more than we will ever know in this lifetime. Just as we get to know our community,

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our friends and our family better by spending time with them, we can spend more time with Jesus to get to know Him better. This allows to know Him fully. Jesus gave us the Eucharist as a gift to have him right here on Earth with us. Matthew 26:26 says,While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” We can benefit from making full use of Him being so close to us. The Council of Trent in 1551 defined that Jesus is really present in the Eucharist, body and blood, soul and divinity. Of course, this divine presence deserves our worship. It is true that someone who believes in it should be inclined to come before the tabernacle often.

We are told to guard our hearts in Proverbs 23:19, “Hear, my son, and be wise, and guide your heart in the right way.” Our hearts can be said to be our sub consciousnesses. I want to use an analogy I learned in classes put on by Klemmer and Associates. Imagine a snow man.

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The top circle (the smallest) of the snowman being our conscious level and the things we think about willingly day to day. The second circle (body of the snowman) is our heart or subconscious. The base and support for the snowman is God with a semicircle (3rd and largest) with the opening pointing down. God is open and infinite with the semicircle opening downwards. All that we think and feel can pass through Him through this opening when we open ourselves up to Him as our base, the trunk and stability of our lives. As a tree needs the trunk as its base and support, we need Jesus as our support. He is always there for us. It is not Him that leaves us in times of worry and distress, but it is us that choose to stop searching in those times forgetting how much He loves us and how much he wants to help us and be there for us. He wants to see us happy; he wants to fulfill our desires that match up with his will. Matthew Kelly mentions that wisdom is the point in life when we find that matching our desire with God’s desire is truly what brings joy.

As the disciples did not recognize Jesus in the gospel of John chapter 21, we have trouble recognizing Jesus with the brokenness we carry with us. Jesus wants us to give all our brokenness, fears, doubts, weaknesses and worries to Him. He longs for us to visit him in adoration, in church in front of the tabernacle and through out our day. We can speak to him about any situation or just tell him how we are feeling during our day. He wants to be there for us as our best friend. As my girlfriend, Yuri, said to me, “Jesus knows our hearts and loves us how we are, fragile and weak.”  By humbling ourselves and submitting to His will, we are made strong. St. Paul says in Philippians 4; 12-13, “I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. I have the strength for everything through Him who empowers me.”

When we deepen our relationship with Jesus we will have strength for everything. We will have strength to do those daily tasks that stress us, to fulfill God’s purpose for us, to help neighbors and families with their problems, to live in community joyfully and to love each other fully. Let us remember through all trials and sufferings that we can have the Joy of Christ in every circumstance.

God bless you all! I pray that this blog finds you well. Missions are going well here in Tres Unidos, Peru.  I am blessed by God to be able to serve the people here. This year my focus has been on teaching English class for 10 and 11 year olds,

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working teenage retreats,

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encouraging and helping start youth groups, helping out with medical ministries with physical therapy, leading a medical mission,

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praying with the people often and helping out with celebration services and masses.

Our plans for the rest of this year are to reach pueblos in our district consistently with the local youth group teaching them to be faithful disciples through reaching out to the outer pueblos that are in desperate need for encouragement and support with their celebration services and holding youth group meetings. I love the hearts of the youth here. They are pure hearts motivated to help others and to serve God. They have been so supportive of missionaries here, patient with us learning the language and generous with their time. I remember being here last year for the first time and meeting the youth. I received hugs from them who had not even known me, and I felt the openness and love they had for us. My heart is with these people of Tres Unidos in this season of my life, and my prayer and wish is that I see them grow in their faith, grow closer to Jesus and to become who God wants them to become, missionaries and more Christ like from their baptism, love and faith.

We want to help these youth through providing transportation to the pueblos that are 20-30 minutes away. For now they are walking will take about 45 min to an hour. For this reason and the ease of transportation from Tres Unidos to Picota, I am asking for support to buy a vehicle. A truck with a rack in the back to place more people and four wheel drive for the muddy roads will be best.

