Sarah Beer serves as overseas personnel with Centro Esperanza in Peru. She describes everyday scenes in the market: Arica Street in Chiclayo (chick-LIE-oh), Peru, leads to the farmers’ market called Mercado Modelo. The market is one of the busiest places in Chiclayo, where shoppers can buy virtually anything. The size of a soccer field, it is a confusing maze. I walk around a cardboard box in the middle of the market walkway that is serving as a playpen for a street vendor’s baby. In the fruit section a rainbow of fruit is displayed on tables: fresh mangoes, bananas, watermelon, peaches, melons, passion fruit, kiwi, apples, and pineapples. Two six-year-old boys holding hands grab leftover orange peels from a wheelbarrow of oranges for sale. They skip away into the mass of people, gleefully chewing on their orange peel snack. In the meat and fish section, vendors sleepily fan flies away from the fish they are selling. An elderly man seated on the ground has lost both legs and asks a woman for spare change to buy lunch. His clothes are caked with dust, his pink eyes watering in desperation for some show of solidarity. The woman gives him the equivalent of 20 cents. In the market and many communities I meet people struggling to “roll away the stone” to a life without poverty. I see people who have hope that gives them the courage to seek justice and to lift themselves and others out of poverty. Centro Esperanza works in community development with children, youth, and women living in the poorest neighbourhoods and surrounding towns and villages of Chiclayo. Our gifts for Mission and Service are an act of compassion. Please join me and give generously.
Mighty and tender God, through our gifts for Mission and Service we respond to your call to mend the world.