Terrorists Killed Many. Believer’s Bridge Steps In: Monday’s Ministry Spotlight
(Other than the introduction and some minor editing, this post is written by Bill Rowley, President of Believer’s Bridge.)
The Shining Path, a communist terrorist group, sought to take over the government in Peru. During the 1980’s through early 2000’s, this group murdered tens of thousands of innocent people, including pastors of small village churches in the Andes Mountains. This left 1,000’s of churches without pastors–without solid Biblical teaching, the clear gospel spreading, and the introduction of false teaching from paganism.
So God raised up Believer’s Bridge.
Believer’s Bridge partners with nationals to teach and train Christian leaders by building a bridge between God’s truths and our hearts. This is accomplished through conferences, seminars, Bible Institutes and Seminaries.
Presently Believer’s Bridge has four Quechua Bible Institutes and three seminary campuses in the Andes of Peru with plans to expand into the Amazon River Basin in Brazil in 2012.
How It All Started
Believer’s Bridge had a unique beginning, very similar to the church in Philippi. Acts 16 records Paul’s vision of a man from Macedonia pleading with him to, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” A simple, yet spiritually profound, cry for help that changed the lives of the Philippians for eternity.
Similarly, the Quechua Indians in the High Andes Mountain region of Apurimac had the same plea, “Send us Bible teachers to help us.” To this day I (Bill Rowley) still vividly remember the conversation, and the revelation that most of the pastors in the state of Apurimac stepped up to be pastor when their predecessor was martyred by the Shining Path. Later I would learn that of the over 1,200 churches in Apurimac less than 80 pastors had any formal training.
Who Are the Shining Path?
The Shining Path began in the 1980’s with the intent of transforming the remote and neglected Quechua Indians living in the Andes Mountains from poverty to a vibrant and growing Maoist Communist force to change Peru into a better nation.
What started out in pursuit of a utopian society resulted in oppression of the people they had promised to liberate. Unfortunately the tactics to which the Shining Path resorted not only included tyranny, violence and looting but also the murder of over 70,000 Peruvians between 1980 and today according to the Government of Peru.
Though the thrust of the Shining Path movement was squelched in the 1990’s, it has remained active and continues to be a thorn in the side of the Peruvian Government and viewed as an active threat. In the beginning of 2012, Comrade Artemio, leader of the Shining Path, was captured, showing that the war still continues. It is because the Shining Path martyred so many pastors that those stepping up to be pastors lacked training or the means to receive training.
So What Did We Do?
In response to their cry, Believer’s Bridge initially started offering Bible Conferences and Bible Seminars. These ranged from teaching pastors basic theology and pastoral skills to every day “Christian” skills, including evangelism, discipleship 101, and family and marriage conferences. Over time these grew into formal Bible Institutes, which evolved into the Quechua Bible Institutes we offer today. We also have a fully accredited Seminary offering associate through doctorate degrees led by Peruvian Nationals.
Looking forward we plan to expand into the Amazon River region of Brazil and offer a combination of Bible Institutes and Seminaries in the larger cities and discipleship mentoring on the remote islands in the Amazon River.
How Does this Work?
The Quechua Bible Institutes (QBI) are partnerships with local churches to train church leaders. The local church owns the QBI and Believer’s Bridge provides teachers and curriculum to get things going.
There is a cost for the students, which covers the operational and teacher costs and trains the QBI administrators how to run a successful Institute without additional funding from outside organizations. This enables the QBI to have perpetuity without dependence on outside organizations or undergoing a potentially devastating change when outside funding diminishes or is no longer available.
For a church to partner with Believer’s Bridge and start a QBI, the local church must provide:
1) A classroom environment. The sanctuary is what we recommend since it already exists and no additional cost is required.
2) Kitchen and area for the students to prepare and eat meals. These are built to Quechua standards and are not anything like we would expect a kitchen and dining facility to be in America.
3) Dorm rooms for the students to sleep in. Again, very basic but at the standards the Quechua would expect.
4) Bathrooms for the students. Our desire is for the QBI to have a good testimony in the community and not be a burden as some institutes have been in the past with students begging for food and a place to sleep in the villages.
Once a church has built these, a QBI can begin.
The Evangelical Seminary of Apurimac (SEA) is a fully accredited seminary started by Believer’s Bridge in the city of Andahuaylas in the Andes Mountains of Peru. The SEA started in February 2011 and had reached 35 students by the end of 2011.
In August of 2011 we were asked by the Evangelical Church of Peru, the largest national evangelical church, to open two more seminaries in the surrounding states for the Quechua Indians. We have begun expanding the SEA with two satellite campuses in 2012, with plans to make them separate seminaries in the years ahead.
Plans are being made to start a Bible Institute in the Brazilian city of Belem on the Amazon River in the second half of 2012. This will be the first step to helping the Brazilians on and around the Amazon River.
Similar to our call to the Andes of Peru, we have been asked by Brazilians on and around the Amazon River to come and provide discipleship for our brothers and sisters. The numbers being saved in Brazil are continuing to grow, but so are those that are falling away from their faith. This is due to the lack of basic discipleship being offered by the churches.
As we did in Peru, our desire is to train the Brazilians to be effective ministers for the Gospel, letting God grow his kingdom through them. Eventually we would like to start a Seminary in Brazil, but are waiting on God’s leading and resources for such an undertaking.
How Can You Help?
As the ministry continues to expand there are ways you can help.
- Pray! Please pray for God’s kingdom and those around the world that need to know of His love for them and what his son, Jesus Christ, has done for all of us through his death on the cross and resurrection. Pray for teachers, who desire to teach God’s truths, to help with the ministry of Believer’s Bridge and the nationals that are already sacrificing so they can teach leaders who so desperately need solid Biblical teaching.
- Give! If you are able, please financially support the work of Believer’s Bridge. Donations can be made at our website.
- Participate! If God lays it on your heart, come work with us in Peru or Brazil. Contact us for more information via our website.
If you would like for your ministry/organization to be on the Monday’s Spotlight, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.