I have spent the last several days here in Arequipa. Our missionaries are doing a great job. I am grateful to see God at work. There were over 1,000 in the largest night of the Pastor’s School, I believe!

But as I look around I notice that all the missions are either pulling out or not planting churches. They may start a sports ministry or a good works ministry but I do not see them planting churches.

The decline has to start. The churches that are here will hang on. Some will prosper and others will limp along. The guys that I originally started with are over 40 years old now. They are doing a great job but not enough churches are being started.

The country is growing. The city of Arequipa is growing yet the number of churches is not growing at the same rate. Some are starting churches but most are not.

The word on the mission’s street is that South America has been evangelized. I completely disagree. If anything it appears to me that we are giving up ground that we have gained.

When I arrived in Peru there were several missionaries from different mission agencies. They were all starting churches. That doesn’t seem to be what I see on the landscape now.

As I look down the road it appears that less church planters are coming. It seems to me that we used the people group idea as a way to abandon what God was doing and blessing in Peru.

It should never be our goal to get a few churches up to struggling and then leave them. They need help to reach maturity. They need a trained leadership.

Where are the missionaries that will surrender to come to Peru. I thank God for the men of Vision that are here and coming. David Gardner, our son, Miguel Murillo, and now Kyle Shreve on his way here are working hard, but not enough is happening.

We need to get churches going all over the country. There are many cities with 10’s of thousands in population that have very few Bible preaching churches. Many of the ones that are here are struggling.

That is true all over South America and the world. Let’s not abandon one for another. Let’s redouble our efforts and send more missionaries. If I were young right now I would come back to Arequipa. There is so much to do.

Young person considering missions; would you consider the city of Arequipa and Peru? Would you come where you can openly proclaim the gospel and do all in your power to get the gospel out?

Don’t get me wrong. I want you to go to China, India, Indonesia, the Muslim world, Africa, and literally everywhere in the world but don’t leave out South America. Don’t believe the rumor that they have all been reached. It is simply not true!

  • Posted October 11, 2015 5:08 pm
    by Kason Bloom

    It has been great to see the city of Arequipa! I definitely think this city and country needs the Gospel!

  • Posted October 11, 2015 8:15 pm
    by Chris Gardner

    Thanks so much for writing that. So excited for what God is doing and what he is going to do in this needy country. Training up men and sending them out and watching God do amazing things are definitely going to continue happening. Jesus said to pray for laborers and Arequipa is still a prime example of that. We need men to step up to the plate and impact Arequipa, Peru, South America and the world with the gospel.

  • Posted October 11, 2015 9:34 pm
    by Lori

    Amen!! People are giving up on South America right when it’s so ripe for harvest!!

  • Posted October 11, 2015 9:57 pm
    by Trent Cornwell

    Thank you for the reminder! With all the potential in the ministry it is not time to back down but double up.

    • Posted October 12, 2015 8:55 am
      by Austin Gardner

      I am amazed at how many have pulled out. The future is scary unless we step up!

  • Posted October 12, 2015 6:50 am
    by Brian Roy George

    I’m concerned also. We need to train many more men to go out and preach the Gospel. We need to preach Avivamiento!! Revival in our lives and revival in our churches is urgent. We have many churches in Argentina without pastors. Many missionaries are leaving their works or retiring without a Pastor to take their place. Bro. Gardner keep up the good work that you are doing. For Souls. Your missionaries in Argentina since 1996. Brain Roy George

    • Posted October 12, 2015 8:55 am
      by Austin Gardner

      There are lots of things that need to be discussed. The churches have to be taught to pay the pastors and provide for them. We must stir up the men to do more. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Posted October 12, 2015 10:57 am
    by Kanon Bloom

    Enjoyed reading and hope God raises up many more laborers in Peru

  • Posted October 13, 2015 9:22 am
    by Shawn Bateman

    Amen! It is encouraging to hear about the Pastors School! I know you are having a good time there. What do you think has gotten our missions movement so far off track that our missionaries have abandoned the Biblical practice of starting churches (Acts 14) to starting “outreach ministers” that is no where found in scripture?

    • Posted October 13, 2015 6:08 pm
      by Austin Gardner

      People love feel good ministries. Church planting is for eternity but the feelings aren’t near so sweet as helping someone get water or food.

  • Posted October 27, 2015 4:48 pm
    by Jesse Turpin

    I appreciate your heart in this article. Since Christ’s time the need is still to pray for laborers.

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