Rebecca and I had the privilege of travelling to Satipo, Peru in late May to assist pastor Scott Dollar and missionary Scott Doherty, in teaching and providing medical care at a 5-day conference for Ashaninka pastors. The Ashaninka are a people group native to Peru, some of whom had previously accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior through the work of Scott Doherty, Scott Dollar, and other missionaries. They often live in remote villages which may see little contact with the rest of the Peruvian people, as well as other Christians.
During the conference, I taught on the topic of worship each afternoon, with Scott Doherty translating. My lessons included the topics of defining worship, worshiping in spirit and in truth, public worship, private worship, and worship as a discipline. My lessons were the last formal instruction for the day. Once I finished teaching, we had an hour set aside to field questions based on what had been taught earlier in the day or earlier in the conference. During this time the pastors also asked many other questions regarding particular passages of Scripture, the Ordinances of the Church, family, and eschatology.
Rebecca operated a bare-bones medical clinic during lunchtime hours. She had the opportunity to see every person who attended the conference, as well as others who were not affiliated with the conference and had come after hearing a doctor was treating people there. Many of the complaints were minor ones, and all of the patients were grateful for even Tylenol and Advil. She was able to give each person a dose of albendazole, a medication for parasitic diseases which are common in the jungle. A few people needed antibiotics for various ailments. Others needed antifungal creams, eye drops, or glasses. With limited supplies, and no medical support, some complaints could not be completely addressed. Regardless of the complaint, Rebecca was able to serve each patient with compassion and show them Christ’s love in a way they may not have experienced previously.
Although it isn’t possible to put everything the Lord showed us during this trip into a short paragraph, there are several things which stand out. First, each of us here in the United States has more access to Scripture than nearly anyone we met on our trip to Peru. Many of us have multiple translations of the Bible, including Bibles on our smart phones which we take everywhere. And yet, instead of taking advantage of this wonderful gift of God and immersing ourselves in the study of, meditation on, and memorization of His Word we tend to take it for granted. Instead of taking the availability of God’s Word for granted, we need to devote ourselves to the reading of, meditation on, and memorization of Scripture.
Second, this trip reinforced how important it is that we continue to be involved in missions and evangelism. In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus commands us to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you...” There are still many peoples that have not yet been reached with the good news of Jesus Christ. We need to continue in prayer for missions, in giving for missions, and in going to make disciples of the nations in obedience to Jesus.
Finally, when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are saved into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27) and we are adopted as children of God (Rom. 8:14-17). Our unity as brothers and sisters in Christ transcends all barriers of skin color, nationality, language, and culture. We experience this with each other at Calvary, but it was awesome to experience it on another continent, in another culture, with brothers and sisters we had never met before and who speak another language. Worshipping in this context was like a preview of heaven. Revelation 7:9-10 says, “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
It was wonderful getting to spend time with and serve our Peruvian brothers and sisters in Christ. We, as members of Calvary Baptist, are excited to be sending more people in August to continue this work.