News and Happenings at Operación San Andrés - Collique, Lima, PerúJuly 2020
Dear Friends of Operación San Andrés,

This has been some year! And we're only in July! It's been a tough a few months all over the world; from Whuhan to Houston and pretty much everywhere in between, including Peru and OSA's home in Collique. This issue of Heartbeat Collique will give you a taste of what has been going on and, I trust, a real sense of God's generous hand supplying his people not just with handouts but with hope. As we look ahead to what remains of 2020 and into 2021 I'm persuaded that we will not just survive but, by the grace of God, we will thrive.  David MacPherson - Executive Director for OSA-Peru
The Crisis:
The crisis - 'Si podemos!' - Peru has been devastated by COVID 19. The numbers are scary. The dark humor of a taxi driver in Lima captures the reality; 'If we carry on at this rate we could be top of the table. Si podemos (we can do it)!' For a country of only 30 million people Peru has the fifth highest number of recorded cases in the world and estimated total deaths of over 30,000 (this is not the official figure but one based on 'excess deaths'). To put that in context if the USA were to have the same per capita death rate it would need to have c. 300,000 deaths.

But behind the numbers are people. Real people. Our people. Just today we heard of another COVID death in one of our OSA families. It's horrible to say but we're almost getting used to it. We live in a broken world but we serve a God who specializes in healing, restoration, and resurrection.

For most in Collique the biggest impact of COVID 19 has been an economic one. Peru is just emerging from a 100-day lockdown that has had a devastating impact on a population that, largely, lives from hand to mouth. If you don't work, you don't eat.

The response - 'Coco and Kusi' :
OSA's response can be captured in two words; relief and reinvention. We have designed an emergency relief program called 'Covid Collique' or 'Coco' and have redesigned our existing programs for kids and families; for the kids the redesigned program is called 'Kusi' which means 'joy' in Quechua.

Covid Collique (Coco) - This program is focused, principally, on food aid for our own OSA families and also for some of the poorest families in Collique that we have not previously been able to serve. The program contemplated helping about 150 families but, two months in, we have already been able to serve over 300 families with food parcels or, in some selected cases, direct monetary aid (to purchase food).

As we look ahead we anticipate multiplying the number of families helped by complementing the existing support provided directly to families with support for soup kitchens that have emerged across Collique during the lockdown. I received one very eloquent request for support from one soup kitchen; a WhatsApp message with a picture of an empty pot!

A big thank-you to all who so generously supported our 'Giving Tuesday' campaign that raised over $50,000 for this emergency relief effort. In addition, we are grateful for a further donation of c. $20,000 from a foundation in Scotland that will allow us to extend our efforts through to October and, perhaps, beyond.
Pretty much everything we do at OSA involves gathering people together; the very thing we're not able to do given the threat of COVID 19. In response we are having to reinvent ourselves and the way we operate. The reinvented educational program with the kids - that we're calling Kusi - involves reaching out to our existing kids and new kids with a weekly educational pack that the parents can pick up (and return completed) every Saturday. The focus is very much on fun activities that the kids can enjoy - hence the name!

As well as Kusi we have launched another program for the mothers (and the kids) called 'OSA escucha' or 'OSA is listening'. This program provides a counselling service in times of social isolation by use of mobile phones, zoom, and other social media platforms. Charo, our social worker, Theresa (our psychologist), and the teachers spend a good part of their week listening, counselling, and praying with those who are struggling and just need somebody to speak to or pray with.
The people - 'Noe, Juancito, and Aracely':
Let me introduce you to three folks who capture something of what God is doing in this time of crisis and, we pray, will continue to do through OSA.

Noe - Back in 1990 I was involved in an emergency relief project in Moyobamba (in the NE of Peru) following an earthquake that devastated the city and left many homeless. I met a young lad called Noe who, despite his youth, was always first in line to dig trenches or mix cement. Fast forward 30 years and - lo and behold - I discover that Noe, now a father of three, lives and works in Collique having lost none of his zest for life and Christian service. I sent Noe a message asking if he could help us out with some of the logistics of the emergency relief project, this was his reply; 'I am ready to serve, you can count on me, what's more I was waiting for this call!'

'Juancito, and Aracely':
A couple of weeks ago we were due to hand out food parcels and New Testaments (donated by the Peruvian Bible Society) in a very poor sector of Collique called 'Los Jazmines'. It was the first time and we were apprehensive. We didn't know the folks and the task, though important, can be quite impersonal. One on the neighbors approached with these words of thanks: 'Thank you for the food that we need so badly but thank you especially for the spiritual food you are sharing with all my neighbors'. It turned out that the neighbor was the wife of the secretary of the resident's association and the mother of Juancito (see picture) who, some moments later, warmed our hearts as he recited memory verses and sang Bible songs for us! Even more exciting is the fact that we now know a key family in the community who are believers and who are ready to facilitate further ministry efforts of OSA and the 'Luz de Esperanza' church in this community.

That same day we met Aracely (see picture). Pastor Tito and the young folk from the church were helping to distribute the fun educational packs to the families in 'Los Jazmines' with kids in elementary school but we had a problem: How could we identify those families? God had a plan and the plan was a 12-year-old girl called Aracely. She was our 'insider' who knew everybody and spent the whole morning guiding us from home to home and keeping us right when required! It turns out Aracely also knew all the kids in two neighboring communities that we were due to visit the following day and was more than willing to serve as our guide once again.

Numbers are important but God's bottom line is people; people like Noe and Juancito and Aracely. It is our privilege to both serve and be served by the people God places in our path.

You can also support OSA by using Amazon Smile for your on-line shopping needs and choosing OSA as your designated non-profit.  If you do this, Amazon will send a small percentage of every purchase to support the work of OSA.  To get started, just click on this link:  We encourage you to bookmark this link and use it each time you shop with Amazon.

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Operación San Andrés | 11918 Taylorcrest Rd.| HOUSTON, TX 77024
Phone (713) 464-8525|  Fax (713) 464-2730