Thrice PERÚ! What am I doing here? When was this planned? What is the purpose?
To rewind a bit, I received an email back in February requesting for volunteers to help with a church planting initiative in Ayacucho, Peru. I was volunteering in India at the time I received the email and coincentially missing my days in Peru quite a bit. So as you can imagine, I was very excited about the opportunity. I immediately began planning and was able to have two of my sister-friends from church join along. Joy!
Our goal is to conduct interviews throughout the week so that the ministry can learn about the culture, customs and beliefs of the people. They believe it is crucial to understand the culture in order to present the gospel more effectively and meet the needs of this Peruvian community. The city of Ayacucho is a village that is quickly growing into a big city. Many things are changing as they try to progress and rise from their many defeats.
We are actually in the midst of so much history! It is in this very place that the Peruvians finally defeated the Conquistadors. There is also a lot of affliction and pain in the hearts of the people from the terrorism of the communist group Sendero Luminoso in the 1980s. In addition to the terrorism, the government failed to help the people and contributed to more killings and abuse. Many still have dark memories of those times and lost loved ones. They refer to it as the “Peruvian Holocaust”. Families were separated never seeing each other again and diggings have been found with hundreds of corpse. The past is still very much alive in the hearts and a simple conversation with any of the Ayacucho people reveals it. They hope to advance in education, technology and economy but the fight for their rights remains a priority. Protests occur every 2 to 3 weeks, the most recent being an increase in the teacher salaries.
As we continue to learn about the people of Ayacucho, we ask that you pray for their hearts to be healed. They need words of hope after so much oppression and injustice. The hope we bring is Jesus, our prayer is that their eyes and hearts are open to receive Him. Also, we have a team member (my darling sister Emma! *sad face*) returning to the US tomorrow due to food poisoning. Please pray for our health, as well as the health of the missionaries in Ayacucho, and safe travels for Emma.