Finding a church to call home has been difficult. It’s hard for me to visit all the churches and then “settle” because I feel like I’m letting people down in all the other churches I visited.
Friday evenings all the Americans and other English speakers meet together in the Caire’s home (one of the other American doctors). To me that’s where I feel encouraged by the body the most, because it’s in English, they understand my culture, they’re at least a little older than me and can challenge me in my faith. So that leaves me free to find a church in town to worship with where I feel I can encourage the church even if they have nothing to give back (or don’t realize that that’s their responsibility as well There’s a church in town where the other missionaries mostly attend that we call the “Missionary church”, for that very reason. I’d stayed away from it because I really wanted to attend a church of Peruvians).
I’d been going to one church called the Puente (“the Bridge”), because it’s located next to the bridge into town. It’s a reasonably large church of 60-100 attendees Sunday morning, and predominately Quechua speaking, though services tend to be in Spanish. I liked it because of the Quechua presence. I’m take turns teaching kids classes in Puka Puka (a village a 1 hour walk up the mountain from Curahuasi) and teaching kids’ classes for the church. But recently the church has been having problems. Both pastors (the Quechua pastor and the Spanish speaking pastor) resigned because it’s a large church not interested in changing, knowing God, or doing anything more than sit on a pew. I’d been praying about what to do. I have a couple friends at the church, but they’re all people I know from the hospital. Because of the language and cultural barrier (the Quechan barrier is thicker and harder to penetrate than the Spanish barrier).
There’s another church I’d been attending Saturday evenings (“youth/young adult night”) call IEP (international evangelical church of Peru) [The two main divisions of Christian religion in Peru are Catholic (the majority) and Evangelical (the minority; the equivalent of non-denominational or protestant in the USA I guess). It’s almost entirely Peruvian, but it’s a younger generation (my age-ish) that’s in love with God and on fire for his mission. Many of my Peruvian friends go there. It’s a young church (less than a year old—it’s a church plant of that denomination, IEP, from Abancay and Cusco) so it’s still pretty small. This weekend there was a group in town from the IEP churches in Abancay, Cusco and Kiabamba doing outreach in town. It was a fun weekend. The church was full. There were new believers meeting with the church. I went to church there Sunday morning and afterwards we all went out to eat. I felt like I was back in Tulsa again with my friends. At Park Plaza we’d always eat out and talk for 2-3 hours after every church service.
Thanks for all your prayers for me to find fellow Christians to worship with, serve with, grow with, and encourage.