The RSA team returned from Peru with amazing stories of how God used them to share His love, give hope, and minister to hundreds of hurting people in Villa El Salvador. By the end of the trip, they ministered to more than 20,000 people and saw 2,051 people come to Christ. Read each team member’s trip testimony below:

Tangye Hopkins 

“At one of the festivals, I saw this little girl crying and trying to get her momma’s attention. The grandmother part of me just knelt down and put out my arms. Her momma said it was okay. I grabbed her and literally sat down, right there, with people dancing all around me, just praying that no one would stomp on my legs—holding and rocking this child. She almost fell asleep.

The next night after I came off the stage from the drama ministry, I saw her again in the crowd. She saw me and came running to me. She grabbed a hold of me and I didn’t think she would ever let it go. Again, I just held this little girl, her momma nodding approval as I sat on the curb of the street. After a little while, her momma approached me and started talking. Of course, she was very serious, but I couldn’t even understand a word she was saying. I continued to rock the little girl until she fell asleep in my arms. I had been praying for her the whole time. Every once in a while, she would just jerk, as if in a frightening nightmare, or as though something was going through her little brain. At the end of the night, I got an interpreter to come over to me, before I had to give this little girl back to her mom. I asked “What’s going on with this little child? You were trying to tell me something earlier—what’s going on?” Her mom proceeded to tell me that the father had left, abandoning the family and this child had seen a murder. It had caused her to see nightmares, and she couldn’t sleep.

I just felt that the whole reason I was on this trip was just to pray for God’s blood and protection to cover this girl and her little mind. She just relaxed in my arms and slept. When you go on a trip, you just never know who you are going to touch or the lives you are going to make a difference in.”

Ruth Daniels

“It is an amazing thing, and we don’t have words enough to express is God’s goodness, his love, and his presence. We felt his presence. Talking with the people, being at the festivals, being at the prisons, being everywhere -we felt his presence. We want to thank you for your prayers. We know there are prayer warriors here, and we couldn’t have done it without you. He has taken us from glory to glory, and we will never be the same. To him be the glory.”

Bev Schmidgall

“At one of our meetings, Brett said, “God doesn’t need us to share His testimony. He can call those people and save them without us. But He uses us and allows us to have that experience.” It is definitely a wonderful privilege to be used by God.

I enjoy working on the medical team, but my passion is sharing the gospel. I rarely get to do that because I’m always seeing patients or doing something in the pharmacy. Finally, the last day, we were almost done. I said you guys just take care of this, I’m going to pray with people. I had just given this little gal her meds and ask her she wanted prayer, so I was able to pray with her and share the Gospel. Then I saw her aunt and asked if she wanted prayer, and I heard her sad story. When I shared the Gospel, she wanted to accept Jesus, too. Then Reid needed someone to train the counselors on how to share the Gospel at the festivals, so they let me share with the kids during the kid’s program. That is one of my favorite things to do.”

Andrew Glover – Surgeon

“I appreciate Anna. She was able to sort out the needs of the people, she would come to me when there was something that couldn’t be communicated with words on a piece of paper. She was able to keep moving the flow of people throughout the Clinic, and it was so smooth. And at the end we could nail them with the Gospel. It’s one thing to go and fix people’s problems, you know. A lot of people have aches and pains, blown eardrums, sore throats, pneumonia, and those sorts of things, but it is a special thing at the end to get to share the gospel.”

Ross Ziesermer

“It was a stretching time for us. We sat down with our pastor and said, “I don’t know if we are going to be able to do this trip.” He said, “What do we need to do to get you there? Whatever it takes, you’re going.” So we just needed to trust and believe that God was going to supply everything for us to enable us to go. People gave sacrificially, and we were able to go.

When I got there I helped in the pharmacy, counted the medicines, and gave out toothbrushes and stickers to little kids and saw them smile. Then Ruth told me that a lady had just asked her, “Why is everybody so nice here?” Ruth told her it was because we all have Jesus in our hearts. Then Ruth asked me to pray with her.

The day before we left, we went to our church to get some Evangicubes just in case we got to use them on this trip. Of course, we got to use them. We sat down with a lady, prayed with her, and then went through the Gospel with her. She accepted Jesus. It was a good thing that I was wearing sunglasses, because it was a special moment! Then she left and went to get two sisters. They came, and if I’m not mistaken, they accepted Jesus. Three people in that family came to Jesus. As I had been working in the clinic the day before, handing out toothbrushes and vitamins, I wondered if I would get the chance to pray with people. I really wanted the opportunity to talk to the people, but I just did what I was asked to do for the team. Later in the week, one of our translators wanted to see the children’s version of the Evanicube, but she couldn’t get it out of the box. We teased her about it. There were a couple of children standing there with her and they wanted to see it also. Their mom was with them and all three of them accepted Jesus. Wow! Just being stretched that way and being able to serve was life changing.

