Like many Peruvians, José Chambilla grew up in a family that was Catholic by heritage, but not by practice. The fact that God did not play a major role in the Chambilla’s life was reflected by the poor relationships between the men in the family. José’s father had run away from home and enlisted in the Marines in order to escape a troubled relationship with his dad, and his relationship with his own son José was no better. As time passed, José grew farther apart from his father, and turned to alcohol and drunkenness to fill the void of that lost relationship.
Things began to look up for a short while when José was accepted into architecture school. Before long, however, José’s drinking habits caught up with him, leading to fights, missed classes and failed courses, and most of his friends and family completely losing their trust in him. The death of a close friend was the last straw for José, leading him to question the purpose of life itself. It was at this point that José dropped out of school, hoping to escape his problems and perhaps to find the answers to some of his questions.
Although he was not a Christian at the time, José can now see how God used these difficult experiences to bring him to the place where he would meet the Lord. He found a job at a computer store, where he learned the skills that would eventually lead him to his job in computer support at the main office of Wycliffe Bible Translators. José was very impressed with the lifestyle of his friend and boss at the Wycliffe office, a man who never insisted that José “accept the Lord,” but who quietly led him in that direction by example. After joining a Bible study at the office and beginning to attend a local church, José finally repented of his sins and gave his life to the Lord.
While José had considered his job at the mission office simply a way to make a living, God had other plans for his life. José had once again enrolled in college, and assignments in a business administration course led him to research and analyze the history of and methods employed by Wycliffe Bible Translators. The biography of Cameron Townsend, Wycliffe’s founder, along with testimonies of several of the missionaries in Peru made José realize that he did not have to become a pastor in order to serve the Lord. God could use his computer and administrative skills to support the work of Bible translation right in his very own country.
While José’s computer skills became an integral part of his work in missions, they also led him to his wife, Lisa. Lisa was working in the mission’s personnel office when José answered a call to fix her broken computer. What started out as just a normal part of José’s workday turned into a long conversation, which blossomed into a friendship with a young lady who shared José’s new-found vision of bringing the Word of God to all people in their own language. José and Lisa were married in 2006, have added daughter Laura, born in 2008, to their family, and continue to serve God through support of Bible translation in Peru.
Lisa Chambilla (formerly Croese) grew up in Peru and Chile as the daughter of missionaries with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Although she accepted the Lord at a young age and considered her upbringing in Wycliffe a great privilege, Lisa did not actually consider a full-time mission career for herself until she was at Capernwray Bible School in Germany. While reading Shadow of the Almighty by Elisabeth Elliot, Lisa was inspired by the example of Jim and Elisabeth’s complete surrender to God’s work. Throughout the next few years, she spent time seeking the Lord’s will about how she could become involved in His work, and specifically if He would have her to serve with Wycliffe.
In the meantime, Lisa continued her studies at Covenant College, in Georgia, where she graduated with a business degree. Still undecided about missions, Lisa decided to try a different type of overseas ministry and she joined the Peace Corps. Two years in Honduras gave Lisa practical experience and a better understanding of cross-cultural work. During the last few months of her service in the Peace Corps, Lisa began to seriously seek God’s will about future involvement in missions. God answered her prayer by illuminating Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” The Lord made it clear that she was to “go.” Choosing Wycliffe Bible Translators as her sending mission seemed like an obvious choice since she believes in the importance of Bible translation for speakers of minority languages.
Lisa was accepted as a missionary with Wycliffe in 1998, and set off for Peru as a single missionary in 1999. She has greatly enjoyed serving Peruvian minority groups and missionary colleagues through her roles as administrative assistant, team leader for a new Scripture Promotion project, and also as Personnel Director for the missionary group in Peru.
Lisa met José in May of 2004, while she was serving as Personnel Director at the mission’s main office in Lima. Although José had been working at the same office for some time, Lisa hadn’t taken much notice of him until her computer crashed and José was sent to fix it. They struck up a conversation and their friendship took off from there. Realizing that they had much in common, including their desire to serve the Lord through supporting Bible translation, José asked Lisa to be his wife, and they were married June 24th, 2006!