Making Disciples in the Amazon

Many indigenous tribes in Peru have never heard the name of Jesus. But in the far reaches of the jungle, faithful servants are using In Touch resources to share the gospel message and grow the church.

In the far reaches of the Amazon, many indigenous tribes have not heard the name of Jesus. And Peru, specifically, has one of the highest numbers of unreached people groups in South America. In the jungle, electricity is limited—if it is available at all—and radios and televisions are often unheard of.

But faithful servants in remote areas of Peru are trying to make the message of salvation more accessible, sharing whatever biblical resources they have—enthusiastically gathering together to study the Word of God and inspiring others to spread the gospel.

The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
—2 Timothy 2:2

And as the message of salvation is being shared, passion for the Lord is spreading like wildfire. Many community leaders and pastors make extensive journeys to attend training and receive tools to help them share the good news, often traveling on foot through the jungle or by water in motorized, wooden canoes. Some of these trips can take more than a week! Their travels bring them to Aurora, a 240-acre training center for indigenous people in Peru’s Amazon River basin.

During the training at Aurora, they receive In Touch Messenger Lab resources like the Torch and micro SD cards, pray for one another, and develop skills for growing house churches and discipling their tribes. Encouraged, attendees return to their villages and gather their neighbors to listen to God’s Word. And more and more indigenous people are coming to faith as they hear the life-changing message of the gospel.

Devices like the Torch make evangelism and discipleship possible by providing the biblical tools and audio resources they need to minister to their own communities and plant churches. And in a region where electricity is scarce, the solar-powered Torch illuminates homes in both a literal and spiritual sense.

Individuals like Marcos Costa and Rolando Perez are working hard to facilitate training at Aurora and to come alongside these tribes—including the Urarina, Capanahua, Cacataibo, Juni Kuin, Matsés, Asháninka, and Yine—to equip the faithful to share God’s Word within their communities and with neighboring villages.

We should pray that every time the Torch is lit, it will be like a fire.

—Rolando Perez

remote village along the Amazon

Rolando Perez travels from village to village, and house to house, bringing the good news to some of Peru's most marginalized and remote residents.

After moving his family to serve in the jungle, Rolando Perez faced an incredible personal tragedy. His infant daughter fell sick with a virus that ultimately took her life. But even in the midst of his grief, he felt the Lord telling him to stay, that He still had work for Rolando to do in this region with indigenous people.

Rolando faithfully followed the Lord’s command. Since then, he has been what he calls the “pastor to the pastors,” discipling local church leaders and other believers, and encouraging them to spread the message of salvation. Rolando’s prayer, he tells us, is that many disciples would share the good news far and wide for the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

“The call of the Lord on the church is to make disciples for the kingdom,” Rolando says, underscoring the need for mentorship and consistent support for the marginalized and remote residents of the Peruvian jungle. Here, the In Touch Torch provides a way to offer guidance, hope, and the reassurance of God’s Word even when he can’t be there in person.

When he first visits a village, Rolando and his team may go from house to house with the Torch, sharing the gospel message. As people come to listen and desire to know more, the Torch provides a way for Scripture and Dr. Stanley’s messages to help them grow in their faith and get answers to their questions.

In addition to distributing Torches, Rolando helps train church planters and pastors at Aurora. He calls each of these leaders a powerful tool of the Lord, comparing their training in effective ministry to equipping a soldier. And as these brothers and sisters in Christ minister to their neighbors, Rolando has been able to devote more time to contacting communities that do not yet know the Lord: “All I do now is go and follow the work that God is doing: houses, communities, families turning to Christ.”

Our goal is not just a church in each village. Our goal is for these churches to reproduce and for believers to go to other groups to preach the gospel

—Marcos Costa

remote village along the Amazon

Marcos Costa develops programs and provides pastoral support to the tribes.

Marcos and his wife felt the call to come to Peru more than a decade ago, motivated to share Christ with those who had no way to know or choose Him. “There is no option for the gospel to transform their lives,” Marcos says, but the Lord has put on his heart to win unreached tribes in the jungle, as he puts it, “to the very end of the Peruvian Amazon.” And through his work overseeing program development and training at Aurora, he is able to encourage believers to share the light of Christ and illuminate new ways of living for unbelievers, catalyzing a movement of church planting and house churches.

He estimates that there are 36 ethnic groups in the region, and they have made contact with several of the groups, but there may be as many as nine tribes that are completely unreached. He describes many as “semi-reached” or “semi-contacted”—tribes where only some of the villages have heard the gospel and have not had consistent discipleship. Marcos believes it is imperative to reach these groups: “People without Christ lie down and get up without possibilities. And it is urgent to talk about Christ.”

A season without enough rain in the jungle or contaminated water can easily produce poverty among the indigenous, rendering many of them unable to meet basic needs like food and water for their families and villages. And for many of these men and women this exacerbates what Marcos calls spiritual poverty—often manifesting in the form of depression, drunkenness, and marital strife.

But as the representatives from these tribes return from training with resources, and tell their unbelieving neighbors about Christ, Marcos tells us the difference is immediate. The individuals who receive the gospel call it “new life”—marriages are transformed, men and women are delivered out of their alcoholism, and a feeling of hope emerges. Today, there are more than 20 churches in the Amazon River basin, and resources like the In Touch Torch are an integral part of this growing movement. “Without a Messenger,” Marcos emphasizes, “there would have been no pastor in many communities.”

The Lord has ignited a passion for His Word among the people in the Peruvian Amazon. And with your generous support, indigenous communities will receive new resources to share the good news of salvation, bringing discipleship and growing the body of Christ in the farthest reaches of the jungle.

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