The church in Peru is serving their widows and elders as they look to change the tide of culture in their country.
At a conference for Peruvian pastors, Gary Wilkerson asked, “Do you have a mountain in your life? Do you have a son or daughter far from God? Do you have a marriage that’s in trouble? Do you have a church that seems to be failing and falling apart?
“If you have a mountain in your life, God moves mountains. He changes things. He transforms all situations. Nothing’s too hard for the Lord.
“I’ve got a promise from God that he’s going to fill you with mountain-moving faith.”
A Looming Spiritual Stronghold
The pastors at this conference represented a small bastion of evangelical Christians in a country largely dominated by the Catholic church that claims over 80 percent of the population.
While the vast majority of Peruvians claim to be Catholic, it’s well worth noting that many of Peru’s Catholic holidays and traditions are heavily steeped in pagan religion.
As one Berkley scholar observed, “To the people of these countries, there is no difference between the Pachamama (the Incan notion of mother earth: an integral part of the Incan belief system) and the Virgin Mary.”
Ancient Incan rituals blend with Spanish Catholicism, animism and indigenous superstitions about evil spirits, dead ancestors and more. None of this is helped by the massive influx of tourists, many of whom are seeking spiritual enlightenment in “the navel of the world,” as one particular part of Peru is known. This surge of outside visitors has brought a certain variety of Western neo-Buddhism to Peru that blends right in with the native animism.
Not long ago, World Challenge’s Mercy Ministry Director, Mark Buzzetta, traveled to Peru and observed the rampant cultural obsession with new age spirituality.
The task before Christians to help people not confuse muddled religious ceremonies with a real relationship with God could be a daunting one, but many Peruvian believers have rallied and answered the challenge with great aplomb.
According to the Joshua Project, Evangelical Christianity is growing in Peru at almost double the global rate.
The Gospel in Unexpected Place
World Challenge partners recently launched a new widows program in Peru. Every Thursday, local widows meet together with Bible instructors to learn about Jesus and share a meal. Much of the food is cooked and brought by the widows themselves, eager to celebrate this time that they spend learning and enjoying company.
Many of them stay for well over two hours, listening and asking questions. Afterwards, the team gives each widow a food basket to take home.
While the focus of these partners’ ministry has been to help these dear ladies come to know Christ and obey him, they have been pleasantly surprised to find that some widows are already inviting family members to come and learn about Christ.
Please pray for them as lives are being transformed through the message and mission of Jesus!