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Because the roads are so rough here, it is advised not to buy older trucks here. That puts the price at $15,000 to 20,000 for a decent used truck. The trucks are $30,000 brand new. We are looking for a Toyota or Nissan in order to get a good quality truck. We are asking for 10 people to donate $2,000 or 20 to donate $1,000. All other donations to this cause are greatly appreciated, too. Please pray about contributing to this cause.

If you have any specific prayer requests, I will be happy to add them to my daily or community prayers. You can email them to me at russ@gunterphysicaltherapy.com. Please help support missions in Peru with your prayers. Prayers are so powerful and are greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for those who have supported missions with your prayers, financially or with your time by serving here with us for short or long period of time. If God has blessed you financially or you want to offer a sacrifice for our mission here, please pray about giving to the Peru mission. Donations can be made online at russgunter.fmcmissions.com (monthly reoccurring donations are the best for us) or directly to Family Missions Company by mailing a check to 12624 Everglade Rd., Abbeville, LA 70510 with my name in the memo section. I love you all!

In Christ’s Love,

Russ Gunter, DPT, MTC

Full Time Missionary

Family Missions Company

russ@gunterphysicaltherapy.com

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Love(s) of My Life

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Well, I am not getting married yet, and I am actually talking about the many loves of my life as in the many people that God calls me to love. Lately in missions, I have been focusing on love. I am finding out what it really means to love. The whole mission experience has really been about loving others. In my team, I have learned to love others when there are differences. You have differences and disputes with your brothers and sisters in Christ, but you are called to love them through it all and work through it. Feelings are a tough thing to deal with. Having a liking or disliking to someone can be related to a feeling. You may like the way a person makes you feel or not like the way the person makes you feel. Feelings are just feelings. We may not be able to control them when they come up, but we do have control of what we do with those feelings. As my Christian brother in Cursillo, Jacob, has always told me, “Feelings are real, but they are not always true.”
That is when God gives us opportunities to turn negative feelings into love. Love is not a feeling. It is more than that. It is a choice we make. God chose to love us from the beginning, and we choose to love our family and our spouses. Feelings are are wonderful gifts from God that are best when we choose the right things according to God’s commandments. Also, we can learn and benefit from the wisdom from the knowledge of the early Christian church. They had experiences of living Christian lives with the apostles or those who knew the apostles. Polycarp (A.D. 69-156), bishop of the church at Smyrna and a companion of the Apostle John says, “He who raised Him up from the dead will also raise us up— if we do His will and walk in His commandments and love what He loves, keeping ourselves from all unrighteousness.”

I am learning that to really love others is to tell them whole truth about the Gospel and to share it often. For example, I will not help others get to Christ here in Tresunidos, Peru if I do not step out of my comfort zone and correct or encourage someone in an area of doctrine of the faith. In the book Driven by Eternity written by John Bevere, he says “….We love the benefits, and we should tell them and enjoy them, but not at the expense of neglecting the warnings!” St. Paul says in Acts 20: 26-27,  “And so on this very day I swear that my conscience is clear as far as all of you are concerned, for I have without faltering put before you the whole of God’s purpose.” We are to correct and reprove others, but in a Christian way with kindness, meekness and love. Titus 3:2 says, “To speak evil of no man, not to be litigious, but gentle: showng all mildness towards all men.” – Titus 3:2. Cursillo taught me this in the saying, “Be a friend, make a friend and bring a friend to Christ.” Also, I have learned a great leader in FMC that it helps to be vulnerable and admit your faults when approaching others about their sin. For example, you can say that I am not always kind in my words, but I strive to do so. This helps you relate to others showing that you too are human in that you are a sinner and have faults, too. It is about striving to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect and not about actually being perfect.

