I have recently found interest in what is going on throughout the nations these days and was brought to Peru. The Lord is moving in Peru through foreign and local missionaries and it is worth learning and talking about.
How have missionaries been involved in Peru? Missionaries have been involved in Peru since the 19th century. Many are involved because of the large population of Catholics in Peru. Missionaries have been involved in Peru in a church planting movement as well as daily discipleship and partnership with new believers. This has left Peru with a new majority religion.
It is exciting to learn and see what the Lord has done in Peru through missionaries and is crucial to have some understanding of what the Peruvian people have gone through as well. I want to share a brief history as well as growth and challenges and the leaps and bounds of Peru’s Christian population.
History of Peru
Peru is located in South America and is filled with culture. Peru is a beautiful country that is filled with mountain ranges all the way to coastal plains and the luscious Amazon. The country boarders Chile, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, and Ecuador. There are still many indigenous people that live in the mountains and are considered highland Indians.
Culturally, Peruvians are Roman Catholic which has always been the major religion in the country and has shaped their culture. Many countries around the world with a majority religion tend to have many cultural basis that comes from the religion.
Inca empire has had a lot of control over the area where the highland Indians come from. This has brought a lot of deaths throughout the years and has shaped the history of Peru as a whole. I can imagine this has effected the way the Peruvians live and has some effect on how the Gospel can be spread throughout the land.
Just like any other non-believing country or people group, there is a strong spiritual need for prayer over the Peruvian people and their beliefs. Missionaries have been places in Peru, and are actively being called there, so a prayer for those to be sent, those sent, and those on the field is always needed.
As for the people of Peru, the indigenous, the highland Indians, and those far and in between, there is a spiritual need for discipleship. Through my research, I have seen many organizations saying their focus is on church planting and they recognize their lack of in-depth follow up with new believers and the church. This does not mean there is no follow-up, there is just always more need for spiritual guidance, teachings, etc. in the growth of believers.
Growth in the Church
The church has grown a significant amount since the first Protestant missionaries came in the late 19th century. Then followed by the Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Holiness churches in the 20th century, according to the World Council of Churches. The history of the church in Peru is one beautiful story that came out of a lot of pain within the country’s war over resources.
The percentage of Christian believers has risen since the end of the 19th century when the first missionaries came. But God is not finished in Peru. Right now, 94.5% of Peru is considered Christian.
This growth is exciting to talk about because we can see how faithful God has been to the people in Peru. The whole country hold 104 people groups and now only nine are fully unreached! This is a significant growth for the body of Christ. On the scale of progress given by the Joshua Project Peru is on level 5, this means that there is over 10% of the population that is evangelical and they are significantly reached.
Peru is considered to be in stage three of Rostow’s Modernization Model. This means that they are in a stage of growth in a lot of areas. This does not mean that they are fully developed; in some areas they are still impoverished. The lack of funds for Christian Peruvians can be considered a challenge for the church. This a challenge for multiple reasons, but spiritually it would be helpful to have books or things to read to help develop Christians. Some if not most Christians still will pay for the books but it would be helpful if they were cheaper to find.
A challenge that is faced comes from the problem of lack of funding. Many pastors and elders need books or literature for the development of their theology in order to lead the church well. This also comes to the decisions on the pastors and elders to make of what is fiscally acceptable for the budget that they are given.
Another challenge that I could see coming up is that of the cultural traditions that are tied to Catholicism. This can either hinder or give life to the process of discipling and growth within the Christian believers. This is just something that I have been put up against when working with Muslims in a foreign context, when their culture was also wrapped into their religion.
As of today there are nine unreached people groups listed in Peru according to the Joshua Project. These nine unreached groups make up 8.7% of the whole country’s population of over 32 million people. From the 19th century the church has advanced in leaps and bounds in Peru. Joshua Project gives an excelant overview of what is going on in Peru. Today the majority religion is considered to be Christianity, with a growth rate of 4.2% (the world rate is 2.6%).
There is still a need for workers to go into the nine unreached areas. Many of these areas are more in the highlands and traditional Peruvian religion, which is mixed with Catholicism.
There are a lot of current ministries in Peru that work with a range of things from clean water projects, to Bible translations, to business and a lot in between. The Joshua Project gives a great list of ministries available in Peru today that are actively being done by missionaries living there today.
How You Can Pray for Peru
I have been researching Peru and have lived overseas myself so I see the need to pray for the missionaries on the field in Peru today. Yes, they are there for the people to be reached, but the enemy loves to work against them in anything that they do that glorifies the Lord.
- Pray for the last nine unreached people groups to have works sent to their locations. For doors to be flung open for new relationships with local people in these unreached areas and throughout the country.
- Pray for the workers there to be able to equip the local people for ministry and everything they need to do ministry and discipleship well.
- Pray for pastors and elders to discern what is best for those they lead, as well as the financial aspect involved with the growth of literature needed.
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,Revelation 7:9 ESV