God has called a team of Quechua brothers and sisters in Christ focused on church planting in the Cotahuasi Canyon. The struggles they face on a daily basis are often very difficult, and these "heroes of the faith" need our prayers. They must often choose between providing the basic of basics for their families or giving precious time and energy to their Lord by visiting remote villages and sharing the life giving message of Jesus Christ.
As we live and minister here, we share from our blessings of time, energy, and money as they have need. We do not take this part of our ministry lightly. Each of these friends have proven their character over years and are being encouraged, discipled and trained as indigenous pastors and church planters.
These faithful co-laborers are eager to dedicate more of their lives to the glory of God through training and visiting remote villages. This is a privilege for us and we ask for your prayers for God's wisdom, discernment and His provision.
For His glory,
Before receiving Christ, my life was completely lost. I lived with my dad from the age of eight, as my mom had married another man. When I was 18 years old, I joined the army. After spending a week in Cotahuasi, I was then sent around different places in Peru for over 2 years. All this time, I would go out to fiestas on the weekends with my comrades. I learned to drink alcohol, and liked to drink a lot. I ended up with bronchitis and was put in hospital for 2 months. When I got out I returned to my village of Cahuana, to live with my dad and grandmother. I was twenty years old. I worked with them in the fields for a year. Then I started to hang out with my friends and got back into drinking. Life continued like this, drinking with my friends, for 5 years. My dad used to tell me "Don't drink, son. You're harming yourself at such a young age." He told me many times, even with tears. From this point I started to feel bad, but I kept on drinking. At 26 years old, I met my wife and we had a son, and then two more children followed. She didn't want me to drink, and we had a lot of fights.
One day I was coming home from the fields with my wife and my kids, and met 3 men in the street. They greeted us, and then began to tell us about Christ. My wife and I received Christ right there in the street, and gave our lives over to Him. Now I give thanks to the Lord, for He has changed my life so much from how it used to be. I'm so thankful to the Lord Jesus, for He has healed my body from all the pain I had. I'm healed because He has cleansed me with His precious blood. Now I need His wisdom and understanding because I hunger and thirst for Him.
Elder in his village church, and currently spending time studying and training to grow in ministry.
Alfonso (8-1-74) is local to the Cotahuasi canyon area, where he lives with his wife Nely and 3 children. Before receiving Christ, he lived a life that revolved around alcohol. Three Christian men shared the Good News with him and his wife, and they both recieved Christ in the street. He now has a passion for preaching the word of God, and reaching other rural villages.
Prayer Request: Pray for spiritual growth and for health. Alfonso
I remember that from a very young age I delighted in the word of God. But my life was mixed up until the day I met Jesus Christ in a park in Arequipa. Since then, I've been talking to God knowing that He actually hears me - even though people think I'm crazy. Years passed, until I came to Cotahuasi in 1986. I spent several years just enjoying reading the word of God. When I was about 34, Robert Rich came to our town. I gave my life over to Christ. My wife was also a Christian when I met her, with her 3 children. We had 2 more kids, a total of 3 boys and 2 girls. We had problems in our marriage, caused by misunderstandings with my adopted daughter. But thanks to God we resolved these problems, and my life was restored. My heart and my life always belonged to God. Now I continue growing with my Lord, along with my family. Although we have problems along the way, we follow God. I will continue following the will of God until the end.
Diego (11-12-58) has 6 children and little money. He works for the secondary public school district and often works extra odd jobs to help sustain his family. Diego has a passion for teaching and preaching and giving counsel to the Christian brothers in the Cotahuasi canyon area. his personality is very outgoing and he has a gift of encouragement. He desires to grow more in God and in ministry and studies through the weekly discipleship and theology studies held in Cotahausi. Currently he is working with others to see two village churches planted. He is increasing his efforts in ministry to his family which includes a wayward adult son and young teens.
