Peru 2014, Addendum

PLEASE PRAY FERVENTLY AND CONTINUALLY for International Mission Board (IMB) missionaries John and Jessica Phalm and their five children in Peru. Their home in Lima is in jeopardy and they need a nice sized safe environment to raise their family as they serve the King of Kings. Losing their home could force them into a cramped apartment in a dangerous area.

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Peru 2014, Heading Home

April 7 We went to Lima Beach today. We saw surfers and picked up a few rocks. We shopped for souvenirs. Jessica and Laura went parasailing over the beach area. We went back to the motel, got our luggage and went to the airport. Our flight is a “red eye,” and is scheduled to take off after 11 PM.

April 8 We had a safe flight home, and then a van ride across south Florida, compliments once again of First Baptist Church of Port Charlotte, and Chuck and Larry. (Bruce Baxter’s wife picked him up at the airport. His health was much improved by this time). We ate breakfast at the Crackle Barrel and arrived at FBPC just prior to noon. Pastor Jim McCarty and the staff welcomed us home under the portico in the pouring rain. It was a great trip of archaeological interest and adventure, but much more importantly it was a great week serving for the Kingdom of God and reaching souls for Christ. I will forever be appreciative to the leadership at FBPC for allowing me to join with them in this exciting venture. Their mission endeavors are going along very well and I am grateful to have had a part in one of them.

AMEN & AMEN!

Peru 2014, The Great Commission, Part III

April 5 We handed out water and invited people to the City Church today. This church is bilingual. It is a contemporary church for professionals and English is the primary language. We gave away much water and shared the Gospel as well. We then went to John Phalm’s house and watched the Final Four game between the University of Connecticut (63) and Florida (53). Bruce Baxter was suffering from severe bronchitis. He needs our prayers. (Following this rough night, Bruce Baxter had a miraculous turn around before we headed for home).

April 6 We will go to two church services today. One at 10AM, the City Church for professionals, located at the Hotel El Polo, across the street from the American Embassy. We then have a 4PM service scheduled at the Summit Baptist Church in Pampalimay, Peru. I am scheduled to preach and am looking forward to it. We attended the La Ciudad (City Church) and it was a great blessing. Pastor Josh preached on hope at the 10AM Service. There was a younger crowd, many children, and professionals.
We then went to the Summit Baptist Church in Pampalimay, Peru. I preached on The Lamb Of God, Revelation 13:8b. There was one profession of faith during the altar call: Efraim Chavez Praise God! He asked for the forgiveness of sins and we explained where it came from.
We then went to the mall. The girls were all giddy–I think because they were relieved from a very strenuous week. It has been a great week and one half of missions. Now we are ready for a free day and then the trip home. We are all experiencing a “good” tired.

Peru 2014, The Great Commission, Part II

April 3 Once again we went to Pampalimay. Martin’, Midge and I reaffirmed the Gospel with Jacqueline. We shared the Gospel with Nicole, her mother Lida, and their next door neighbor Ana. All three made professions. Midge’s testimony of how God saw her through trials in life was an invaluable tool for our witness to these folks. So in the last two days our team had four professions of faith, including our first three people we spoke with this morning:
Jacqueline Llanquecha (yesterday)
Lida Teniente
Nicole Teniente
Ana Baltazar

PLEASE PRAY FOR THESE PEOPLE

After our efforts were blessed by God so beautifully, several requirements came to mind for the those who share their faith:
1)To be saved yourself.
2)To be living in obedience to God and walking in the Holy Spirit.
3)We need to have a burden for the lost.
4)Last but not least- we need discernment.

April 4 Mariela Peralta made a profession of faith with another team yesterday. Our visit was to reaffirm her decision. We later had a fifth profession of faith today: Yeraldine Anicama of MZ3 LOS PINOS, Pampalimay. (PLEASE PRAY FOR HER). Amazingly, she never heard of the Gospel of salvation person to person before today. She was exposed to it only through a movie on Jesus. Yeraldine was especially concerned with the “belief in the heart” aspect of the Gospel– in other words, she realized that it is much more than lip service. She seems to really understand what a true commitment to Jesus Christ, and salvation through the new birth really is. We spoke with Elviz and Midge had her picture taken next to him. He showed interest in the Gospel without the desire for a true commitment at this time.
The church in our community is pastored by:
Lincoln Chasnamate
La Cumbre (The Summit Church)
Ecclesia Baptista
Pampalimay, Peru

(PLEASE PRAY FOR THE PASTOR AND THIS CHURCH)

