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.