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5 villagers stayed, kneeled & prayed

EDITOR’S NOTE: This year’s Week of Prayer for International Missions, Nov. 30-Dec. 7, focuses on missionaries who serve in South America as well as churches partnering with them, exemplifying the global outreach supported by Southern Baptists’ gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. This year’s theme is “GO TELL the story of Jesus”; the national offering goal is $170 million.

HUANCANÉ, Peru (BP)–Tears welled in Kelly Martinez’s eyes.

Standing in the midst of a bustling market in Huancané, Peru, the 33-year-old missionary watched as a crowd of Aymaran villagers abruptly dissolved during an invitation to receive Christ’s gift of salvation. But Kelly’s tears weren’t for those who scattered. She wept with joy for the five who didn’t.

Paul Reese, a member of Highland Terrace Baptist Church in Greenville, Texas, led the invitation. Reese had come to Huancané as part of a team of Southern Baptist volunteers. Kelly and her husband Rick had taken the team to the market for outreach and evangelism. While others passed out tracts, Reese preached in the street to anyone within earshot, eventually attracting a group of more than two dozen Aymara. As he concluded his message, Reese used a challenge to sift the sincere from those who were simply curious.

“If you are serious about not just believing in Christ, but you want to follow Him and obey Him, get down on your knees right now and we’re going to pray,” he said.

As the crowd shrank away, five Aymara remained behind, kneeling with Reese, who guided them through the sinner’s prayer.

Kelly looked on in awe. “Huancané is an easy place to do all the right ministry things, but it is a very difficult place to see results,” she said.

“We get so excited about volunteer teams. Often they come and do things that we haven’t thought to do, or maybe we’re not very good at.

“Somebody who was there that day who kneeled and prayed with that volunteer team might well come to our Bible study one night. And they’re going to say, ‘I was there that day that guy preached.'”
Don Graham is a writer for the International Mission Board. To learn more about reaching South America for Christ, go to samregion.org. Gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering can be made at www.imb.org/offering to support the International Mission Board’s more than 5,300 missionaries worldwide, including Rick and Kelly Martinez.

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  • Don Graham