|Republic of Peru|
Area 1,285,216 sq.km. Three main zones dry coastal plain in the west where most of the cities and industry are located, high Andean plateau which is more agricultural, and Amazon jungles in the east.
Capital Lima 7,350,000. Other major cities: Arequipa 656,000; Trujillo 530,000; Iquitos 275,000. Urbanites 71%.
The mixing of ethnicity, cultures and languages makes a clear breakdown difficult.
Highland peoples 51.7%. Quechua(33) 13.1m; Aymara 1.2m.
Lowland peoples 3%. 300,000 speaking over 50 languages.
Mestizo 32%. Mixed race.
White 12%. Mainly of Spanish origin.
Other 1.3%.Japanese 120,000; Chinese 115,000.
Literacy 87%.Official languages Spanish, Quechua. All languages 92. Spanish-speakers 80.3%. Most Amerindians are Spanish-speaking or bilingual, 10% of Quechua, 30% of Aymara and 40% of lowlanders use their mother tongue in the home. Languages with Scripture 25NT 27por 21w.i.p.
Climatic changes during the 1990s and the devastation of guerrilla insurgency led to the collapse of the fishing and mining industries and reduced the majority of the population to desperate poverty with raging hyper-inflation. Fujimori's government brought about a dramatic turn-around between 1992 and 1997 with inflation tamed and an economic recovery. The Asian recession and El Niño weather upheavals were then major setbacks. Over 40% of the population live in extreme poverty. HDI 0.739; 80th/174. Public debt 32% of GNP. Income/person $2,600 (8% of USA).
Fully independent from Spain in 1824. A long history of dictatorships and repressive military rule. Democratic government between 1980 and 1991 was not able to reform the inequalities in society nor deal with the corrupt judiciary and police. Two violent, extremist and Maoist terrorist movements brought the country to its knees in 15 years of guerrilla warfare. Over 30,000 perished through the terrorists or the equally cruel military reactions. Needed repairs to the infrastructure of the country is estimated to ultimately cost $US25 billion. President Fujimori was elected in 1990 and 1995. He won the war against terrorism but became increasingly autocratic. A dubiously managed election to an unconstitutional third term in 2000 was followed a few months later with his resignation in the face of exposed political manipulation. New elections were held in 2001.
Religious freedom is guaranteed in the 1978 constitution, but the Catholic Church as the officially recognized state church receives preferential treatment. The Catholic Church has a decisive influence which is discriminatory against non-Catholics in taxes, property, education and politics.
It is reckoned that 25% of Peruvians are Christo-pagan, believing more in animism and witchcraft.
b) The tentative economic recovery. Some have benefited, but the majority have not been positively affected. The massive slums ringing Lima are little changed. Over 200,000 rural Peruvians are involved in cultivating narcotics.
2 The Catholic Church is in a crisis. Over 80% of its clergy are foreign. It is polarized between the traditionalists and those who espouse liberation theology. The charismatic movement has had a deep impact, but those touched have often formed autonomous groups or joined evangelical churches. There has been large loss of numbers to indigenous movements and foreign sects, as well as to the Evangelicals. Only 15% of Catholics are regular in church attendance; the great majority are highly syncretistic Christo-pagans. Pre-Hispanic religions are being revived and new religious movements multiplying. Pray for many to come to the light and liberty of the biblical gospel.
3 Evangelical churches have grown dramatically since the first evangelical congregation was started a century ago. Evangelicals were only 0.8% (76,000) in 1960, 2.9% (500,000) in 1980 and 8.7% (2.2m) in 2000. The greatest growth was in the worst times of violence and social breakdown. Persecution between 1980 and 1994 was sometimes severe at the hands of both the terrorists and the army in areas of fighting over the cultivation of narcotics each regarding Evangelicals as a threat. Over 750 evangelical leaders were martyred and some sentenced to imprisonment on trumped-up charges. Growth has been most marked in the work of CMA, IEP(SIM-LL), CoN, AoG and numerous indigenous Pentecostal groups. After peace came, growth slowed. Pray for a new and deeper work of the Holy Spirit to re-ignite the Church.
a) Unity. Evangelicals have become a significant source of leadership, stability, social aid and hope since 1980. There are sharp divisions within some denominations over the issue of worship styles and charismatic gifts. There has been too little fellowship between leaders.
b) Nominalism to be tackled. This is rapidly becoming a major issue in all evangelical groups. Apathy is widespread. Earlier zeal has waned and church growth has slowed in the late 1990s. JWs, Mormons and an indigenous sect, the Israelitas, have been highly successful in recruiting fringe Evangelicals who have not been discipled. Many congregations need intensive re-evangelization and effective discipling programmes, but lack the resources.
c) Ministry to victims of war and deprivation. The war left hundreds of widows, thousands of orphans and hundreds of thousands of traumatized, impoverished people who need material, emotional and spiritual help. Many congregations seek to alleviate the needs often 70% of members are unemployed. Many Christian ministries (WVI, Food for the Hungry, Compassion International, Agape Network, TEAR Fund) have also contributed to programmes for both rural and urban slum areas.
d) Evangelicals to be more prophetic in society. Political and social influence has grown, but Evangelicals are deeply divided on involvement in political life. Evangelicals who were congress members in the past regime had a poor testimony and lost credibility. Yet there are serious issues to be tackled religious freedom, societal transformation, the neglected poor, child abuse, etc.
