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Back in March, we had a wonderful visit from three siblings who normally serve with us in China. They are tough as nails and have been many places and suffered for Jesus in ways that most of us will only ever read about. Since China is still closed for most outsiders, I invited them to come help me with a special Peru outreach instead.

Just like in China, I chose a completely new area for us to target. Earlier in the year I noticed from the window of my plane (as it approached Lima’s airport) a couple of “hidden valleys” right in the middle of this sprawling metropolitan area (10 million+). These communities (“Pig Park” in English) were only accessible via one road, which you would never find unless you were looking for it. I realized I had driven within a mile or two of these populated areas hundreds of times and yet had no idea that they existed. So using Google Earth, I made plans to visit as many homes in these areas as possible. The results were some exciting few days of ministry, as well as a fascinating (and sobering) discovery…

As we began to systematically traverse the sandy roads and lanes carved out of the desert mountains, giving tracts and copies of John’s Gospel to everyone we could find, the style and substance of almost every shack, shed, and wall became hard to ignore. It seemed as if everything in sight was put together with old rejected wooden shipping pallets. And they were! 

It didn’t take me long to figure out what had happened. You see, just outside the entrance to Pig Park Valley is the beginning of Peru’s largest port and container storage area. Untold millions of crates have been unloaded there over the years. Impoverished locals who “invaded” the empty desert mountains over a period of decades used any materials they could find to begin building their makeshift homes. The result is an entire valley of shantys “constructed” almost entirely of discarded wooden pallets. And besides these less than ideal physical conditions, “Pig Park” turned out to be spiritually vacuous as well. Nary a church could be found, although we stumbled upon one home prayer meeting. 

Pray that God would raise up long-term local laborers to plant a church in Pig Park, and that the people would value God’s Word above all things and build their spiritual houses not out of flimsy wood and sand, but out of “gold, silver, precious stones”, and grounded on the Rock, the “foundation..that is Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 3)