By Jennifer Hooks
Rather than simply partnering with one church, the Baptist Student Union (BSU) at the University of Mississippi has begun a partnership with four area churches in an effort to reach the Asheninca tribe of North Peru. Their first vision trip, which took place in April, consisted of seven people from the different churches partnering together with the Ole Miss Baptist Student Union.
The mission team stayed in Pichanaki, Peru, and then traveled by canoe, truck and on foot to the Asheninca tribe.
“It took us two days to get there. They are called unreached for a reason. It was physically taxing for us to travel there, but we were up for it,” said Liz Thurmond, associate director of the BSU.
“This was the very beginning of our partnership with Peru. Our vision trip was an effort to see what the best way is for us to help and work with this unreached people group in North Peru,” said Thurmond.
The Margaret Lackey State Mission Offering helps to make this collaboration possible. Ole Miss is partnering with West Heights and Ecru Baptist Church in Pontotoc, Miss., along with Clear Creek and North Oxford Baptist Church in Oxford, Miss.
Thurmond led six others from Mississippi as they visited several villages in the jungles of Northern Peru.
“It was a vision trip, so we took a videographer along with us to research and have information to bring back to promote future mission trips in that area,” she said.
Rapid Entry Advance Plan (REAP) North Peru is a strategy for church planting in Northern Peru, sponsored through the International Mission Board. Many people groups in the rural Andes Mountain area do not have access to the gospel. They often live in hard to reach places where a missionary cannot be placed fulltime.
“We will partner as long as it takes to reach the people,” said Thurmond. “We plan on taking three mission trips a year for the next three to four years as we work with Boots and Katie Holder and Jeff Holeman, who serve with the International Mission Board. The vision trip was an adventure and a learning process for everyone on the trip.”
“This is an exciting time. Our BSU students are doing whatever it takes to reach the lost all around the world,” said Weaver McCracken, director of the collegiate ministry department of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board. For more information, contact McCracken at 800-748-1651, ext. 302.