Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Quechuan Christmas

Our church in Cusco went to a Quechuan village called Ocra on Saturday.  It is over two hours from Cusco and most of it is on dirt roads.  Our purpose of having a Christmas celebrations with the people of Ocra was to preach the gospel and see if God would give someone in the village a desire to seek God. 
We all met in one of the adobe houses so that we could do introductions and explain our purpose and expectations.  They gave us tea and should us around the house and the green house.  We then played some of their traditional games which they taught us to play.  Almost the entire village was involved.
After these traditional games, we played a highly competitive game of soccer.  I must say that the Quechuan women play to win.  They will not even hesitate to run you down and give you a forearm to the body.  All of our kids and their kids got along great and had a fun time playing.  Tim's little boy, Elijah was a magnet for all the little Quechan girls.  They took care of him the whole day. 
After the soccer game, which my team lost because a eight year old boy got a goal past our goalie Maria, we all gathered around and Wehrner preached a short, but excellent gospel message about Christmas.  It started to rain so everyone began to scatter.  We went to the cook house and served everyone the hot chocolate and panetón  that we brought.  Everyone stood in line and patiently waited for their turn.  At the end people were bringing pots and big jugs to get more than their share of chocolate. 
When everyone had ate we finally brought out the box of toys and candy for the kids.  We had the kids from our church pass out the presents to the kids in the village.  They were all very grateful for what they got even though it was not very valuable.  They cooked us a big pot of soup to show their appreciation. 
I must say this was one of my best Christmas experiences.  There is commercialization of Christmas in Peru but mostly in the bigger cites and nothing compared to the States.  It is much lower key in Cusco and in the Quechuan village of Ocra, it was about as simple as it can be.  Everyone of the adults and kids in our church absolutely loved the time we spent at the village and they look forward to returning.
At the end of the day one family showed a great interest in the gospel and Wehrner had a long talk with the father.  We will now begin praying on what to do next.  It is difficult and expensive to go to Ocra on a frequent basis at this point in time but we may have an open door to start a bible study with this family in a town called Izcuchaca, which is in between Cusco and Ocra. 

We found out that we were really the only true Christians that have ever preached in the village so we praise God for the opportunity to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest we build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written, "Those who have never been told of him will see,and those who have never heard will understand." Romans 15:20-21.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Death, Animism, and Witchcraft in the Peruvian Jungle

Us:  How many people are married?
Wilder (Jefe of village):  None (with embarrassed look)

Us:  How many people have more than one wife?
Wilder:  7 out of the 8 families in the village.

Us:  Are you still living with both wives?
Wilder:  No

Us:  Why?
Wilder:  They were witches.

Us:  What evidence is there that they are witches?
Wilder:  They tried to kill their babies.

Us:  How?
Wilder:  The babies got sick and that is the evidence that the wives were witches.

Us:  Where did they learn witchcraft?
Them:  From other villages.

Us:  Where are the seven wives now?
Wilder:  Dead

Us:  Why?
Wilder:  They were cast out of the village and then they died?

Us:  How did they die?
Wilder:  Suicide

This was the disturbing conversation we had with Wilder, the jefe of the village of Nazaret.  It was disappointing to find that they are still so steeped in animism and witchcraft.  We realized they had almost no understanding of the gospel.  They believe that if a baby gets sick (which is quite easy in the jungle) then it is the result of witchcraft.  The wife is instantly accused and killed.  They say they commit suicide but the conversation showed that there was a mystery behind what he was saying that he did not want me to know.
Animism and witchcraft is a major part of the jungle.  There is a brujo (male witch) in almost every village.  Why found out from talking to brothers in Mayapo that the witches cause them great problems but they said God is more powerful.  Another disturbing belief that the jungle people seem to hold very serious is the belief of Chullachaqui.

Chullachaqui is a devil of the Peruvian Amazon.  Basically they believe that Chullachaqui appears disguised as prey to hunters and tricks them deep in the jungle where they get lost forever. Some believe that the Chullachaqui takes the physical form of a family member or a loved one long not seen, and persuades his victim to follow him to unknown places in the jungle where they are led into traps or left at the edge of cliffs with no way out. Others say that he appears in the shape of a very short man dressed in rags waving his closed fists in the air looking for a fight. In this case, natives believe a man must accept his challenge and beat him until he uncovers all the richness he has hidden in the jungle. He who declines this challenge is cursed with the inability to hunt and foul luck: family and friends turn into enemies, wife leaves with another man, etc.

In some recent incarnations, the Chullachaqui is described as a bipedal creature, similar in appearance to an imp. In these cases, the creature is said to be aggressive and extremely lethal, and has, according to some tribes, killed a number of humans.  Chullachaqui is said to have an ability to turn into any animal of the rainforest. Chullachaqui is a kind of a forest spirit who guards the lands and the animals and punishes a man if he breaks a taboo or otherwise acts unwisely in the forest.

We heard about Chullachaqui when we were at Chembo and we were laughing about it as we walked to Nazaret.  When we got to Nazaret, the name of Chullachqui came up and Wilder said that he has seen him.  He says that he is the lord of all the birds in the jungle.  Wilder holds to this believe and has fear of him and pays him homage as the lord of animals.  We taught on God as the owner and creator of all things and the great Sovereign over all.  We taught them that anytime they fear and give homage to anything else besides God that it was idolatry.  I don't know how they took the teachings or how much sunk in. 

Please pray for the destruction of the immense spiritual strongholds that keep these very remote people under slavery.  Only the gospel can break these strongholds.  The gospel is their greatest need.  Once again we arrive to the great needs and few laborers.  We need missionaries to go to these remote and dangerous place to reach and teach the Ashaninca people on a frequent basis.  Please pray, come, or hold the rope!


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Jungle Trip December 2013 video

Here is a video of our trip.  We found out some very shocking things that were happening in the villages.  I will write a blog soon to explain what we found.  

