Hey this is Chris Mattison, you might remember that I’ve done a couple of these FUEL devotions in the past, and I was fortunate enough to be able to go on the Peru trip this year. I’ve traveled a bit before so I kind of knew what to expect in terms of culture shock, food weirdness, and accommodations, but one thing that I was not prepared for was the diversity of issues that they deal with in Peruvian society and churches. Some of the things that surprised me shouldn’t have, such as certain words in the Spanish translations of the Bible being translated imperfectly, and therefore causing confusion on some things that we think of as being obvious here in the States. Another thing that I’m not as used to seeing in my Church is the reliance of the people on the pastor to tell them what to believe. Now many of the people in Peru have come to their faith as a consequence of long studies, but there are others who are mostly there because they are following a certain pastor or leader who they trust and they do not have a lot of ownership of their beliefs, and this is more common in their culture due to the prevalence of Catholicism.
I had prepared some messages to give in Peru, and I was able to share some of those things, and I think they appreciated it, but I think that it was these other topics that Edwin and others were speaking on that had the most effect on the people in the Churches we visited in Peru. Edwin knew what they were dealing with and where they needed more biblical truth in their lives because he founded these Churches and knows the people very well. This was very eye opening to me because I realized that there really is quite a diversity of perspectives and struggles in the Church in different parts of the world.
We see this a lot in the New Testament when Paul was writing to different Churches that he had worked with he would talk about very different things because that is what they were dealing with. Paul only knew these things because he got to know the people while he lived in their cities, and because he made the effort to keep up with the people. In the same way we will not be very effective if we just preach at people and tell them what we think they need to hear, we first need to invest in their lives and get to know them so that we can meet them where they are, and have a greater effect on their lives.
I’m so glad that I took this first step to get to know the people in Peru, and I hope that I can continue to minister to them in the future in whatever way I can. I strongly encourage you to take that first step out of your comfort zone to get to know somebody intentionally so that you can minister to them.