First Seminar in South America
Field Report on Peru Seminar
by Missionary Jung Yoo-jin
First Footsteps on the Other Side of the Globe
The seminar in Peru was especially meaningful because it was the first proclamation of the Word of redemptive history in South America. Peru is located across the Pacific Ocean and on the opposite side of the equator from South Korea. In total, it takes more than a day to reach Peru from South Korea. It starts with an 11-hour flight from Incheon to Los Angeles, followed by a layover and subsequent 8-hour flight to Lima, the capital of Peru. When I returned to South Korea, my arrival date was two days later, which made me realize how distant Peru is from Korea.
Peru is well known through TV travel channels for Machu Picchu - the cradle of Inca civilizations located 2,430 meters above sea level. Peru is the 20th largest country in the world, which is 6.5 times larger than the Korean peninsula. In South America, Peru only trails Brazil and Argentina in size. A wide variety of temperate climates occur due to the size and terrestrial shape of the country. Geographically, Peru passes through the Andes while the Amazon region is located in eastern Peru. Our group stayed in a town called Comas, which is located about an hour's drive from Lima and surrounded by dust and sand.
The impetus for most redemptive history seminars originate from a single faithful follower. For the Peru seminar, it was Missionary Il-kyun Chung. After reading the redemptive history series for the first time, he began searching for the nearest church where he could learn the Word of redemptive history in more detail. He reached out to Dongsan Central Church in Changwon shepherded by Pastor Chun-kook Lee. Since then, he has been studying the Word of redemptive history at the Redemptive History Academy on Geoje Island. He spent 10 years in Peru and 10 years in Mexico as a missionary before coming back to Korea on a sabbatical. He hoped that the Word of redemptive history would spread and soon be proclaimed there as well. Indeed, one book of the redemptive history series evangelized a nation.
Arriving after midnight on April 17th, we unpacked and started to prepare for the seminar the very next day. Early in the morning we purchased items for the seminar and checked the registration table, chairs, and table settings in the seminar room. Banners, badges, seminar materials, and souvenirs – each of these needed close attention. With so much work, I longed for the support of our devoted church members who are always there to help. I came to better appreciate the importance of our church family.
"Muy Rico" (Very Delicious)
The seminar was held for pastors and church leaders on April 18th and 19th at the Aliantha Church. Three lectures were held per day and, as always, Pastor Philip Lee’s enthusiasm captivated the eyes, ears, and hearts of those who attended. He seemed to have spent the night practicing Spanish. Participants wondered why he needed an interpreter when he could write Spanish so well. The interpreter was Miss Seon-hwa Chung, the daughter of Missionary Il-kyun Chung. She had grown up in South America since the age of 10. Her fluent Spanish during the seminar embraced the audience, making everyone feel part of a family united through the Word.
The longevity of the godly patriarchs, the transmission of faith of Adam, the transfiguration of Enoch, and the contemporaneous years of Noah and Abraham… after realizing such mysterious administration of God hidden in the genealogies of Adam, not even the hot and dry air or lack of air conditioning could restrain everyone’s amazement.
When the lecture was over, the audience shouted “muy rico!” meaning “delicious!” They exclaimed “it is the first time that we have ever heard such a Word of God.” It was a wonderful expression, full of spiritual satisfaction and abundance. It was the best praise that anyone could hear for the lecture. Some audience members wished they could have brought their friends. Those who came from afar originally planned to attend only one day, but ended up staying overnight at the pastor’s house to attend both days. Pastors in Peru have daytime jobs in order to make a living, so it was amazing to see over 100 pastors attending the seminar.
Most of the pastors asked us to teach more, saying "We will spread the Word if you teach us." A pastor and his wife from a distant alpine region attended both days of the seminar and even came to the airport when we departed. They asked us to return to Peru soon for another seminar.
A Next Seminar Booked, to be Hosted by a Large Peruvian Church Group
The Aliantha church provided the seminar space, but did not seem interested in the seminar initially. Once the seminar began, however, it soon caught their attention. One of the associate pastors from Aliantha church sat for a lecture and then cancelled his Bible study schedule just to attend the remainder of the seminar. The church office, after listening to the initial lectures, apologized for not actively supporting the seminar from the beginning. For the remainder of the seminar, they contributed their help as if it was their own church event. The Aliantha Church is a large denomination in this region. Pastor Francisco, who is responsible for the church, promised to organize a redemption history seminar on their own. He also said that he will visit Korea with Pastor Sesear, the president of the large church group, to attend the August 2017 summer conference in Yeoju.
Catholicism is the predominant religion followed by over 80% of the population in Peru. About 10% of the population is Christian. For that reason, there are a lot of Peruvians named after biblical figures such as John, Peter, Andrew, Mary, and even Jesus! Of course, it is hard to say if most of them are devout believers. Many South Americans say that they only go to church three times in their lifetime - when they are born, when they get married, and when they die. Teaching the Word of redemptive history in Peru for the first time, therefore, felt like we were sowing seeds in soil that would yield crops over 30, 60, and 100 times across South America. What should not be overlooked is the Christian culture and influence that dominate these countries. Moreover, as Spanish is common in the region, those who learn the Word will continue to spread its message throughout Spanish speaking communities in South, Central, and North America.
For me, Peru will forever be remembered as the gateway to South America. From my experience with this seminar, I am confident that the Word of redemptive history will expand throughout Latin America. I am excited to imagine the over 420 million South Americans that will soon be dancing as they come to understand the Word. The road towards this aspiration leads to the next seminar in Peru. We look forward to meeting again in November, where a bigger and more amazing history is waiting to be revealed!
Hasta luego! (Good-bye!)