Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Cultural Moment

Technically, while it may only be a moment for you, the reader, the cultural moment here is now nearly two days and still running.
One thing which is common in foreign countries and uncommon in the United States is the "strike". Here it is called a "paro" or "huelga" and usually they are carried out on a local basis. The cause is often the increase of prices on a common-commodity such as guinea pigs, but can also be related to something less important like gasoline.
This particular strike is going on because a group of people on the other side of the country are being denied their pensions. Can you imagine the implications for Detroit and the airlines if these ideas catch on in the U.S.? While few people here in Cusco know anyone directly affected by the retirement problems in Lima, they are striking with the best of them.
What exactly does a Peruvian strike involve, you may ask? Well, it usually means that people pile rocks and trees across the roads to paralyze all traffic. However, sometimes it is more severe.
Yesterday, I tried twice to take my pregnant little wife home where she could rest. After weaving through rocks, tires, trees, stumps, and car parts for about 20 minutes, we arrived at a point where a number of drunken men where physically enforcing the roadblock: not allowing anyone to pass, and throwing small stones at anyone who attempted to get by. We heard about cars with broken windshields, and they were even rumors of an overturned vehicle. We were forced to return to the seminary, or face the wrath of Huayllabamba.

Yesterday our co-worker, Ken Loveall, picked up some guests from the airport in the morning, but was unable to travel all day. They decided to make a run for it at night, but were accosted by an angry rock-wielding mob. When the mob realized that he would not be easily deterred, they began hefting large rocks at the vehicle, and succeeded in breaking out the rear window of the truck. All we could say to our visitors was "welcome to Peru".

Oh, by the way, if the violent village of Huayllabamba sounds familiar, it's because that is the totally unevangelized town where we are trying to start a Bible-study.

Monday, July 7, 2008

July Fourth!

Loren did a lot of decorating

We also did some grilling...

but only after some very "redneck" adaptations involving a lot of duct-tape

We had a great time with the other American missionaries as we ate, sang the national anthem, and pledged to the flag!

What a great reminder of the freedoms and blessings that God has given to our country , which allow the USA to send missionaries all over the world where many such freedoms are not enjoyed. God bless America!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Marvelous May and Joyful June

The front bucket seat of a pickup truck is a surprisingly comfortable place to sleep, when need be. This was one of the first thoughts to amble through my brain at the early hour I awakened. Also coming to mind were the memories that I was high in the Peruvian Andes in a little town called Accha for the purpose of evangelism and edification, and a good sleeping bag is a necessity at these altitudes. It was an exciting morning. We were able to give a Bible to a man who literally wept upon receiving his and to his son who hugged his Bible to his chest in eager anticipation to begin training for the seminary where we occasionally teach. Please pray for these two to be faithful in ministry.May and June were incredibly busy months. We have had enough exciting news to fill a prayer letter every week, but unfortunately we are still experiencing the dreaded email woes. During the month of May, we were privileged to host five groups, including Dr. David Shumate, evangelists Brent and Scott Sivnksty, my parents and sister, the McLanahans (our field director), and evangelist Randy Chovan and family.
During June we kept quite busy ministering with brother Chovan. We were thrilled by the arrival of Rachel Tarvin, a new BMM missionary, dear friends Pat and Wendy Campbell who are teaching two classes in the seminary, and Julie Thompson, intern. Please pray for those who are ministering here and for permanent laborers for the fruitful harvest.
We logged many kilometers on the truck these months as we traveled through snow-covered mountain peaks and lush green jungle valleys, preaching the Gospel and passing out tracts all the way. We have been amazed at God’s grace in opening doors for numerous open-air gatherings, family conferences, youth rallies, sports outreaches, Bible-clubs, evangelistic meetings, and church revivals.
During a workshop on stress where I translated for brother Chovan in Calca, a town about 15 minutes from our village, we had about 15 professions of faith! Please pray for the follow-up work that has been started. The next day we presented microscopes to a private school, gave a gospel message, and were blessed to lead the director and his wife to the Lord! Please pray for Hector and Milagros to grow as they are being discipled. We have also been training the seminary students in evangelism and were thrilled as two seminary girls were able to lead two young monolingual Quechua ladies to the Lord in a mountain town called Huilloq about an hour away, where we were having a one day outreach. Please pray for the seminary students’ and new believers’ growth.
During one church revival in a mountain community called Surimana, we had five professions of faith. One young man and his wife are planning on coming to the seminary for Bible training. Please pray that their faith will not be choked by thorns or found depthless upon the rocks. June 24 is a famous day in Cusco known as Inti-Raymi. This is a day when the Inca nation gathered in the Cusco fortress called Sacsayhuaman in order to worship the sun-god. Up until about five years ago, they still physically sacrificed a llama to their false deity. We were able to give out well over 5,000 tracts to the vast throngs of people who gathered that day. Please pray that the Word will not return void and that all glory will go to the SON of God rather than the sun-god.We have been going roughly every other week to a neighboring village to have open-air meetings where, as far as we know, there has never been an evangelical work of any kind. We praise our great God for His marvelous work in saving a man named Victor Rodriguez. It was thrilling to meet for our first discipleship and find out that instead of reading the assigned first chapter of John, he had already read six chapters in the first 24 hours despite a heavy work schedule. Please pray for the continuing growth of Victor. Finally, we have numerous neighbors in the community to whom we have been witnessing. Please pray especially for Efrain, Primo, Hari, Fredy, Wilson, and Fredi to be saved.
Thank you so much for your prayers and support. Because of email problems, we have a new email which is: fitzgeralds2peru at Please email us if possible.
In Christ alone, Buddy and Loren
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