Monday, November 25, 2013

December Jungle Schedule

We are going back into the jungle in a few days.  Scott Dollar and his friend Josh from the States as well as myself and my friend Jair will be teaching and preaching on this trip.  We will be teaching at the two villages of Chembo and Nazaret.  They are inviting around ten other villages to come to the teachings. We are also bringing Panatón and hot chocolate (A Peruvian Christmas tradition) as well as some toys for the village kids.  We will be at the church in Jauja on the way home and will visit the orphans.  Here is the schedule if you would please intercede for us in prayer.
December 2013 Jungle Schedule

Thursday November 28
Scott Dollar and John fly to Lima

Friday November 29
Scott and John travel from Lima to Satipo
The Body of Christ 1– Scott Dollar
Worship Service – 1 John 5:1 – Christians are Born of God - Scott Dollar

Saturday November 30
The Body of Christ 2 – Scott Dollar
The Body of Christ 3 – Scott Dollar
Worship Service - 1 John 2:29 – Christians Follow God – Scott Dollar
Scott Doherty and Jair travel by bus from Lima to Satipo.

Sunday December 1
Scott Doherty and Jair arrive to Satipo in the morning.
Worship Service - 1 John 3:9 Christians are Changed
The Body of Christ 4 – Scott Dollar
Worship Service - 1 John 3:18-18 Love Characterizes Christians

Monday December 2
Travel to the village Chembo

Tuesday December 3
Story Telling- Jaier
Story Telling- Scott Doherty
Story Telling- Joshua Hunt
Made is God’s Image- Scott Dollar
Sin- Scott Dollar
Grace- Scott Dollar
Story Telling Sermon- Zechariah 3- Scott Dollar

Wednesday December 4
Story Telling- Scott Doherty
Story Telling- Jaier
Story Telling- Joshua Hunt
Being a Disciple- Scott Dollar
Prayer- Scott Dollar
Worship- Scott Dollar
Story Telling Sermon- Prodigal Son

Thursday December 5
Hike/Canoe to the village Nazaret
Scott Dollar teaching in evening.

Friday December 6
Story Telling – Scott Doherty 3 lessons
Story Telling – Joshua 2 lessons
Scott Dollar teaching in evening.

Saturday December 7
Story Telling – Joshua  3 lessons
Story Telling – Scott Doherty 2 lessons
Scott Dollar teaching in evening.

Sunday December 8
Hike/Canoe to Mayapo

Monday December 9
Boat/Truck to Satipo

Tuesday December 10
Travel to Jauja

Wednesday December 11
Travel to Lima and Cusco

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

God's Provision


This video is an amazing testimony about God's provision in the lives of His servants, simply by prayer alone, without telling anyone of needs.  Do you believe God is sovereign?  How do you live your life in light of this truth?  You can trust God.  You don't have to run to men nor depend on them.  Go to God alone and he will hold you up.
"All comes from the Lord, without my every either directly or indirectly asking any one but the living God; yes, I would rather go through the greatest difficulties, hardships, and self-denial, than ask any one but the living God; yes, I would rather give up the work entirely, than ask either directly or indirectly any human being for anything, in order that the testimony be not hindered, that to trust in the living God is enough. Be therefore encouraged, dear reader, to do this yourself, regarding everything. If it would be for your real good and the glory of God, that you should have any want supplied, whatever that want may be, you may trust in God for the supply, no, you ought to trust in Him for it; and you will not be confounded. Therefore, with confidence make your requests known to the Lord; be assured that He is able and willing to help you."
"My dear Christian reader, will you not try this way? Will you not know for yourself . . . the preciousness and the happiness of this way of casting all your cares and burdens and necessities upon God? This way is as open to you as to me. . . . Every one is invited and commanded to trust in the Lord, to trust in Him with all his heart, and to cast his burden upon Him, and to call upon Him in the day of trouble. Will you not do this, my dear brethren in Christ? I long that you may do so. I desire that you may taste the sweetness of that state of heart, in which, while surrounded by difficulties and necessities, you can yet be at peace, because you know that the living God, your Father in heaven, cares for you."
George Müller

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Reality of Witchcraft in Peru

"My uncle was killed by witchcraft."  This was the surprising statement made by my friend Rony as we studied the Bible.  Rony had questions about Halloween which lead to the subject of witchcraft.  Peru is filled with witches and witchcraft and there are whole towns of witches where people will go to employ their services.
Today, occultists from Africa, Europe and the United States attend witchcraft gatherings in Peru because they consider the country a central power center for New Age energy.  Witchcraft is growing in Peru today, and human sacrifice still occurs.  Witches come here because there was so much blood sacrifice during the Inca times.” Often in jungle areas, people sell their children to be sacrificed in rituals. 
There are witchcraft markets in and outside of Cusco, selling potions and spells.  Brujos, male witches, can be found anywhere in Peru, but Huacho, Piura, Puno, Chiclayo, Ica, the jungle, and outside of Cusco are highly populated. You can buy a potion or charm for almost anything, from curing stomach problems to getting wealth. Dried llama fetuses are bought to bring good luck to homes and businesses and are often walled into the corners of buildings. A drink of liquidized frog is bought to improve the memory, and dried armadillo is bought to keep thieves away.  You can even pay a sorcerer to cast a spell on someone.

As I spoke with Rony about what the Bible says about witchcraft, he seemed shocked as he read the pages of Scripture concerning this subject.  He asked about psychics, witches, fortune tellers, Ouija boards, demon possession, and the occult.  Rony, who grew up Catholic, has seen all these things, in fact, as a Catholic, he grew up in it.  He and everyone that he knows has used witches to find things that they lost, to bring fortune, or to gain protection.  Whether poor or rich, uneducated or educated, young or old, almost everyone has used witchcraft at some point. 