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“Loving Jesus means you lay your life down for Him. You no longer live for yourself, but for Him” (Driven by Eternity). I pray for there to be more of Jesus and less of me, so that there will be only love in me—no sinful habits, no selfish thoughts; for to really love Him is to keep his commandments and to do His will. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 7: 21a). “Jesus, who will enter into the kingdom of heaven? But only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 7: 21b). I have been praying for Senor de los Milagros (Lord of Miracles) to create a miracle for me and to take away my dominant sins. I want to do this out of love for God, and also, I want to do this out of love for my future wife and family as well as my current family and friends. Senor Milagros which is a painting of Jesus on the cross with Mary and St. John below Him has been attributed to many miracles in Lima, Peru. The two times I have went to mass in front of the painting which was placed behind the altar, I could feel the presence of Jesus. It was amazing and comforting to know that the sins and faults I struggle with can be taken completely away. Jesus gives us the hope that through Him all things can be done. The devil likes to keep us down with negative thoughts saying to us in our thoughts or the words of others that things will never change and that they will never get better. The truth is that things always get better. Things change and are different, and when we follow the straight and narrow path we are blessed beyond what we think we are worthy of and with things that we would never have planned for ourselves. God plans are so much better than our own. So, follow Gods ways, live in love and always approach others with love and kindness. I pray for many blessings for you and your families. Please continue to support missions in Peru with prayers and donations. http://www.russgunter.fmcmissions.com.   They are greatly appreciated. I love you all!

Holy Week in Missions 2015: Jóvenes Pascua Retiró (Teen Easter Retreat)

There I was in Holy Week driving a truck full of missionaries and food for 300 teenagers in a foreign country contemplating how things were different this year.   It was only the second year in my life spending it away from family and definitely the first year in a foreign country for Easter (my first year away was  Physical Therapy school).  It was different,  but it was not as big of a struggle as I thought it would be. Of course, I missed my loved ones, family and friends, but God gave me graces to complete Holy Week smoothly.   I was really blessed to be part of a pivotal four day weekend for so many youth, and the retreat really brought forth spiritual fruits in these young people.  The week after the retreat about 50 teens showed up for a follow up meeting and learned ways to keep their faith going as well as to get involved in the church.

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Mass in Tresunidos was full of youth the week following the retreat.  I felt we were making differences in the lives of these young people in building relationships with them during the retreat.  One person I was able to build a relationship with was Josilyn who was shy and opened up more as the retreat progressed.  She is a 14 year old I have seen at mass in her poor community called La Primavera.  La Primavera is what they call a “invacion” community which is a community that sometimes sets up on government land with very basic structures, and in Peru, they are able to obtain rights to the land if they live on the land for a certain time period without the government moving them off.   Josilyn was barely dancing with the whole group when the retreat first started.  Dancing and music are a big part of the culture here.  We built a friendship, I encouraged her, she opened up to God and others more and by the end of the retreat she was dancing and talking more. I pray that she continues in her spiritual growth and relationship  with God.

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At the retreat, I had the opportunity to help out with a small group who really moved me by their sharing and testimony through out the weekend.  In the beginning, the group leader used me as an example because I shared to the group about the gospel reading for the day even though my Spanish is limited.  He encouraged the group to share more saying that if I could share with limited Spanish that they could share more.  I feel like I have the language level of a first grader  right now :).  My Spanish is improving every week, though.

Thanks to all who support this mission.  I was able to use mission funds to buy water and toiletries for the weekend retreat.   Peru people are not accustomed to drinking sufficient amounts of water daily, and I have seen them take in less than half of the recommended daily amount many times.  The kids at the retreat were becoming tired and feeling sick which are initial signs of dehydration. The water really helped them focus on the retreat.

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The people in Peru our different than those in the U.S., but they are not so different.   We are reaching out to love to these people because we feel called to share the Gospel and to share God’s love with them. C.S. Lewis says, “The experience of love arises when we surrender our separateness.”  We are all God’s people created and loved by him no matter where we are in our spiritual journey.  I am blessed to be one of his laborers.  Luke 10:2 says, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.”  Please pray with me for an increase in vocations for missions, and an increase in support from our home churches.  These people desperately need help from missionaries, lay people and religious leaders to guide them in their spiritual journeys to save their souls.  As Pope Francis and Pope John Paul have have encouraged, we need an increase in missions which is truly what the church is about; spreading the Gospel and Jesus’ love to others through out the world not just in the comfort of our own church or church parish.  Jesus had more in mind with converting the whole world.  The are 7 billion people in the world and only 2 billion know Christ.  That leaves a lot of work to be done.  It started out with 11 of his disciples, and now it is up to us.  God bless you all and you prayers and support are much appreciated.

