Wonders in Peru

Marino Hautangare stands in the Andes, above an unreached town targeted for evangelism by his ministry.

July 2007 marked a monumental historical event in Peru. Machu Picchu, "the Lost City of the Incas" was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Hundreds cheered and celebrated when the announcement was made worldwide from Lisbon, Portugal. Meanwhile, in remote regions of Peru and without any fanfare, indigenous missionaries are also witnessing wondrous events as they carry the gospel to unreached souls from the Andes Mountains to the jungles of the Amazon.

Witchcraft, alcoholism and idol worship are prevalent, but headhunters and cannibals have also been known to inhabit the land. Catholicism (mixed with ancient rituals and beliefs) was, and still is, an obstacle to the gospel. In the 1980s a communist movement in Peru, known as the Shining Path, turned to violence and its terrorists massacred countless citizens.

Teaching materials provided through gifts form Christian Aid donors.

Earthquakes, drought, floods, mud slides, and rough terrain also make contact difficult. By the grace of God, however, the gospel is now being spread to under-evangelized native ethnic groups and some totally unreached inhabitants of the Amazon jungle by men like Marino Huatangare.

Marino once lived in the jungle of Jaen, Cajamarca, with his parents who were farmers. He grew up in an environment of drinking and fighting. His family played tarot cards looking for oracles. In 1964 a missionary visited Jaen and preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many lives were transformed.

In 1965 another evangelistic crusade came to town. This time Marino, who desperately wanted to change his life, gave his heart to the Lord Jesus Christ.

As the angels in heaven rejoiced over his salvation, the demons of discouragement began their assault. First, he was kicked out of his home by his mother when she found out he had become a Christian. After several months, however, his family saw the truth and power of the gospel, and they also gave their lives to Christ.

Provision for the elderly

Later, while making preparations for schooling, he was suddenly attacked with tumors growing from his neck and armpits. His parents took him to the city of Chiclayo for medical treatment. There he was diagnosed with cancer and told he had three months to live.

It was at this very time that the Lord showed him a verse: "When Jesus heard that, he said, 'This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified'." John 11:4. His pastor and many others prayed. After several months, the tumors began to disappear. Marino survived, went to Bible college and graduated in 1973. He went to the Andes to begin a new work. In 1974 he married Luz Vasquez, who has been his helpmate and coworker ever since.

During the next several years, Marino and Luz moved about from place to place with their growing family, planting churches in communities where the gospel had never been heard.

New Life Evangelistic Ministry (NLEM) was built upon this foundation of faith: "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it;" Psalm 127:1. Beginning at first as a radio outreach in 1985, NLEM has grown into a full-time evangelistic ministry. Christian Aid donors have been assisting NLEM since then, as workers employ various strategies in reaching Quechuan and other unreached Peruvian tribes. Traveling by horseback, donkey or on foot, they hold week-long crusades in rural areas. Luz helps by weaving shoes and also conducts a mercy ministry during the crusade, where she distributes the food, clothing and medication collected for the poor who may attend these meetings.

Street evangelism and Christian music concerts are directed toward youth. Marino hopes to draw these teenagers away from futility and into new life through Jesus Christ.

Preaching the gospel on the streets attracts many curious town folk.

The radio ministry is still functioning and broadcasts three times a week reaching areas where there is scant Christian activity. Many respond with questions and requests for teaching tapes, Bibles, and other Christian literature.

Help is also given for the elderly, who are provided with food, clothing, medication and Bibles. Poverty stricken children are receiving schooling with a Christian emphasis, and are given food, clothing, and school supplies. There are outreaches to families in crisis, where there is alcoholism, abuse, a lack of life's necessities and poverty in spirit.

Marino and more than 30 full-time workers have planted over 200 churches in these difficult areas. As the ministry grows, the needs increase. Horses and donkeys make travel possible throughout the most hazardous geography of Peru. New churches are being built. Complete Bibles, New Testaments, literature, and tapes are in constant demand for new believers, students, and missionaries-in-training, as well as the seekers. The radio ministry has ongoing operational expenses. Many missionaries in the field receive monthly support from generous donors through Christian Aid, but this need has also increased.

While many celebrate the New Seven Wonders of the World, native missionaries in Peru rejoice over the expansion of His kingdom among their people.

He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted." Job 9:10