A few years back in Cusco, by our house, someone climbed to the top of a tower with a giant statue of a condor on top of it and sacrificed a baby and threw him down to the ground.  This was done in an occultic ritual.  August is a huge month for witches in Peru and only a few years ago, witches went into the ancient Inca temple of the moon and slaughtered another baby as a sacrifice.  Animals are sacrificed and offered on a regular basis.  Rony told me about another man that was decapitated in a ritual in Urubamba not too long ago. 

Rony told me his uncle was killed by witchcraft because one of his enemies got a hold of some of his clothes and hair, made a voodoo doll, performed a ritual, and cursed him.  The day that the ritual was performed, his uncle got very sick, the doctors could not find out what was wrong with him, he suffered for a few months and then died.  Rony told me about a famous witch in Puno, a town immersed in witchcraft, who the drug traffickers always hire.  They take truck loads of drugs from Bolivia into Cusco. This famously powerful witch supposedly makes every truck load get through without problems. 

The reality is that witchcraft and the occult is greatly manifested in Peru.  Rony, like myself, wondered why Christians celebrate Halloween and dress their kids up as witches and demons.  This is a very good question.  What kind of testimony does a Christian give to unbelievers that know the reality of witchcraft?  What fellowship has light with darkness? 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

We Bought Land Outside of Cusco

The land we were hoping to by a few months ago fell through.  We really believe that this was the providence of God because of the many concerns we had with the road, water and other things.  God is so good.  We looked at a few other pieces of land that did not work out.  Finally, last week we found a beautiful piece of land.  The land is all farmland in the country and enormous snow-capped peaks are the view out our back door, after we build our house.

The lady that we are buying the land from is a Christian and told us that if we build houses on this property, she would give us another piece of property for free to build a church on!  Wow!  With the price of land in Cusco, this is almost unbelievable.  She also said she would sell our Peruvian pastor, Wehrner, a piece of property in this area to build a house, for very cheap.  Praise God. 
I will be transferring money and doing all the paper work this week.  We are very excited to get started.  The picture and the video below will give you an idea of the land but they certainly do not do it justice.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A New Work in a Quechua Community

In order to start a church in the countless Quechua communities in the Andes, it is necessary to have a Quechua contact that knows the people and language.  Like the jungle, it is necessary to meet with the president of the community to explain our purpose of entering their community and to get permission to do any kind of work.  We have not had this person up until now.  God brought us a man named Emilio to our church about 5 months ago.  His job was to be a representative of the Quechua communities, which entailed interceding between the government and finding supplies for the communities.  He has countless contacts throughout the Quechua communities and the people love him.  We told him the idea of starting a church in one of these communities where there is no church.  He liked the idea so we jumped in my truck early one morning and visited a few of these remote communities.  God opened the door for us in a big way.  One community has no church of any kind except for an abandoned Catholic "church."  After convincing them that we were not miners, who take advantage and destroy their communities, they were happy.  After talking for a long time, we are now invited back to the community.  The whole church will go to the this little pueblo called Okra on Christmas and spend the day with them, cooking food, eating paneton (Peruvian bread that is similar to a fruit cake), and hot chocolate.  We will get Christmas presents for the kids and bring some clothes and blankets.  This first day will be to build relationships, preach the gospel, and seek out a family or families that would be interested in studying the Bible.  If things go well, we will travel there once a week.  It takes several hours to drive to Okra from Cusco and most of it is on a dirt road.  This will increase our already overloaded schedule, which is why we need more missionaries.  Please come!  The video is our first trip to Okra.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Burden and Need of Missions in Peru

After returning to Cusco after our last trip to the jungle and mountains, I have had a burden to share the need of missions in Peru.  The needs are tremendous here.  Pastors need training and accountability.  We are spread way to thin and cannot effectively disciple, mentor, and train pastors when we are so far away.  What we are doing now is similar to living in Montana and trying help a church plants in Seattle, WA and Casper, WY.  The pastors that we are working with want help and simple training like how a biblical church functions, the roles of men and women, basic doctrine, and countless other things.  Often we walk into a church and see many problems and we know the solutions but we are unable to help effectively because we are so far away.  We really believe that we must invest in these pastors by pouring everything into them; from teaching doctrine to modeling Christ-like behavior to demonstrating how a family should function.  These things cannot be done effectively by showing up for a week, four times a year.  We live here and find ourselves overwhelmed in trying to balance everything and be effective in our work.
We have found accountability problems when a national pastor is working by himself.  We have found that you really can't get to know someone without fully investing in a relationship with him.  Misconceptions and misunderstood expectations begin to develop.  A few mishandled problems or errors in teaching can cause a tremendous amount of problems very fast.  It is often misunderstood in the United States that you can just send money to support a national pastor, who can do the work for a lot less money.  This is a good idea if you can find a qualified, trained, pastor that you know very well and can trust but there are not as many as you would hope.  We need missionaries to live here and work together, on a daily basis, with the national pastors.  We need missionaries who can teach and model Christ as they work side by side with national brothers.
We need qualified missionaries in Peru who are willing to uproot and surrender to a lifetime, not five years, of extremely hard work for the sake of the gospel.  It is very important that the missionary is qualified because an unqualified missionary will cause more problems than they could ever do good. We need missionaries that will take the time to be qualified.  This does not mean that they need to go to seminary.  They must sit under the eldership in their church in order to learn and mature in the faith in order to present themselves to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth (1 Timothy 2:15).
It does not matter from what country the missionaries come from.  I know some very good Peruvian brothers who are qualified and willing to do this work but it takes money to support them.  These guys are able to do the work far better than we can because the language and culture are not a barrier.  The problem is that there are so few of these men. 
We need qualified missionaries that are willing to give up the many comforts of their home country, their family, friends, money, insurance, safety, and security in exchange for a life of hard work, little comforts, separation from friends and family, frequent sickness, and unstable security and safety.  The missionary must also take years of his time to do the very hard work of learning a second and sometimes a third language.  He must be able to manage all these new stresses and hold a family together at the same time.  He must be able to learn and adapt to multiple cultures. 
Not asking for much?  Jesus himself said, "Any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple." To make things harder, even if this missionary exists and he commits to make this move today, he won't be able to start the work for 3 years and we needed him yesterday.  Even more rare is it to find someone who is willing and able to live with the tribal people and spend his life in the jungle.  But how useful would this be?  Training the tribal people, who are starving for the word of God, for a few weeks a year makes for a slow process in developing a biblical, self-replicating church.  But when you have people living, training, and bearing the burdens with them on a daily basis, this process rapidly increases. 
This is the need.  I could employ 20 families tomorrow if they exist.  The harvest is plentiful but the laborers truly are few.  What has world missions cost you?  Is Jesus worth it?  The labor is hard but the reward is sweet.  Jesus said, "Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life."

