Jovita Ccollque Yapura is 14 years old and is from the community of Jayuni. She is one of the teenagers of this community, and like most of them has many fears and problems.
Most of the teenage girls have stopped going to school because they are afraid, because they are subject to violence and sexual abuse on the way to the only secondary school anywhere close to their community, which is two hours walk away. That is why she has dropped out of school for fear of abuse. She says, “Some of the girls and I are praying that a secondary school would open in our community because we want to keep on studying.” [Translator’s note: “Secondary school” refers to grades 7 to 11.]
Jovita has always been very active in her church. One day her pastor asked her to teach the children and she accepted with pleasure. But the pastor told her that she had to go to other communities to be trained, since that is how ATEK works. She was frightened and did not want to go because she thought that something bad would happen to her if she went out of her community, and so she told the pastor that she would think about it. She said, “When the pastor told me that I had to travel to other communities to be trained I was afraid. I began to pray and I told God. ‘I am afraid, but I would like to teach children. Please give me safety and peace in my heart; please take this fear away; I know that you will protect me and keep me from all danger. Please send me a companion to walk with me, and then I will know that it is your will.’ After several days God answered me and began to give me much peace and confidence. Because of that I began to participate in the training sessions to become a teacher of children. I attended together with my girl friend. In each workshop I am getting to know more of God and my love and confidence in him is greater.”
“Now we are teaching the children of my community and I always tell them not to be afraid because God will always keep us and besides everything will change. We are praying for a secondary school in our community and I know that God will respond. Now my life has changed, my fears are gone and God strengthens me and gives me peace each day.” This is how ATEK’s ministry in the area of Biblical formation of children trains teachers and guides them so that they would know God and have a personal encounter with him and that their lives would be transformed.
Justo and Maribel are now marriage consellors in the church of their community, which is located at 3800 meters above sea level (12,500 feet).
Before this couple participated in marriage workshops their life was very different from what it is now. Maribel says, “My husband was not used to working in the field nor caring for the animals, which was a great difficulty for our married life, which almost led us to separate. I fought with myself and against my family because my husband did not work, but most of all I wanted him to love me. There was a time when he left home and disappeared. At another point my husband decided to throw himself over a cliff without any particular reason; I did not understand it but I risked my life to save my husband.”
They both participated in marriage workshops developed by ATEK. “Each teaching of the Word confronted our lives and made us ashamed of our situation before God. The word of God touched my husband’s heart, produced genuine repentance and a desire to change. We repented, we let God heal our wounds, to cleanse us from all uncleanness and to let his Spirit guide us.”
Because of the work of God in their lives. Their marital problems has been solved and they treat each other very well; now Justo loves his wife and respects her. He likes to work in the fields and care for the animals that they have, for which his wife’s family loves him a lot. Since they have experienced God’s powerful work of restoration, they have decided to serve God, teaching what God can do. They are in charge of a couples’ group whom they counsel and teach.
Bartolomé Velásquez Huamán says, “I was a believer, but I fell into disappointment since the believers had almost disappeared from the church; there were only 3 families with 8 people from about 50 who had attended. All this brought discouragement and a hardened heart. Due to this I even tried to discourage others. I began to drink alcoholic beverages and went around getting drunk with bad friends; I was at the point of abandoning my Christian faith.
“While I was in this condition I left my community in search of work. After a time I returned to my community and saw that the church was continuing but with few people, such as my father-in-law who was a member of one of the families who remained faithful and also was the church pastor. He commented to me that there would be a training workshop carried out by ATEK which I ought to attend. Actually I was obligated to participate in that workshop and I even had to walk 4 hours to go to it.
“In that workshop, which marked a change in my life, the word of God which was taught touched my heart and gave me a great opportunity to restore my personal relationship with God. At that moment because of the passion and fire in my heart I even dared to make a pact with God, that I would return to my community and preach the Gospel. When I returned to my community I joined the work that the pastor and other believers were doing there. I began to make house to house visits, as I had learned to do in the workshop using the equipment and strategies that they taught there. As a result of all this work, all the believers who had left the church came back, and we won 22 new believers who now attend the church along with the others who come to a total of about 68 believers now.”
Bartolomé is the result of the training about evangelization and the restoration of believers, but also of the discipleship which the pastor of Bartolomé’s church is doing there—he also was trained by ATEK. We are happy to be able to be of blessing but we know that the challenge is still great, but we are trusting that God will finish the good work that he began.
Sabina Mollo Huamani is a single lady 28 years of age who lives in the community of Sayta in the district of Livitaca, province of Chumbivilcas, Cusco department. Sayta is located at 4500 meters above sea level (14,800 feet). At first she did not want to attend the ladies’ meetings because she thought it would be a waste of time, because at that time the women’s meetings did not seem meaningful to her. She said, “If there is nothing to learn they just sing and read a text. Why do the ladies get together? Only on Sundays we should go to listen to the preaching.” Because of thoughts like this the ladies stopped meeting and besides only one to three would attend.
After a while the Presbytery signed a working agreement with ATEK. The area of Biblical Reading Comprehension programmed a Workshop on “Women of the Bible—Old Testament”, and the Sayta church sent two women to be trained. Because of this the church once again began to schedule women’s meetings. They had these just once a month because they still thought that it was not worth it to waste time. However as they went on teaching the lessons they realized that each lesson confronted them with their personal faith, their daily life with their children and the relationship with their husbands. They discovered that their lives were not pleasing in God’s eyes.
So each woman decided to apply the teachings in her daily life, and as a result the relationships with their children, their husbands and neighbors began to improve. Now they schedule their meetings twice a month and each woman tries to go to the meetings in spite of living far from the church. They go carrying their babies, taking their small children by the hand, and there is no hindrance for them to keep on learning to know God. Nothing can discourage them in spite of the fact that the facilitators have left. Santusa was one of the ones who participated in the group and voluntarily said that she taught because she realized that she too likes to teach. She said, “If God has given me the gift to teach, which I discovered when I participated in the ladies’ group, then I will use it to teach.” Because of this she went to be trained and now she is very happy teaching the group in her church. She also is making visits to the churches to encourage them and to keep working with the ladies. Discipleship in the churches keeps on growing, thanks to God and to the contribution made by the people.