A group of five of us from Calvary Baptist here in Helena, MT met up with our friends Bryan and Brad from Mount Vernon Baptist of Atlanta in a small hostel in the center of Lima, Peru. Pastor Mike, Irene, Joanna, Chad, Scott, Bryan and Brad were all together to teach for a week at another Reforming Peru conference in the jungle town of Pichanaki.
Monday brought the first day of the conference. The Ashanincas, who traveled for one or two days from the villages, arrived on time. Each conference attendee received a book on 20 Christian Beliefs by Wayne Grudem, a notebook, and a Spanish Bible. We had about 25 people in attendance each day.
Mike, Chad and Scott from Calvary taught each day on holiness, while Brad and Bryan from Atlanta taught on the different aspects of the church. At the end of each day, for the last two hours, we had a question and answer period where they could ask any question they had.
Joanna and Irene did a Bible club each day for the kids in the neighborhood. This was a big hit, and soon many of the same neighborhood kids, and some parents were waiting for us each morning. This did a great job of building trust in the community and relationships with new people.
After hearing questions like “who are Adam and Eve?” we decided to adjust the teachings. We realized they did not understand so much of what we were teaching. The last two days we taught them what the gospel is by using four points to explain it: God, Man, Jesus, Response. The last few days were very interactive and they seemed to get it.
The conference ended well. We learned a lot about the Ashaninca and how we can better teach them the Scriptures. Roric, the pastor we partner with in Pichanaki, will be going into the villages every month to re-teach what we taught at this conference. We were reminded again that only the Holy Spirit can make men understand the truth of the Scriptures, no matter how good it is explained. We encouraged that we now have a conference where Ashaninca men and women will travel two days to listen to the word of God be taught for a week.
You can read more about the trip here: Another Great Conference
Also, be sure to check some of the pictures below as well as what some of the team learned while serving in Peru.
Irene: I am grateful for the opportunity I had to spend time with some of the neighborhood children in Pichanaki. Like kids anywhere, they were thrilled with us spending time with them; playing ball games, painting, coloring and giving LOTS of piggy back rides. We made and explained gospel bead bracelets with them multiple times over the course of the week. I pray God shows these kids and their families His great love.
The kindness and friendliness of the Peruvian people was heartwarming. The women of the church were wanting to share and visit more, this was limited because I know very little Spanish. This trip encouraged me to be intentional about loving and showing compassion to others: Colossians 3:12 “Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,”.
Joanna: A surprising number of neighborhood kids were drawn to the conference right from the start. They cautiously trickled in that first morning, and by the afternoon, the street was full of laughing and playing. I had the joy of seeing one by one, a large number of reserved, quiet kids quickly transform into smiles and laughter, wanting to be held, hugged, and praised for a job well done.
I was blessed to be a first-hand witness of how the love of Christ immediately dissolves potential cultural barriers. The people of Peru shared openly about their lives and love for the Lord. It was refreshing to spend time with believers who are so passionate about their daily Christian walk.
Chad: I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Peru for the second time this year. My primary role was to teach on holiness to church leaders and members in attendance at the Pichanaki conference. I was also privileged to assist with music and the children’s activities . Through the trip, the Lord impressed upon me the infinite value of all the souls in attendance, both adults and children, and the great need for laborers to be sent in God’s work of saving the the lost.
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.
We have three members currently on mission trips this week. Please be in prayer as they serve the Lord in various ways. Below are some prayer points for Rob and Rebecca (Peru) and Hannah (Las Vegas).
Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you... (2 Thessalonians 3:1)
Peru Conference (Rob & Rebecca)
9:00 AM -12:30 PM – Doctrine of the Church
12:30 – 2:30 PM – Lunch and Medical
2:30 – 3:30 PM – Small Groups
3:30 – 4:15 PM – Worship
4:15 – 5:00 PM - Questions
Travel Day - Satipo to Lima; Depart Lima @0035 - Arrive Helena @ 2042
Las Vegas (Hannah)
Pastor Mike and Pastor Jason (South Hills Baptist Fellowship) recently returned from overseas where they helped train pastors and church leaders. They taught a New Testament Survey course (Philippians - Revelation) during the week as well as preached in several churches. It is encouraging to see God mightily at work in our world saving people from their sins and bringing them into His family through faith in Jesus Christ. Check out a few pictures from the trip as well as the video below of some singing that took place during one of the breaks. Pastor Mike will share more about the trip this Sunday at 10am (May 1) at Calvary Baptist Church.
Also be in prayer for an upcoming trip in May to the jungles of Peru. Rob will be helping teach at a pastor's conference and Rebecca will be doing a medical campaign. We are thankful for those who are going and for those who have a desire to support those who go. May the Lord be glorified as the gospel goes to the nations.