We need qualified missionaries in Peru that have Christ-like character, who are able to teach, and are willing to persevere through hard work, frustrations, and many trials.  Are you that person?  Life is short, don't wait.

Monday, September 16, 2013

...And Then we were Poisoned

Joe was the first one awake at 2:30 with sharp stomach pains and then shortly after he was running through the pitch black jungle to find relief.  Miguel followed an hour later and then it hit me an hour after Miguel.  We were all extremely sick with a high fever, diarrhea, and sharp stomach pains.  We were up all night in pain and begged for daylight to come.  We got food poisoning from the bad meat we ate.  Everyone who ate at Wilder's house last night was sick.  Flashlights were seen throughout the village all night.  We struggled through the night and when daylight finally came we were exhausted and still very sick.  I had brought some antibiotics in my first aid kit and we took one right away. 
Joe was feeling good enough to teach a few lessons but Miguel an I could not leave our beds.  The teachings went very well again and they asked good questions.  They asked if it was alright to have two wives and if not, should they divorce one wife and keep the other.  They asked if they could drink alcohol and other similar questions.
We were in very rough shape and we had to walk out the 12 miles today to make it home.  We had no choice.  It took all our strength to pack up our camp and even when we stood up we were light headed and dizzy.  We had not slept, ate, or drank anything.  We knew that it was impossible to walk 12 miles through the jungle in our condition but we could only try and depend on God.  We prayed and begged for the Lord to give us His strength.  We started the painful hike out at 12:30 in the heat of the day.  Wilder's 15 year old kid was our guide.  He carried one of our big packs and Miguel, Joe, and I took turns packing out the other.  The first hour was uphill and it was brutal.  We were so weak and dehydrated. 
No strength of our own remained and we prayed for strength.  As I went down the trail I thought of Psalms that I had memorized and as I meditated on these, I felt my body strengthened to walk another mile. 

Our guide, the 15 year old kid, was always way ahead of us and out of sight.  We had no idea where he was but he apparently knew where we were at all times.  At times, the trail split and we had to make a decision.  To a jungle man it is common sense what trail to take.  He may see a leaf turned over or some other vague sign and know which trail is correct.  We on the other hand, are not jungle men and there are not tracks so it is hard to tell.  We guessed correct each time and found him waiting.  If we would have taken the wrong trail, we would have never got out alive.  We made the hike out in 4 hours, only on the Lord's strength.  We stumbled into Mayapo in rough shape.  I still could not eat anything, we were overheated and dehydrated.  A sister in Christ in the village took us in and took care of us.  Glory to God for the body of Christ.  The little kids did not know what to think of us and were very curious.  We crashed at 7 pm.

They had a generator in the village so they blared loud, annoying music until late and then the roosters started up at about 4 am.  Not much sleep again.  In the morning I still couldn't eat.  We heard a whistle blow and the lady told us the boats were coming up river.  We ran through the village to the shore so that we could flag down the cargo boats coming up river and hitch a ride.  Before we got in the boat, the vice president of the village took it upon himself to try to bribe us 100 soles but we wouldn't pay him.  We took the cargo boat five hours upriver to Puerto Ocupa and then hired a taxi to take us the last 2 hours by dirt road to Satipo. 

Every Peruvian has home remedies for anything that ales you.  I don't know if any of them work but they do what they have to.  Miguel and his wife insisted we eat a special soup to help our stomachs.  Joe ate his fast but I could not get much down.  I looked over at their son's bowl and saw chicken feet.  Now I suppose there is nothing wrong with a chicken foot in your soup, and I have certainly ate much worse, but while a person is still suffering from food poisoning, it does not help the appetite.  We finally arrived at the hotel, showered, changed, and got something cold to drink.  We returned to Miguel's to work out some logistics for the December trip and Miguel informed us of his evening church service and asked if one of us could teach.  This is so common in Peru so you have to be prepared to preach at the drop of a hat.  I taught at the church that night and finally at about 10 pm we crashed in exhaustion.  Another day of travel found us back in the mountain town of Jauja where we preached at a church for 2 days.  On Saturday we made it back to Cusco and we were glad to be home. 

