What would it be like to work at starting a new church in a little Andean town? Our friends, James and Julia Henley from the UK are up for the challenge. We met at Spanish school in Arequipa and it's great to catch up with them again. We're spending a week as a family visiting some of our friends who've now moved away.
James and Julia live in Urubamba, a beautiful town in the Sacred Valley, close to many famous Inca ruins. The people living here are the Quechua, who are descendants of the Incas. James describes one of their biggest challenges is to build trust and friendships with the local Quechua people as they work to start a church. Quechua people are naturally reserved and their history has given them reason to be suspicious of outsiders. Huge numbers of the Quechua were killed when the Spanish invaded in the 1500s and this began a long history of oppression. The Quechua suffered during the years of terrorism with the "Shining Path". About 20 years ago there were hundreds of forced sterilizations as part of a government anti-poverty programme that aimed to reduce the birth rate among the poor. There are still stories of babies been stolen from mothers and then sold internationally. Given all of this it's no surprise that as foreigners it's a challenge to earn the trust of the Quechua people of this village.
James and Julia are however confident in knowing that God has already been and continues to be working among these people to bring them to a relationship with Him.
- thank God for sending James and Julia to this town
- that God will help them break down the barriers and build strong friendships through which they can share Christ's love and hope
- that many in this town, Urubamba, will love and follow Jesus.
Do you have any ideas for James and Julia as they work to build friendships?