This week I chatted with Barbara Peterson who pastors the Spanish congregation Iglesia del Buen Samaritano at New Horizons Community Church in Sarnia, Ontario.
Barbara and her husband Lloyd just returned from two months of mission service in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. I knew before speaking with her there would be lots to write about but what I didn’t know was that this trip is part of a larger story.
In Mexico, Barbara and Lloyd visited a Free Methodist church in Chihuahua and then travelled further south to visit in the homes Mexician migrant workers who are part of Iglesia del Buen Samaritano from February to December. This was a wonderful opportunity to meet their families, enjoy a meal and share the gospel. They also provided one family with study bibles – a wonderful gift given that this particular father is the first Christian in his community of six hundred.
In the Dominican Republic Barbara and Lloyd connected with a number of teams from FMC churches including Sault Ste. Marie, Harrowsmith and New Horizons Community Church. They spent most of their time in the community of Navas working side by side with a local FM church. The teams participated in worship, teaching balloon shaping workshops, writing Sunday school curriculum and delivering benevolent packages and medication to families in need.
The larger story revealed itself when I asked Barbara how and when the Dominican connection came to be. Lloyd went on his first mission trip to the DR in 1988 and when he returned Barbara asked him what the trip was like. His response, “You’ll find out. You are going next year.”
Barbara did go the following year but as she told me, “I wasn’t sure I wanted to go because I wasn’t sure I wanted God to do things in my life and I wasn’t sure I was ready for that.”
Ready or not Barbara stepped up to the plate and since 1988 she and Lloyd have travelled to the DR thirty times and to Mexico ten times. As I let those numbers sink in I was astounded and humbled by their length of service, dedication and obedience to God. I was also thankful for the relationships and friendships they have established in both countries and inspired by their work as mentors.
And why do they do what they do? Barbara’s answer was pretty straightforward, “We love sharing the Lord with people. We love helping others be able to do that.”