• Gustavo Driau

The Church in Peru, serving in pandemic times

Maria Luz Chirinos Trinidad is a member of the Lutheran Church of Peru (IL-P), in The Good Shepherd Congregation, near the International Airport of Callao. The congregation is in a district with a majority-poor population, territorial disjointed and, with worrying levels of environmental pollution, where the beaches receive gigantic amounts of garbage deposited by the Chillon River and by the sea currents

Maria (blue vest) is one of the volunteers who is delivering, in the context of COVID-19, boxes with food and basic hygiene kit to Venezuelan families living in the community. Migrants are mostly young women with two or three sons and daughters

The people receiving aid are beneficiaries, previously registered, of the Humanitarian Aid Project to Venezuelan Families implemented by IL-P and LWR. The Venezuelan crisis is driving millions of citizens to flee their country, seeking refuge in nearby countries, mainly in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Venezuelan refugees in Peru are almost 1 million. 92% of Venezuelans work in the informal economy, which the sector most damaged by COVID-19

The Lutheran Church of Peru (IL-P), with financial support from LDR-Lutheran Disaster Response (with the inter-mediation of Lutheran World Relief-Peru), provides humanitarian assistance to families arriving in Peru fleeing the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Venezuela. IL-P assists with food, basic elements of hygiene, spiritual accompaniment, and up-to-date information on immigration.

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the IL-P program to change routines and operate under new strict recommendations to implement assistance activities, to prevent the spread of the virus. The pandemic situation is critical in Peru, especially in the more impoverished neighborhoods of Lima and northern Peru, such as Iquitos, Piura, and Lambayeque.

María Luz Chirinos Trinidad is one of the founders of The Good Shepherd Congregation. She is a Sunday School Teacher in the church and a practitioner and leader of the church's diakonia in Peru.

Maria is a health promoter and a manager of a community soup kitchen program for adults and children. She leads the environmental program in the church and its community in favor of social and ecological justice, promoting alternatives to the consumer system and denouncing unfair ecological practices. Maria is also a facilitator in risk management and emergency disasters response. She is a mother of three sons and two daughters, and grandmother of 20 grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

Photos, April 2020, by Zulema Cortez, also a volunteer, in The Good Shepherd Congregation,

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