As I write to you all, I’m very grateful for the way you have supported my family. We are celebrating three years of ministry in Oxapampa. The work here has been both pleasant and difficult. There have been smooth seasons, and hard seasons, joys and hardships. But in all of it, God has been with us, and we bless Him for that.
Let me give a brief reminder of our motive for originally coming to Oxapampa, which is the same motive that we continue to have today. Before coming to Oxapampa, my family and I were praying for an entire year as we sought to understand with clarity and conviction what the will of God was with regard to our service to Him. As the year went by, we told the other elders of our church in Lima about our desire to be missionaries in the jungle, and we received wise counsel from them. The church began to think and pray about it, and afterward they agreed to send us out into the mission field.
This was both a time of sadness and joy—sadness because I would be leaving the church and would no longer be with them, but joy because they understood that this was the door the Lord had opened for us and we wanted to do the will of God. So, we were entrusted by the church to the grace of God and we prayed together that His divine favor would accompany us as we went. And I can say that, as we prayed, the grace of God has been with us until today.
When we got to Oxapampa, we began with a lot of enthusiasm and joy as I began the work of preaching the gospel to the whole town within Oxapampa. The Lord gave me grace before the people in the city, which allowed me to have access to many places carrying the gospel of salvation. On the one hand, we saw the grace of the Savior saving some, and on the other hand, we saw the disgrace of many sinners rejecting the only Savior. Seeing people reject Christ is one of the things that brings the greatest sadness to the heart of a missionary. More than being persecuted or insulted, it brings sadness to see souls on course for eternal hell. More than the fact that they view the missionary with disdain, what breaks my heart is to see people disdaining the gospel of Christ. May God have mercy on Oxapampa.
As I began to travel to the towns around Oxapampa preaching the gospel, we began to see that God had already brought gospel light to a lot of places that we thought were in spiritual darkness. So, as we were evangelizing, we also met several little churches scattered throughout the mountains. Some of them had faithful pastors, while others had no leadership at all, and others were in need of doctrinal reorientation. Two of the churches in particular were at the point of dissolving altogether. Facing this scenario, the Lord powerfully redirected my attention to helping these little local churches in these towns and mountains, and soon, this became my primary focus in ministry, even though I continued evangelizing and attempting to establish a new church where Christ was not preached.
This particular focus—supporting the pastoral labors in the towns around Oxapampa and strengthening the love, unity, and doctrinal purity in the small churches in the mountains—has been the most rewarding part of my ministry during these three years. The Lord has blessed me by allowing me to see how the churches are now taking more seriously biblical doctrine, the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and love between brothers of like faith. I’ve been able to see their repentance and the commitment of the believers to make their doctrinal and spiritual paths straight before the Lord.
On the other hand, I’ve been able to see the pastors—those with whom I meet to study themes like “How to Study the Bible” and “How to Preach and Teach the Bible”—growing in their pastoral work and in their spiritual disciplines. This has filled my heart with joy. On top of the opportunity with the pastors, there have also been opportunities to teach at conferences in Oxapampa for all the Christians in the area. This has been a great blessing because I have been able to warn them of the false gospel that the different cults around us teach and to encourage the churches to continue growing in love and in good works (Hebrews 10:24).
As I look back on these first three years here, I am very conscious of the fact that during all this time the grace of the Lord has accompanied us and kept us, even though He has tried us at times. If it were not for His divine grace the missionary story of my family would be a tragedy. We bless God for His sovereign grace!