The saying goes that a picture is worth 1,000 words, and while it may not be apparent at first glance, the photo above communicates the four effects of the gospel that shape our church.
The Gospel Saves
This photo was taken in the spring of 2017 and posted in a recent newsletter from our missionaries, Carlos and Meredith Block, who serve the indigenous people in the jungles of central Peru.
In this picture are the community’s church leaders. Today the number of churches and leaders are small but growing. Forty years ago was a different story. That generation had not heard the good news—that God’s Son came to earth to die for them and rose again to give them victory over sin and death—until two women risked their lives and health to trek into the unknown and bring light to those living in darkness.
In this picture is the heritage of those women’s audacious faith. Nearly 2,000 years and 8,000 miles from where Jesus walked the earth, his Spirit moved when the gospel was shared and the people heard and new life began.
The Gospel Sanctifies
In this picture are not simply converts, but disciple makers. Many people see the gospel as a ticket to heaven but having little impact on daily life. In their culture, hardships (which are many) are often viewed as consequences for being at odds with spiritual realities. Remedy is sought either through superstitious practices or moral improvement. But the believers in this picture know God’s approval is not earned but rather given through the gospel. God’s grace fuels their love for him and motivates them to love others above themselves.
In this picture are leaders who, by the power of the gospel, are persevering against temptation in order to disciple others and build up Christ’s church.
The Gospel Gathers
In this picture is one of their church buildings. There are no steeples or stained glass. The only décor are the roughly hewed wooden benches. But this is where believers gather regularly to be instructed by God’s Word and sing out in adoration of Christ. With few believers among them, the encouragement of other believers fortifies their faith.
In this picture we don’t just see individuals who share a common interest, but a new family committed to using their gifts to strengthen each other and collectively make a difference in their broader community.
The Gospel Sends
In this picture are men and women committed to helping others hear the gospel. Whereas sin puts self at the center, the gospel reorients us to put others first. And once we become convinced that Jesus deserves all the glory, we want others to know him too.
The occasion of this photo was a meeting to plan trips throughout indigenous communities where the gospel would be shared. Much of the work our missionaries focus on is equipping indigenous believers to reach and disciple other indigenous people groups and even to mobilize Peruvians to reach other nations with the gospel.
Carlos and Meredith Block will be visiting Mercy Hill at our upcoming Missions Expo during the annual Sent Weekend. Come hear more of what God is doing in central Peru on Monday, February 12th.
-Bryan Miller (Missions Director)