Fischers in Peru

Seeds of Hope and Grace

29 Sep 2021
A week or two back we were having lunch in a restaurant in Lima, when we happened to glance up at the TV mounted on the wall.  We instantly recognised the face on the screen: it was Abimael Guzman, founder of the Sendero Luminoso ('Shining Path') guerrilla movement, which had brought 20 years of violence to Peru (1980 -- 2000) and directly caused the deaths of over 30,000 Peruvians.  He had just died in prison.

Abimael Guzman

Beneath the TV a bunch of young people sat eating their lunch, too young to know directly the years of terror, and (apparently) not at all interested in the news playing out above their heads.

Guzman was a university professor who founded and led this Maoist rebel group, and taught that only through violent uprising would they be able to overthrow the government and bring justice and equality to Peruvian society.  The rebellion was only effectively ended with Guzman's capture in 2000.

How could a message such as Guzman's ever have found fertile soil?  Essentially, the answer lies in Peru's history.  The Spanish invaded in the early Sixteenth Century, and when the dust had settled, much of the native Peruvian population had no option but to serve their new masters, who had claimed for themselves most of the arable land.  For many Peruvians, this sense of inequality and of being disenfranchised has remained.

However, there is only one hope for any nation, and that is the planting of a different kind of seed: 
"You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel that has come to you.  Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God." (Colossians 1:5-6).

Please pray with us that the seeds of hope in the gospel would continue to grow, and bear the fruit of love and faith in the hearts of many here.


The Mountain Ahead

23 Sep 2021

This morning we heard some thunder... looked out the window, and no, thankfully the volcano 'El Misti' wasn't erupting!  Rather, a thunderstorm was passing directly over the mountain.  It moved on, revealing a fresh dusting of snow across the peak.  To the average resident of Arequipa, this is all a bit ho-hum.  But to us it was spectacular, and we're sure you'll agree.

Fresh snow on Misti

Looking at this huge mountain (the summit is almost 6000 metres above sea level) every day is a reminder of the challenges that lie ahead of us.  We feel daunted by the prospect of the next 12 months or so focused on learning Spanish.  There will be plenty of other challenges as well, no doubt: some sickness, some frustrations dealing with the processes of a different country, adjusting to cultural differences.  But learning the language will be the key to so many things -- so we have a long climb ahead of us.

We are still in our first week here in Arequipa.  This afternoon we had a great time meeting and getting to know the rest of the Arequipa SIM team: food, some games, chatting.  Team members shared some of the cross-cultural differences that they found particularly challenging over their time in Peru so far.  It was an eye-opening and fun discussion at the same time!


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