After celebrating the Passover, we got into a bus for Trujillo; nine hours’ bus trip was really exciting. ‘How many members are waiting for us?’
The bus made rest stops every several hours. It was dawning, and after quite a while we arrived at a terminal.
All through the day when we arrived in Trujillo, we shared joy of reunion with about 20 members and studied the Bible.
Peru is located in South America. Its capital, Lima, was a kingpin town Spain built to govern the South American Continent during the colonial period.
For the past one year, I had many chances to share God’s words with Peruvians. Whenever I met them, I wondered what God planned. And I marveled at the Providence when I knew that Lima was the most suitable place as a gateway to the evangelization of the South America.
Early in May, I received the ticket to Lima with a leap of my heart. Just after the ‘Rally of Twenty Thousand Evangelists’ in Seoul, I got aboard the airplane for Lima with a missionary in Goyang; at midnight, May 7, we arrived in Lima. The gross area of Peru, including the upper Amazon, is six times as large as Korea’s. Peru was a far-off country; it took twenty-three hours to get there by airplane.
Some members met our plane. We arrived at the house of Juan where we would stay and then talked over our visit schedule by 2:00 a.m. We decided to firstly visit the members in Baranca, three hours’ distance from Lima by an express bus on Friday; for we were to keep the Sabbath and the Passover with the members in Lima and Baranca. And then we were scheduled to leave for Trujillo at night, May 10 (Sun.). Because of the tight schedule, we had to sleep in a bus.
We would stay in Trujillo until the Third Day; and that night we left for Lima, for we were to return to Korea on Wednesday, May 13 (Wed.).
Most of Peruvian members, who had been baptized in Korea and returned to their country, was living in coast towns along the Pacific, especially in Lima the capital city and Trujillo of the northern coast. It was about nine hours’ distance by bus from Lima to Trujillo.
All the members in Peru were cheerful and confident. Some of them had attended the church in Korea, working hard at work; their faces were still brighter than before.
In Peru, May 10 is ‘Mother’s Day,’ which is one of great annual feasts.
At that time, this day fell on the 2nd Passover, but we could keep the Passover in God’s grace with 23 members including 4 from Trujillo and 7 from Baranca. In Lima, about ten people participated in Bible study; they promised to study next time. fter celebrating the Passover, we got into a bus for Trujillo; nine hours’ bus trip was really exciting. ‘How many members are waiting for us?’ It was quite a long way.
Peru is located in tropical region, and I thought that the weather?would be hot. But unexpectedly, it was cool; for autumn was?coming round. But the coastal region along the Pacific is a desert?and ?wilderness. Throughout the year it does not rain and there?grows no grass. During the trip, we could see only the desert and? ?wilderness on both sides of highway across the South America.
The bus made rest stops every several hours. It was dawning, and after quite a while we arrived at a terminal. Trujillo’s street seemed cleaner than Lima’s.
The difference of Trujillo from Lima is that it has no high building. All through the day when we arrived in Trujillo, we shared joy of reunion with about 20 members and studied the Bible.
At about 11:00 p.m. when we were just about to go to bed, Brother Marco came and told us to visit a member. The previous night we didn’t sleep well, and we were so tired. But at his fervent request, we couldn’t put off our visit next day, and we followed him.
Magarita was a twenty-three-year-old girl. She had five family members including her: parents, younger sister (senior high school student) and youngest brother. Though living in poverty, they seemed happy enough.
From childhood, they’d been deeply religious; they’d attended the Catholic Church, not neglecting prayer and attendance. Magarita had continuously tried to live a godly life as God’s child with sincerity and diligence.
It was last spring that a misfortune befell her family: Unexpectedly her father lost his job. Her family, who had been making a bare living on their father’s income, came to be in difficulties. Her father’s losing his job was a great misfortune threatening her family’s livelihood.
For several months, they managed to live by their neighbors’ help. But they could see no more hope. They had no choice but to live in the desert outside the borders of the city.
Desert is an ownerless place; sometimes the poor, who can’t pay for the house in the city, move into the desert and live there in a dugout. All the year round, it doesn’t rain. That’s why they can live in a mud hut. However, there is no water or electricity or road or store in the desert. It is the place where alienated people, losing their places, live barely, eating cheap bread at three meals.
Peruvians typically eat bread for breakfast, and eat rice with some dishes for lunch and dinner. In Peru, the price of bread is very low enough to buy ten loves at five hundred won (Korean money). So the poor eat only bread at meals.