In His Love,

Russ

To support the Peru mission follow this link:  http://www.russgunter.fmcmissions.com

“Let the little children come to me…” Matt 19:14

Sorry this is a little late.  I started using the app for Word Press on my cell phone and just realized recently that I was clicking the final button to post my updates.  You’ll have two updates this week.  🙂

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Visiting the kids at the school in Tresunidos

For Palm Sunday, we had a great mass with Father Leopolda in Tresunidos.   Instead of ordinary palms, people brought their own palms that were made with flowers and the palms were made into beautiful designs.  image The mass was packed with older and younger people, and it was awesome to see the younger people in mass and participating.  The first mass we went to there a few weeks before we only saw a few younger people.  We had a youth night with games the night before Palm Sunday,  and  this time almost half the church was filled with young people.   I cannot say if it was palm Sunday that brought them out, the youth night or a combination of the two, but thanks be to God for bringing people to mass and getting them involved.   After mass, the people continued singing Spanish praise and worship songs.  Below is a short clip of a toddler dancing with the Holy Spirit.     Kids and especially the ones in Peru really have a place in my heart.  Children have innocence,  have pure hearts, openly love with little fear of being hurt and are giving.  Thank God for them.  As Jesus tells us in Matt 19:14,  I pray that more children in Peru and back in the U.S. especially go to Jesus for love, worship, peace and adoration.   I pray they are not hindered by anyone and have the opportunity to grow in their faith as well as keep their innocence.  God bless you all and thank you so much for your prayers and support that is making the Peru mission possible to reach out to those who are not as fortunate to have the same opportunity to grow their faith as we do in the U.S.  Toddler Dances to Praise and Worship: http://youtu.be/NrzOWyGZp8o Please help support the Peru mission by going to http://www.russgunter.fmcmissions.com. In His Love, Russ Russ@gunterphysicaltherapy.com

Mardi Gras Mission– My Peruvian Lenten Mission

Mardi Gras came and went for us quickly in Peru especially since there was no one celebrating it around us in Peru.  It was different not celebrating it, but I would much rather be here in missions. Last week we were in Barranco near Lima, Peru looking back on our 5 weeks in Lima for language school and work on our visas.  We had just came to the decision not to get resident visas for the entire group because of the costs involved.  This left us with a few days of down time to prepare for our trip to Tarapoto to get to our mission post and to search for ministry opportunities in and around Baranco.  God led us to this small historic and quaint town through a priest, Fr. Marty, from the U.S. that our fellow missionary, Candice, knew.

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         Luke, Jeremy, Father Marty, Candice and I

She met him at World Youth Day in Europe 4 years ago, and he invited us to visit a house for religious in Barranco while he was on vacation.  Through that visit he suggested a place next door called Casa de Espiritualidad Sagrado Corazon (Spiritual House of the Sacred Heart), a retreat house run by consecrated Catholic women.  Then through the house, we met an “on fire” Catholic  group called Solidaridad en Marcha (Solidarity Movement).  Solidaridad consists of families, consecrated women and over 240 consecrated men in at least 4 countries; the group was endorsed by St.  John Paul II in 1997.

Youth Concert at Solidaridad during our visit in Barranco
        Youth Concert at Solidaridad during our visit in Barranco

 

