The heart of the Inca empire and pearl of the Spanish empire in the Americas has had a tumultuous history. Frequently repressive regimes formed the backdrop for the development of substantial internal terrorism in the 1980s and 1990s through the Shining Path group but democratic government survives with many challenges, economic and political, despite plentiful natural resources in mining and fishing and a focus on Asian markets.
Disruption from changing weather patterns has been notable, from the arid coastal desert through the Andes mountain range and high valleys to the lowland jungle areas in the East.
The highland Quechua and Aymara cultures have been influential in national life, as have lowland peoples, although those of European descent have largely dominated public positions until more recently.
Since the demographic upheavals of the 80s and early 90s when the repression and violence surrounding the Shining Path guerrilla movement drove thousands down from their traditional landholdings in the mountains to seek refuge in the coastal cities, the evangelical church has seen remarkable growth, from 3 percent in the early 1990s to an estimated 12 percent of the total population today. This growth can be seen not just within the traditional denominations but also within newer groups and also in the growth of smaller independent churches. Peruvian evangelical Christians are concerned to share their faith and to win others for Christ. Many churches organize special mission events, or send members as missionaries to other parts of Peru. Some of the larger organisations are sending missionaries overseas, taking on the financial challenges which this involves. The sects too have been quick to seize on people’s spiritual openness to propagate non-Biblical ‘versions’ of the Gospel, often requiring financial investment for spiritual returns. The Catholic Church is still the traditional church of Peru, although its hold over younger people is today more questionable, and institutionally, its favoured position is less strong as the movement for equal treatment and rights for all religious professions gains momentum.
The Latin Link Peru team has over 20 long term missionaries, and in addition receives each year Striders and Steppers as part of its short-term programmes. Its members work in Lima and in Peru’s provinces in ministries which include leadership training and evangelism amongst Quechua speaking communities, theological education, local church work, medical programmes, Christian schooling, and resource ministries providing Christian literature and didactic resources for ministry to children and teenagers. We have involvement in the area of help and advice for small businesses, as well as projects to help the poor and marginalized and those with special educational needs. We believe in working together in partnership with national churches and non-church Christian agencies for the furtherance of the Kingdom and we seek to encourage national churches to be missionary sending churches and to facilitate this process through the Latin Link structures. Ministry opportunities are many and varied and Latin Link is open to dialogue with all who are willing to explore further the possibility that God is calling them to mission work in the Peruvian context.
Openings exist for those interested in developing leaders within the church in Peru, working with children and young adults with disabilities, supporting ministries with children at risk and being involved with work amongst university students.