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Omar Ortiz (back row, right) and the prayer journey team with MTW missionaries

My Prayer Journey to Cusco

By Omar Ortiz, Jul 21, 2020

When Barbara Jones, MTW’s senior national diversity mobilizer, first invited me to be a part of the Cusco, Peru, prayer journey trip I was intrigued. All of my previous experience on mission trips had been work trips to Latin American countries in which the team I was on was helping to build or repair something (a school, a retreat house for pastors, a church, a camp). Additionally, in virtually every trip I was one of the few people (if not the only person) who spoke Spanish. This trip to Peru, in contrast, was going to be focused on prayer as the front line of kingdom expansion. And thanks to the efforts of MTW’s Reformed and Diverse Delegates initiative (RADD) the team was largely comprised of Spanish speakers.

The trip had physical challenges, and living at an elevation of 11,000 feet for seven days proved difficult at times. But what was even more challenging was the spiritual and mentally taxing nature of the trip. The facilitators of the prayer journey, MTW missionaries Ken and Tammie Matlack, were teaching us to see prayer as the crucial work of ministry, as work on the front lines. But we were not just going to do this from the comfort of a room at the church. In order to really understand the importance of prayer, we were going to take the things that we were learning to the streets! And so we learned to prayer walk. 

On one walk we went to Casa Josefina, the orphanage run by the MTW Cusco team, to pray for the children and the workers. When we arrived we saw construction of a building next to the orphanage, and one of our team members asked what the structure would be. The missionary informed us that it was going to be a brothel—and so we proceeded to pray! Some of us even laid hands on the building, praying against the evil forces at work. We asked the Lord not to allow the brothel to be built next to the orphanage. We even prayed that the Lord would be so gracious as to allow this building to become a part of Casa Josefina so they can serve more children in the community. We then entered the orphanage and began praying with the small kids in a language they could understand.

As an American it can be tempting to think that the important work I have to offer in the mission field is physical (i.e. construction) or intellectual (i.e. teaching). These are certainly important, but the prayer journey to Cusco reminded us how the central the work of prayer is for mission both in Peru and back home.

Omar Ortiz is the leadership development director for Christ the King PCA in Boston. He is also the leader of the Hispanic RADD team with MTW.

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