Peru is the fourth largest country in population in South America with more than 32 million people living across the diverse nation. It was one of the Latin American countries to be hit hardest by the global pandemic; last month, the country updated the death count to more than 180,000. According to Johns Hopkins research, that’s the worst death rate per capita in the world. COVID-19 also devastated the nation’s economy, forcing millions into poverty.
Since 2006, Bible League International donors like you have supported believers and churches across Peru. Now, you can do even more. Starting July 28, church and ministry leaders plan to reach 1 million Peruvians with the Gospel in 2021 in celebration of the country’s bicentennial.
“We believe in the importance of a different generation, full of faith and with constant dialog.”
“We spent a bit of time thinking, ‘What can be done to celebrate the bicentennial?’” says Pastor Alejandro Silva, National Director of Bible League Peru. “We came up with the idea to touch the lives of more than 1 million people with Project Philip Gospel of John Bible studies.”
Pastor Silva is working with thousands of church leaders to make this enormous goal a reality. They plan to start in the most remote areas. Peru celebrates a vast diversity of cultures and landscapes, from jungles to mountains to coastal areas. But each environment shares similar challenges: poverty and high crime. But these challenges present in different ways.
In the coastal areas of Peru, people are living in marginalized areas of larger cities like Lima, the capital. In these areas, many live on less than $100 per month.
On the other hand, poverty across the remote regions is a much different problem. Communities in these areas are almost unreachable by ministries or the country’s government. The majority of the country’s poorest people live in the most remote regions, completely isolated from the help of the government.
“We must place our sights on the dirt roads, because almost nobody goes to the places where they lead,” Pastor Silva says. “People there do not have the same opportunities as those in the cities.”
Pastor Ivan Torres has joined with Pastor Silva on this mission to share the Gospel. He and his family live in an impoverished neighborhood in southern Peru. They bought a house on the coast and created a hostel and church for people in difficult situations. “This area is very difficult. There is a lot of poverty, delinquency, and drugs,” he says. “This is how we started to disciple the whole village and train leaders who could be pastors in the future.”
He is passionate about reaching young people. “Many of the children here have drug-addicted parents,” he says. “The children are highly motivated when they take part in the closing ceremonies after they finish their Project Philip Bible studies. Sometimes, their parents come to the ceremony and it is at that moment—which is so important to the kids—when their parents get involved. This is how we start sharing with the adults.”
Reaching children and youth is one of the goals of this bicentennial campaign. “The youth must be touched by the Spirit so that they can share their personal experiences and the Gospel with others,” Pastor Silva says. “We believe in the importance of a different generation, full of faith and with constant dialog.”
Last year, young Peruvians banded together to protest government corruption. It was the largest movement in Peru in more than two decades. This generation has shown power and unity in these demonstrations, and Pastor Silva hopes to unite them for a higher cause through the power of Christ.
His goal is to help young people dig into God’s Word in a way they can interact with the material and grow in their relationship with Jesus. Then, they can join a church and get involved with others who can help them grow in their faith.
Bible League materials are a vital element to this campaign. Pastor Silva says that Bible League’s easy-to-read translation in Spanish is helping new believers understand the Word of God. “For me, the easy-to-read Spanish language Bible has been enriching because it uses a very easy-to-understand language. It also keeps with the original manuscripts,” he says. “Many young people have this Bible now and their faith is forming because they can understand it better. This has been very significant. For many young people, this Bible is the one they have used to walk their first steps in faith.”
“For many young people, this Bible is the one they have used to walk their first steps in faith.”
As the bicentennial approaches, please pray for this campaign. Pray for all of the people who will hear the Gospel over the next year. Pray that God would open their hearts to His Word and transform their lives. Also pray for the ministry leaders who are dedicating their time to this campaign. Pray for their safety and health as they travel. Finally, pray the Lord would keep them encouraged as they share His Word.