Our biggest event in March was the combination of a weeklong institute summer school course on missions and a Missions Conference. Pastor Luis Martinez from Puerto Rico came and taught the class and preached the conference. The Missions Conference was a joint effort between our Surco and San Gabriel churches. We had an International Dinner with a lot of food, so we all ate very well. The children had a parade in costumes from various countries with handmade flags. They had a great time, and the moms especially enjoyed it.
On a more personal note, we were able to take time for a vacation. We had the opportunity to fly to Cusco for less than $60 round trip for both of us and spend six days there. We enjoyed several tours in the Sacred Valley area, and we were able to see many ruins from the Inca civilization and learn some of the history of the area. During this trip, we also took two days to visit Machu Picchu. While we saw some beautiful scenery and learned much about the Incas, we also learned how deeply ingrained the pagan belief of the Incas is still in the people of Peru. Here’s an example: I noticed that on most of the roofs of the houses, there was a sculpture of two bulls with a cross between them. I asked our tour guide about it, and he explained the origin of this custom. The Incas originally used two containers filled with corn and wheat, which were an offering to obtain good favor with the gods. When the Catholic Spaniards came, they told the Incas they could not do this since they were worshiping false gods. They forced them to remove the containers, but the people were stubborn. They saw that the Spaniards loved bulls and asked them if they could put bull statues on their roofs instead, and the Spaniards readily agreed. What they did not know was that the Incas were still giving their offerings, only now their offerings were in bull-shaped containers. The cross was added later to appease the Catholic church. There are very few Gospel-preaching churches in the area, but the need is very great in this region. It really emphasized to us the need for more churches and training facilities to be able to produce more pastors.
I started teaching the Fundamentals of My Faith discipleship series in a new Sunday school class. We had 32 people in the class, and they loved it! I taught the first cycle while training a church man to continue the class after I finished the first level. The class has gone through another cycle and is doing great!
We started the fall semester of our Bible institute on the 1st of April. We have 39 students enrolled this semester and are meeting at the Surco church since the office is now too small. We were quite busy getting the new location ready for the institute. A local pastor, Pastor Dapina, is teaching a class on Proverbs, while our fellow team members are teaching on soul winning, music, church education, and more. Irene is teaching Biographies of Godly Women and a portion of Ministry and Marriage to the ladies. I am filling in for other teachers when they have to go out of town. We meet every Monday night from 6:00 to 10:20 for three class periods and chapel. The students have a great spirit and are already putting the things they are learning into practice.
Our Junior Church has been growing and is averaging 16 children. They are hearing the Gospel clearly presented, and several have trusted Christ. We also started a new soul-winning time on Sunday afternoons before the evening service. For about one hour, we go out to the busy corner one block away from the church and hand out tracts and try to talk to people. We are averaging 11 soul winners, over 1,000 tracts given out, and 2 saved each week during this time. One of our soul winners cannot come on Saturdays but loves to go out on Sundays. Since we started the new soul-winning time, she has had 3 visitors, and 2 of them trusted Christ for salvation in the services. The third was already saved but looking for a church.
We have a newer member from Venezuela who joined the church about six months ago. He has been working to get his family here with him. His family finally arrived about a month ago, and they are having a tough time adapting to life here. I would like to ask for special prayer for protection and spiritual guidance for the Ivan Moreno family.
Thank you for your love, prayers, and support as we work here in Lima, Peru!
In His service,
Chris and Irene Williams