Peru (MNN) — It all came down to the wire. Five minutes left until the customs office would close. Five minutes left for the mission team to try and claim their crate full of playground equipment.
Kids Alive had spent months preparing for the trip, raising funds, and securing supplies for the mission in Lima, Peru. They had shipped the crate several weeks in advance. Then they spent several days in Peru, struggling with nearly every single obstacle imaginable, from governmental red tape to extra clearance fees. There was extra pressure since equipment from an earlier playground had been stolen.
Now, all of the waiting and fighting for the release of the crate came down to these last five minutes.
Finally, at 6:55 pm on Friday, July 1, five minutes before the customs office closed, the crate of playground equipment was released to Kids Alive.
The team members rigged up lights that Friday and worked through the night to build the playground. After 17 hours of hard work, they finished at 2 pm the next day. Rich Anderson with Kids Alive says, "I've never built a playground so fast!"
During the waiting period, the team members were able to spend time with the orphan kids. It was a good time of reflection for everyone. Says Anderson, "One thing that was going through my head…was Jesus' words where He said, ‘If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can move mountains'…So I was praying that I could have that much faith."
Not only was the team praying for a miracle, but the kids were fervently praying, too. These poor kids in the surrounding villages of Lima, Peru had never seen a playground. In fact, they barely knew what it was.
Anderson says, "I was looking at the Old Testament passage where David had wars on all different sides. He so much wanted to build the temple, but finally he was told, ‘You're not going to be able to build the temple.' And his response was to pray to the Lord. I thought, ‘What if we're not able to build this playground?'"
These kids often come from very hopeless backgrounds. Half the population of Peru is below the poverty line, and nearly 540,000 orphans live on the streets. Kids who live on the streets have to grow up pretty fast in order to survive, especially if they have younger siblings to care for. A playground can restore some of that lost childhood.
Currently, two more playgrounds are going up in Peru: one in the Amazon Rainforest and the other at a location in the Andes Mountains. This playground equipment was in the same crate as the playground for Lima, and those teams are equally grateful finally to have gotten their supplies.
Kids Alive has a unique ministry building playgrounds for kids–just a small part of what they do. It opens up doors to talk with the kids and tell them why in the world a bunch of people from another country would come all the way to Peru to help them out. It gives members of the mission teams opportunity to tell these kids that there is a God who loves them, and it's because of this love that they wanted to come and tell them about it.
Finances are a major need for Kids Alive now, especially after the customs delay. There were many fees pressed on the team as a result of the crate having to go through extra clearances. On top of all that, this year Kids Alive is taking on a record number of children for their support programs. This means that more funding is needed for that project as well. If you would like to donate to Kids Alive, you can click here.
Please pray for the teams currently in other areas of Peru working to minister to more children through playground construction. Pray also that Kids Alive would gain needed funds to advance their mission. Praise God for the last-minute clearance of the team's container of equipment and for their ability to finish construction of the playground.