Peruvian believer redeems time in quarantine

“I do not want to waste this time,” Yanine declared in a mid-March video chat.

We were a few days into Peru’s mandatory quarantine.

“Others are spreading gossip over social media all day. I want to do something constructive, something that moves me forward in my calling,” Yanine said.

Yanine, shown right with her daughter, is following her call to reach others with the gospel.

Already she had devoured Hudson Taylor’s biography. Now she was jump-starting the discipleship sessions we had planned to begin in April, before COVID-19 wiped our calendars clean.

Yanine’s exuberance is not quarantine-specific. It sparked a friendship with Mardelira during a treasure hunt sponsored by their daughters’ school 8 years ago.

“You are so vibrant, so lively,” Yanine recalls her new friend exclaiming.

Vivacity had propelled Yanine, new to Lima and recently divorced, to establish her career and make a life for her young daughter. But Yanine had struggled—not only with the stress of everything new but with the pain of a personal history she was climbing past.

Mardelira shared friendship and the message of hope in Christ with Yanine, who later chose to become a believer and faithful disciple.

Mardelira told Yanine about her pain, too. Meanwhile, an old friend, Marco, whose wife was far along in pregnancy, faced life-threatening thrombosis. Would he survive to raise his child? Mardelira and Marco did not know each other, but they both knew Jesus Christ, their companion through pain. Each shared the gospel with Yanine. She was enthralled to know that she could be a new creation in Christ, that He would complete a good work in those who follow Him.

Yanine chose to follow Jesus. Marco directed her to Iglesia Bautista Vida Nueva (which later became my church). The pastor’s zeal for missions was contagious. Yanine and her daughter adopted an unreached people group and prayed for missionaries.

Marco, a Peruvian believer, was faithful to share the gospel with his friend, Yanine, and connect her with a local church.

As specifically as the Lord told Hudson Taylor he was to go to China, He told Yanine where she will one day go and what people she will serve. She sacrificed much in a first attempt to get there. She has not reached that destination yet, but she has reached new heights of faith and obedience—a preparation striking in similarity to Hudson Taylor’s experience before he finally set sail for his destination.

Yanine knows, regardless of circumstance, she is on the Lord’s clock now. She views quarantine as a concentrated opportunity to further equip herself for missionary service.

This is where I come in. I mentor her in making disciples that reproduce (2 Timothy 2:2), in sharing the gospel, in crossing cultures. I have been a missionary for two decades—long enough to need Yanine’s vivacity, propelling me back to what drove my call: life is short. I, too, want to redeem the time.

IMB missionary Jennifer Waldrep mentors Yanine via a conference call during the quarantine in Peru.