Strengthening Churches Amongst South American Tribes
by Jonathan Lamb
Igor Amestegui conducts Level 4
training with Quechuan pastors
International Programme Director, Langham Preaching
Many of us would have learnt about the Incas when we were at school – an ancient and highly civilized empire in South America. But maybe we are not so familiar with the Quechuas, a group of indigenous South American tribes who are direct descendants of the Inca Empire. Quechua (pronounced, ‘ke-che-wah’) is spoken by several million people in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Chile, but there has only been one translation of the entire Quechua Bible since 1993.
|Charito and Igor Amestegui|
Igor Amestegui, Regional Facilitator for Langham Preaching in Latin America, has been working in fellowship with several mission agencies to support the training of preachers who serve the Quechua community. Running a series of four seminars for 22 participants, Igor began with the basics of studying the Bible passage, and later introduced the first steps of preparing talks from Bible passages. A simple manual – ‘How to prepare to preach’ – written in Quechua, was a useful tool for the training sessions and will be a standard manual for the team to use in future training events.
Igor found that most participants came from rural contexts with limited educational background, so the group studied pastoral themes from Psalm 23, and Igor crafted the course to ensure there was plenty of practice built into the seminars. ‘In a highly oral culture, where the pattern of thought is more concrete than abstract, it is vital to use simple language and accessible concepts to help preachers extract the key principles from the Bible text’, said Igor.
‘A great achievement is that there is tremendous motivation amongst the brothers and sisters who participated. They are also putting into practice what they have learned. For many this has been a new way to read the Bible, even though they have been pastoring churches for years’, said Pio Victor, the Director of Mosoj Chaski, a radio ministry reaching Quechua in Bolivia and one of the partners in the project.
Igor knows that these are just the first steps of training. ‘It is my prayer that the Word sown and the tools given during these seminars may bear abundant fruit, so that the Word of God is preached in the Quechuan world and that this will bring growth to God’s glory’.