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Alex, Sybil, Maria and Khaiah
AVENTURA MISIONERA with Alex and Sybil Shaw, June/July 2007
Malcolm, Simon, Delfin, Khaiah, Alex and Sybil from Australia, Maria from Argentina, Elda and Veronica from Peru, made a great team for the recent AVENTURA MISIONERA to Peru!
They made plans to reach villages on the far side of the Andes Mountains. However, a missionary wrote warning of problems at the very pass (4,600 meters altitude) where they would have to go. The workers in a tin mine had clashed with police resulting in deaths and injuries. But this did not discourage the adventurous team.
They changed plans and went instead to the Cordillera Mountains to distribute cassettes among the Quechua Ancash people. This involved an 8-hour bus ride north of Lima to the city of HuarÃ¡z. Their contact person among the Ancash people turned out to be a Quechua Ancash speaker named Gloria Perez. She was well known for her Christian radio programmes. And what a blessing she proved to be! But let Alex tell you the rest of the story...
"Gloria introduced us to Pastor Walter. He was reluctant at first to accept our recommendation letter. However, he changed his mind when he heard the recordings in his own language. He sent us to Pastor Victor in the town of CarÃ¡z, a one hour drive up the valley. Victor invited me to preach at both Sunday services.
"That afternoon our team took some taxis to villages on the outskirts of the town. We broke into three teams, distributing cassettes house to house and then had a children's program at a small village. Veronica and Delfin patiently translated for us and the Lord opened the way with so many opportunities.
"The first lady who received a cassette was so happy to get it. She was still playing it as we passed by her house on the way back. She came out to tell how she appreciated the message so much. She was a Catholic and had never heard the Gospel message before.
"Delfin and Sybil went to the market to buy some sultanas. The shopkeeper was a lady who asked for a copy of the Ancash cassettes. She wanted to make her own duplicates to give to her friends.
"Generally we found people were hesitant and shy to receive us but when they heard the cassettes in their own language their eyes lit up as they recognised their language and they happily accepted them. We had opportunities to pray with some people about their physical and spiritual needs. On a number of occasions Delfin and Gloria led people to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their own personal Saviour.
"In CarÃ¡z we found 200 Ancash speaking women lined up outside a bank to receive their government handout. We distributed 80 cassettes to the ladies who were so happy to accept them. Altogether 350 cassettes were distributed in 60 communities.
"In Yungay town, Simon and Veronica offered a cassette to a lady. She had a difficult situation. Her husband and sons drank heavily. She was ready to receive the Lord Jesus Christ there and then so she prayed with Veronica. As they were leaving a white dove flew on to the roof of the lady's house; a fitting reminder of the work of the Holy Spirit.
"Yungay has a tragic recent history. On 31st May,1970 there was a devastating earthquake. A large part of the highest mountain peak in Peru, Mt. Huascaran (seen below), broke away and buried much of the town, killing 70,000 people. The local people felt this was God's judgment on them. How relevant for them is the Gospel message, that God still loves them and has provided a way of forgiveness and salvation through the Lord Jesus."
The team summed it up: "We have seen the Lord's hand on this program in marvellous ways for which we give Him all the praise and glory. It was a wonderful 'Aventura Misionera'."
The Ancashians chew coca leaves as a sedative to avoid altitude sickness and hunger. It also causes hallucinations which the locals believe connects them to the spirit world.
They believe that the local spirits live inside the mountains and need to be worshipped and appeased with offerings. They believe no one can escape from the power of those spirits. For this reason, the ladies will not take off their hats during the day, and people may reject the Gospel message because they are afraid.
Ancashian women tend to be the responsible people in the family unit. Men are often drunk and abusive. The Peruvian government assists many of the poor Quechua families, (such as these women we met outside the bank) as long as they look after their children, send them to school, and have regular medical check ups.