inca thakhi little christs

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God teaching us a new challengue


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Little ChristsTwenty-six years in, the trail is sti l l long, narrow, and weary just as the Master described. Rising each morning is a fight bet-

ween sketches of plans and activities and dreams of a man trying to cling to the unshakeable wil l of God. Even more diff icult

is the tedious chore of shutting my eyes, begging for a l itt le more sleep. If you have ever worked with children, you know what

I mean. Such is a day at INCA THAKHI, my greatest fear and passion during the last four years of my life. More frightening

than the danger of the adventure sports – the heat of the desert, the height of the mountain, the speed of the descent, or the

strength of a rough ocean wave – is finding purpose, and to complicate matters even more, I’m in the process of completing

my purpose.

“What are we going to do this week?” asks Christian, the boy everyone calls “Cachorro / Little Puppy” and at eight short

years of age, already works sell ing bread to help at home.

“Come, it wil l be a surprise!” I respond while he gives me a trusting smile. I’ve been making disciples (or rather I’ve been

trying to do so as Christ did in his time) of 12 boys from a neighborhood in my city plagued with violence and delinquency.

Few would dare come to work, let alone to l ive there. Three to four times a week we come together to be a family. Yes, “being

a family,” is what we call all this craziness happening in our l ives. We have different parents, distinct blood, but we are con-

vinced there is something or Someone greater than ourselves, ready to lead us beyond adventure sports, beyond devotionals

or bible stories. We’ve decided to be heroes of our own biblical story. We’re not trying to encourage heresy or a new form of

apostasy revealed by the Lord himself for the end times. We simply seek to be obedient.

The boys say good-bye, and while cleaning the dust from the small kiosk our small bodies crowd weekly to develop “our fa-

mily,” I see the disorder and wonder if I wil l survive the duty of fatherhood someday. I don’t have children, but I feel l ike I’m

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carrying the weight of these twelve boys. I close the gate to the unfinished children’s home that gives us refuge for the time

being. The silence of the 800 square-meters of empty space within the walls leaves me alone with the echoes of my footsteps.

Seated on the ground, the holy storm of thoughts reminds me the purpose of this fight that I discovered during my training

in Ecuador. What was I thinking when I accepted the challenge of starting an adventure ministry with nothing?

When I was 17 years old, I came to my church for the first time for both the appropriate reasons and mistaken reasons. At age

18, I was baptized in secret because my family disapproved. I started this journey of adventure at 22, escaping from my dou-

bts and fears, cornered in the by harnesses, ropes, trees, and four Peruvians (including my youth pastor) in Quito, Ecuador. I

was trying to survive a crisis of faith in the one whom, until that point, I had considered to be an “exquisite God to choose his


I always had an obsession with nature. Since I was l itt le, I was taught that God was everywhere. Why not in nature? I thought

while we had a preparatory meeting prior to the trip to Quito. After various sessions with my youth pastor, two young guys

with the best sense of humor above (or about?) 3000 meters of altitude, and a girl whose difficult personality didn’t vary even

with the worst climate you could imagine we planned he trip. We were strangers to those who entrusted us with the responsi-

bil ity of making a project for an adventure camp in Peru, aiming to support a children’s home under construction in my home


I would go on to l ist all the anecdotes of this trip, but as my greatest defect is my memory, I only remember a lot smiles,

fears, frustration, tears, and even shouts. I do, however, have one powerful memory: the image of everyone kneeling in the

snow of Ruco Pichincha after almost four hours of trekking up the snow-capped mountain. My throat choked on spoken pro-

mises of a new commitment with God. The experience offered a new opportunity to completely turn my life over to God’s

plans, asking for forgiveness of my sins and false promises. What was I going to lose? I was in the middle of nowhere, ai-

mlessly wandering. Would I be fired from my job for traveling? Would I return home to my parents’ frustrated faces? My

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heart? In pieces after four years of searching and being deceived? In the middle of a vortex of thoughts, beliefs, and memo-

ries, I tried to see what had changed inside of me, the falsest follower of a sect of l ies that fooled themselves trying to cover

up their own mistakes, blaming the same God that brought me to this point, a confessor of fleeting repentences for physical

and spiritual f ights so personal but at the same time so secret, a coward fleeing from a serious commitment with my faith.

Amid the icey snow, my hands turned numb and my chest emptied, exhaling the l itt le air that I could breath in the altitude.

It was just enough to make me ask the question that lead me here, now to the wooden kiosk. What do you want from me? “I

want it all,” He told me, and that’s the way it was.

That’s the way it was.

And so it has been the last three years, “I want it all.” Today, amid the dust and heat, I bury my face in my hands asking,

“Now what?” Perhaps the most common mistake we make is asking God, “What did you see in that instant of my life?” ins-

tead of, “What do you see about this in the future?”

I stand again after my tears have mixed with the dirt from my hands. My eyes burning intensely, I see some of the skimboards

that we made with the boys last year hanging from the kiosk. I remember once more that it’s not just about me, but rather

each of them, for whom Christ prayed before parting when he said the Father, “Each one of these you gave to me.(John 17:2)”

The l itt le Christs we’ve been called to be, small in size but already beginning to experience fights and battles, such are the 12

boys that have found momentary refuge in this “family.” Although we don’t know how long this wil l last, here we are.