We had 87 people accept Jesus in the medical clinic. On the last day, 37 out of 135 people accepted Jesus, and that’s because not all of them made it to the prayer table by the end of the day. Otherwise we would have had 150 more decisions.”

Anna Ziesermer

“Where we were in Villa El Salvador, it was not like we were seeing the normal Peruvians from the city. They had come from the highlands years ago, so a lot them spoke another language. In their culture, as part of their family, they were extremely respectful of grandma and the hierarchy of the family. It was so beautiful to see the way they treated the elderly. It didn’t matter if they were poorly dressed, sick, and smelled bad—grandmas or great grandmas were still looked upon with so much love and respect. Each one was so proud to be in that position of honor. We were blessed to have translators that spoke both languages and these dear grandmas were able to hear the gospel in their native language.

Then, I was able to take my husband home. We took a little puddle jumper over to the village where I grew up. My husband got to see for a day and a half, my dirt, where I grew up, and my roads. I told lots of stories and shed lots of tears. It’s been almost twenty years since I’ve been back. We’re not done with Peru. I might just say, we’re going back. Thank you for your prayers and support. ”

Kim Dotster

“I was part of Alan’s group, when he was preaching. At the end, all the people came forward, and we were praying for them. I had never experienced the way that the Holy Spirit works in that kind of situation like He did that night. Like Alan said, we don’t speak the language, we don’t know and we have to rely on the Holy Spirit to tell us how to pray. It was amazing, because as you approached someone, put your hand on them, and started to pray for them, something would come into your mind as to what you should pray. It was different for each person. To experience the Holy Spirit working like that was truly a gift. I also loved working with the medical team, it was an amazing week, and I wouldn’t trade any part of the trip.”

Christy and Mike Powell

Christy: “I want to brag on my dad. (Mike Powell) My dad went as a photographer/videographer on the trip but ended up praying for people because they needed an extra person in the clinic.”

Mike: “I am and am not a prayer, I wasn’t expecting to pray for people. It’s not in my nature to lay hands on people and to pray for them. I went to the clinic early to take pictures but there was no one at the prayer table. Bev came over and said there was someone who needed to be prayed for. Well, okay, I can stand there and try as they come to the table. That was Tuesday. Like Cass said, it wasn’t me, it was God, the Holy Spirit working through us and using us for what he is doing. I just set my camera down from there on. I was very blessed to listen to their life stories. Every one of them has hurts, and now they have hope. Everyone I prayed with wanted to accept the Lord and two of them wanted to wait. It was incredible to see their responses.”

Christy: “Dad prayed for this lady, and brought her to the Lord. And then, right after that, she asked, “Can we pray for my sister? Is that okay? Can we pray for someone else?” Dad said, “Okay. . .yes.” This lady said that her sister had just found out she was four months pregnant, and that the baby was brain-dead. They had done a scan and there was no brain activity. So my dad was faced with explaining that it was up to God to heal her baby. If it is God’s plan. It was difficult to explain to a new Christian about how God works his will and his plan.”

Mike: “She was a brand-new Christian and all excited, asking if we could pray for her sister. Her sister was in Spain. She explained that the doctor was telling her sister that they would have to abort the baby that week, only four months along. She said, “Can we pray that God will heal the baby?” So we were kind of caught with this new Christian that had the faith that it would all be okay. So we just prayed. I was talking to the interpreter, trying to explain whether or not it was Gods will. It was hard to explain, but we prayed and then she left.

The next night at the festival, she came running up to my dad, jumping up and down, talking rapidly in Spanish. Hold on, I need an interpreter. She and the interpreter we’re going back-and-forth. She got a call from her sister that day saying that the baby was completely fine. They had done another scan, and the baby was fine! She called her sister and said they had prayed for her baby and that it was going to be fine. Her sister said, “You need to get another test.” The doctor said it was perfectly fine and healthy—nothing wrong. Wow!

So, sometimes in the lack of our faith, we think God isn’t able. We doubt, but her faith was incredible. We even listened on her phone to the recording of her sister in Spain. The interpreter was telling me how excited they were, jumping up and down. Incredible!”