They were very welcoming and well received by us as foreigners finding our place in a different culture and a language not our own.    A priest, a member of this group, gave confession before mass at the Casa de Espiritualidad, so  I went to him to receive forgiveness for my sins.  (bible verse for confession by disciples).   The priest asked me why I wanted to be a missionary.  This was a good question and one that caught me a little off guard.  I did my best to give complete honesty to him, and I told him that I wanted to do it because I believe God wanted me to do it and because I want to do God’s will.   Also, I told him I did not want to do it just because of the blessings I will get from it or that I believe God will lead me to fulfillment of my dream of a wife and family through His guidance.  He reminded me that it is more important to just be with God and that there is only God and His love.  After reflection, I came upon Romans 5:5,  “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.”  I believe this is what I needed to hear. I am a doer by nature.  It is very beneficial for me to take time out, focus on God and to just be with him which yields an abundance in spiritual fruit, peace and joy;  all fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Some days later,  I reflected on the community next door in Branco remembering how they concentrated on love; amortization they call it.  They are focusing on not just feeling love but being love.   I want to follow their example and be love as God is love, and I pray for this to be my life in missions.    I truly want to love the people in and around Picota as God loves them.  I want to really love those close to me and my fellow missionaries as God loves them.   I love others, but I sometimes feel as though I do not love them enough.  It is not always easy to love those who are closest to you because you know all their faults.  It is easy for me to put up walls as I did and sometimes still find myself doing after the pain and loss of my parents and sister.  Love overcomes all of that, and as I learn to truly depend on God’s love, it makes it so much easier to depend on Him rather than on my own strength, will and human nature.  I pray to love more as God loves.  Cor 13:4-7 says “Love is patient, love is kind.  It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrong doing but rejoices with the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.’  As I move forward in missions, I am striving to love others more and put others above myself daily.

Recently there was a flood near Picota in a town called Puerto Rico (yes, just like the country).  Some homes were completely destroyed because they were made of adobe and the river washed them away.  Thankfully the church was spared because it was made of concrete.   The  poor in Puerto Rico lost everything.   On Monday we were blessed with the opportunity to assist the priests in bringing clothes donated by the surrounding areas after we sorted through over 20 boxes.  One young girl (chica in Spanish), I met really touched my heart.

Cielo (far right), her sister and I after clothing donations
                         Cielo (far right), her sister and I after clothing donations

Her name is Cielo meaning sky.  She has a heart condition causing weight loss, and her heart is abnormally large.   Her mother told us they cannot figure out why her heart continues to grow;  it has grown faster than her body.  She was humble, extremely polite and carried with her a sense of love for others.  I am blessed to be able to meet this girl, and I hope to continue to get to know her.  It is a joy to be around her and some of the others who have such great faith.   Luke 6:20 says, “…Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours.”  In Cielo and others, even though they have lost everything, I am seeing how blessed they are in their faith.   Faith is so much greater than any material things we can have and definitely greater than the things I had such as my house and my corvette.   I am happy to give those things up and would do it again so that I continue to grow in my faith and in love.

I have a last minute update;  we had a visit by the Bishop of Moyobamba tonight in Picota.  He was passing by a nearby town and wanted to meet the 22 new missionaries from the United States.  He is the bishop of the whole Province of San Martin.  He is very polite, personal and loving.  He wanted to know our backgrounds and how long we have been Catholic.  We received a blessing from before he left, and he gave everyone hugs.

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                                      Bishop Rafael of Moyobamba, Peru, Padre Leopolda, Padre Paco,                                                                                          Sisters from Paraguay and the Peru FMC Missions Team

Humility and Purpose in Life

Spanish school has been challenging, but it reminds me to depend on God more.  It humbles me to communicate mainly in Spanish in a foreign country.  Especially the first week, I had the language headache which is typical of learning a new language.   I was brain dead after classes, but the headaches have resolved. I have finished 2 weeks of school, and I am starting to see my communication in Spanish improve.   I still have a ways to go, so please pray that God gives me the gift of speaking Spanish fluently.  Thankfully my teachers are very friendly, kind and helpful.

The beach is really beautiful here.  It has a cliff about 150 ft above the sea with a scenic view.   I sometimes make it down there to study or speak with some Peruvians in Spanish for practice.

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Pacific Coast in Lima, Peru

Yesterday,  we took some time for our community day, and we traveled up to a small mountain, Morro Hill, that had a cross and a statue of Jesus similar to the one in Rio de Janeiro at the top.  It is called Christ of the Pacific, and you can read more about it at http://www.ibtimes.com/christ-pacific-statue-rises-lima-peru-photos-707555.

