The Yanesha—an indigenous group that speaks Yanesha and Spanish, who live in the jungle region of Peru. A huge spiritual awakening occurred among them when Wycliffe bible translators translated the New Testament into their language in 1970. During this time, a good amount of Yanesha people heard the Gospel; however, due to the influence of indigenous religion, superstition, lack of training, and exposure, there is still work to be done. Many of those that were affected by the spiritual awakening have passed away or simply forgotten.
Carlos and Meredith Block are missionaries in Peru who have a burden for the Yanesha. The Blocks are working to train the local pastors and minister to the youth who do not know the Lord. Like Mercy Hill, they desire to train the natives to reach their own people.
Approximately thirteen hours from Lima sits a Yanesha school of Kindergarteners through Twelfth graders. In Shringamazu (the name of the small village where we were), our team partnered with the missionaries and their interns to teach English (Inglés) as a second language and Religion (Religíon) to Primary and Secondary students. From colors to greetings, our students were learning phrases, playing games, and interacting with one another as they learned English. Along with teaching, we spent every afternoon playing with the students. We quickly saw their immense ability to beat us at about everything we tried to do—from volleyball to four square, spike ball to tag. Seeing relationships grow and trust develop over time lead to an even greater willingness of the students to hear the Gospel, what it had done in our lives, and what it could do in theirs.
A moment that will not be forgotten was in the Religion class with the seventh grade students. John, our team leader, shared the distinction between following a religion versus the Gospel. The students were riveted by the story from Mark 2:1-22 where the paralytic was lowered down to Jesus through the roof of someone’s house. The students were shown how the man’s faith is what ultimately saved him. As John walked around the room, students were quick to recount the story and share what it shows about faith in Jesus and what He has done for us. I was standing in the back of the room where I felt a sense of clarity fall over the students. The lights came on. They heard the Gospel in their own language, internalizing its truth and meaning for their lives.
God is working in the hearts of the young people of Shringamazu and all over the world. Too often I, unintentionally, limit the extent of God’s power and fail to remember how it stretches to the ends of the Earth. As we are reminded of the glorious extent of His power, we are all called to go and tell of the good news of our Father in Heaven. I urge you to pray, as I am, about how you can be involved in the advancement of the Kingdom among the Yanesha and every other people group in the world! Soli Deo Gloria—glory to God alone.
-Rachel Lowman (Mercy Hill Member)