Monday, May 21, 2012

El Evangelio

This my attempt at sharing the gospel in Spanish.  Sorry for the bad pronunciation and the mistakes but take it as a student that is 9 months into language school.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Meeting the President of Peru, Ollanta Humala

Curahuasi, Peru
We are soberly reminded that we are not in the United States nor even in Costa Rica anymore when we see two helicopters flying over our heads, which were coming from fighting terrorists in the jungle.  Peru only as 17 helicopters in their fleet and the terrorists are hard to find in the jungle so it is a slow, uphill battle. 
On Saturday we decided to take a trip to Curahuasi, which is about 3 hours from Cusco, to visit some people we know and the church in Curahuasi.  Again, we drove for 3 hours and passed many people and towns and there are no churches anywhere and no work going on anywhere.   We arrived at Walter Gamarra's house in time for cafecito.  We watched an amazing sunset behind some massive snow capped peaks and ate palta.  Palta is avocado and in Curahuasi it grows the size of cantaloupe.  After we ate we met a friend of Walter Isse's at the German hospital and he showed us around.  The German's are doing a great work in Curahuasi.  They built a hospital that rivals any hospital in the States, which they basically give free medical care to the mostly Quechua population.  They also built a childrens hospital and they are going to built a big school in the town that will educate 500 students. 

Walter Isse was invited to preach
The next morning we went to church.  The church is growing very fast and they now have 2 separate services, a Sunday school and main service in Spanish and then later in Quechua.  They have about 150 people attending on a regular bases and they drew up plans to build a new church building, which they need very bad.  Our friend from Lima, Peru - Walter Isse, who we used to help us interpret, was invited to preach and he preached an outstanding sermon.
We heard the day before that the President of Peru, Ollanta Humala, was going to be in town at the plaza at about 11:00, which was just when church finished.  It was quite an odd thing that we found ourselves in a middle of nowhere town of 5000 people and the president was coming for some political campaign.  We first heard the helicopters during church and we knew he had arrived.  We walked to the plaza and just about the whole town was there. 
The president gave an animated speech about some new socialized health care plan (you guys in the States can relate) and then he walked through a crowed of people, jumped in his helicopter and took off.  When he was walking through the crowd of people our friends Walter Isse and Wehrner both shook his hand and greeted him.  It was a very strange situation.  I have never seen the president of the United States and now I found myself in a remote part of Peru with the president.

After we said our goodbyes to Walter Gamarra, we loaded up in the small car for the 3 hour trip back to Cusco.  As we made our way over the long pass back into Cusco, our hearts were again burdened with the immense need for the gospel to be preached all over this country.

We spent the last day looking at apartments for our families.  Our good friends, a group of medical missionaries in Cusco, helped us out tremendously on this trip and are going to be a great help for us when we begin to get settled.  They gave us so much invaluable information that they learned through many trials.  We praise God that He has put them in our lives and the God is already paving the way for us in Cusco and preparing the soil for the kingdom of Christ to be advanced.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Cusco, Peru

Cusco, Peru
After spending time with our Peruvian brothers, talking about strategies on how to proclaim the glory of Christ through the local church we want to start in Cusco, we found some very interesting things.  First of all, Cusco is known among the Peruvians as a missionary graveyard.  Whenever a Peruvian or foreigner moves to Cusco to start a work for the advancement of the kingdom of Christ, they end up only lasting 6 months or a year.  Cusco is a spiritually dark city of 350,000 people.  The city has a rich history dating back to the Inca people, which is very evident by the remains of Inca ruins inside and outside of the city.  After the Conquistadors from Spain invaded, conquered and slaughtered the Inca people, they rebuilt the city and introduced their Catholic religion and customs.  Now there is a mixture of Inca and Catholic beliefs that have been synchronized into a superstitious belief system.  Tourism is also a rapidly increasing, which is keeping the city alive financially, and can be seen by the many tourists that roam around the main Plaza and the new business's popping up with imported items.  The increasing popularity of Machu Picchu among celebrities and their mystical, New Age beliefs is bringing added superstition and, plain and simply, is reviving some demonic Incan beliefs.  Mysticism is becoming very popular in Cusco.
Wehrner Pancobo and I
Our Peruvian brother, Wehrner Pancobo, has stressed that although we will face many hardship and trials, we must start a work that is going to last.  Only by the grace of God is this possible and we are so dependent on Him in every area of our lives and this work.  Wehrner knows the city of Cusco very will since he grew up there.  He is familiar with the work that is currently going on so we narrowed down the area where we want to start the church.  The area consists of about 30,000 people and the neighborhood is considered poor.  Do you understand the need here?  There are 30,000 people and no biblical churches working in the area.  That would be like (for those living in Montana) the city of Helena with no churches.  If God provides for us to get a building, we want to have it on the edge of this area and the business district, which would allow us to minister to a variety of people. 

