Four-phase Mission in Peru

Peru trip debrief: May 26-July 15, 2016

by Steven Shepard

My seven-week trip to Peru had four phases. The first was a two-week workshop with the Yora tribe – an unreached people who live deep in the Amazon Rainforest. Thirteen representatives of the Yora were flown by small plane from their community to the jungle city of Pucallpa. They were eager to learn about Christ and listened intently for hours each day as my co-worker Cesar Soto and I taught from both Old and New Testaments. This was the longest of three conferences held to date with the Yora. Some were hearing the Gospel for the first time. Now they would like to have a church in their village. Three men were appointed to be facilitators. Their job is to organize the meetings in their village to read Scripture passages, pray, and sing in their language. Pray that God will establish a people for Himself from among the Yora. And pray for the linguistic team – that they will make good progress in translating the Scriptures into their language.

The second phase of my trip was to help with CPI’s mission team which arrived to Pucallpa on June 18th. The fifteen-member team, led by Jonathan Shepard, poured a foundation for a church, poured a floor for a second church, and conducted three medical clinics, an eye glass clinic, and five children’s programs. When it was over, one team member who was on her second trip said, “There’s something about these people that I’ll never be able to explain with words….Coming back to the states is never easy, but I am learning to allow God to use my experiences in Peru to touch lives around me and encourage others in Christ’s love.”

For the third phase, I went by small plane along with Cesar Soto, my son Samuel, and daughter-in-law Caitlin, into the Amazon to stay for a week in a Matses village. Approximately 60 Matses pastors and Christian leaders came from 20 communities for a training conference – some from as far away as two days by boat. We taught on the biblical Gospel of salvation through Christ alone, by grace alone, and through faith alone, using several stories and parables found in the Old and New Testaments. CPI has been involved in equipping Matses Christian leaders since 1999. The greatest need now is to defend the Gospel from false teachings which have crept in from the outside. Many pastors are still standing strong and God’s work among the Matses continues to grow, including in Brazilian communities which had been resistant. In fact, 10 Matses from five Brazilian communities attended the conference, including a man from a village which has no church. The fourth phase of my mission was in Lima. Sam and Caitlin taught at two meetings. Then, my co-worker, Otoniel Pardo and I taught the second course in the newly-launched Bible Institute, “Word of Grace” to about 30 students. This class was on the doctrine of salvation and included a text book. It is such a blessing to teach people who are so hungry for God’s Word!