So, hopefully you have read and watched this month about our team in Peru. You might be wondering, “But what can I do?” Prayer is always the best starting point, of course! After that, here is another short video on ways you can participate in this kingdom building work.
For more information on Peru and how you can be involved, or if you would like to set up a short term trip to visit, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
This month, we will be featuring a few posts from our team in Peru! To begin, here is a short video about the current ministry and also vision for the near future with our ReachGlobal missionaries.
Here are some ways you can be praying for our Peru Team:
Pray that the Yanesha children and youth would come to know Christ! That the seeds that have already been planted would continue to grow, that new ones would be planted daily, and that one day God would grab a hold of every heart, revealing his love and grace, and they would believe in Him.
That they would be equipped in every way – financially, emotionally, physically – to graduate from high school.
Pray for their health, that children would have adequate nutrition and care to grow and develop healthy, that illnesses would not prevent them from attending school.
Friendships– that each child and teen would develop healthy friendships with peers and with adults in their communities with whom they can trust and confide in. Pray against bullying among peers, against gossip, and against any tactic Satan may use to divide and tear people down.
Identity– may they know that their identity, their value and worth, does not come from who they are dating, what they own, or any other earthly thing. May they know that they are God’s, created in His image, His beloved sons and daughters whom he died for on the cross. May they know how much they are loved by their Creator.
Schools– Pray for the primary and secondary schools in the communities, for the teachers who are working and living out in the jungle – that they would be have everything they need to teachwell, that the teachers would be eager to teach and have a desire to see these kids grow and learn, both academically and as individuals. That they would show up for classes each day believing they are making a difference in each student’s life
As we gear up for three Trek7 missions experiences for 2016 in Latin America and the Caribbean — Costa Rica, Haiti and Peru — let’s take a look back at a previous Trek7 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Trek7 provides college students and recent college grads with seven weeks of hands-on mission experience woven together with ministry training, spiritual mentoring, language learning and cultural immersion. It’s a challenge to get out of your comfort zone and put your faith into action.
What if the next generation could live differently? What if they could experience more and take the gospel further? In this video a Yanesha man shares about some of the greatest needs facing his people group in the Amazon jungle of Peru.
Interested in serving with ReachGlobal to reach the Yanesha youth? Consider joining Trek 7 Peru this summer.
Oralidad teaches Peruvian leaders to spread a spoken gospel
DVDs? Nope. iPads? Hardly.
Even in this hyper-digitized world, Abelardo Vasquez Lopez is using a tool as old as communication itself to share the gospel in eastern Peru.
Vasquez, 39, is a pastor from the Shipibo tribe, a group of about 40,000 native Peruvians who live along the banks of the Ucayali River, the headwaters of the Amazon.
Literacy is common for Shipibos, and many of their villages have public schools. But oral storytelling remains the Shipibos’ preferred method of passing along their history and way of life to the next generation. That’s why the Oralidad (Orality) Project started here.
Start with the stories
Vasquez is one of about 80 students who have participated in the Oralidad program over the past seven years. The students – mostly Shipibo pastors and leaders — start the course by memorizing 50 Bible stories that they can retell verbatim. The stories include:
Elijah and the prophets of Baal
Jesus feeding the 5,000
Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection
Memorizing those 50 key stories is the first step in a four-year program of intensive Bible training launched in 2008 by the Evangelical Missionary Church of Pucallpa, Peru, working in partnership with ReachGlobal missionaries Blair and Joan McGwire. Classes are taught in Spanish by a team from the church led by Ruth Hidalgo. The Shipibo people have their own language of the same name, but most also speak Spanish, the national language of Peru.
Take it to the people
The Shipibos live in villages of 200 to 300 people along the Ucayali River. People here make a subsistence living mainly from fishing, hunting and raising crops such as plantains, corn and papayas. Many also work as artists who sell their work in the larger regional cities of Pucallpa and Iquitos
Stepping out of your boat and walking up Main Street in a typical Shipibo village, you soon arrive at a large quad in the middle of town dominated by a soccer field in the center, with a government school standing on one side. Women sit sewing and talking in small houses with palm-branch roofs. No plumbing or electricity here — the only poles you see are the ones the houses are built on.
The partnership has been using the program to train leaders from the 60 different Shipibo villages visited over the past 10 years by short-term mission teams from the United States that had provided services such as medical clinics and water filters. As a result of those trips, many Shipibo people put their faith in Jesus. Requests for help in starting churches followed soon after.
“So we say in order to have a church, you need to have leaders, you need to have a pastor,” Blair McGwire says. “We’re not going to stay and do it. We’re going to more villages. And so then we have men who step forward, and they join the Oralidad Program.”
