Peru is a country with just over 30 million people, in a land mass of about twice the size of Texas. 38% of which are under 19 years of age. Of the 30 million, almost 10 million live in the metropolitan area of Lima. Though there are many established churches, many of them struggle to meet the spiritual needs of their people due to a lack of training and resources. The Christian school movement in Peru has also grown over the years, but most of their teachers have been trained in secular schools with worldly methods and philosophy of education. The schools also resort to using secular curriculum or are forced to come up with their own as affordable, Christian alternatives are scarce.
Our Ministry Emphasis
One aspect of our ministry is to strengthen the existing local churches and assist with the planting of new churches. There are many small churches in Lima that have been started or are in the process of being started. Most of them do not have the support staff or trained laymen to help in the ministries of the church. We come along side these churches, help to train their members so that they can reach their community for the Lord. This provides the pastor some support as he is getting started and yet prevents the congregation from developing an over-dependence on the missionary. We have helped with leading the music, teaching, preaching and whatever else was needed. We have also had the opportunity to help different churches as other missionaries have been on furlough.
Over the last several months, we have been assisting Iglesia Bautista La Fe (Faith Baptist Church) as it goes through a pastoral transition. I have been teaching once a week during the Sunday services, leading the Christmas program, directing choir, and preaching for the Easter Conference.
The other main area of emphasis is to work with the Christian schools to impact the lives of the future generations. Upon arriving in Peru, I worked as the General Director of La Molina Christian Schools for two and a half years as they transitioned to a national director. I learned many things about the Peruvian school system and how we can help the schools to more effectively impact the lives not only of the students but also of their parents.
Some of the opportunities to minister during this time period have been working with the staff in their relationship with God, sharing with them during the times of in-services and devotions each week. In order to have a more meaningful impact in the lives of the students we worked with the parents, offering weekly classes for mothers, monthly classes for fathers, special parenting classes, worldview classes, and special events for the family to spend time together. We have also led the students in outreach programs to serve other schools, communities, nursing homes, special education centers and other projects. We have had the opportunity to see students come to know the Lord, parents saved and others rededicating themselves to the Lord and to their families.
Our plan is to take what we have learned at LMCS and help other Christian schools to grow in their ability to impact the lives of their parents, students and staff. We are developing a web portal for the sharing of resources among the Christian schools in Peru so that each school can have solid Christian curriculum, teacher training materials, and other tools to facilitate the administration of the school and give them more time to minister in the lives of those that God has entrusted to them. I also serve as a consultant for these schools helping with staff development and evaluating procedures.
One effective ministry has been to teach an 8-week Evangelism course called, “En Los Pasos del Maestro”. It includes discussion, training videos, peer practicing, Bible study, memory work leaving your comfort zone and “fishing trips.” I have had the privilege of teaching the course in several different churches and it has been exciting to see people realize that they can witness to others and develop a burden to do so.
I have also taught a series in both school and church on having a Biblical Worldview. God and the Bible should not be limited to only certain areas of our life but it should permeate every aspect of our life in what we believe about God, Truth, human nature, the origin of life, about what determines right and wrong, what makes for a good society, what is the basis for the law, what is the purpose of government, how should we use our resources and what is the meaning of history. We need to understand what we believe so that we will not be led astray “through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Colossians 2:8) “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (1 Peter 3:15)
During this term, I have had the privilege to speak at camp, missions conference, and other special services. This last July, we traveled to the mountains and jungle of Peru to minister in schools and churches. We were able to present the gospel in 5 schools and work with 4 different churches sharing with them in songs and skits, handing out tracts and witnessing to individuals and children on the streets.
Shortly after we arrived in Peru, another missionary family started an English speaking Youth Group. Our children enjoyed the opportunity to have a place where they could participate and fully understand the teaching (as they are still learning Spanish). During this last year, while the missionary family traveled back to the States for 6 months, we assumed the leadership responsibilities of this ministry. Each week we hosted a group of around 30 teens in our home and had a special time of activity, singing and learning from the lives of people in the Bible. Now that the missionary has returned, we have partnered with him to continue serving in this ministry.