Magarita’s family had to live such a needy life, and it was their first difficult experience. However they didn’t lose their hope. They kept their faith in God; the more they were troubled, the more they devoted themselves to prayer.
But strangely enough, though several months passed, there was no answer to their prayer. They became worse off than before, that they could hardly just eat bread unless they begged it. Their father made every effort to earn some money, but he didn’t get a job. Their life became more miserable day after day, and they felt that they were driven to the last extremity.
One day, when Magarita came back home, her whole house was thrown into utter confusion. Her father got angry and broke the image of the Virgin Mary. Throwing cross and all other things on the alter out of the house, he cried, “What’s the use of these?”
How long they had been earnestly praying to God! But there was no change in their life. Magarita and her mother wept the night away.
They could hold out because they trusted in God. But after that?night, they came to?think, ‘We’ve become sinners to God. Whom?shall we trust in from now on?’ They could no more pray to God.?Her father even said, “It’s no good believing in God. There’s no use?of the Virgin Mary and cross.”
They believed that God would surely allow their father a new?job,?and prayed to God more earnestly. They spent most of their time praying in the dugout.?In a hut made of grass and wood, they built an altar and put on it an image of the Virgin Mary and cross, and they prayed before the altar.
After several days, her father received a message from his friend running a business in the Amazon basin. His friend told him to work together; his business was prospering there.
Her father explained his family’s difficulties, and said that he would not be able to leave his family alone. Knowing how they lived, his friend advanced money on his salary.
Her father rent a house (though a single room) in the city and let his family move into the house. And then he left, giving his wife some money for living. He sent his family some money every month, and Magarita’s younger brother and sister could continue their studies. Her whole family came to secure their livelihood.
As things were getting better, a question came to arise in Magarita’s heart: ‘My father got a job even after he did an act of blasphemy by breaking the image of the Virgin Mary and cross. Why …?’ It was hard to understand, and she couldn’t tell anyone about that. From that time on, her father never prayed before an image of the Virgin Mary and cross. However, Magarita didn’t throw away her cross necklace and the cross which she had been keeping in her pocket.
After a while, a relative of her named Marco, who had been to Korea, called at her house. Magarita had never seen him going to church; he’d not believed in God. Unusually, however, they began to talk about their religion; Magarita told him what happened to her family and all her doubts about it. That night, she did not get to sleep easily, because she heard about idols through the Bible and saw many biblical and historical testimonies showing the change of the truth by the Catholic Church.
From that time, Magarita continued studying the Bible. And her mother and brother and sister came to get interested in the Bible study; their hearts began to be stirred by words of truth. Everything was clear; with their hearts they understood what God’s will was.
All her doubts about what happened to her family during the year were cleared up. One day, her whole family gathered together and decided to get rid of all the idols in their house and not to go to mass on Sunday. And beginning with the Sabbath, they came to hold a prayer meeting in their home.
Following Marco, we passed through an narrow alley and came to a house which was a 10-minute walk from our lodgings. We went upstairs, and there was a gate leading into a corridor; on both sides of the corridor were many rooms. It seemed that lots of households lived in that house and each of them occupied just one of the small rooms.
We took our seat at the table and began to share God’s words late at night. At 12 a.m. we were about to finish, but Magarita asked us to study more.It was already 1 a.m., and Magarita still wanted to study more. We were touched by her earnestness, and made an appointment with her for eight o’clock next day.
Next morning, we had Bible study with Magarita, her mother and younger brother and sister; after studying, they were all baptized and became members of our spiritual family.
Though we met them just twice, there was no doubt that it was a reunion after long separation. We found our dear brothers and sisters at length, and they came to know that their true Parents had come to seek them.
Now, it was time to leave. Magarita was unwilling to part. Hearing her saying good-bye, we repressed our tears. How much she’d been troubled, wandering in this bleak world! With a promise to meet again, we parted.
That night I returned to Lima with Missionary Kim. Next day we got into an airplane for Seoul. I felt that I left my sister like a gentle lamb alone in a wild plain full of wolves without water or food.
“Dear sister! Until we meet again, do not waver but stand firm on the rock of the truth we preached to you. Believe the power of God and His help. God will let us meet again soon. At that time let’s talk about our previous life, described in the Bible, to our hearts’ content.”
I remember her calling the new name carefully with joyful eyes.
Our 144,000 brothers and sisters all over the world! Pray for our dear brothers and sisters in Peru!