Peru (MNN) — Nobody likes to deal with governmental red tape. Unfortunately for a Kids Alive International mission team, their destination in Peru is full of it. And now, their supplies for a playground, medical help, and kids' activities are trapped in customs — waist-deep in red tape.
The team set out on Saturday, June 25 to build a playground for the children in Lima, Peru. They had also planned on bringing medical assistance and children's activities to the kids in the poorest slums of Peru. All seemed to be well organized. The container was shipped four weeks before the team was supposed to arrive in Peru.
The shipment was first approved by the Peruvian consulate in Chicago, and every document in triplicate was read and stamped. But then the containers got to Peru. From there, they had to be approved by three different "Ministries" in Lima.
One Ministry rejected medical supplies that weren't listed with an expiration date–supplies like scalpels, rubber gloves, gauze, and bandages that don't have an expiration date. These were taken out and destroyed. Another Ministry took a full week to examine the 500 handmade wooden cars and trucks. Customs also required additional information on the playground equipment, bonds had to be placed, and their computers crashed which set back the whole process. All the storage fees and bond payments have cost the team much more than they were expecting.
This isn't the first time Kids Alive International has had difficulties in Peru and, ironically, not even the first time that their difficulties involved a playground. In mid-March, aluminum thieves stole some of the materials on a playground Kids Alive had installed last summer in Peru. The materials were never recovered, and the thieves were never caught.
With this new project, the team started digging holes on Monday in anticipation that the container will arrive soon. They also went to customs to get a green light, orange light, or red light from customs. A green or orange light will mean that they can take their shipment. A red light means there is a problem with their paperwork and they have to start over.
For now, the team is learning how to still minister in the name of Christ despite setbacks. If the container still hasn't arrived by Tuesday June 28, the team will go ahead and minister to the children with what they have: Their passion for Christ and love for the Peruvian children. They can still conduct drama skits, sing songs, and do puppet shows, but they are praying that their container will be approved soon.
In the mission team's blog from last Friday, team leader Rich Anderson used their dire situation to encourage the team and others about God's faithfulness. "Sometimes when we face difficult situations, we may feel that we are in bondage to our circumstances. But we must trust God and step out in faith. Obstacles may seem frightening, but the Bible says that God will honor a person who depends on Him to lead and guide. ‘Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you' (1 Peter 5:6-7, NASB)."
Please pray for the Kids Alive team in Peru as they minister in the name of Christ to the Peruvian children. Please also pray for a kind-hearted customs officer who will give them a green light and ship their container. If you would like to help with the extra expenses accumulating with the delayed containers, you can call 1-800-kids-330 or visit http://www.kidsalive.org/article/playgrounds.