Sunday, October 28, 2012

A night of Catholic idolatry in Cuzco

As I drove my rented car down another street in Cuzco that was blocked by the Catholic festival of idolatry I happened to see an older lady arguing with another lady in the midst of the procession.  I couldn't hear what the argument was about but the Catholics were pretty upset.  My guess was the older lady was denouncing their idolatry.  As the intensity increased, another lady came up with a bottle of water and dumped it all over the older lady.  The crowd of idol worshiping Catholics broke out in laughter.

Processions of idols are so common in Cuzco that I see them almost weekly.  In combination with the fiestas that they have, which gives the Catholics an excuse to get drunk, there is always something blocking the roads around here.

We happened to be downtown last night and ran into a very disturbing showcase of idolatry with 1000's of people in the main plaza watching the procession of the señores de los temblores.  Which is basically the lords of the earthquakes.  They normally celebrate this around Easter so I´m guessing this was another tribute to the same idol.  These processions are blasphemous affairs of the demonic syncretism of the Roman Catholic religion and the ancient Inca beliefs.
Ever since 1,650, when the ridiculous claim that an oil painting of Christ on the Cross held off a devastating earthquake that was rattling the city of Cuzco, the locals have been rendering homage to the image of Taitacha Temblores, the Lord of the Earthquakes. This celebration allows onlookers to get a glimpse of the fusion of Andean religions and Roman Catholicism.

The Cuzco Cathedral, where the image is kept, is built on the foundations of the ancient temple dedicated to the pagan god Apulla Tikse Wiracocha. The image of the Lord of Eathquakes is carried in a procession through the streets of the city just as the Incas used to parade the mummies of their chieftains, high priests and supreme rulers. In the end, the dominating part of the celebration involves the ñucchu flower (salvia esplendes), used as an offering to the ancient gods Kon and Wiracocha.  This is rather amusing because an image that can stop an earthquake can´t even walk but must be carried.

So has we are getting a cup of coffee, Emmy comes up to me and ask why they are worshiping statues.  Emmy is memorizing the 10 commandments and she just finished memorizing the 2nd commandment in it´s entirety, which states:

"You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments."

Emmy had a great question, why do Catholics worship idols?  The answer is simply because they are not Christians.  Later, after watching this ridiculous display for a while, Emmy came up to me again, saddened, and said, "I wish Adam and Eve didn't sin."  It was a great opportunity to explain the gospel to her again.

I was also interested to see how our 13 year old, Raegan, viewed this event.  I saw that she wrote the following in her journal when we got home last night:

"The other day my family and I went to downtown Cuzco, which is filled with Catholic churches and people.  At the moment they seemed to be having a huge festival.  They had huge statues of Mary and Jesus on the cross and elderly people with cloaks on.  Many idols were present and lots of partying.  I felt so sad for the people.  They didn't realize how evil it was.  Leviticus 19:4 says, 'Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves any gods of cast metal:  I am the Lord your God.'  I pray one day they will see the truth.  That they will put down their idols and pick up the Word of God."

Raegan is right and she had a wise understanding of the event.  In 1 Chronicles 16 we read a song of David.  In verse 26 he says that, "For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols." The Hebrew word, אֱלִיל , for "idol" means something that is worthless, nothing, empty, or vain.  This means that the "gods" had no existence, they were creations of the imagination.  What we saw last night was the inventions of a depraved mind.  Although, there was some help.  The Septuagint (The Greek translation of the Old Testament)  translates the word "idol" in this verse as "demon."  This means that behind every idol, there are demons.  The worship of anything in the heavens, earth or the sea besides the true God, is not only idolatry but it is demonic worship.  This is what we saw last night and this is what we see on a regular basis in Cuzco.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Visas and Building Progression

Please pray for us and our resident visa process.  We were supposed to return to Lima over a month ago to finish the process but we still do not have the green light.  The new law that would prevent us from getting visas is supposed to take affect in November but I have not heard what is going on with the law.  We are praying that we will be able to get to Lima next week so we can finish the process and start our kids process.  We already got the newly apostilled birth certificates from the States (because of a new rule they made) so we have everything read on our end.  Please pray for this.  Not getting visas would cause many problems.  God is sovereign though and we trust in Him.

We have been building the offices in our new place, where the church will meet in March.  It has been going well and we are making progress.  Here are a few pictures.

Yea, we know, the offices are small.
Our team, including Wehrner and his mom, spent the afternoon at the Killillay's for a brunch.  We spent time praying as a team and Wehrner talked to us about team unity and the dangers we will face as we enter into war with the devil.  He stressed the importance of guarding our families because that is where, often times, the greatest blows come. 