Prayer Request: Please pray for Diego’s various ministries including his family’s spiritual growth, and for the church planting ministry he's involved in. Pray for Diego’s growth in Bible knowledge, godly and faithful testimony, wisdom, and discernment.
Faustino (6-29-67) is local to the Cotahuasi canyon area. He is married and has seven children. God called him out of a life of despair and alcoholism. He is now passionate about plantingchurches and preaching the word of God. He is a Quechua Bible translation helper. His desire is to continue working in ministry and to serve God wherever He leads.
Faustino's personal testimony is translated to English here:
I'm from the village of Huillac. Before knowing the Lord, my life was terrible. I drank a lot of alcohol, and fought with my wife and also with my parents. My life was totally lost, and I felt that I deserved punishment, but I didn't know who from. I carried on living like this, and had another wife and 2 children. My poor way of living led to us separating. I stayed with my son, and our other child lived with her mother. I lived 2 years without a partner and in my heart I was crying out to God. And He gave me an answer. He gave me a wife who was sensitive to God. But even so, I didn't respect her. I continued in my sin of alcoholism, and I beat her when I was drunk. This continued to the point that we nearly separated. But one day God called me. He touched me and I felt as if the door of my prison had been opened; the prison of sin that I was living in. I felt that God had really touched me and that He loved me and had called me to be His son. His son! Son of the highest God. Now I live every day for God, proclaiming that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. I'm called to be the light of God in my village, where I work for His glory. My day to day life I have given over to the will of God, and every day I want more and more of my Jesus. I ask for your prayers that God will always keep me strong in His sheepfold."
Faustino Is an elder in his own village church, and is currently dedicating his time growing in ministry by studying and training. He is panting a church in a neighboring village and serves in the radio ministry by editing and preparing radio programs for future broadcast.
Prayer Request: Pray for spiritual growth faithfulness in testimony and ministry, and learning doctrine and skills in the radio ministry. Pray also that he would be faithful as a Christian example that his community can look up to.
Fredy (7-25-71) became a Christian while studying engineering at university. After visiting Cotahuasi for short term service in 2001, God called him to reach rural villages with the Gospel. He is married and has three young daughters. He is gifted in teaching and evangelism and enjoys encouraging and serving. His desire is to take the Word of God to new areas where no-one has heard it.
The following is translated from His personal testimony:
I had always known about the story of Jesus Christ dying on the cross but considered myself to be a modern youth and with little need for God. At 18, I moved to Arequipa to study motor mechanics and then joined the military for two years. My sister began to attend Bible study, and would bring home pamphlets on Christianity. She used to ask me to come and meet the pastor of her church but I wanted nothing to do with it. One day, out of curiosity, I began to read those pamphlets my sister had brought home. Around the same time, some friends invited me to church, and, being unable to say no, I began attending each week for their sake and for tradition's sake. As I understood more about God and heard His word being preached, I was convicted of its truth. At 24 years old, I became a Christian. God opened a light in my heart to notice who God was and that Jesus had died for me. I realized that my wisdom was nothing compared to God's.
I enrolled at university to study mechanical engineering and spent 7 years working as an engineer. The rest of my time was devoted to church and being discipled by my pastor. In 2001, I moved to the Cotahuasi canyon for seven months to work on the canals and partnered with the Shaws in fellowship and ministry. On Sundays, my only day off, I traveled out to different villages to help teach the Bible. During this time, I learned to sing and play worship songs, and to teach and preach God's word. The people in Cotahuasi canyon had a deep spiritual thirst for the hope that is in Christ. I returned to Arequipa at the end of the seven months, seriously seeking God's will for my life.
I got another opportunity to stay in Cotahuasi for a further six months, this time working for the mission. Each day I went out to local pueblos, between 3 to 6 hours on foot to surrounding towns, taking just a Bible and a guitar, nothing more. It was difficult work, moving around constantly, leaving Cotahuasi on foot and arriving back the next day or later, but I had a sense of responsibility and burden for the local people, and this sustained me. During those six months, I became certain that I wanted to serve God in Cotahuasi full time. I've now been here for fourteen years, and my heart is still to work with these people, as long as God wills.
