November and December here in Peru passed by very quickly. We finished the second semester of our institute completely online. Despite not being able to meet in person, our students are still continuing in their studies. More are getting involved again, and church attendance is picking up again.
Two of our faithful supporters and good friends, Pastor and Mrs. Eric Grindstaff of Grace Baptist Church, came to spend a week with us. We completed a survey trip together, setting the groundwork for their church to come visit soon. We got to visit the coastal region where we are, along with the mountains and the jungle. Our jungle trip started by meeting up with Pastor Canaquiri to go upriver to visit a village. Then we had afternoon classes on Creation at Pastor Canaquiri’s church. Almost everyone who came to the classes also went soul winning with us right afterwards. That evening Pastor Grindstaff preached, and many made decisions to be soul winners. Overall, 16 souls were saved on the jungle trip.
The next day, Pastor Grindstaff preached in our church and in Lima. Early the next morning, we headed for Huancayo in the mountains. We were at 3,500 meters of elevation, and we felt it. That morning we met up with Pastor Vega and got to see a few sites while adjusting to the altitude. We then went out soul winning, and 14 were saved. That evening we taught for three hours on how to be a soul winner, ending the meeting before curfew. We had a great time, and many made decisions to share the Gospel.
In December, we decided to have faith and still do our normal Christmastime open-air meeting, which we call “La Chocolatada” here in Peru. On Wednesday evening, our church men, led by Brother Exodo, conducted a Bible study on the side of a mountain above Exodo’s house. At the end of the road, we conducted an open-air meeting with songs, games, and preaching. Afterwards we gave out Christmas gifts to the children, and we all had hot chocolate with panettone. It seemed as if everyone was too scared to come, but just five minutes before start time, it seemed like people came out of the woodwork, holes in the ground, staircases, and walkways from everywhere all at the same time. That day we preached the Gospel to more than 250 souls, not including everyone on the mountainside listening to our speaker from their homes, and many were saved. Right before Christmas, our church had its best attendance since the quarantine. We talked about “The Star of Bethlehem,” and many of our church families puts music specials together. It was an excellent night of encouragement for our church.
Please pray for our church people. The ones who are coming in-person are growing tremendously. Our concerns are with those who are too fearful to come. Peru’s lockdown measures continue. Please pray for our family through this time. By the way, thank you so much to many of you for giving our children a Merry Christmas. They made out like bandits this year. Thank you for your love, support, and prayers. God bless you.
In Christ in Peru,
Mark, Sarah, Savannah, Paul, Samuel, Rebekah, & Luke Rader