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Missionaries continue fight on spiritual battlefield

LIMA, Peru (BP)–Boots Holder refers to his recent months in North Peru as “the best and worst of times.”

As a strategy-coordinator missionary, Holder and his REAP North Peru team use hundreds of volunteers from the United States to share the Gospel throughout the mountains and jungles of North Peru. But spiritual warfare has become a major issue, he says.

“The devil is fighting us pretty hard,” he says. “It’s a war, and every war has casualties.”

Some of the missionary families on the REAP North team have experienced a variety of personal struggles. Volunteers have had to leave the mountains and jungles early from sickness. Some have been run out of villages, and many Peruvians have been persecuted for not being part of the “cultural Catholicism” of the region.

Though many in this area claim to be Catholic, Holder says, many are “cultural Catholic” — Catholic only by name, not practice. Along roads high in the mountains, concrete shrines can be found where locals pray to saints, light candles and leave flowers.

Carolina, a Peruvian missionary in the mountains, moves from home to home in a village because the Catholic community won’t allow her to rent a place to stay. In that same community, two churches have started, and hundreds of people in the area are hearing the Gospel.

“They had to band together or leave the community,” Holder says. “In one village, they’ll shut your water off if you’re not Catholic.”

Holder asks Southern Baptists to pray for the ministry in the Canta region and northern Peru. This in one battle, he says, that is worth the fight.

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  • Shawn Hendricks