5 The Quechua and Aymara peoples, the descendants of the Incas, have begun to emerge from centuries of oppression, cultural deprivation, grinding poverty and isolation. Quechua was recognized as an official language in 1975. The Quechua Church has grown rapidly as Christianity at last becomes indigenized in Scriptures, structures, worship and music. Whole villages have been turning to Christ. Pray for:
b) Bible translation which has been a major factor in the Quechua renaissance and church growth. The Cuzco and Ayacucho languages have the whole Bible and 3 other Quechua languages the NT (UBS, SIL, IEP, SBC); a further 12 languages are being translated. Pray for translation and literacy teams as they make these vital Scriptures available and understandable.
6 The Lowland Amerindians have responded to the preaching of missionaries of South American Mission, Swiss Indian Mission, SIL and others. The three Lowland provinces of the upper Amazon have the highest percentage of evangelical believers in the country. A network of churches planted by different agencies is developing and growing (FAIENAP) in 13 or more peoples. The problems they face are huge ecologically insensitive oil and mining companies, terrorism and drug trafficking. Pray that the churches among them may become strong and enable these peoples to withstand the destructive impact of the outside world on their cultures. SIL has been involved in the translation of 17 NTs for non-Quechua peoples, and has teams committed to a further 12.
7 The lack of trained, mature leaders is so critical that further church growth is endangered. Doctrinal confusion, deficient theology and the multiplication of sects must be answered by clear biblical teaching, but few pastors have the gifts and training. The IEP had 1,300 churches in 1998, but only 80 with pastors having any formal academic training. Immorality, alcohol abuse and sin can often be ignored or practiced by pastors. Many pastors can be legalistic and domineering, inhibiting initiative and stimulating apathy in their followers. Pray for:
b) Leadership training. The SEBAP (CMA) and Lima (LL, SIM, etc.) Seminaries are key for Spanish-speaking countries. At least 20 other Bible schools are preparing workers for the ministry. Poverty and lack of finance seriously limits the number who can receive such training.
c) TEE is an essential alternative, but hampered by lack of teaching personnel and suitable teaching materials. There is also a lack of enthusiasm for such training by those who would most benefit. SIM missionaries are involved with 700 TEE students. Segadores trains rural pastors and potential missionaries.
8 Vision for the future has been stimulated by Peru Para Cristo (DAWN) through the challenge of planting a church in each of the 90,000 villages and communities. By 2000 there were over 17,000 evangelical churches. Pray for this vision to be attained, unity in purpose gained, the harvest retained and leadership multiplied to cope with such growth.
9 Foreign missions have passed through difficult times, especially those from USA (68% of the missionary force); anti-American press reports, spy scares, and the widespread activities of Mormons and JWs have not helped. The majority of the missionary effort is directed to pioneer work in the eastern jungle, Bible translation and leadership training. Reinforcements are needed. Some larger agencies are: SIL/WBT (189 workers), LL (72), IMB-SBC (63), ABWE (54), BMM (34), AoG (28), Swiss Indian Mission (28), SIM (27) Mennonites (21), Brethren (21), CMA (20), TEAM (14), WT (10) and EFCA (10).
a) Lima is Latin America's fifth-largest city. Over 60% live in slums that ring the city where abject poverty, unemployment and malnutrition are rife. Few have found the key to the evangelization of the sprawling slums of Lima and the nurture of churches in that difficult environment, though the Pentecostals and SAMS have made a good beginning. Praise God for the remarkable church growth in Lima through the ministry of CMA, AoG, Baptists, SAMS and TEAM over the last 20 years.
b) Specific areas with fewer Evangelicals are the coastal provinces and the Amazon Lowland Spanish-speaking farmers. There are also pockets of need in the high plateau with unevangelized villages and towns. In the southern Andes areas of Ayacucho, Apurimac and Arequipa there are over 1,000 villages with but 12 small Christian groups.
c) Less reached Amerindian tribal peoples. There are 10 marginally reached peoples with a total population of 4,000 but less than 100 Christians. There are a further 10 peoples 1,000 with no work or churches.
d) The business/professional and upper classes. They are staunchly traditional Catholics, few having a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus, and are rather isolated from most existing evangelical witness.
e) Ethnic minorities. The 7,000 Gypsies (many still speaking Romani and with one congregation of believers), the Chinese with several small congregations, and the Japanese (many now returning to Japan). Pakistani Muslims (3,000) are established on the southern coast.
11 Student ministry is strategic for Peru's future. There is widespread disillusionment and frustration, and Christian students need great courage to stand out for Jesus. Pray for the ministry of AGEUP(IFES) with 5 staff workers and 33 groups in the 50 universities. The 714,000 students have a lower proportion of Evangelicals than any other major section of the population.
12 Peruvian missions interest is growing, but lack of knowledge and funds limits that growth. The CMA, Baptists and AoG have launched missions programmes. There is a post-graduate faculty of Mission at CEMAA in Lima. Indigenous mission agencies have grown some being AMEN (Asociación Misionera Evangélica a las Naciónes), Segadores and IMA (Impacto Mundial de Avivamento). OM and YWAM have become sending agencies. Missionary training programmes have increased in number during the 1990s. Pray for this vision to increase and mature.
a) Radio has a wide audience, both the local Radio del Pacifico (TEAM) in Lima, and the large international stations of HCJB Ecuador (Spanish and Quechua), and TWR Bonaire (Spanish) with thousands of hours of broadcasting per week in Spanish and 100 in 17 Quechua dialects! TWR and HCJB also use the ALAS satellite.
d) Christian literature. CLC has a bookstore and mobile ministry. SIM have launched a large pastors' mini-library project. EHC is in the middle of its second nation-wide coverage with evangelistic literature.
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