We operate a children’s after school program in a small hillside community just outside of Downtown Lima, Peru called Caja De Agua. We meet with a group of children a few days a week to share the Gospel with them and to teach them God’s Word. We offer these kids a safe refuge in a dangerous area of Lima, Peru where they can safely learn and be loved. Most of these kids come from broken homes where they are neglected. For a couple of hours a day they are able to enter our building and be safe from the dangers that surround this community. We also offer a child sponsorship program for the children who regularly participate in our program. For $35 per month, a sponsor is able to provide food, clothing, and school supplies.
In 2010, I, (TJ) moved to Lima, Peru to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and to open a children’s center in a small hillside community. By the grace of God I have been here ever since. I met my wife and married her about one year after moving here and nine months later we had a beautiful baby girl. I still operate a children’s center in the same hillside community where I started in 2010. I meet with the children a few days a week to teach them what the Bible reveals to us about God and His Son Jesus Christ. We live about twenty five minutes from the ministry in Canto Grande. We fellowship at Iglesia Del Salvador (The Church Of The Savior) a Baptist Church in Barranco which is a district of Lima. We are simple people and enjoy working in the ministry. We are funded by friends and strangers who believe in what we are doing. Would you prayerfully consider partnering with us?
My name is TJ Lindsey and I am the founder of Heart of Christ Ministries. This is our story.
In March of 2010 I was able to come to Peru for the second time. I was able to spend three months in a small hillside community just outside of downtown Lima Peru. Lima Peru is nothing like the small town in Utah where I grew up. I had never seen poverty like I saw in the small hillside community of Caja De Agua. The poverty and neglect that these children faced was unimaginable to me. After spending a few weeks with this kids I decided to start a nonprofit organization to help them. When I started the organization I didn’t know exactly how we would help these kids. I wanted to help with the physical needs but more importantly, I wanted to help with their spiritual needs. After spending three months in Lima I returned to the United States to get back to my normal way of life. But that didn’t happen.
My work had laid me off and bought me a plane ticket to Peru. After spending three months there, my boss called me and asked me to come home and to get back to work. Upon arriving home I was asked by my work to wait a couple weeks before returning to work. That couple weeks turned into a couple months. It was during these couple months when Heart of Christ Ministries was born.
My plan was to set up an official nonprofit organization and raise money and send it to help those kids. That is not exactly how it turned out. After waiting two months to go back to work I decided to sell all my belongings and move to Peru. So I did. For the next month I raised money and sold my belongings to buy a plane ticket to return to Peru. I have been here ever since.
Upon arriving in Peru on October 5th 2010 I began working with the children in the hillside community of Caja De Agua. Over the time that I have been here we have focused on teaching the children the Bible. We meet with these kids a few days a week. We also teach them English.
On October 31st 2008 a drug addict of ten years came home and passed out after a hard night of drinking and doing drugs. The next afternoon he awoke in deep despair. His life was a mess, he was a functioning drug addict, but his life was an endless cycle of depravity and partying. He was ready to end it all. As he laid on his couch contemplating suicide he noticed a Bible on his bookshelf. He had received this Bible a few months earlier from a friend of his brothers. After receiving it, it was placed on the bookshelf and forgotten. Maybe it was the thought of death or maybe something else, but something or someone compelled him to get off the couch and get that Bible that afternoon. He continued laying on the couch contemplating suicide but now he was clinching the Bible tightly in his hands. After about an hour he opened the Bible and began reading the book of Matthew. That man, was me, TJ Lindsey.
I had grown up in a religion grounded in genealogy and law. I was expecting to open the Bible and find nothing but a list of rules and genealogies. Upon opening the book of Matthew I was not surprised to find a genealogy, but I decided to keep reading. I don’t know what I was hoping for, maybe some rules and guidelines to help me live better. That was not what I found. I read about a man, who was God, who was a Savior and King sent to save His people. This man’s name was Jesus. He lived a perfect life, fulfilling every part of God’s righteous law, but He didn’t do this for himself, He did it on behalf of His people. He was hung on a cross, beaten and mocked. He died. The Savior of the world, died. This was not what His followers were expecting. They were defeated and they fled. Then three days later……….. He rose! The savior had died for the sins of His people. He had died for the sins of the world. He died to save a people for Himself. Three days later he came out of the grave. The savior defeated death! Not just for himself but for us also. He had lived a substitutionary life and died a substitutionary death so that through faith in Him we could be saved from the judgment to come, but not only that, we could be freed from the sin that holds us so tightly.
I had heard this story before, but not like this. I was told Jesus came to feel what we feel, and to suffer as we suffer. I had heard that he did this so that we can be forgiven and if we do all that he commanded, we would be able to live with him someday. But that is not what the Jesus of the Bible was doing. Jesus made it clear that we are all evil. We do bad things because we are bad, it is a heart issue. We need to be changed by God. We can’t just change our actions, it’s more than that. You don’t become a sinner by sinning, you sin because you are a sinner by nature. The religious leaders, at that time, were really good at doing the “righteous” things. But Jesus exposed their wicked hearts. We need more than just someone to sympathize with us. We need someone to take our sin and to give us their righteousness. That is what Jesus accomplished for those who will trust in Him. Not only are we forgiven of all our sins, but we are also clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ Himself.
I couldn’t believe what I had just read. But, something incredible happened that I didn’t understand at the time. It’s called being “born again.” I did believe, I was saved, and I was changed. God had granted me repentance and faith in His beloved Son. Everyone who turns to God in faith in Jesus Christ will be forgiven and clothed in His righteousness.
Everything changed for me that day. I no longer had a desire to do the drugs I had loved and been addicted to for nearly ten years. I had a deep desire to know God and to obey Him. You hear a lot about miracles, my friends, this is a miracle. God can take sinners and change them in an instant. That is a miracle. The sin I once loved I began to hate and to resist. By God’s grace I found a church and began fellowshipping and serving. A few weeks after this, on November 28th 2010 I was baptized in Rockport Reservoir surrounded by my new family in Christ.
Life has not been the same since that day. I still struggle with sin and still fail at times, but God changed me that day and He continues to even today. That drug addict of ten years is now a full time missionary in Lima Peru. Instead of spending my time partying, I now serve a group of very poor Peruvian children teaching them the Bible. In my spare time I go throughout Lima preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the public squares. By God’s grace I am what I am.