My family and I recently returned from a trip to Peru. This was not a luxury vacation; instead, we had it on our hearts to do something radical, to get away from sports and the comforts of life to experience a mission greater than our own.
We went in blind as we joined HelpOneNow in its mission work in Peru. This organization is unique because, while it does have a mission, the mission has more to do with partnering with other organizations to make a difference. It comes alongside communities in need and finds an organization that can best meet that need, then helps create ways and funding possibilities to fill these needs.
If a community is lacking clean water, HelpOneNow finds the best water mission group available to provide the resources needed to eliminate the problem. If an area needs churches or schools rebuilt, HelpOneNow will find the partners to work with to make this happen. It doesn’t receive credit for much of the work it does, but that’s not the goal. There are a ton of projects it has invested in that don’t hold its name. Its goal is simply to meet the needs of others.
This is what we witnessed in an area off the Amazon where roughly 200,000 people lived. In this floodplain, the residents’ huts are on stilts above 10 feet of water half the year. With the houses on stilts, the area around the huts is constantly destroyed and overrun with water or debris and trash from the floods. You can only imagine how disgusting this is, but this is their reality.
It was really neat to see the work that HelpOneNow was doing down there. The main goal during this trip was to help rebuild two schools in the community that were in need of help. We also got to see the lives that had been transformed with the Gospel message from the group’s previous trip a year ago, and how those lives were now impacting others, spreading the news of Christ’s love to their neighbors.
It’s always an eye-opener to see a people who have absolutely nothing and live in a gross environment, and yet they are so very content and happy. It’s probably impossible for us as Americans to fully grasp how this works. When we are exposed to the luxuries we have been exposed to, it’s hard to understand the other side of things. Most of these people we visited know they are not rich, but they have no idea how many people in the world truly live.
This was really great to experience together as a family. My son, Blake, though he has traveled quite a bit with me, had never experienced a devastated community quite like this. For him to see the joy and love that these people had for each other and for life, it was a new thing for him — a really good thing.
I think these moments plant seeds in our lives that change us forever. And there’s nothing that can take away what a gift that is.
— Adam LaRoche, former MLB player
The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit TheIncrease.com for more stories and videos.