Though this trip was difficult, my burden for reaching these people with the gospel has risen to new heights.  I'm so burdened to train these simple people so they can teach others even deeper in the jungle.  I will write a blog about this burden and need of missions in Peru in the next few days.  Also, I should have a video posted of this trip soon.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A New Village - Nazaret

Joe Martinez and I left our houses in Cusco at 6:30 am to find that our flight was canceled. After a long wait, we got on another flight to Lima in time to make our flight to Jauja.  We made it to Jauja without problems and prepared for the next leg of our trip to Satipo in the morning. 
We left from Jauja by taxi at 7:30 and traveled to Tarma.  Outside Jauja on the high plateaus, we saw many Vicuna, which are wild llama like animals that live in the high Andes.  The have a long neck like a llama or alpaca and are related to them.  The are protected in Peru. 
We switched cars in Tarma and descended to La Merced.  As we descended, the Quechua culture and way of life changes to the jungle people and their way of life.  The music, climate and way of life changes with each drop in elevation to the jungle.  We made it to Satipo at 1:30 and met up with Miguel, the pastor we are helping and supporting to start a church in Satipo.  Joe preached at Miguel's church for the evening service, which went well.  We prepared for the 3rd leg of the trip tomorrow and crashed.
On Sunday, we were up early in order to take a car two hours by dirt road to Puerto Ocupa.  At the port, we bought tickets on a passenger boat to go down river 4 hours to the village of Mayapo.  We thought we would be hiking to Nazaret today but found out from Miguel that we can't make it in time and it is too dangerous to hike in the jungle at night.  The village of Nazaret is 4 days from Cusco.  We found Wilder, the jefe of Nazaret, waiting in Mayapo for us.  We did our usual round of having to meet all the high ranking people of the village, present our ID's, and explain our purpose of being there.  Miguel handles these guys well and says, "We are hear to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, which God commands us to do."  The organizational structure of a village is as follows:  The Jefe is the first and most important, followed by the president, vice-president, and several other lower positions.  We had to meet them all.  They accepted us, but like usual, they ask for financial support, which we never gave them.  The unbelievers always want money.  They invited us to their village anniversary on the 18th but we were not going to be there.  We returned to Wilder's "house" after dark.  He showed us a leopard skull and we talked into the night.   It is funny how isolated these guys are.  Words like Facebook, Twitter, and social networking are not in their vocabulary and they have never heard of them.   Joe and I set up camp and Wilder stretched out on a piece of steel roofing with a few towels and no mosquito net.  The people were amused at my tent and how it is set up, almost if they have never seen one, which is possible.  I fell asleep listening to the sounds of the jungle.
We were up well before light.  Wilder and his family were up at 3am to prepare breakfast for our hike.  We ate and were on the trail at 6am.  Wilder is 41 and has lived his whole life in the jungle.  It is amazing to see him work and travel in the jungle.  There are countless sounds of birds, frogs, and who knows what else. Wilder will seemingly not pay attention to any of them except when he hears a particular sound of something he wants to hunt, he stops.  He will look back at us and say, "monkey" or some other animal.  When we started walking on the trail, we were cautious of what branches or other things were hitting us in the face but after an hour of walking we didn't really care.  We just plowed through and tried to keep up with Wilder, who was carrying a 60 pound bag of food on his shoulders and walking in rubber boots.  He walked fast and never stopped, except to clear brush with his machete.  We hiked at a very fast pace, which was difficult with our big packs and the heat and humidity.  Wilder stopped once to try and shoot a type of jungle turkey but couldn't get a shot.  I have no idea how people hunt in the jungle.  It is so thick that you can't see more than a few feet and it is almost impossible to walk in most places without clearing a trail. 
We met Wilder's wife and a 16 year old pregnant girl at a burned clearing.  They cut down all the trees in an area and then after the sun dries things out this time of year, they burn it.   Before the rainy season they plant their crops, like Yuka and other fruits and vegetables.  We still had 45 minutes to get to the village and we were tired.  The girls packed part of the food that Wilder was carrying in their woven baskets.  They pack their baskets with a strap around their forehead.  The girls walked in flip flops and they walk very fast.  We passed by enormous trees as we tried to keep up.  We were tired and at one point Joe expressed this fact.  I told him that the 16 year old, pregnant girl with the flip flops and heavy load on her head was doing pretty good.  We made the village in four hours.  We hiked 12 miles in the four hours and we were very hot and tired.  We immediately sat down and they fed us some kind of jungle animal, yuka, and hot, lemon flavored, river water. 
We set up camp and went to the river to bathe and filter water.  The river was hot and a breeding ground for parasites and just about anything else.  The village people drink right out of it.  There were fish jumping in the little river and we could see some swimming.  As I was standing in the river, a whole bunch of little fish came up an started pecking at my legs.  We went to the little church and started teaching.  The teaching went very well and the people participated and had a lot of questions.  It went much better than what we taught last trip in the village of Chembo. 
After we taught we sat down for dinner and ate some kind of jungle animal.  All was going well....but then we were poisoned.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Jungle trip departure

Tomorrow we leave on another trip into the jungle.  I'm so excited to get to the village and start teaching the people, who are so hungry for the Word of God.  We are going into a new village this time and by far it is the most remote we have been to.  I'm not excited for the three days of travel from Cusco just to get into the village.  After three days travel by two planes, a car, a truck which is nicknamed a shark, a boat, and finally a 20k hike through the jungle, we will arrive.  We are very excited to start the new teaching plan which will go through the whole Bible in 40 lessons to show the gospel throughout the whole Bible.  It is designed for indigenous, oral learners.  Please pray for us from the 6th to the 14th. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Another example of Catholic syncretism and idolatry in Peru

Eighty years ago, an image of Santa Rosa arrived in the indigenous community of El Wayku. Since then, the saint has become the patron of this traditional Chanca town, where the primary language is Quechua.
El Wayku is located in northeastern Peru, in Lamas province, 20 kilometers away from the city of Tarapoto. Every year, in the last days of August, El Wayku prepares itself for a festival to honor the local patron saint.
However, according the people of Wayku, the religious veneration of Santa Rosa hides an ancient tradition: the cult to a plant (now called Santa Rosa) that blooms this time of year, especially in higher altitudes where the temperatures are lower. It’s a lilac colored bush that the women of El Wayku wear as part of their celebratory clothing.
In festive garb
Aug. 27 is the most important day of them all. On that day, more than 3,000 indigenous people from different communities along the river Huallaga, Altomayo, and Bajo Huallaga. Everyone comes to the spacious plaza of el Wayku dressed in festive clothing, as Werlin Guerra Amaringo, the 24-year-old mayor of el Wayku told us.
The procession in honor of the saint takes place until Aug. 29 The image is adorned with special clothing and is accompanied by traditional bands, dancers, and groups that visit the houses of community leaders.
The Baptism
On Aug. 30, a mass is held and the children of the town are baptized into Catholicism. The next morning, the young men go to the mountains adorned with plantain leaves to offer the dance of karachupa. The townspeople say that the young men must perform this dance on this day for 12 years in a row; if they do not, they will be cursed.
The “test marriages”
On Aug. 31, the last day of the celebration, the town is in a frenzy. In the afternoon they perform a ritual sacrifice of a duck, a bloody ceremony accompanied by dancing. Then, the young men of El Wayku “kidnap” the marriageable maidens of the village, for a “test marriage,” which the young couple will have to fulfill the next year if they still want to go through with it.
By Peruska Chambi Echegaray for El Comercio
Translated and adapted by Rachel Chase

