In 2004, a group of about 50 teenagers and adults from Prince of Peace Lutheran church in Carrollton, Texas, embarked upon a short term mission trip to Lima, Peru.
The leaders of this trip felt a strong tug on their hearts as they prayed and decided that Peru was where God was leading them. This group included Amber Davies, Refuge of Hope’s current Executive Director, as well as a few key members of the current Board of Directors. So, the story began.
While in Lima, the short-term mission group spent a few days at a children’s home in Huaycán.
The children’s home was similar to a foster-care-type orphanage or temporary group home. This experience would soon change the course of many lives – Peruvian and American alike. The leaders of the mission trip saw many needs and opportunities to be of help to these precious children who instantly captured their hearts. Over the next few years, a sponsorship program was formed between the children’s home and members at Prince of Peace, led by Rosaline Hyslop. Every year a short-term mission group visited the kids, built more relationships, and fell in love with the people of Huaycán. Bonds with these children grew deeper as mission groups and individuals returned year after year.
In September of 2010, Amber Davies moved to Lima. Just finishing college, Amber was ecstatic about new opportunities in a land that she had grown to love since high school. She was anxious to help at the children’s home and be a voice for the sponsorship program. With Amber visiting the children’s home a few times a week, she was able to get a deeper insight into the lives of the children. Over the next year, as her perspective and worldview grew, the Lord started leading her in a different direction. Amber began to see needs for the children and teenagers who were embarking on a new adventure themselves – leaving the children’s home to return to their families.
Throughout 2011, difficult decisions had to be made for the sake of pursuing and helping these children and teenagers.
With the support of a dedicated group back in the US and much prayer, Amber was encouraged to embrace new opportunities. In October of 2011, Rosaline Hyslop, our current Board president, made a trip to Peru. During her time there, she and Amber went to visit a local pastor. Amber mentioned to him a vision she had about a center where kids could come to fellowship, do homework, and learn about the Lord. The Pastor was very supportive and offered the second floor of his church to hold the ministry. He also encouraged some older youth from his church to help, including our current high school tutor, Abel Carrion Giron. Amber began to meet in the church with seven teens she had previously known and Refuge of Hope was born. Things were slow at first. There was no set mission or vision statement, but there was an incredible passion and desire to serve these teens.
There was a lot of potential to grow. The decision was made to move forward in 2012 with Refuge of Hope. By this time, Amber was gathering a larger group of children and teenagers – a large majority of them were from the previous children’s home who by this point had returned back home to live with family. Amber and her team learned a lot in the first year. They underwent many trials that the Lord used to refine them and build a foundation for the program.
In 2013, Refuge of Hope Peru began the process of becoming an official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
A handful of kids were added to the program, and Adi Rodriguez officially joined the staff. Amber, Adi, and Abel worked diligently as a team throughout the year to improve the organization. In July, the Lord opened up the opportunity to leave the second floor of the church and rent a building to hold the program. The 2013 year proved to be challenging as the team and the kids faced tough moments that united them more as a family. The experiences drove them to understand their hope and refuge truly is found in Jesus alone. The team’s eyes were opened to the needs and reality of Huaycán. In October, Raquel Baltazar, a psychologist, joined the Refuge of Hope Peru staff.
Refuge of Hope Peru received their final approval as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in August 2014. Throughout the years, God continues to demonstrate His faithfulness, love, and goodness to the Refuge of Hope Peru family.
What we believe
Refuge of Hope Peru is an evangelical Christian non-profit organization that holds firmly to the core doctrine beliefs of the Evangelical Christian Church.
Refuge of Hope Peru is about impacting lives, and it all starts with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We believe that through a relationship with Jesus, lives are transformed (1 Corinthians 5:17). We learn to forgive because we have been forgiven (Colossians 3:13). When we love our neighbor as we love ourselves, our communities, neighborhoods, and families begin to change (Acts 2:42-47, Philippians 2:3-5, John 15:12-13). When we strive to think about things that are good, pure, and praiseworthy, our thoughts are revolutionized (Romans 12:1-2, Philippians 4:8). Caring for the poor, dying to self, and utilizing every talent that we have for the glory of God absolutely changes the world (Micah 6:8, Acts 20:35, 1 John 3:16-18, Luke 9:23, 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, 1 Corinthians 10:31). These are all biblical concepts—it all starts with Jesus. He alone changes the story, and His impact on our students’ lives is the best and most important thing we can give them.