Baptists have been working in Peru since 1927 - but in the city of Canete, two hours south of Lima, whom 26,000 people call home, there's no Baptist church. Not even a Spanish-speaking Baptist church. Christians south of Lima have two options for worship: the Roman Catholic Church or prosperity Gospel churches. Could you imagine being a Christian with the closest evangelical church hours away? We met people today who are praying, even begging for a church planter to come to their city.
Every large city has a Chinatown. Atlanta's Chinatown's in Chamblee. The method our IMB personnel engage Peru's Chinese is to eat at their Chifa's or Chinese restaurants and invite them to a midnight Bible. We spoke with a Hakka man who said he hasn't had a day off work in 24 years. He owns a seven-day a week business. David Platt has said, "There's a reason the unengaged, unreached remain unreached." We visited about a dozen Chifa's - trying to connect with the owners.
A Different Lima
200,000 Chinese Peruvians live in Lima. This morning we attended a non-Baptist church. We worshiped in the China Alliance Missionary Church. Why not a Baptist Chinese church since there's so many Chinese? There aren't any. In a city of 9 million with 200,000 being Chinese, there are two Chinese churches, both Alliance. Could you imagine Coweta and Troup counties having zero Baptist churches in both counties? That's what it's like for Chinese immigrants in Lima. How many Southern Baptist missionary families are working with the Chinese in Peru? One. Of the 46,000 SBC churches how many have adopted the Chinese in Peru? One. Is one church in Moreland, Georgia and one SBC missionary family from Chattanooga, Tennessee going to reach 200,000 Chinese Peruvians in Lima? What's different about this Lima? The Chinese speaking people in Lima, Peru are overwhelmimingly unreached with the Gospel.
Lima, Peru during Winter
Today we learned about our assignment and explored Lima, Peru. This is our first time to South America - most of the continent is in the middle of winter. Lima is a city of 9 million with 200,000 Chinese. It never rains and is usually foggy. This country loves soccer. Everything paused this afternoon so everyone could watch Paraguay beat Brazil in the Copa America soccer tournament - which is the premier soccer tournament for South America. Peru plays Chile on Monday evening in the semifinals. Soccer here is like SEC football in Georgia. Tomorrow we worship in a Chinese Peruvian church.
Mission Peru: Hakka
On Friday, First Baptist Church of Moreland will be sending four people to Peru on the church's first-ever international mission trip in her 186-year history.
Please be in prayer for myself, Eric Ramey, Kerry Howard and Macie Perry as we try to engage the Hakka people group with the Gospel. The Hakka are Han Chinese people who speak the Hakka Chinese language and descended from southern China. They now live all over the world.
Click here to learn more about the Hakka of Peru from the IMB's people groups website. IMB personnel told me they only know of one believer among the Hakka. We'll be working in Lima's Chinatown (pictured below).
Not only will our team be in Lima, but the Hakka also live in a city 2-3 hours south of Lima called, Canete, we'll also serve in. We'll also be traveling to a city called Chosica, which is two hours east of Lima in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. There's a Baptist Campground there we'll be doing VBS-style ministry with children. The IMB workers said children's ministry typically involves soccer. Fortunately, all four of us on our team have been Upward Soccer coaches!
We hope to share the Gospel with people who need Jesus and encourage our IMB personnel. Our church has adopted the Hakka - we hope this is the beginning of multiple mission trips to Peru for FBCM.
Thank-you for praying for our safety and for the receptivity to the Gospel.
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