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,
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.
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.