Last week we spent some time in Simatauca, the Quechua community where we are building our house. We were invited to their 24th anniversary celebration. We took advantage of it so that we could announce the medical campaign that we will have there this week. Our church is working with La Fuente clinic, which is a missionary medical clinic in Cusco. We have been friends with these doctors before we even arrived in Cusco. They offered to help us with the community through this medical clinic. Medical clinics are great for building relationships and trust to introduce the biblical gospel for the first time. A team of doctors from Alabama have arrived and we will hold the clinic on this Wednesday and Thursday.
The community has a mixture of Catholicism and Andean beliefs, which is common amongst the Andean people. Every since the Spaniards forced Catholicism on the Inca, the Quechua Indians adopted some of the Catholic beliefs to avoid being destroyed but they also kept many of their animistic beliefs. What has occurred is a complete syncretism of Catholicism and the Incan mythology. All kinds of Christian symbols and rites are used every year, but they only reflect the hidden Andean religious meanings. For example, praying to the Virgin Mary might satisfy Inti, the god of the Sun. Pachamama, the mountain god and god of earth, provides fields with fertility and allows the farmers to reap the blessings. Yet, on the top of that mountain that is worshiped is a wooden Cross—there to symbolize the blessing of Pachamama. There is very little distinction between the two religious systems and neither are the pure forms of what they were.
Everyone speaks Quechua and Spanish is their second language. We will have Quechua people there to help translate. Please pray for us and the doctors as we care for their physical needs and their spiritual needs by sharing the gospel with them. We are praying that God will work in at least one family that will be willing to start meeting on a regular basis to study the Bible. To our knowledge, the biblical gospel has never been preached here.