Walkers prepare to start the sixth annual Walk of Faith in Peru.
PERU — When we walk by faith, it is in God’s grace, said Christa Covel-Reyell.
Today, many people live for wealth and praise, despite faith’s calling to live life simply.
“Today, we will walk together with members of our community to remember the faith of our Christian ancestors who walked before us,” said Covel-Reyell, speaking before the St. Augustine’s and St. Patrick’s Parish and the Peru Community Church sixth annual Walk of Faith in Peru. “Celebrating faith many years ago was a great sacrifice. Many times, to attend services Christians had to walk great distances.”
Those gathered took the walk one step further, turning the occasion into a fundraising effort for the North Country Mission of Hope and The Jamaica Project.
The North Country Mission of Hope was founded in 1998 to empower the people of mission communities in Nicaragua through education, health care, and ecological and community development projects.
The mission provides sponsorships and medical care for more than 500 children, while mission clinics provide affordable health care to more than 20,000 people. Nutrition programs provide meals to more than 600 school children.
“The mission has grown over the past 15 years, and the only way to support the very poor is through support from the community,” said Treasurer Kathy Eppler. “It doesn’t matter the size. What matters is the help we give to those in need.
“We contribute in so many areas, such as sponsorship of schools, health care and HIV testing for children in orphanages.”
The Jamaica Project began after a worker from Jamaica fell from a ladder while harvesting apples in Peru. The injury left him a paraplegic for life.
“We decided to help his family medically,” said Pete Lake of the Jamaica Project.
The mission started in 1999 when a group of people from Peru traveled to Jamaica to serve the poor through house building and medical and dental clinic staffing, also serving schools and orphanages.
Peru Community Church partnered with the Ridgemount United Church in Mandeville, Jamaica for the project. The trip occurs each January and also includes provides children with supplies and clothing.
“Each year, they identify a family and their needs and we help them and build them a modest house,” Lake said. “For us it is kind of like a shed, but for them it is a home.”
Volunteers for both efforts must raise money for the trip as well as to cover the costs of assisting the individuals in need.
“This walk is a wonderful sharing of resources for a valuable cause,” said Harriet Burrell, organizer for The Jamaica Project.
The Walk of Faith started in 2007 as a way to remember how the older generation once walked to church.
Besides the walk, the event included music and food.
“It is important to come together as a faith community,” Covel-Reyell said. “We both have common interests in supporting the community and serving God.”
She told those present that everyone is on a different faith journey, never knowing where “our faith will bring us.”
In busy and chaotic lives, she said, it is easy to forget faith.
“We often wonder how we will be at peace with ourselves,” Covel-Reyell said. “Today let us try to separate ourselves from this anxiety and trust in God…”
To learn more about the Jamaica Project call: (518)643-8641.
To learn more about the Mission of Hope call: (518)561-2599.