The city of Cusco is located in the Andes mountains of southern Peru just 50 miles from the ancient Incan ruins of Machu Picchu, one of the new wonders of the world. It is the cultural and touristic center of the country and is a location vital to the growth of the Kingdom in South America. Home to approximately 500,000 people within the city and 1.2 million in the region, Cusco is rich in history, culture, and geographic beauty but lacking in the presence of the church. Yet, while the population has tripled in the last 20 years and continues to grow, less than 200 New Testament Christians live in Cusco today. Additionally, over 2 million tourists from across the world visit Machu Picchu every year and stay in Cusco during their visit. With the world literally coming to Cusco, this provides an incredible opportunity to plant seeds that could be carried throughout the world. For these reasons, Cusco is considered by one missions professor in the church to be one of the most critical mission points in the Western Hemisphere.
In October 2009, a team of Freed-Hardeman alumni arrived in Cusco, Peru, with a vision to plant a church. The current workers on the field are Gary and Jennifer Reaves, supported by the Great Oaks CoC, Barton and Allison Kizer, Ryan and Sarah Davis, and Derrek and Danyel Wilson. At the end of 2015 Kevin and Keli Westmoreland will join the team in Peru.
The work in Cusco is built on a grand vision guided by as specific, comprehensive strategy. The goal is to establish and nurture a thriving, self-supporting congregation of 300-500 Christians whose members will then plant more congregations in the region. With 80 baptisms, and attendance in the 90+ range since the congregation was planted in October 2010, the work in Cusco is already flourishing. The vision of the Cusco mission culminates in a specific exit strategy so that well equipped Peruvian Christians may eventually assume the oversight of the congregation. The team is already specially training several Cusqueño men in evangelism, worship, preaching, and sound doctrine to lead the congregation for generations to come!
Why the Cusco Mission is So Critical
- Cusco is the cultural center of the Andes mountains, so establishing a church there means countless evangelistic opportunities in surrounding regions.
- The work in Cusco has been thriving since 2009.
- Many people in Cusco are especially “good soil” because of their religious background and culture.
- The team’s goal is to establish a sizable, self-supporting congregation before the American missionaries’ return to the states.
- Out of Cusco’s population of 500,000, there are less than 200 New Testament Christians.
- There are international evangelistic opportunities to the 2 million tourists visiting Machu Picchu each year.
- Peruvian Christians are already developing into church leaders.
- Peru’s location allows easy access for American short-term mission campaigns.
The Andean region of South America, of which Cusco is the cultural center, is one of the least evangelized in the world. Cusco is an area ripe for the harvest because of its growing population and influx of visitors. It is a gateway city, and evangelizing this influential place could mean reaching countless numbers of people in the surrounding region and across the world.
The work begun in 2010 by the original Cusco Team has resulted in 80 baptisms and an average attendance of over 90 in the 4 years since planting the congregation. However, because of the shortage of workers, much of the team’s original vision remains unrealized. Now we are adding team members to help realize these goals.