In Evangelism

In January-March of 2017, Mike and Kerry Fischer spent three months living in Peru “to help us figure out if we could realistically handle longer-term ministry there”.

One morning in early 2017, we found ourselves walking up a narrow, winding and (it must be said) somewhat risky road in the Cotahuasi Canyon, Peru.

We say “risky” because, being the wet season, landslides and rockfalls were frequent and often made the road impassable for vehicles. Our purpose was to visit the church in the remote village of Locrahuanca with SIM missionaries Stephan and Corné Walters, and encourage the believers there.

The trip had started easily enough, with the Walters’ 4WD taking on the damp and muddy terrain with ease. Every now and then we’d have to stop, and Stephan would pull out a long iron crow bar, and we’d take turns levering large boulders out of the way, which had fallen down the mountainside onto the track.

But within a few kilometres of the village, we rounded a corner and there in front of us was a landslide of mud and rocks, completely blocking the road. This was going to need a bulldozer, not a crow bar! So it was time to park the 4WD and start walking.

The problem was that this was going to make us very late for church, even by Andean standards. But we had no choice, and Stephan and Corné figured that even if we missed out on the meeting, at least we would find Christian villagers to visit and encourage.

We arrived in the village and made our way to the house where the meeting was to be held, half expecting to find that everyone had gone home and was getting on with their day. But, no! The people were on their knees, praying for our safe arrival, and were chuffed to see us walk into the courtyard.

Then church began. No music besides Quechua voices singing the age-old truths of God’s gospel in their distinctive, beautiful Andean manner. Heartfelt prayers were offered up to the God who hears. I gave the Bible talk from one of the Psalms, Stephan translating for everyone. People eagerly followed every word, keenly checking things out in their own Bibles, much like the Bereans did (see Acts 17:11). Then another song, a closing prayer, and it was time for lunch!

From an Australian culinary point of view, lunch was a humble meal indeed—and yet, from a hospitality point of view, it was a humbling meal! For here were these faithful people, providing generously out of their poverty. In fact, when you look at it like that, we don’t think we’ve ever eaten more richly in our lives.

So why did we, hosted by Stephan and Corné, take the trouble to visit the church in Locrahuanca? Well, in many ways, this church is typical of many churches through much of the Andean region. They are small churches in small villages, and these Christians suffer a lot of ridicule and rejection from their neighbours.

For all this, though, their real need is not that their lives as Christians may become “easier”, but that their churches will have their own trained and established leadership. In the case of Locrahuanca, the two men who were leading the church died a few years ago, and since then their wives have been organising things and doing the best they can. So while outsiders visiting these churches and taking Bible teaching to them is much appreciated, it would be far better if local Christians could obtain ministry training, so that these churches can have their own pastors.

This is the kind of work that Kerry and I are aiming to do. No doubt from time to time we will have opportunities to visit and teach particular churches in the southern Andes of Peru—and we will cherish and embrace these opportunities. But the focus of our ministry, God-willing, will be to find ways of making Bible training accessible for people in these remote and impoverished areas. For if we want to see healthy churches and mature believers in these villages (and we do!), then we need healthy teaching of the Bible, and therefore “faithful people, who can teach others also” (1 Timothy 2:2).

Mike Fischer has been an occasional contributor to Life News. Over the past 30 years, he has pastored several churches in Western Australia. He and his wife, Kerry, are currently raising support to serve as missionaries in Peru. They are being sent out by SIM. If you wish to support them financially and/or prayerfully, email your postal address to them at and they will send a support card your way.

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