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Consumed With Longing for the Word of God

Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
Psalm 119:18

In this longest chapter in the Bible, we find great praise to God for his Word, the Bible. Psalm 119 has 176 verses with a primary focus on the greatness of the law, testimonies, precepts, statutes, commandments, rules, and words of God. It is and immense work that can be meditated on for a lifetime without exhausting it's content. Charles Spurgeon wrote 349 pages on this Psalm alone in his Treasury of David. In the 18th verse of this Psalm, the Psalmist begs for his eyes to be open so that he may behold wondrous things out of the law of God. He has a passion in his pursuit to know God through his Word. His soul is consumed with longing for the Word (v.20), he delights in his testimonies and seeks council from them (v.24), his soul longs for the words of life (v.25), he meditates on the wondrous works of God (v.27), and he clings to the testimonies of God (v.31). He begs God to teach him (v.33), give him understanding (v.34), lead him (v.35), incline his heart (v.36), turn his eyes from worthless things (v.37), confirm his promise (v.38), and to turn him away reproach (v.39). He longs for the precepts of God and the life that comes from them. His attitude toward the Word of God leads him to trust in his Word (v.42). Is this our attitude toward the Word of God? Do we hunger and thirst for is? Do we long to read it the moment we wake up each morning? How different would our lives be if our attitude was like the Psalmist's? How much would we be transformed to the Bible if we passionately pursed understanding it. Meditating on the word should only drive us deeper into the Word. The more we read the Bible, the more we will want to. Today we must be resolved to cry out to God to open our eyes, to give us a longing for the Word so that we delight in it and are changed by it. Our soul must long for the very words of life more than our body longs for food.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Fire - Nate Pfeil

I watched this many years ago and just saw that it resurfaced so I had to share it.  It is such a powerful message that should wake people up to reality.  Only 12 minutes.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Year in Cusco

As I arrived to meet with my friend Rony for our weekly Bible study, I found that his mom and two brothers were there.  Rony's mom is Quechua and she is very funny and kind.  I'm not sure how old she is but she looks old and probably is only around four and half feet tall.  She is busy and a hard worker.  She talks a hundred miles per hour in a mixture of Quechua and Spanish, often switching languages every other sentence.  Rony often explains to his mom the errors of her ways concerning God and teaches her what I have been teaching him.  The long conversation of this day was about chickens and eggs.  Rony's mom was convinced that her chicken eggs were worth more money because her chickens only lay a couple eggs every three days.  Rony was telling her that she could buy chickens that would lay a couple eggs every day but she was not convinced.  As the deep conversation about chickens and eggs proceed in two different languages, I started to think of how far we have come over the last two years and how much our lives have changed.
It is hard to believe that we arrived in Cusco exactly one year ago.  We have been out of the States for over two years now.  As I think about this, I'm amazed at how good God is, how He has cared for us so well,  and how comfortable we are living in Peru.  It seems that we are as much at home in Cusco as we are in the States.  As we seek to buy land and build a house, we confirm that we have no exit plan.  We have learned to depend on God so much and we have seen Him work in so many different ways in our lives, that we would never change anything if we could.  The church is advancing slowly as we are established and the work in the jungle keeps increasing with every trip.  I can think of nothing else that I would rather do.  Each morning I wake up, I look out the window and thank God for another day in Peru and pray that he will give us many more here.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Buying Land Outside of Cusco

We have been looking for land in Cusco and out of the city but found it was way to expensive.  The cheapest we found was $70,000 for a small piece with no access, water or power.   The cheapest we found land so far was $70/meter (so an average city lot would be $70,000) and the average was $300/meter (city lot for $300,000).  These prices are impossible for us so we have been praying about finding land.  It seems that God could be answering our prayers.  I spoke with my friend Keith, who has been a missionary here for many years, and found that his church has some land up on the mountain by his house that they would be willing to sell us.  Joe and his wife Jayne and Kim and I looked at the land this week and found it was exactly what we were looking for. We want/need to buy land together so that we can watch over each others houses when we are away and for safety.  The church said they would give us this land for about $10/meter.  It is surrounded by trees (rare in Peru) and we basically have the whole mountain to ourselves.  There are no other people living up there.  We are hoping to buy about an acre (4000 meters).
In the picture below, our land would be the blue part and the green section would be Martinez's land if things work out like we hope.  The white is the entire land and they have no plans to sell it, only plant more trees.   The red line is the road.  We are excited.  We have a few things to confirm first.  We may have to become honorary members of a Quechua community to get permission to tap into their irrigation pipe so we will have water.  We will then run this into tanks and filter it for drinking.  We are going to put in a generator and solar panel system for power and dig in a septic system.  The road getting to the property is a little steep and needs some improving but for the price of the land, it would be worth spending some money fixing the road.  Once we build and move into the house, it will save us a lot of money and allow us to live on less money in Peru.  We should know if this land will work out in a few weeks.  Please join us in prayer for wisdom and discernment in this move as well as God's will to be done, since he knows all things perfectly.  Here are some pictures. 