Of the 80 students who have taken at least some of the four-year course, 13 have graduated. About 30 students are enrolled now. The program takes place every two months as Oralidad students, new and old, come together to memorize the stories.
Memorizing the stories enables students to tell them anywhere – from the pulpit of a church, sitting around with friends at a village community center or underneath a mango tree, or just chatting in a hut with family members.
The Oralidad training program’s ultimate goal is to spread the Gospel throughout the Amazon region.
“What excites me about it is that it gives the indigenous guys the tools that they need to reach their own people,” McGwire says. “Our job has been, and will continue to be to get the ball rolling; but we need them to keep it rolling. The Oralidad Program — and all the training that they receive — enables that to take place. Our role will continue to be to encourage these guys and move on to new areas.”
Last year, McGwire invited Florida pastor Slayden MacGregor to participate in the program. Rather than stick to the usual training material, MacGregor supplemented it with a weeklong course called “The Panoramic Study of God’s Plan.” The study’s goal: help students understand God’s purpose as it develops through scripture. It essentially synthesizes the entire Bible into one course.
Vasquez says the course was well received at a recent Oralidad training session. He calls the course impactful, increasing his knowledge and therefore his ability to teach others about the plan of God. The material from the course was new for a lot of the Shipibo pastors.
“They were very surprised by the teachings and explanations that were given since they were new for them,” Vasquez says. “They were left with the desire that this topic could be covered in a form even deeper in order to remember it and grow it.”
Vasquez thinks the course is important for Shipibo pastors because as they learn the plan of God, they can remember God’s purpose for themselves. He believes he has seen God’s hand at work through the continued interest of the Shipibos to study and learn.
“They were left challenged to share with others in their churches and towns,” he says.
Pray for Oralidad
Vasquez asks for prayer. “Personally, I would like to dedicate more time to the work of God and that all my countrymen would listen and know the Word. I ask for your prayers that this longing would be realized.”
Women Without Borders multiplies impact of ministry leaders
Confidence and connections: They spell success in ministry just as much as in business or education.
They are two big reasons behind Women Without Borders, a cross-cultural partnership between ReachGlobal and the La Unión de Damas (The United Women’s Ministry) of the Venezuelan Evangelical Free Church.
By hosting workshops, providing study materials, helping organize conferences where women can meet, and connecting younger women with mentors, WWB tries to equip women leaders with tools they can use to strengthen their ministries.
Helping leaders lead
Along the way, they build a sense of community and competence. WWB focuses on assisting women like Carmen Matienzo, a Peruvian ministry leader whose team organized a recent women’s conference in Lima. The conference provided a valuable opportunity for women to meet each other, but to sit in on workshops such as “How to Grow in Devotion to God” and hear biblical teaching from other women.
“There have been changes in the spiritual growth of the women, in them working out of their gifts and talents,” Carmen says. “The women are more encouraged to get involved in discipling other women, in leading Bible study groups and in getting to know women from other churches and sharing their concerns, desires, services [and] ministries.”
For four years, a small team from WWB (including Rebecca, a ReachGlobal missionary serving in Latin America), has been traveling to churches in Venezuela, Colombia, Honduras and Peru to help equip women for ministry.
This often means meeting with small groups of leaders, from three to 20 women. Sometimes it means helping local groups that are hosting events such as the Lima conference, which drew about 140 women from eight local churches.
Building women up
Of all the things that WWB does – including encouragement, organizing conferences, visiting local ministries and setting women up with mentors – perhaps the most important thing is to give women the confidence and training they need to carry out ministry successfully, Rebecca says.
“Really the focus of the what the ministry does is coming alongside them, hearing their story, giving validity to what they’re facing and helping them to [find] solutions,” Rebecca says, “which gives them confidence because they have women around them basically saying, ‘You’re not alone, and you’re not the only one to face this — here’s some things you can do, and you can do it.’”
So far, WWB has focused on leaders such as Carmen because through local leaders, WWB can multiply its efforts more effectively. So far, Rebecca estimates that WWB has met with about 300 women in the Free Churches through which it has held its events.
In its workshops and mentoring, WWB tries to focus on helping women in three areas:
Spiritual development: For example, identifying spiritual gifts and learning how to read the Bible better.
Being a godly leader: Discussing issues of character, how to develop a team, how to lead a team and how to make their own devotional life a priority so that they can help others to do the same.
How-to’s of ministry development: How to serve in difficult ministry settings, how to organize a Bible study, and how to plan for activities.
After four years of ministering in Peru, investing in those goals has begun to pay off, Rebecca says.
“What we want is that in each country, they come to a conclusion of what they can do and what the women need to help them be equipped,” Rebecca says. “That is what has happened in Peru. We are doing for them what they want us to be doing.”