Peru 2014, The Great Commission, Part I

March 31 A few of our folks, especially Laura Zapata, are suffering due to the altitude and food poisoning. Through prayer and the grace of God, they are coming along well. We took our flight today from Cusco to Lima to prepare for a week of evangelism in the outskirts of Lima. I had a great talk with our daughter Jessica on the plane about missions. Jessica is doing a great job leading our team. Jessica Phalm, our host IMB missionary, helped us travel back and forth on this archaeological adventure. We could not have done it without her. We will see John and Jessica and their five children. I asked Jessica Phalm what the greatest needs were for IMB missionaries. She said a display of concern by people was their greatest need. Examples: A pastor who went to one of their children’s events, people who send e-mails to them, showing concern and checking up on them. The support of their sending church and other churches, things sent that would help them. All these things are what IMB missionaries need.
We met John Phalm at our hotel along with four of their children. We will fellowship with their family tomorrow and determine our itinerary for the coming week.

April 1 We met John Phalm today for an orientation. He shared that we will witness in Pampalimay tomorrow and throughout this week. We will hand out water bottles on Saturday at l de Mayo. We are to evangelize and to community organize. John emphasized the need to follow up on people’s professions of faith by asking them “if they know they are saved and going to heaven” the next day or so. This was wise counsel. Many make superficial professions of faith without even fully understanding salvation. We enjoyed great fellowship, dinner, and birthday celebrations with John and Jessica Phalm and their five beautiful children in the evening. I was able to speak with my wife Teresa, and our daughter Jessica spoke with her as well. (The Phalms have a telephone plan with toll free calling to Orlando, Florida).

April 2 We went to Pampalimay. My translator Martin’ and I went out into the community to share Christ. Our third teammate Midge Jacobson was still sick and unable to be with us on this date. Martin’ and I shared the Gospel with Jacqueline, and she made a profession of faith. Later on, we spoke with a young woman Nicole (22), and she was under conviction for salvation, asking several very good questions. We desired to follow up with her tomorrow first thing! It was a great day, walking in the sand flea infested hills in this town on the outskirts of Lima. Midge Jacobson is getting better and will join us tomorrow.

Peru 2014 “A God Thing”

March 27 We left Port Charlotte for Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood Airport on the morning of March 27. We thought we were ready. Our driver, believing we had more than enough time to spare, took the “scenic” route south on Tamiami Trail and into Punta Gorda before going south on I-75. In the back seat, Laura Zapata’s backpack opened up and her things fell backwards, and unto the luggage behind us. I was in a position to retrieve them, and while putting her things back in her pack, I discovered a nightmare! I spent several months securing 7,000 – 8,000 Hispanic tracts for our mission trip. We had so many, we packed them in two separate suitcases. We left them at the church! We immediately turned back and retrieved them, and still with a large time buffer prior to our flight. Since our driver started out with a slower route, we returned quickly, retrieved the tracts and were off once again. If those tracts failed to get to missionaries John and Jessica Phalm, I would have been sick. God used a broken backpack to get the job done, just like He uses broken things in our lives to accomplish His purposes. Are there dark clouds in your life? Have great faith and expect showers of blessings! Pastor Steve

Peru 2014, The Inca Culture, Part II

Blog author at Machu Picchu.  One cannot take a bad picture of this site.  It is surreal.

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March 30 “It would take 4 days to walk the length of the local Inca Empire. It is roughly 150 miles in length. They had runners, who like the Pony Express, carried news across the empire.

We handed out many tracts today, including to our Machu Picchu tour guide, and to a lady named Christy from Austria. We also shared the Gospel.

Today we toured Machu Picchu. It is one of the 7 wonders of the modern world. Words cannot describe it. Machu Picchu means “old mountain.” The Inca Empire lasted from 1200 AD to 1500 AD, when the Conquistadors came upon the scene and conquered them. The site included agriculture, urban area, temples, archaeo-astronomy, a large two story store house, regular homes, a royal house, a guard house, several sacrificial sites, and many other buildings. We learned countless details about the location. There is one main gate where everyone walks into the city. One can see the Inca Trail coming down to the city. There is a wide path that separates the urban from the agricultural areas of the city. The Inca Trail goes 150 miles from Machu Picchu to Cusco.

Special Notes on Machu Picchu:

There are several solar, lunar and stellar sites. One announces summer (June 21) and another announces winter (December 21). Yet another serves as a calendar.

Storage rooms are two stories.

There are over 200 homes, hence 800 inhabitants.

The gold and silver present indicate this is a royal retreat.