Christ of the Pacific (Lima, Peru)
Christ of the Pacific (Lima, Peru)
Me, Luke and Jeremy on Morro Solar hill
Me, Luke and Jeremy on Morro Solar hill

After traveling up and down on a motorcycle carriage, we made our way to a restaurant by the beach and had some of the best cerviche that I have had since being in Peru.  A walk on the beach was enjoyable especially after a busy week of classes and working on resident visas for our team.

La Chira beach
La Chira beach

Although I am enjoying speaking Spanish, I am missing the missionary work because I really believe that mission work is my purpose in my life for now and for possibly longer.  Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, says “Repeatedly the Bible compares life on earth to temporarily living in a foreign country.  This is not your permanent home or final destination.  You’re just passing through, just visiting earth.”. King David said in 1 Chronicles 29:16, “For we are sojourners before You, and tenants, as all our fathers were; our days on the earth are like a shadow…”  I can relate to this especially being in Peru. It is so true that life on earth is temporary, and what really matters is what we are doing to get others and ourselves to heaven for the eternal life.   Urgency is an important part in doing God’s work.  What if we only have one chance to save a soul?   What if a person’s salvation rests on us listening the will of God and doing something about it in that moment to reach out to that person?  I pray that I do not get in the way of what God wants to do through me.  I pray my sin, my selfishness and my pride do not hinder the work of God through me.  For it is really not about me.  It is all about Him who sends me.  It is about His will for us because he truly knows what will give us the most joy and peace.  He should know because he made us and designed every part of our being for a purpose.   God even planned this moment in your life. Right now reading this blog, it was planned for a reason and a purpose.   I pray that God uses this moment for you to follow His will in your life.

God is answering my prayers because I have had 3 opportunities to pray for people this week.  Luke and I were able to pray for a guy who seemed like he was on drugs, and he had a lot of anxiety over a legal battle with his brother.  His mother passed away a year ago, and his brother has taken away his inheritance through an attorney he hired.  We prayed with him for God to let help him let go of his anxiety, repair the relationship with his brother and to bless him at the cafe store where we met him.    After we prayed, he said he almost cried.   We left him with some meat, bread, and milk from the grocery store, so he would have something to eat. He has a faith, but my intuition tells me he has some other things going on that are preventing him from living out his faith with an internal peace.  Please pray for him that he will turn back fully to Jesus and find peace in Him; his name is Caesar.

Please pray that we can get our resident visas here in Peru this week with ease.  We will be spending the next two days working on our resident visas.  The rest of our group, 17 more people, will be coming down in the next couple of weeks, so pray for safe travels for them.   Also, pray that we find out a way to get a resident visa for one of our missionaries.  She cannot come into the country until she gets a tourist visa while in the U.S.

Thank you for your prayers and support.  If you feel it on your heart, to help support missions you can pray for us or support my mission financially. The people of Peru desperately can use your help. You can give at www.russgunter.fmcmissioms.com with a credit/debit card or send a check in at the address at the link. Also, please sign up for my blog, so I can show you pictures and keep you updated on this mission. We will hopefully be at our post in 2-3 weeks to do that depending on how the visa process goes.

God bless you and please let me know how I can pray for you!

Mission Post Reveal: Peru 2015

Revised mission reveal site

(View near General Cepeda where I opened my letter)

