WWOB heads to Peru

Ministry | Monday, January 16th, 2017

WWOB was joined by Alex Stephens from Life Change Church in Portland, OR and Marcos Cano from Elim Central Church in Guatemala City, Guatemala as we traveled for the first time to Peru in January. Francis Castenada, the Director General of Instituto Allegro in Peru, invited us to come and minister at their bi-annual Worship and Arts Conference in Lima January 4-7. We flew in January 3rd, had a rehearsal January 4th and went immediately into a powerful and packed conference. Francis gathered 22 teachers from all over (US, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Spain) to teach in every area of worship and the arts. There were professional workshops for sound, dance, singers, musicians (ukelele!), leaders, lighting, video, artists and even jugglers! The theme of the conference was ‘Integrity’!

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The host church for this great event was the Primera Iglesia Evangelica Bautista de Lima! Beautiful and historic church! The opening night saw more than 200 attendees come in for a powerful time of worship with the worship team from Casa Del Padre led by Paz Aguayo – amazing and a great way to start our time together. Then Paz’s parents, Guillermo and Milagro Aguayo, pastors of Casa Del Padre in Lima, shared the word together! What a great way to communicate the love and worship of Jesus as a beautiful couple! After that, the conference worship band led an extended time of worship – I joined the band on a cello that they rented for me. The cello was greatly enhanced by a nice condenser microphone (ATM350) supplied by our friends at Audio-Technica so the week went well that way! Though I ended up breaking two D strings for some reason! Ha!

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The next day was the first full day of the conference with worship, workshops, general sessions, food, a concert, more workshops, food and a final evening concert – 9am to 10pm straight through! Francis really knows how to pack these conferences timewise. I did a few workshops (Worship Teams in the Flow and a couple of Cello Workshops – tho no one plays the cello there!) Marcos was my interpreter the whole week! He did a great job – even sang my musical examples! Chris Voigt from Salem, OR did a masterful job teaching the General Session on Integrity of the Worshiper. Each general session started with a good set of worship and I was so honored to play in the conference band for these sets. The musicians were easy to flow with and the leader, Jamie Wigginton from Nashville was strong and sensitive in all of his leading. In the afternoon, Alex and Marcos each taught a class on using the guitar in worship. They were perfect for this trip. Everyone loved them. In the evening we had another concert by Samuel Arbildo!

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Friday was my big day with four workshops and the general session and playing with the band. I was busy from 9am to 10pm that night! I was privileged to teach Songwriting, Perfecting the Minstrels of Worship, a Vocal Workshop and Creativity in Worship (workshops) and the classes were packed with eager learners! But then I got to speak to the whole conference about the Vision of Worship, stirring their hearts and minds to higher and greater expectations of our worship services – seeing Jesus, the Holy Spirit and His Word actively involved every time we gather together. I sensed a strong anointing in the gathering there. We definitely planted some seeds in Peru. Marcos and Alex did separate workshops on leading worship from the acoustic or electric guitar! They both did exceptional and had some good times of worship too! The evening concert was Alex Sampedro from Valencia, Spain. What a powerful and prophetic music ministry he has. The whole venue was alive with not only the beautiful sound but also the Spirit of God was strong in that place!

The evening session was filled with sweet and strong worship from the first to the last song. Jamie released me on the cello during ‘Lord, I Need You’ (Te Necesito) and it got real quiet and powerful as we then swelled into an a capella time on the chorus. I love these moments when it feels so heavenly and transcending – all hearts being lifted up and voices in abandon. We need more of these everywhere! Francis shared a good word (though it was in Spanish and my translator wasn’t nearby so I was assuming it was a good word!)

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Saturday was the culmination of a beautiful week together with our new friends in Peru. More workshops, lots of food, a beautiful presentation by the Allegro choir and ending with worship, an excellent word from Alex Sampedro and special presentations from Francis and all the vendors. Once again we had some sweet, very sensitive worship times that day, from Cosas Hermosas (Beautiful Things) to Te Necesito (Lord, I Need You) and Hay Libertad! Alex and Marcos got to repeat their workshops on leading worship from their guitars – very creative and well-received. It was a great week of instruction, fellowship, liberty and impartation! Alex and Marcos were stretched and endeared to the hearts of all the beautiful Peruvians there as well as our fellow-teachers. I discovered one teacher, JJ Plasencio, also played the cello! What a great and fun group to hang with for five days!

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Sunday was another packed day in a different way. We were invited to sing and play at Casa Del Padre, Pastor Guillermo Aguayo’s church in both services. So Marcos, Alex and I played two songs in Spanish – Our God (with my now-famous Bach intro) and Te Necesito which we did in Spanish and in 3 part harmony! Sorta cool. Got to hear Alex Sampedro again which was delightful (he told me he grew up singing my song Our God is Lifted Up (Se Exaltamos Dios) as a child and danced to it for many years! He was so excited to tell his church back in Spain about me!) in fact, there were quite a few people there in Peru who knew the song and even sang it with me in one of my workshops! Small world! Sunday evening we joined Francis in his new church iCafe (started last Feb) and had a wonderful time of worship, communion and ┬áthe Word with a great group of musicians and artists. A sweet acoustic time set in the round – I loved it. They released me a ton on the cello so I got to play to my heart’s content! :)

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Monday was our much-deserved ‘day-off’ so were thrilled to be able to see most of Lima and it’s beaches and coastline with our host Francis. We hadn’t realized how close we were to this beautiful part of Peru! So much gorgeous beauty along their coast! We couldn’t make it to Machu Picchu this time – maybe next! We finished the day shopping in the market place downtown and then watching a little of the College Football championship game before we had to head to the airport. What a delightful time from beginning to end, thanks to the wonderful hospitality, organization and love from Francis and his great team (especially his wife, Carmen!)

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