Supporting the Ministry Center and the other Quechua missionaries in leadership, he is now married with three daughters and continues studying and training in ministry.
Prayer Request: Pray for his responsibilities for his young family, for godliness in his personal life and ministry, for wisdom, and for faithfulness in His obedience to God's word.
Elder of his own village church, he is also spending time studying and training to grow in ministry.
Isidoro is serious about his walk with the Lord and desires to help plant churches in more remote areas in the upper Cotahuasi canyon. He first heard the Gospel in prison. His testimony is one of suffering and miraculous change, giving God glory. He is now a model citizen and example of Christian living for many in the canyon area.
Prayer Request: Pray for continued spiritual growth in Isidoro's life, and for growth in ministry.
Santiago (7-25-64) was abandoned as a child but heard the Gospel when he was nine years old and received Christ, as he experienced His life-changing work at such a young age. In God's faithfulness, he grew through many difficult trials and heart aches. He desires to keep bringing the Word of God to more villages. He is also an elder in the Cotahuasi church.
Santiago's personal testimony is translated here:
My mother died when I was 6 years old. My father could not cope, and left to start a new family with another woman, abandoning me and my three brothers. I was left with no parents, and so went to live with my grandparents and great-grandfather. Three years later, I was taken to Cotahuasi. There, I heard God's word for the first time through a local Christian man. So at nine years of age, I accepted Christ into my life.
But I remained without parents who would raise me, and I was adopted by a family moving to the city. They determined that I would go to school to learn to read. I was excited about this because I wanted to read the Bible. God gave me fellowship in church and He kept me faithful through my teenage years. I am thankful for the faith I had then, because I really needed to trust in the Lord during very difficult times in the army fighting in the war. I shared the gospel with other men, and carried a small Bible in my pocket, which was forbidden in the military.
After the war in 1981, I developed post-war psychological trauma. I was married and had 3 children, and my illness continued and worsened. I couldn't work for three years. I went to Lima to get help, but didn't get any better. Finally, after years of struggling, a Christian brother said to me, "Only God can cure you." I realized I needed to seek God wholeheartedly once again. I remember that one night when I went out for a walk and prayed and pleaded for God's help. That night God helped me and began to heal me in a miraculous way. It has been difficult, but He continues to be faithful to heal and sanctify me in His truth.
I began to work again, but in 2001 God called me to change my job for Him. I just wanted to serve God and leave other things behind. I began working with the Shaws in Cotahuasi in 2002. I also started theological training to prepare me to take God's word to other places in need of God's saving grace.
I suffered at an early age, but I met God at an early age too. The main thing is that I have God. We are not missing anything when we have the love of God. I want to be open to know God's leading. We can't always know or decide, we can only wait on what God wants.
Santiago is a pastor and teaching elder athis church and involved with outreach preaching, teaching, and church planting in 2 villages; leadership in the Ministry Center; maintenance and construction; radio ministry development and administration.
Prayer Request: Pray for more knowledge of the word of God, discernment, wisdom, more patience, and provision for his family.
Elder of Cotahuasi church, preaching and teaching.
Joel (11-14-38) is local to the Cotahuasi canyon area, and has dedicated his retired years to serving the Lord in the village of Cotahuasi. Joel heard the gospel during the period of terrorism in Cotahuasi, and committed his life to Christ. His heart is now for preaching, teaching, and evangelism. He desires to see God's word brought to all the unreached villages.
My life up until I received Christ was insecure and without meaning, revolving around idolatry and sin. I was born in a modest, but not particularly religious, home. I had a deep desire in my heart to know the true God who would fill the emptiness in my heart. This desire was not satisfied by the gods that I was placing all my hope and happiness in.