Saturday, August 3, 2013

Church Picnic

The whole church went on a picnic on Friday. There were 25 of us set up along a gravel bar next to the Vilconata river, about an hour outside of Cusco. We took a bus to a town called Urcos and then a taxi to the spot on the river. It was a beautiful, sunny day and great fellowship. We did do some fishing for Rainbow Trout but the only one who caught one was Wehrner. Wehrner had never fished in his life. I had to set up the pole for him and show him how to cast. His first cast almost hooked his kid and then wrapped about 7 times around his pole. A few casts later, to his own surprise, he was reeling in a big trout.
 He was as shocked as we were but I don't think I have ever seen Wehrner more excited in his life. His twin boys surrounded the trout as if their father just reeled in a gold bar. They wanted to touch it so bad but the fish kept flopping around.

The rest of the day was not as exciting but it was great to be away from the city, relaxing by the river. We had to wait over an hour on the side of the road for someone to gives us a ride back to Urcos so that we could catch the bus back to Cusco. I really believe that doing trips like this with the church really builds solid relationships and unites the people in a strong bond with each other.



Friday, July 26, 2013

Back to the Amazon

On September 6 to the 14th, Joe Martinez and I will be heading back into the Amazon with our friend Miguel to teach the Ashaninka people.  This time we are going to a new village called Nazaret, which is much deeper in the jungle than Chembo. From Satipo (the last point of civilization), we must travel by dirt road for 2 hours, then take a canoe (with motor) for 3 hours down river, finally we have to hike 20 kilometers over three mountains to get to the village. We will be teaching for several days. With the new material that we are teaching, we must commit to four trips into Nazaret in order to finish. We basically teach 40 lessons from Genesis to Revelation. We got the material from David Sills and it is designed to teach indigenous people. We are very excited to be able to teach in this village of about 80 people.   
Wilder is the jefe of Nazaret

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Fly Fishing outside of Cusco

We were able to get out of the city for the afternoon and try a Little fishing. We found a bus that would take us the hour out of Cusco for only $1 each, which is cheaper than any taxi in Cusco. It was a beautiful day, there were no people and we did catch some fish.  Being able to do something like this every now and again, is such a great privilege.  Praise God.  The video below is of our day so that you can see a different side of Peru.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Fountain of Life

The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life
Proverbs 10:11

The Puritan John Flavel preached a series of 42 sermons titled, The Fountain of Life: A Display of Christ in His Essential and Mediatorial Glories. The sermon series was focused on the excellencies of Christ as the fountain of life. Flavel was spot on in showing that Jesus Christ is the fountain of all life. Christ is the heir, creator and sustainer of all things (Hebrews 1:2-3, Revelation 4:11). Everything exists by Christ and for Christ (Hebrews 2:10) and all glory, honor and power is due to him. Christ is the fountain of life in which all life springs from. This proverb says that also the mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life. We also see in Proverbs that the teaching of the wise (13:14), the fear of the Lord (14:27), and good sense (16:22) is a fountain of life. When we are being sanctified or conformed to Christ, we begin to have the mind of Christ. We begin to think like Christ. Our mouth is the outlet of our mind. The things that we want to let out of the mind come out our mouth. Our mouth is a fountain of life with the potential to speak the pure and clean words of God. Our speech can be deceitful or truthful, it can speak rash, hurtful words or bring healing, it can be wise or perverse, it can speak joy or bitterness. James describes it as, “a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing (James 3:8–10). We have so much potential to do good or to do evil with our mouth but the mouth of the righteous should be a fountain of life, not death. If we now belong to Christ, the fountain of life, we are fed from his pure and living words. As we conform to the image of Christ, our words should as well. The more we know the words of Christ, the more we will speak them. We must process all the thoughts in our mind and then speak the words of Christ. The Christian's speech should be a fountain of life to all those around him, saved or lost.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How wives should treat their unbelieving husbands