There are sacrificial altars everywhere for animals. Our guide sidestepped whether they were for humans as well. The guides gave a sanitized version, because the Incas did indeed sacrifice people. They were sacrificed to the sun, moon, mountain, agricultural, rain gods, etc., etc. They would kidnap children from nearby lands and offer them in pairs (boy, girl).

There are many temples as well. For instance, the temple of the three windows represents the lower, middle (present), and future- serpent, puma, condor. The puma is now. This false trilogy is replete in their religion.

Indentations in the walls are for storage.

Protruding or extended upper walls and other niches are for affixing roofs.

There are several models of Machu Picchu all over the premises. They carved the rock model to the dimensions. They worship their land and the sun.

Incas buried their dead in the fetal position, believing that death was a new beginning and new life.

Royalty are buried in special buildings, whereas the common man was buried in tombs in the side of the mountains.

The Spanish never got to Machu Picchu because it was on the fringe of the empire, far removed from Cusco. The Incas abandoned it so the Conquistadors were unable to find it.

The bull was used to symbolize the Spanish during the time of the Incas. It now adorns the roofs of homes as a good luck charm (amulet).

There are water drainage systems throughout Machu Picchu. There are water supply systems as well. They are all beautifully hidden from view. They are similar to Roman Aqueducts.

The doors have stones in place that are similar but not exactly the same as the Roman arch. There is a stone at the top- a capstone or keystone.

Cusco is 10,800- 11,000 feet high. That comes to two miles above sea level.

People near Cusco still practice the Inca religion.

Summary- Why highlight the archaeology, religion, culture and history of a pagan people such as the Incas? Because it reveals ancient man in microcosm. It displays the beliefs of the ancients that are not far removed from those of unbelievers in the beginning of human history (Genesis 1-11). It shows that archaeo-astronomy exists in all ancient cultures and can be found everywhere in the world and not just at Stonehenge. Here are four great common denominators that are found in EVERY ancient culture of the world:
1)The global flood story is in the historical annals of 270 ancient civilizations.
2)Pyramids, including but not limited to archaeo-astronomy.
3)Dinosaurs.
4)Giants. A recent news splash has highlighted the Peruvian giants. The ancient stories of fallen demonic men and giants are found throughout the world. (Genesis 6).

Machu Picchu (photo by Jim Dobson)

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The remaining entries on Peru 2014 will detail the most important part of our trip- on mission for Jesus Christ and sharing the Gospel.

Peru 2014, The Inca Culture, Part 1

The following is all taken from my journal, without which I would have already forgotten much of what I now share:

March 28 “We then went sight seeing, observing Inca remains all around Cusco. We saw an Inca military fortress, a tomb area where mummies were left. We observed many Inca ruins near Lima, and learned about the Inca Trail and the Inca Valley. It takes four days to walk the entire trail. They sent messengers on this route, in order to deliver important information. This was the Inca Pony Express. We will start tomorrow by touring churches in Cusco as well as see other things, and then we will head out to Machu Picchu. No one has been sick yet. Cusco’s elevation is 10,000 feet which is two miles. Midge and I had the opportunity to share the Gospel, using Spanish Life/Death cards, with a young Peruvian boy named Alfredo.”

March 29 “We visited the Sacred Valley of the Incas. We passed unforgettable landscape of the towering Andes mountains and the terraced features on the side of the mountains which is the trademark of the Inca people. We first passed through Pisac and later saw the unforgettable landscape of the Urubamba Valley. We came to Ollantaytambo, considered the only inhabited Inca village in the world. During the Inca Empire, it was the royal estate for Manco Inca Yupanqui, who led the resistance against the Spanish. We saw the impressive fortress of Ollantaytaytambo.

Fascinating things we saw:
1)Inca walls hooked together with “jigsaw piece” blocks. The pieces were locked together on the other side, cut in a different way, to forever strengthen them. Exactly how they did this remains a mystery.

2)Stones were left on the ground incomplete, and knobs were left in the stones, used to transport them, revealing that the Incas fled the building site due to the rapid advance of the Spanish Conquistadors.

3)Walls were “earthquake proofed” through making them lean inward (the walls were never straight), and building a thin buffer stone between the huge stones that acted as a shock absorber and took the impact and cracked, leaving the large stones untouched. I took pictures of a cracked shock absorber.

4)The walls were shaped as trapezoids and NOT square or rectangular, again as yet another measure to make their buildings earthquake proof.

5)The natural tree line starts at 12,000 feet. The Aussies later planted Eucalyptus trees above the tree line.