I was excited that our friend Ike brought me back some maple breakfast sausage seasoning that I ordered from the States.  I talked the butcher shop into grinding me some pork and I made 10 pounds of sausage.  I have to say that it was great and tasted like the stuff I made back home in my butcher shop.  They have nothing that resembles breakfast sausage in Peru or Costa Rica, so this was the first time any of us had eaten breakfast sausage in over a year.  It was a great treat and Wehrner loved it as well.  I can see that I may be getting back into meat processing. 

Emmy and Micah relaxing with a movie

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Josephine House

We would like to introduce you to the Josephine House, which is an orphanage in Cusco ran by missionaries.  We spent an afternoon with the kids a few days ago and really love this ministry.  The Josephine House is named in honor of Josephine Kupferschmid, who ran an orphanage in Brazil for more than 15 years.  The Josephine House was formed in early 2008 and received final permission to function in late 2008. The first resident was a 78 year-old blind man! Since November 2008, they have taken in 18 children. Some of those have since moved either back home or to another children’s home so they are now at what is consider their maximum of 15 at any given time.
The Josephine House's goal is that babies born into difficult situations of alcohol or physical abuse, extreme poverty and abandonment, can find a place of safety until they can be adopted and placed in a permanent home.  To see the kids and read more about them, click here.  To find out how to adopt one of these little guys in Peru, click here.  Some people back home have already asked how they can support this ministry so if you are interested in supporting this orphanage, click here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The plan is unleashed

The plan is unleashed.  Our Peruvian pastor Wehrner Pancorbo is with us in Cusco this week.  We meet and discussed our plan when he arrives with his family in March.  He has quite an intensive plan for evangelism.  The initial plan is to do heavy evangelism in 4 districts of the city. After spending the morning in prayer and our studies together, we will hit the streets.  We will spend 4-5 hours each day witnessing one on one, visiting homes and preaching in the open air at the markets. The church in Barranco, Lima is going to send up some evangelists to assist us and do a lot of open-air preaching.  We are praying that God will raise up His sheep in each district so that we can start a bible study. Each of us, Wehrner, Joe, Tim and I will lead the bible study in a district. After the groups are strong and ready to unite, we will bring everyone together into the building and start having services. Our idea is that we have groups of people in each district that will be able to evangelize the people in their districts. I do have a feeling that our building is already way to small.  Between our four families we already have 23 people so if each bible has 10 people then there will be a line out the door of our little church but this will be a good problem to have. This is the plan but everything can change and we do realize that nothing will happen unless the Spirit of God awakens people from the dead. We have no ability or strategy that can accomplish anything real so our dependence is only and totally on God to raise up His church in Cusco.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

We got a building!

After spending some time scouring our work area, we found a building.  It is in a good location on a main street and is two stories.  It does have a bathroom, which is a step up from our church in Wolf Creek.  We will use the main level floor for our services and the upstairs for offices and a Sunday school room.  I think we can stuff about 50 people in the congregation but if God grows the church more than that then we will search for another place. 

Wehrner, our Peruvian pastor, will not arrive to Cusco with his family until March, so we will probably not start services until the summer or fall, God willing.  We sign the contract tomorrow and get the keys!  The one little quirk to this building is that there is a Karaoke bar hooked onto it, which means after 8pm, it is probably too loud to be at church.  We are hoping they will go our of business or that the people will get saved.  There was talk of standing at their front door and giving out tracts as the people enter.  This may be a downfall but it is better than the last building that included a man that lived in the church.  We are very excited about this and we thank God for it.  We will begin cleaning, painting and building the offices right away and when we buy the printer, we will begin printing and storing 1000's of books and tracts which will be ready for the time Wehrner arrives. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Printing Operation

Lately Tim, Joe and I have been spending time in the area where we will start the church in March. We have been getting to know the area and looking for a building to rent. We thought we found a perfect building which was an old chicken restaurant in a great location. One of the catches was that the owners lived on the second floor and would have to always go through the church to get to their apartment. Another catch was that there was a guy living in the back of the church who apparently came with the property. We are still searching for either an office to rent temporarily, so that we can work out of it until God builds the church, or a building that would serve as the church and office.

Hopefully our operation will be a little more modern than this
Another new development is that we are going to start up a printing operation, thanks to the help of our friend Josef Urban in Mexico who is guiding us through the process and to God, who always supplies our needs to accomplish His plans.  The printing operation will print books and tracts in Spanish from the old guys, like Jonathan Edwards, Spurgeon, Muller and many others.  You can see a small list here.

God has already provided the means to get the printer and the printing supplies. We had one of our supporting churches call us and say they wanted to give some money to a project. They did not know about this project or that I had been working on it for weeks before. God knew and He raised up the money needed to buy the big printer and supplies for the whole operation. God always knows our needs before we ask and He always provides them according to His will. With this printing operation we should be able to distribute 1000's of books and tracts.