How wives should treat their unbelieving husbands
(or husbands that act like unbelievers, or husbands in general, we all have problems)
The purpose of a marriage is not to satisfy yourself or fulfill your selfish desires or to gain control, the purpose of a marriage is to model the Gospel in your relationship to your husband and to model the relationship between Christ and the Church to unbelievers which is ultimately glorifying to God. The purpose of your marriage is to glorify God.
1. …a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife.   1 Corinthians 7:13-14.
First of all, no matter how bad things are don’t even think about or say the word “divorce”. I know husbands who are not walking in Christ can make a marriage miserable but God is giving you an opportunity to learn how to love a wretched worm unconditionally. This is how God loves us, unconditionally. We deserve wrath for our sin against God but while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. You treat God worse than your husband treats you. Think about your sin.
Second, If you can model the gospel in your life then you will sanctify your husband. Your husband will be blessed because of your faithfulness. He will receive some of the outward benefits of your salvation. If it pleases God, He will use your conduct to convict your husband and your husband will see his sin far better than when you point it out. Let God convict him and then he will change.
2. And why to you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.   Matthew 7:3-5
It is so important for all of us to look at ourselves and all our sin and many problems before we look at others. Sometimes what you don’t like about you husband is what you really don’t like about yourself. The sin you hate in yourself is just more manifested in you husband. Look at yourself first and then you will be able to go to your husband with love and understanding.
3. Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 1 Peter 3:1-2
Be submissive to your husbands. This does not mean that you should agree with your husband on everything or let him drag you into sin. It means encourage your husband to take his role as head of the household (not throw it in his face when he fails) and then follow his lead. If there is a big decision to make and it is not a sin either way, support your husband even if you have to sacrifice. This is part of what the Bible calls “dying to yourself”. It is a perfect model of being Christ like. Your husband will see this eventually and again be convicted and see Christ in you.
Your conduct should be so Christ-like that your husband will look at you and say, if this is what it is to be a Christian then I am definitely not one. Your example of conduct should be opposite of your old life. You should handle problems in an opposite way he is expecting. If your husband does something really stupid and he expects you to react the way you always do by screaming at him, then give him grace and mercy and you will shock him. He will actually be more convicted by his mistake and will be far less likely to do it again.
4. Rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror. 1 Peter 3:4-6
Make an effort to be not only submissive, which honors God, but to have a quiet and gentle spirit. If you are always fired up and raising your voice or arguing it will certainly bring out the same behavior in him. If your husband is screaming and acting crazy and you face him with a quiet and gentle spirit, then you will bring him back to reality and calm him down. The more gentle you are the more conformed to gentleness your husband will be. This will also be reflected positively with raising your kids.
5. An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones. Proverbs 12:4
Support him, love him, be excited about the things he is excited about and live a life that does not cause him shame. He should love to talk about you. If he is talking with all his friend and he has a supportive, godly wife, he will always be sharing that with others. If you are always nagging every time he does anything, the sinful husband will not be bragging about you but complaining about you. This is his fault and he is fully responsible but it will be the result.
6. Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church, and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.  Ephesians 5:22-24
Model the Gospel in your marriage. The wife represents the church and her husband Christ. Respond to your husband how the church should respond to Christ. Focus on fulfilling your role, not how bad he is failing his role. This is how unconditional love is learned. If your husband was perfect then your love would be conditional on his actions toward you. The marriage is not about you or satisfying all your selfish desires, it is about Christ. Die to yourself and model the gospel. This is extremely hard and we will struggle with it until we die but we should definitely be getting better at it, by God’s grace, as we are sanctified.
7. …let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Men have a desperate desire for respect. They have a lot of responsibility in their role as the head of the house. If you respect your husband, even when he doesn’t deserve it, you will make leaps of progress in your relationship. He has a lot of pressure on him and he sure doesn’t need to be nagged at every time he fails. Try encouraging him and pointing out the good job he is doing when he does good. This will go so far. Respect him as a person, respect the things he does for the family, respect his effort to earn a living (as long as it isn’t sinful).
8. …love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
If you are mad your husband isn’t walking with Christ and is not fulfilling his biblical role you should again look at yourself. Concentrate on fulfilling your role and let God deal with your husband when he fails at fulfilling his role. Sometimes it is best to step back and let God take vengeance on your husband, so to speak. This can’t happen when you are always in his face. When you fail at your role, the name of God is blasphemed because you are sinning and disobedient. You are actually doing the same thing as your husband. Stay the course, finish the race, fulfill your unique role in the marriage. If you are being persecuted because of your faith then Philippians 4:13 is a promise for you, it says, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. God will give you the grace and strength to endure your marriage. Pray continually. God is the only One that can change you husband but be encouraged because we have a God that we can go to in prayer and a God that does change husbands.
9. Some words of encouragement and final exhortation:
But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:23-26
Like everything in life, your marriage is a huge spiritual battle. Put on the full armor of God, depend entirely on God, die to yourself daily for God, so that God will be glorified in you.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Stay awake, Finish Well

So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord, as David his father had done.

1 Kings 11:6

Let this not be said about me! I followed the lord but not wholly. I did evil in the sight of the Lord. What a dreadful thing to be said about a person. Our good does not outweigh our bad. It is said that you can do everything right and no one notices but if you do one thing wrong it can destroy you. How many pastors have preached boldly, served God faithfully, had successful ministries and then one day they commit adultery and all is lost. Their preaching is counted as hypocrisy and their ministry is destroyed overnight. Solomon started well but finished bad. Matthew Henry tells us, “ He left his first love, lost his zeal for God, and did not persevere to the end as he had begun; therefore it is said he was not perfect, because he was not constant; and he followed not God fully, because he turned from following him, and did not continue to the end.” 1

It is so dangerous to put your guard down, become complacent in your walk, stop examining yourself and your sanctification, to fall into a life of easy. We must be given fully to God and his work constantly, day after day until we die. We must pour out our life for the sake of Jesus Christ and the advancement of his kingdom. We must not dwell on or look for the comforts of this world or a life of ease. We must pour out our short life on this earth, work for God while we still have strength, and finish the race. We must stay awake! Reading through the Bible we see countless leaders who did not finish well but where like Solomon. Don't fall into this pattern. Stay awake!

1 Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: Complete and unabridged in one volume (1 Ki 11:1–8). Peabody: Hendrickson.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Heavenly Minded

For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.

Mark 8:33

There is an old saying that say that you are so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good. This saying could not be more wrong. Most of our day is usually spent on the daily worries of this world and not on eternal things. Most of us are so earthly minded that we are useless for eternal things. Peter was so focused on Jesus' bodily health that he was oblivious to the eternal purpose of the death of Christ, which is why Jesus rebuked him. We often do the same thing when we are so focused on the minuscule part of our life on earth. We put all our thoughts, words, deeds and effort into this short life, which is like a grain of sand in the desert compared with eternity. At times we are so consumed by our circumstances, which will be almost forgotten in a short period of time, that we are oblivious to our future in eternity. The world only can focus on the things of man but a Christian must live for eternity. Charles Spurgeon said,
It is our duty and our privilege to exhaust our lives for Jesus. We are not to be living specimens of men in fine preservation, but living sacrifices, whose lot is to be consumed.”

A practical way that we can set our minds on the things of God is by renewing our minds in the Scripture each morning. We must read the Scripture frequently, abundantly and deeply.  We must memorize it and meditate on it.  When we start our day with our mind set on the things of God, we can live for eternity throughout the day. We can stop throughout the day to read the Word and pray so that our minds will be re-focused if we begin to stray. We must be heavenly minded and look at every circumstance, trial, relationship, and every event that occurs in our day as a God-ordained appointment that will have an impact in eternity.