Police in Cusco with well used shields
Besides the spiritual darkness in Cusco there are other challenges for North Americans to live there.  In Costa Rica, where we live now, you can buy almost everything that there is in America.  It may cost double but it is here.  Cusco is a different story.  The availability of many things is just non-existent.  There is very little food that is imported and there are countless things that must be bought in Lima, which is about 400 miles through the Andes mountains, 18 hours by bus or an expensive 1 hour flight.  Our friends who live in Cusco told us that if you want to buy a car you will have to order it and it could take 4 or 5 months to get it.  Only about 2 dryers a months show up in the city so you have to keep your eyes open.  A large mattress must be ordered and shipped from Lima.  Things like refrigerated milk don't exist.  Tables, chairs, beds and any other wood furniture must be made and it can take 2 to 4 months for the construction.  Towels and bed comforters have to be bought in Lima. 
Wehrner, Walter Isse, Scott, Tim, Walter Gamarra
Other complications are the fact that you need a lawyer for just about everything.  Obtaining resident visas, buying a car and signing a lease for an apartment all require a lawyer. 

Overall though, I love Cusco.  It is very beautiful and is surrounded by mountains that make the Rockies look like foothills.  The city, which sits at 11,000 feet in elevation, has cool temperatures but the sun is very strong and it is easy to get burnt.  I am burdened by so many people who either have no access to the gospel in any way or that have never heard the biblical gospel.  I thank God daily for the immense privilege to be able to live and minister to the people of Cusco.  Our time at language school will be finished in a little over 3 months and we are all very ready and excited to make the move.  It will be a crazy 3 months after August but I pray we will be settled by Christmas.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

At the end of the Earth...The Andes

As we drove down a remote dirt road through the Andes mountains in a car overfilled with 6 men, we saw less and less civilization.   Rapchi, Huarocondo, Andenes, Ancahuasi, Izcuchaca, Inquilpata, Compone, Suyapuccio, Huertahuayco, Limatambo, Uraca, Mollepata, and Estrella are only a few of the little towns or villages that have never had a church, that have no evangelical work going on, and many of these and countless other "off the map" villages have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ.  As we would come around corners we would see Quechua people walking or herding cows and sheep down this remote road.  Some of the people may have been walking the 18 miles between town.  Sandals made from tires and the customary colorful garments of the Quechua people were the attire of these people.  We saw what I would guess as a 7 year old boy and his 8 year old sister, herding 3 horses, 4 cows and 3 sheep by themselves in the middle of nowhere for miles.  This is their life and they know no other way.  Our friend Walter Gamarra knows of many villages where the gospel has never been reached and that are secluded from society because there is no road into them.

As we came to realize that thousands of these people have never heard the gospel we realized the heavy demands that our work will require and the weight of the burden upon us.  Praise be to God that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  When we look at unfathomable needs, we can only depend on God in all things and we are so thankful that we can trust in Him that He has a people in every tribe tongue and nation. 

You can't see it from this pictures put there are little towns scattered throughout these mountains and there are no roads to most of them.
After talking much about this with our Peruvian brothers, a vision has come together for how we can bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to possibly hundreds of these unreached villages in our lifetime.  I will soon write about our plan and vision for our work in Peru.