Christ wanted me to know Him during a very special time, when terrorists entered my village of Cotahuasi. I was a policeman, and the terrorists came to my house. They came with guns, intending to execute me and my family. They came deceptively to the door during the night, but we did not let them in. Thanks to God He gave us wisdom, and we were able to flee from them. A while later, God used one of His servants, Robert Rich, to share the gospel with us. That's when I came to know God and that the promises in His word are true. I received Christ as my Lord and Savior and gave my whole life over to Him. I finally came to know the peace and joy that I needed.
Now my Christian life is all about testifying about the Lord, in every place and circumstance, and to every person that God brings into my life. I'm also one of the ones responsible before God for the Cotahuasi church, as a pastor and a teaching elder I love God's word. May God help us all to obey Him to see His will done here.
Prayer Request: Pray for humility and doctrinal faithfulness and discernment that he needs to correctly teach and lead others in Biblical truth. Pray for growth in the church were he serves and for increase in his ministry of evangelism and discipleship.
Up until ten years ago, I followed the customs of my Catholic mother and father. We never knew fatherly affection or love as kids because our dad lived with another woman, where he had other children. My mother raised us four children alone (3 boys and a girl). When we were teenagers, my brother left and went to Lima to work. A few years later he invited us to come, and so the rest of us moved to Lima where I went to high school. My life was like anyone else's there, involving fiestas, idol processions, and alcohol. My life was without direction. For me, God was inside the Catholic church. I had no idea that He was alive in heaven. One day a Jehovah's Witness visited my mother and I, and talked to us about the things of God. He invited us to his meetings and we went for three months. But during all this time, there was no change in my life; I continued living as a sinner. However, inside me I had a desire to know the true God. Every time I passed by the door of an Evangelical church I felt drawn to go inside.
I liked listening to secular music, and one day I happened to listen to a Christian radio station. I heard one message after another, and also heard some worship songs. I began to like listening, and through this station I heard the Gospel, and understood that it was sin to be without God. I soon returned to my village to find work. In the neighboring village there happened to be some Christians. My family and I got to know them, and we became Christians. We were baptized by an American missionary, who was working in the province in the 1990s.
I didn't have much doctrine, but I started to share the gospel, and began to lead a small group of believers in my village. A few years later, Brad Shaw and his family moved here to work in the La Union region. They offered to support us with materials and studies, which was a huge blessing. They prepared us as a group of workers to go out to the villages. I want to thank the Lord for the support of the many brothers in the United States who have come and motivated us. May the Lord bless them richly.
Church planing in 2 remote villages. Is an elder in his own village church.
Lorenzo (8-10-60) is local to the Cotahuasi canyon area. From a life of partying, Lorenzo heard the Gospel through a Christian radio station, and was later led to Christ through a local church. He is passionate about church planting in the rural villages. Over the years, when many fell away in his village church he remained strong.
Prayer Request: Pray for Lorenzo to continue to grow in understanding the Scripture, to serve God faithfully, and for good health.
Rosa (9-30-55) is a faithful encouragement and testimony of Christ's love as she selflessly reaches out to others. Through her life, she has suffered a lot; abandoned by her father, sent away to work at the age of 9, and later abused by an alcoholic husband. She learned of Christ through a Christian missionary and believed the gospel, experiencing new life in Him. Her heart desire now is to reach out to women and abandoned children. She supports the church in her home village. Rosa received an abandoned 3 year old boy whom she found in a remote village and cared for him for many years. In 2012 she was diagnosed with sceraderma but continues to love and serve the Lord in all that she can possibly do. Even in her suffering she demonstrates trust and selflessness in her eternal perspective. She serves in women's evangelism and discipleship, hospitality, and accounting for ministry projects.
