Updates, Changes, Blessings, and Souls!
March 1, 2023
Hello from our summer rainy season in Cajamarca, Peru,
For those of you who receive our prayer letter by email, you’ll notice we’ve made a change so that you can easily print the much nicer version by clicking the link you receive. It has a colorful background and prints great! We have just learned how to use this option in our mailing system. We hope it will be a blessing to you. If anyone receiving the regular snail mail letter would like to change to email, please let us know by emailing us at “email@example.com”.
Political unrest update: If you read our last letter, you know that the former president was arrested, and that the vice-president replaced him. Since then, the country has been in turmoil with riotous protests. They calmed down a bit for the holidays. But as soon as the New Year holiday was over, tens of thousands of protesters in the south of Peru went back to the streets. They took over cities, caused several airports to close, and blocked major highways. The death toll climbed to around 50 or more. A police car was found completely burnt with the officer’s body lying burnt beside it and his three weapons had been taken. A congress woman’s house, a grocery store, and other buildings were burnt to the ground. Firemen were afraid to put the fires out for fear of reprisal. By the first week in February the protests had become mostly peaceful again. Congress has repeatedly denied granting the demands of the protesters. Only time will tell how it will all play out. The majority and worst part of this uprising has been in the southern part of Peru.
On the other side of the coin, here in northern Peru the scene has been quite different. There are smaller protests, little to no violence reported, and roads that are blocked are only closed for a few hours at a time. Cajamarca is known as the Peruvian capital of Carnaval (Mardi Gras). Because of Covid they have not celebrated for the past two years. They are making up for it this year and trying to recuperate many lost tourism dollars. Normally Carnaval is celebrated for about a week. This year they started celebrating around the first of February and continued throughout the month with the central days being the 18th through the 22nd. This included large gatherings for concerts, street fairs, parades, etc. As you can imagine, a lot of alcohol was consumed as they partied in the streets. There was estimated to be over 70,000 tourists in our valley during that time.
Only in Peru: In January I was asked by a national pastor to borrow some of our tables for a wedding. On the evening before the wedding, he and another man came to pick them up. As they began to leave, the pastor invited Carla and I to the wedding. When I told him that I didn’t know the couple he said it was the guy with him picking up the tables and introduced me. Can you say awkward? Then he said he actually wanted to ask me to ‘preach’ at a wedding! Remember, this is the evening before the event. On the night of the 7pm wedding, we arrived on time. As is normal here, most everyone arrives late. No one was there and the church was locked. Long story short, the wedding started a little before 8:30pm. Just another day in Peru. Congrats to Wilmer and Alicia on their marriage.
Speaking of common occurrences in this country, Carla and I continue to wait for a decision by immigrations on our request to change from resident visas to immigrant visa status. We were told it would take weeks. We are now in our fifth month of waiting. Please continue to pray that it will be approved.
In February, a van load of our youth took a day trip to a mountain zoo about one hour away. We are praising God that six souls made decisions for Christ that day!
At the end of February our Cajamarca church held a very successful Vacation Bible School. We had between 90-100 children in attendance along with a good group of mothers who received the Word. Two mothers made professions of faith in Christ! You can see pictures of the VBS and more on our website, www.rich2peru.com.
Bible Ministry Update: We are patiently waiting to hear of the shipping date for the next container of Bibles. The target date is tentative for around April or May. We continue to receive requests weekly from pastors and missionaries in Peru and other countries. Please pray for Victory Baptist Press (VBP) as they work hard to get the precious Word printed and delivered. Also, a big thank you to those who help support VBP in their printing efforts.
May God bless each of you for your faithfulness to pray and support the ministry God has given us here in Peru.
Don & Carla Rich
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