Scott Mansur

“My favorite memory was from working in the medical clinic one day. There were a bunch of people that needed prayer, so I got to pray with them and share the Gospel with a Peruvian who had learned English on the internet and spoke well. He was the first person that I got to share the Gospel with on the trip. When I was done sharing the Gospel, I asked him, “Do you want to accept Jesus Christ and have eternal life?” I was wanting to have this dialogue with him back and forth, but he looked at me almost like I was silly and said, “Why would I not want to accept Jesus Christ?” It was just an amazing experience to see someone whose heart was yearning to accept Christ. That was a wonderful experience. In sharing the Gospel with the same man, Bev was kind of overhearing the presentation and she came around the corner and interrupted: “Tell him about hell, Scott, tell him about hell.” She was helping me along, and we had a good laugh about that. I’m glad she was overseeing me. It was a good experience being involved in the medical clinic and helping people physically and spiritually. I will remember that for many many years.”

Alan Hopkins

“Everywhere we went, we saw people coming to the Lord. The challenge was that in the public schools we weren’t allowed to talk about Jesus. But they allowed us to perform our drama, and so we did “Everything,” because it pretty much portrays all the different sins that the kids deal with: drinking, sex, drugs, and suicide. So we did that and afterward talked about making good choices and bad choices. Then we could share a little bit about Jesus. But the thing I learned—and I think because I’ve done a few of these now—is just to be flexible. We trained people on the fly and we changed what we were going to say, but we still got our message across.

It was awesome to see the Lord working  through all of this. It’s so interesting—I couldn’t understand their language and I couldn’t ask them what they wanted me to pray for, so we had to rely on the Holy Spirit to lead us and to pray whatever it was that they needed prayer for. It was an exciting trip. We saw a lot of people come to the Lord, We got to share the Gospel with a lot of people, and we had a good time. It was one of the best trips I’ve been on.”

Ashley Brady

“I like order sometimes, but when something happened and we weren’t able to go to where we needed to, someone came up to me and started talking to me in broken English. They asked, ‘What are you guys doing here?’ We said, ‘Well, we’re missionaries from the United States and we are here to share about Jesus.’ They said, ‘Oh, I’ve always wanted Him—will share Him with me?’ I replied, “OKAY!” If God can direct us in a different way, and He says, ‘Here’s somebody that I want in my Kingdom,” we need to not worry about our schedules or whatever it may be—people are more important. That’s why we went there: to help people. People are more important.”

Cas Barruga

“I don’t remember what day it was—I was counting pills and Bev said, “One of you—go on the prayer side. Cas—you.” Oh no. . .Me? I thought–I can’t do that. And I remember many years ago on a mission trip, one of my daughters grabbed me after Brett asked me to do something. I had thought, I can’t do that. And my daughter said to me, “Get a grip. God is stretching you.” When Bev asked me to go to the prayer booth, I just thought of what Julie said. “God is stretching you.” So I went, and I didn’t have to do what I thought I needed to do. I just let the Lord do it through me. That was not about me. It was all Him.”

Matt Maceira

*Speaking of the prison ministry:

“It was just amazing. The guys did the BMX inside the building. We did both dramas and just watched these guys respond with a lot of emotion. And then I got to share my testimony, and I said, “I knew the Lord and went back to my sin—and it got one thousand times worse.’ Being able to lay the Gospel out for them—‘God died for you specifically and wishes that all would come to repentance—that means me and that means you and that means every single man here today—God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. That applies to each one of you. So let today be that day. Tonight your soul could be required of you.’ So then I said, ‘Those of you who would like to accept Christ as your Lord and personal Savior, please come forward,’ and all of them stood up. Seventeen of them rededicated their lives to the Lord, and 15 of them accepted the Lord for the first time. As we prayed with them, I turned around—Christy was behind me, and she asked, ‘Are you crying?’—and I was like, ‘. . .yeah.’ I was bawling. It is amazing to me that the Lord has taken an old, violent, dopamine, street person and has given me a life beyond what I could ever imagine. And that was at just one location.

We went to the school the next day, and Gabriel said, ‘You know, we’re not supposed to share or speak at all in these schools. The principal says we can share.’ And so we did the dramas and the guys did great on the BMX’s. I turned around and the mic was right there—and so I got to share a glimpse of my life before Jesus Christ, what He’s done since, and what He’s offering to all those kids there. They wanted us to specifically talk about gangs, drugs, alcohol, violence, and abuse. We did an altar call, and about two hundred of those kids came forward and accepted Jesus Christ. We got to interact with them more, and then I turned around and someone asked me, ‘Are you crying?’ And I said, ‘Yes.’ When we left, the principal said, ‘You know, times are really violent—this is what we need. We need this in our schools, and we need this everywhere. We just totally disregarded the documents.’ That just kept happening wherever we shared—location after location. It’s amazing to be any part of God’s plan, because outside of Jesus Christ I am nothing and I have nothing. But all that I am and have and will ever have is His. I am not the same person I was when I went down there. It happens every time. My heart is with those people, and I’m really attached.