The Amazon Jungle of Peru
We believe in a church-to-church model for global missions, which allows us to focus our resources on a targeted people group to effectively spread the Gospel. Grace Church is unique in the fact that we have chosen to collaborate with the Shawi people group in the Amazon jungle of Peru as our global PEACE plan. We have made a commitment to the Shawi in this regard. Our goal is to reach the entire tribe with the gospel within our lifetime. God is doing an incredible work there!
How we got to Peru
In 1997, Pastor Rick Long, Pastor Jim Malouff and Pastor Dan Smith planned a trip to the Amazon Rain Forest. The first trip began the work of church-to-church missions between Grace and Peru. During this first trip, many Shawi became believers in Jesus Christ and were baptized. The Grace Church pastors made a commitment to three Shawi pastors to support and partner with them as they went out to reach the indigenous throughout the jungle.
Who are the Shawi
The Shawi people are one of the larger people groups in the northern part of the Peruvian Amazon jungle with an estimated 50,000 people. They are known for their friendliness, generosity, and laughter. They lead simple, but very difficult lives. They are farmers and hunters. Their diet consists mostly of plaintains, yucca, fish and chicken. They generally live in villages of around 150 people, but there are several larger villages. Most villagers have lost family members to disease, dehydration, drowning in the treacherous river, venomous snakebites, infected insect bites and ulcers. The average lifespan is 50 years old.
In the last 40 years, the government has built schools in the Shawi communities. The new educational system has opened the doors to more opportunities for the Shawi people. The current generation is already sending young adults to college. This has also created a need for money to buy school supplies, books and uniforms. They depend on the money from their harvest and they float down the rivers to the city, Yurimaguas, to sell. Some raise cattle or sheep and are developing crops to sell such as coffee and chocolate.
Grace Church in Peru
Grace Church has two employees working full time in Peru, Doug and Blanca. The church bought a property in Yurimaguas, which demonstrates our commitment to the Shawi. We support eight Shawi missionaries who travel to the villages spreading the Word of God to their people. Together they work as one team to establish Purpose Driven Churches throughout the Shawi territory.
Our Global PEACE Plan
- Throughout the years, we have seen God work in miraculous ways. Currently, there are 43 pastors and 28 churches throughout the Amazon jungle.
- As of 2019, we have baptized over 500 new Shawi believers.
- In the last three years, 29 new communities have started churches but lack a pastor.
- We are beginning quarterly Biblical courses throughout the Shawi territory to equip men called by God to serve as pastors. We are very encouraged by the desire of these people growing in their faith.
- We have helped distribute the Bible and the "Son of God" movie in Shawi and the New Testament in a dramatic recording in Shawi.
EQUIP SERVANT LEADERS
- We host a Grace Church Annual Conference along with a Youth Conference in the summertime. We have over 300 people participate with many of the pastors attending. We teach the clear gospel, eternal security and how to grow a Purpose Driven church.
- We participate in an annual conference in January, where over 500 Shawi attend to receive Biblical education, encouragement in their faith, and help with their ministry.
- Our team develops curriculum and trainings for eight Shawi missionaries to take out to the pastors in the villages.
- We hope to begin quarterly trainings for all those who desire to pastor a church.
ASSIST THE POOR
- We have helped with a variety of things such as providing food at the conferences and helping with emergencies.
- We want to help fund the creation of wells for more villages to provide them with clean water.
CARE FOR THE SICK
- The team helps with medical emergencies which may include: air evacuation, waiting at the hospital with the sick, buying needed medical supplies or medicine, making arrangements with hospital staff to transport people to facilities farther away but better equipped to handle the situation and follow up with each person.
- We have bought clothes, food, and supplies. We have sent IV supplies up river to families suffering from dehydration because of malaria or dysentery.
- We have distributed first aid kits to pastors and held medical clinics.
- We have supplied reading glasses for the men.
EDUCATE THE NEXT GENERATION
- We provide teaching and craft materials for Sunday School for the churches who have begun this ministry.
- We have started a youth conference teaching the importance of doctrine and involvement in the church.