Churches rebuild after earthquake

By July 30, 2008

Peru
(MNN) — On August 15, 2007, coastal Peru suffered a powerful earthquake
that destroyed many churches in the region. Ten churches have now received funds to help them rebuild from SIM
International's
Peru Earthquake Relief project. 

SIM Peru director Helen Heron recently visited four churches
that are in the process of rebuilding. Two churches have completed reconstruction, one church lacks only a
roof, and five still face significant rebuilding. 

"Everyone was very thankful for the donations they
received," Heron reported. "They send
their thanks and prayers and ask to be remembered as the need is still great. Some churches have worked very hard, and their
organization is impressive."

An elderly man who helped rebuild a church in Central
Pisco said it was the third building he had helped to build for
his congregation. The first he helped
build in 1945. It took ten years to
build the second building with bricks, but the earthquake destroyed it in two
minutes. 

New regulations require the churches to use more iron rods
to reinforce the walls, making construction more expensive. However, the increased reinforcements do make
the buildings safer. 

All of the churches are members of the Iglesia Evangélica
Peruana (IEP), or Peruvian
Evangelical Church. The denomination developed from the
ministries of Brethren Assemblies, Regions Beyond Missionary Union, Evangelical
Union of South America, and the Christian and Missionary Alliance in the
beginning of the 20th century. SIM partners with the IEP, working across denominational lines
in Peru. 

The IEP Executive Committee is re-evaluating funds for church
rebuilding during the month of July. A
church in Northern Ireland
has decided to give part of its missionary offering for the year to SIM's
earthquake relief. 

Centuries ago, the Roman Catholic church established Peru as the focal point of its ministry in South America. Roman Catholicism became the state religion in 1845 and is taught to
children in the public schools. 

In recent years, the youth have been attracted to secularism
and cult religions. However, many of the
lower- and middle-class mestizos and Quechuas tend to be open to the
Gospel. SIM focuses its ministry in Peru
on strengthening and partnering with the national church.  

Click here if you would like to help Peruvian churches
rebuild. 

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