Peru (MNN) — Barely over a year after the McEuen family moved to Huancayo, Peru, they had successfully installed the city's first children's library.
The McEuens moved to Peru in 2009 to work in the areas of discipleship, women's ministry, ESL classes and literacy. One thing they noticed when they got there was a serious need for a children's library.
There were libraries in the city of Huancayo with a population of 500,000, but none with a focus toward children. In fact, there were no libraries in which patrons could even peruse the books, much less take one home. If a library guest wanted to look at a library book, he would have to write down the book's information and wait for a librarian to bring it to him. Renting a book was out of the question.
The idea that children would be able to scan the books, pick one out, and take it home was revolutionary in Huancayo. Since the new library's inception, the city's been stirred.
Kids can't seem to get enough of their new literature sanctuary. "They tell their friends. They bring their friends. They talk to their teachers about it. They bring their parents. There is a hunger–a desire–for this kind of thing," Ash McEuen explains.
Kids are even bringing their books back on time.
The revolutionary new library has opened the door for the McEuens to start other projects. They've started mobile libraries in the surrounding villages. The local library wants the missionary family to develop a similar model for them. The family even sparked enough attention to merit interviews with two local news stations. Clearly there's a thirst to learn, and the McEuens are helping to quench it.
More exciting than the library, however, are the doors the Lord is opening for ministry. Arguably the most important part of mission work is found in relationship building, which can sometimes be a difficult process. The new library has given the McEuens an opportunity to interact with people of all ages, helping to build relationships that will later be vital in sharing the Gospel.
"We don't hide the fact that we are missionaries. We tell people that we are offering all this free of charge because of the love that Christ has for us," explains Audra McEuen.
Pray that many opportunities to share the Gospel would follow this library ministry. Pray for the McEuens to harvest the relationships they've built for the kingdom. Pray that the kids coming regularly to their library would encounter Christ through the family's love and ministry.