From the Superintendent's DESK
The much-anticipated first combined remote meeting among our groups in Peru was held on April 15. One of the attendees, Dee Cummins of Portland, Oregon, gave this report of the service:
The meeting, hosted by the Combayo church, was delayed by a few weeks due to torrential rains that particularly affected that area of Peru. Even with the postponement, heavy rains on the day of the meeting prevented the majority of the congregation from gathering. Still, we had a blessed time.
To begin the service, the Director of South America Work, Sam Ajayi, welcomed the online audience, including brethren from Combayo in the Andes and Iquitos in the Amazon of Peru. Others who had visited the Peru churches joined in from Brazil and Chile. The United States was also represented by brethren from Puyallup and Yakima, Washington; Tucson, Arizona; and Portland, Oregon.
The prelude was presented by the Combayo congregation with the pastor accompanying on his guitar as they sang and clapped enthusiastically. Then the pastor, Benito Llanos Gallardo, offered the opening prayer.
The announcements brought greetings from Superintendent General Darrel Lee and John Musgrave, who were traveling in Mozambique at the time. Prayer was requested for their protection and safe return. It was also noted that being able to connect people from around the world with the saints in Peru for the purpose of furthering the Gospel is amazing.
For the testimony portion of the service, Rick Olson of Tucson told how blessed he was to visit Peru in 2012 at the start of the Apostolic Faith work there, and to visit again in 2014 for the camp meeting. He expressed his great love for the work and people in Peru and said he keeps them daily in his prayers.
Brother Rick also gave thanks for his privilege to be raised in a Christian home where his parents faithfully brought him to church while growing up. Sadly, as a teenager he wanted to be like his classmates, and he turned his back on the Lord. Soon he began drinking and became addicted to marijuana. He had no thought of God but was thankful for God’s faithfulness to him. One day at work the Lord began talking to his heart. He had not attended church for a long time, but Isaiah 1:18 came into his mind: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” That day at work, he gave his life to the Lord and a radical change took place inside him; he no longer wanted sinful things. Later he was asked to work in the printing department for our church headquarters in Portland, and he worked there for twenty-one years. In closing, Brother Rick thanked God for the many blessings given him and said he wants to encourage others to serve Him as well.
Before the sermon, the Combayo congregation presented a beautiful duet. Then Brother Sam took his text from Luke 19:1-10. He said there are many historical points of interest in Peru. One place that intrigues visitors is the Ransom Room located in the Cajamarca area. That is where the Inca King Atahualpa filled a chamber, measuring 22 by 17 by 8 feet, with gold. The treasure was to be exchanged for his life if threatened or kidnapped by the Spanish Conquerors. The result was that he gave the treasure and was killed anyway. Brother Sam said that with Jesus, the circumstances of the Ransom Room are reversed: instead of paying Jesus a fortune for our lives, we surrender to Him, repenting of our sins. The result is not death, but salvation and riches untold. He noted that the Spanish conquerors are long gone and the gold from the Ransom Room is unaccounted for, but Jesus is alive! He has all the riches on earth and in Heaven, and they are eternal. Jesus holds the keys to healing, a pure heart, peace, and life everlasting.
Using the account of Zacchaeus to show what the riches of salvation will do in a person’s life, he encouraged everyone to open their hearts. He said to let salvation and the abundant riches of Christ come in. The closing prayer was offered by Eladio Retamal Vasquez, the pastor in Limavida, Chile, and then all went to prayer. Before signing off, everyone exchanged jubilant greetings.
This gathering was an encouraging start for the bi-monthly meetings in Peru. We pray that through this medium the Gospel message will continue to touch hearts from the Andes to the Amazon of Peru.
Please keep this ministry and these people in your prayers, especially this month, as several have fallen ill to cold, cough, fever, and bronchitis. We pray the Lord will give them a quick recovery.