October 29, 014 by: Luke Nash| 0 CommentsPosted in: Missionary Report |
The Beginning Years
The Gospel first entered Pacaipampa about forty years ago. Pastor Angel Colmenares, who has now gone to be with the Lord, was the first Christian to reach the region with the Gospel. Despite the fact that the people were very harsh toward him, he continued to preach door to door. If they shut one door on him, he would go to the next one. When the Gospel arrived there, the people became afraid, and they began to respond with anger against the believers. They said terrible things about the brothers and sisters, and especially about Pastor Angel, and almost everyone in the towns believed him to be a demon. They would even let their dogs loose on the Christians who tried to come to their door; they let their dogs loose, and left the evangelists to fend for themselves. It was difficult, and the brothers and sisters who first preached the Gospel there suffered greatly. In many cases, the people threw boiling water at them, and they often threw urine on them. Sometimes they would throw die on them to ruin their clothes. The opposition was strong.
The culture of Pacaipampa at the time was very idolatrous, and towns were constantly having festivals to celebrate their idols. During those festivals, the people always killed one another; about two or three people were killed each day. If two or three people were killed, then it was said to have been a good celebration. There were a lot of deaths, but those were the customs in which the people had been raised. The catholic priest would also come to the town for these festivals to celebrate mass, and afterwards, even he would get drunk with the people.
I remember those events, since I was a young boy at the time. I remember one time when Pastor Angel and the other Christians came to my parents’ house, and my mother said, “Child, hide yourself! Hide yourself! The devils have arrived!” I was little, and I did not understand. I thought, “How can these men be devils?” So I hid under the bed looking out from underneath, wondering what a devil would look like. And when I saw them, they were people, and I thought, “How strange? These are just men, how can they be devils?” That is the idea the people had in those days. So the people at our door spoke with my mother and father, and the rest of us were hidden in the house. I remember that they passed out some tracts to my parents, and my mom came back into the house and threw the tracts in the fire.
Everyone in that region was catholic, and many still are, because that is how they were raised. They followed their customs, clinging tightly to their idols. Little by little, those ideas and traditions began to be rejected by some of the people in Pacaipampa, because the Lord was opening doors through these men that went into the region with the Gospel. They persevered with diligence. As people repented and believed in Jesus, they too started helping in the work that the brothers and sisters who have gone before us began. The believers that the Lord was raising up in Pacaipampa began to serve with tremendous effort. The Gospel was expanding and expanding, despite all of the difficulties the Christians were facing. More and more doors were opened, and the Lord had mercy on many people. Within about twenty-five years, over forty churches were started in different towns of Pacaipampa. They were just little groups back then, with only a few Christians in each group, but today those churches are much larger and are growing in strength.
It was during those years that the Gospel was first introduced in our region in the midst of those difficult circumstances; and it advanced! The Christians suffered, but their life did not matter to them, and they were willing to suffer for the Gospel. Today, the people are generally less aggressive, and they usually listen to you when you speak to them about Christ, but that is not how it was before. In those days, they wanted nothing to do with the Gospel, and had no interest in listening to what the Christians had to say.
Luke began working for HeartCry in 2012 after graduating from Virginia Tech. He was raised in Harrisonburg, Virginia and now resides a few hours south in Radford, Virginia with his wife Meghan and their three children. He is the coordinator for the work that HeartCry is involved in throughout Latin America.More By Luke Nash