Rosa's personal testimony is translated into English here:
I came from a very poor family. I never owned a pair of shoes until I was nine years old, and that was only when I was sent away to work in a restaurant in exchange for food, accommodation and a chance of a better life. I was treated pretty badly by my employers there. When I was 17 I decided to go and find my father in Lima. He'd left us a long time ago, to marry another woman and have more children. But when I met him, he wouldn't acknowledge me. He said, "I'm not your father and you're not my daughter." This was a huge rejection for me. Because of my loneliness, I turned to the Catholic church. But this just confused me even more, with its golden altars, candles and images of Mary and Jesus. I just wanted to know who is God, and who is the right God.
When I was 20 years old I began a relationship with a young man. I became pregnant, and he left me. My mom, back in my village, didn't want anything to do with me because I was pregnant, and wouldn't take me back home. One night I was standing on a bridge, wanting to jump off. I asked God, "Why am I here? What do you want me to do? What is this suffering for?" When I looked up, the first thing I saw was the light in the window of a job agency. I applied there for a job as a maid for an American family. This family looked after me well, and I stayed with them up until the last day of my pregnancy.
When my son was born, I went back to my mom, who took us in. Three months later, a group of Christian missionaries from Lima came to our village. They preached about a God of love, and about a Savior Jesus Christ. My family and I went to their meetings, and it was there that I met God for the first time. It was the love of the heavenly Father that really touched me. I was overwhelmed because I'd never known love from my own father. I accepted Christ into my life, and dedicated my baby son to Him. My whole family also came to know the Lord.
My life didn't become easy after that. I married a local man who promised to care for me. But three days later he began to beat me. I lived for three years with his abuse and alcoholism. This only ended when he met another woman and left us. For years after this, I lived in fear of drunken men in the street. Little by little, God freed me from this fear, and comforted me by the words of Zechariah 4:6 '"Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit', says the Lord Almighty."
I moved back to the village where I lived as a little girl to help my mother and brothers who had also come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior. A small group of us believers began to meet to study God's word and pray. This group grew and grew. Unfortunately, a religious sect came into our town and caused division. It broke my heart as more and more believers left our church. Eventually, the only remaining believers in our church were my mother, brothers and I. But we clung to the promises of God and our village church is building up again. I've studied theology by distance in Cotahuasi over the years to better prepare me to evangelize and disciple in other towns. I teach women to walk in the ways of God and minister to those who have been through abuse like I have. I lived in a dark world. Now with God I live in the light and it's wonderful. I want to bring the light to other women in the same situation.
Prayer Request: Pray for her health, an increase in her ministry to women, and that she would continue to grow in faith, knowledge, trust and peace, even in her suffering.
Alberto (7-13-60) is married to Toribia, and has 7 children. Alberto came from a very poor home and lost his parents through alcoholism. He became a Christian at nineteen. In 2001 he moved to Cotahuasi with his family serving full-time as a missionary. His passion is for visiting the rural villages where he preaches and encourages the new Christians with the goal to plant new churches.
Alberto helped pioneer the ministry in the Cotahuasi Canyon and served for 13 years with the team. He lives in another part of Peru now after moving back to where he grew up,. He and his wife Torribia are caring for her elderly and needy parents. There they are involved with ministry in a village church.
His translated personal testimony is here:
I was born in a Catholic family that was addicted to alcohol and very attached to pagan traditions. I was born into deep poverty, and when I was 6 years old my father died because of alcoholism. My mother, a struggling widow, also followed the pathway of alcoholism, and I spent a large part of my childhood living with my grandmother. But thanks to God an evangelist visited our family. Without knowing how to read, my mother accepted Christ, and so did my grandmother. Because I was so young, my spiritual growth was slow, but I liked singing the hymns and praying. The Christian brothers in the church helped lead me to Christ and at nineteen years old I got baptized. I wanted to become a servant of Christ. Now I'm living in Christ's service, with my family. The Scripture for my life is: "Go and make disciples". May God's will be done in my life and not my own!
Prayer Request: For faithfulness in his testimony and ministry, salvation for his adult children.