Peru (MNN) — How do you tell people about Jesus when they are hiding from the rest of the world?
Peter Hocking, a missionary with Advancing Native Missions, is working with his ministry “Reapers” to reach 16 tribes in Peru.
Hocking was born in Peru into a missionary family. He looks back and realizes that was God’s way of preparing his heart for Peru. ANM came alongside him after meeting him in the states. They help his ministry find sponsors and prayer support.
The focus of “Reapers” is to get Peruvian missionaries to witness to their neighbors. They do field research to learn about tribes that do not have a church. They then work on cross-cultural training, pastoral training, and church planting.
In the area that the “Reapers” are working, there are 16 unreached tribes. Only six of these tribes are open to outside contact.
Hocking says for those that are receptive, “A missionary has to go in and win the friendship and learn the language before he can begin teaching the spiritual truths that will help them understand the Gospel.”
In order to establish this friendship, missionaries have to be committed long-term. Hocking says, “The overall vision is to see churches raised up in the remaining unreached tribes of Peru to cooperate with the Lord finishing the job.”
However, Hocking is having trouble getting the churches focused. “One of the main challenges is that few churches in Peru have missionary vision toward reaching the tribes. There is a growing awakening toward missions and missions involvement in churches in the cities especially, but they’re targeting mainly sending missionaries to countries in the 10/40 window.”
The other challenge is that many young people feel called to the mission field, but they only want to serve short-term, something which Hocking says will not be effective in this case.
At various conferences, Hocking has expressed his concern. “I’m presenting the challenge and need of the unreached tribes,” he says. Missionaries “don’t have to be thinking of going far away to reach the unreached. There are 16 tribes just over the mountain range in the jungle that need missionaries, and it costs much less to reach the unreached in their country than going abroad. And some are catching the vision.”
Hocking’s heart for this mission lies in God’s commands. He says,”God desires that all nations get to know Him, worship Him, and serve Him, as we learned in…the Old Testament and reaffirmed in the New Testament through the great commission.”
Pray that the tribes that are still in hiding would make contact with surrounding tribes that have Christians among them. Pray that the churches would band together in prayer for the tribes.
“Another prayer request is that the churches in Peru take a greater interest in sending missionaries to those tribes,” Hocking says.
Hocking is also involved in reaching scientists with the truth about creation. He remembers collecting bugs when he was eight years old. His fascination with wildlife expanded to include birds and snakes.
Hocking has published five new birds species and one new snake.
His expertise has given him the chance to speak about creation at various schools in Peru. Hocking explains that because of their Catholic background, scientists in Peru are much more open to creationism than scientists in the U.S.
Continue to pray that Hocking would be able to present God as the Creator to the tribes and scientists.