While in Mexico, I received my envelope from Family Missions Company informing me where I was going on missions for the next year. At FMC, the directors discern the Holy Spirit and with their experience with missions choose where we are placed the first year.  This is a big task because FMC now has about 200 missionaries world wide and there are 38 from our intake training alone.   I had been hoping to go to Peru and even praying for it in the beginning of intake training.  Through talking to other missionaries,  I took their advice and started praying for holy indifference.  To me this means to be indifferent to what happens in a situation or to my life knowing that when I freely give my will over to God’s will, it will be the best and bring me the most joy and peace.  Psalm 85:9–10 says, “I will hear what God proclaims; the LORD—for he proclaims peace to his people.”  I believe God wanted me to just trust him and that wherever I was sent was His will.  Once I began praying for holy indifference, a peace came over me.   Then one morning after waking I felt like I knew where I was going.   You know that feeling you get in the morning after sleeping; the one where you cannot tell if it was a dream or just a feeling. Regardless,  I knew it was from God.  This happened about 3 weeks before I opened my letter.   Later, after discussing it with Joseph, one of the directors or FMC, he informed me that originally him and his wife had not been feeling the Holy Spirit leading them to place me in Peru.   It was about 3 weeks before receiving my letter and at the same time that I felt the call to Peru that they felt it.  To me this confirms that it was from God.  I don’t believe in coincidences because God has a purpose for everything.   I have learned to listen to Him more and to strive to ask him about every decision throughout the day.  It can be as small as which route do I take when driving to a major decision such as choosing to give my life to missions.  To help me hear Him, I seek confession/repentance weekly.  When I am in grace after confession, I am closer to Him.  Sin cuts a person off from God.  It is not that God leaves us during this time, but when we sin, we choose sin over God.  We choose to be more distant from God.   I do my best to stay in God’s graces to hear what He wants me to do for Him, to hear his direction and most importantly to let Him guide me in helping others and bringing them closer to Christ.  As a baptized Christians, we are called to be a missionary and to help bring others closer to Christ.  In Mission of the Redeemer, St. John Paul II says, “Today all Christians,  the particular churches and the universal church, are called to have the same courage that inspired the missionaries of the past, and the same readiness to listen to the voice of the Spirit.”  Our Church is modeled after Jesus and His apostles who were missionaries to the world.   In Acts 1:8 Jesus says, “But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  So we are called ourselves to witness to the world as Christians in our own ways as God calls us to do.

I want to paint a picture for you of where I will be stationed for the next year or more.  Catholics compose an estimated 85%-90% of Peru’s population.   Peru has produced two famous saints of the “new world”: St. Rose of Lima and St. Martin de Porres (wikipedia.com).  They tombs are located in Lima at the convent of Santo Domingo.
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(St. Rosa of Lima)

Picota, the closest town to my mission post and the place I have been traveling to for the last 3 medical missions, is at 900 ft. elevation.     My team of 3 other guys (Jeremy, Luke and Noah) and myself will be living in Tresunidos,  Peru which is about an hour from Picota.
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(Peru Team photo except Noah and the Schmidt family)

The approximate average temperature is 84 degrees Fahrenheit for the high and 62 degrees Fahrenheit for the low.  It is smaller than Picota which has 7,000 people and from satellite view Tresunidos looks like it has only dirt roads.  The road from Picota to Tresunidos is dirt and may take about an hour or more to travel.   The priest who is over us is excited to have us in that area since it has been an area that has not had a consistent religious presence before.  There are two priests serving Picota and the surrounding 120 villages, so it makes it hard for them to reach everyone.   We are happy to be there to serve and help the priests in the areas we can as lay missionaries.   We will be leaving in January to go to Lima for language school.  Language school for me will be the intensive  4-6 hours of class and/or tutoring.  We will start on our official mission after school which will probably be February.

We welcome to Peru any friends,  families, churches, youth groups or other groups who would want to come and spend time with us for missions.      Short term mission trips can be set up by emailing James Franke missiontrips@fmcmissions.com.

As always,  prayers are the most appreciated.   Please pray for the people of Peru to have open hearts for Jesus and pray for unity of our team.  Also, pray for all the intentions of our benefactors.    If you feel called to give financially you can give at www.russgunter.fmcmissions.com or  www.gofundme.com/russguntermissions.   Mission of the Reedemer states “…missionary activity, which is carried out in a wide variety of ways, is the task of all the Christian faithful.  It is clear that from the very origins of Christianity, the laity – as individuals, families, and entire communities – shared in spreading the faith.”  Please consider being a misison partner through prayer commitments or through support.     “Some Give by Going , Others Go by Giving” –Mother Teresa

In Christ’s Love,

Russ Gunter, DPT, MTC

Full Time Missionary @ FMC

russ@gunterphysicaltherapy.com

http://www.russgunter.fmcmissions.com

www.gofundme.com/russguntermissions