The history of missionary activity in Peru spans many decades. Many missionary families and single ladies comprise the missionary team committed to reaching Peru's 29.6 million souls. While we certainly praise the Lord for these dedicated missionaries, the prominently shocking ratio of approximately 1,114,285 Peruvians for every one missionary helps put into perspective just how urgently many, many more missionaries are needed!
Peru's rich Inca, Quechua, and Aymara Indian ancestry, combined with the strong influence of the Spanish conquistadors, has provided this beautiful Andean nation with a truly unique culture. The third largest country in South America both in size and population, Peru has the distinction of having served as the focal point of the ancient Inca Empire beginning in the 13th century, as well as the hub of the Spanish Empire in South America, beginning in the 16th century. Peru gained her independence from Spain in July 1821.
Peruvians are a warm-hearted people whose relaxed society enjoys a relatively stable government and economy. However, the per capita GDP of approximately $8,000 is less than one-fourth of that of the United States. It is reported that there are those who subsist on the equivalent of $1 US a day.
Peru hosts an estimated 2.5 million enthusiastic tourists annually. The Inca citadel known as Machu Picchu, world renowned for the spectacular topography, is the most iconic of Peru's seemingly countless significant historical sites and attractions. The name "Machu Picchu" means "Old Mountain" in the Quechua language, and is often referred to as "the great city in the clouds." The Inca's centuries old sacred city is situated in the Andes Mountains at an altitude of approximately 8,000 feet above sea level and is surrounded by peaks reaching heights of as much as 14,000 feet. Machu Pichu is considered one of the world's greatest wonders and most intriguing archaeological sites. It is believed to have served three purposes: a sacred place of worship, an astronomic observatory and an exclusive, private retreat for the ancient Inca rulers.
Here is something that many people may not know about Peru. The next time you eat mashed potatoes, french fries, or a baked potato, you may want to thank a Peruvian. It is a fact that the humble potato got its start high in the Andes Mountains that are now part of Peru. Potatoes were first introduced in Europe when returning Spanish conquerors carried them back from Peru around the year 1570. Today, the potato has become the fourth most eaten food product in the world after corn, wheat, and rice. There are an estimated 3,800 varieties of potatoes grown in Peru. Another interesting fact is that Americans consume approximately 130 pounds of the tasty spuds annually. Thank you Peru for the potato!
Lima, Peru's capital city, centrally located along the country's Pacific coastline, is the country's largest population center with some eight million residents. Over the years, BIMI missionaries have established thriving churches and a successful Christian day school as well as a flourishing deaf ministry and school in Lima. Chiclayo, Huancayo, Arequipa, and Tacna are other strategic locations where our personnel have planted churches. Yet hundreds of Peruvian cities, towns and villages, ranging from the highlands of the Andes to the jungles of the Amazon, are still at worst completely unreached or at best, under-evangelized with the Gospel.
From Iquitos, Peru's most northern city with a population of nearly a half a million souls, to Arequipa, one of the southernmost cities and the country's second largest population center with approximately 850,000 souls, there truly are boundless opportunities for evangelism, church planting, the establishment of training centers for national workers, deaf works, youth camps, and many more areas of ministry, but the laborers are few. Who will pray for Peru? Who will go to Peru? Who will hear and answer God's call? Will you?
© Baptist International Missions, Inc. 2016