Over 70,000 people from all over Peru trekked to Lima at the beginning of November to partake in a week long national congress under the banner, “Only God Can Make Man Happy,” organised by the Worldwide Missionary Movement. While many of the participants were drawn in from areas near the capital city, many came from the highlands as well.
For about 500 years Roman Catholicism dominated the culture and everyday life in Peru. Until 1820 the capital, Lima, served as the headquarters for the Inquisition in South America. But over the last few decades, the number of evangelical Christians has burgeoned from less than 5% in 1990 to more than 15% of the population today (recent estimates put this figure at 20%).
Peruvian Evangelical theologian, Samuel Escobar explains that the growth of Evangelical Christians has occurred in parallel with the growth of cities. New arrivals from the rural areas were disoriented, away from their familiar environment, and also from traditional means of social control. Many found a home in the evangelical churches… “Evangelicalism offers them something the Roman Church has failed to offer, a sense of purpose and belonging, and a new identity in Christ,” said Caleb Sutton of Peru Mission.
Escobar continues, “These people underwent a conversion experience in which they became masters of their own life. It put an end to an old way of living. Their decision to accept Christ meant a change in patterns of behaviour which helped people to reorient their lives… For example, recovering from alcoholism, which is a major problem among the urban poor. Also, becoming better parents, better husbands, and in general developing a stronger sense of personal morality.” In recent years Christian radio stations have played a big role in challenging Peruvians to hear the claims of Christ.
Although Evangelicals in Peru were traditionally associated with the impoverished class, “that is gradually changing,” says Sutton. “We work with people from a wide range of backgrounds, from the
poorest of the poor to the well-to-do professional class,” said Sutton. “We have come to value the importance of evangelism outreach to all Peruvians.” “We pray that God will bring leaders in Peru in business, education and government to Him in order to bring lasting reformation to the country,” Sutton added.
Like many Latin Americans, Peruvians are generally open to hearing the Word of God. Catholicism held them in fear of God – Evangelicalism shows them the love and grace of God in Christ Jesus, so many joyfully receive His free offer of salvation and find solace in His Word.
Evangelical Christianity in Peru needs our prayerful support.
Source: Christian Post; Revival Media; Peru Mission
BIBLE STUDY: Hebrews 6:1
Day 19 – PRAISE: God for the hunger for God and growth of Bible-believing Christians in Peru.
Day 20 – PRAY: That God will bring many leaders to Himself to see lasting reformation in the country.