6)Snow capped mountains start at 16,000 feet. We saw many snow capped mountains.

7)One of the highlights of the day was sharing the Gospel with Hughgo, a boy who sold us a few things. We gave him a Hispanic Life/Death card. We shared “how one can become saved,” with Hughgo. He was a kind boy.

We took the train to Machu Picchu where we went to our hostel for the night.”

March 30………..to be continued in part 2.

Peru– Climate, Topography, Geography and Culture

Peru is a very mountainous land. There are even mountains jutting up throughout Lima. The spine of the Andes mountains covers a great deal of this nation. Lima is a desert city of about eight million in population. While in the city, there is little awareness of the desert region it is in, however, as soon as one goes to the outskirts of Lima, many areas look like the film set to Lawrence Of Arabia. There is nothing but sand laced with pre Inca ruins. It NEVER rains there. Our host IMB missionary John Phalm said that after serving there for many years, he recalls only a couple occasions where rain came down in drops. That is why the famous Nazca lines south of Lima have been perfectly preserved! They have dark cloud build ups much like south Florida, but only a fine mist comes forth. The water in this metropolis is supplied through rivers, aqueducts and irrigation. The Peruvian people are obviously largely Hispanic and most will tell you they “speak a little English.” Their weather was about the same as south Florida at the time of our visit. They are headed for their winter as we approach summer. They have no freezes or frost as they are only eighteen degrees from the equator (we are thirty six degrees from the equator). They have a dry heat and lack our awful humidity which is nice. Peru is a poor country but nothing like Haiti or countries in Africa. Cusco was the following city we visited via plane after we landed in Lima. It is cool even in the summer because it is 11,000 feet above sea level. That is two miles high! Most people are affected by altitude sickness in one way or another. I woke up with severe headaches and by the grace of God they were gone after a couple of aspirin. Cusco is the heart and soul of the Inca Valley and Inca Trail. We visited many archaeological sites here. Cusco is also the stepping stone to Machu Picchu and we took a train from Cusco to Machu Picchu. When traveling throughout the Andes to Machu Picchu, one observes many snow capped mountains in the distance. An Austrian lady told me that she thought the Andes were superior to her native Alps in both size and beauty. The beauty of Machu Picchu cannot be put into words and even pictures do not do it justice. The famous site is actually lower than Cusco at about 8000 feet (one and one half miles). The Inca Trail and Inca Valley between Cusco and Machu Picchu is filled with Peruvians who cling to some of the culture and religion of the original Incas. There is also a strong Catholic presence here. Yes, it would be great grounds for evangelism. The Peruvians take pride in their cuisine and it is indeed very good. I had a hamburger in Machu Picchu prior to boarding a train for Cusco. It was good, and even a casual glance at the meat would tell one that it did not come from what we are use to in the USA. I will spare you from going into detail about some of their sources for meat. There are a plethora of Peruvian dishes that a visitor should try. We stayed in a hostel in Lima the first night, and in Machu Picchu the third night. They are basically abbreviated hotels. One gets their own bedroom/bath, yet common space is limited and there are rather tight quarters. I never heard the phrase “bed bugs” on the entire trip, yet I do not think I was the only one who thought of them. Praise God there were none. Our IMB hosts John and Jessica Phalm and from our end Jessica Thompson did a marvelous job coordinating the rather complex logistics during our first few days. Things went well because of prayer and careful planning. Peruvians are a bit insulted when we tell them that …”back in America we…” Their retort is “we are from South America.” It is best to identify our nation as the USA or “back in the states.” After a three day archaeological adventure that took us to eastern Peru and skirting the jungles of the Amazon River basin, we made our way back to Lima for the real purpose of our trip— a solid week of mission work and evangelism.

Peru 2014 Mission Trip/Archaeological Adventure

…….just returned from what I call the land of enchantment, filled with the Nazca lines, Ica Stones, Inca Culture and one of the seven wonders of the world– Macchu Picchu. This mission trip lasted from March 27- April 8, 2014. I will soon have in depth entries on the mission endeavors, the culture, climate, etc. of Peru, and the fascinating history of the Inca people, including their history, religion, and archaeology. What was the highlight of the trip? Observing many professions of faith throughout our week on the outskirts of Lima, including that of Efraim Chavez at the Summit Baptist Church (Spanish name: Iglesia Bautista Missionera Jesus, La Roca) in Pampalimay on April 6, 2014 at the altar call after preaching on The Lamb Of God, Revelation 13:8b. Joy is simply winning souls to Christ. It does not get any better than this. Blessings, Pastor Steve