Our workers in Peru have had to meet the most serious opposition, and the past year has been especially perplexing, because of the decree to close our schools. In our institute at Arequipa, where our workers from the Lake Titicaca field were gathered, we were led to give special study to the deliverance which God wrought for His people in times past, and together we sought the Lord most earnestly for faith, confidence, and steady perseverance in the face of difficulties. To our hearts there came the strong assurance that deliverance would surely come, but there remained for us the joyful surprise of finding when we reached the next institute, at Lima, that the Lord was even then working out our deliverance.
Soon after our arrival in Lima, it was thought best that two or three of us should have a personal interview with a very influential man, by the name of Dr. Tello, who has kept informed concerning the efforts of our workers for the uplift of his people, and has always manifested a very friendly attitude toward our work. Dr. Tello is a South American Indian, and holds the position of government archeologist. For years he was a member of congress.
Our interview with this man was most encouraging, and we were informed by him that a very important change had just been made by the president, whereby the minister of education, who had been opposing our school work in Peru, and had caused the recent trouble, had been transferred to another department; and that another man, a warm friend of our educational work in South America, had been appointed by the president as the minister of education. Through the kindly services of another member of congress, we secured an interview with the new minister of education, and the information which he gave us brought great joy to our hearts. The Lord is turning our captivity in Peru. None but our workers in that intensely Catholic republic can fully appreciate the change that is taking place there in our favor.
It was in Lima, the oldest city of the two American continents, that our closing institute for South America was held, and I shall never forget that last meeting in the chapel of our Lima Training School. All the workers from the northern part of Peru and the republic of Ecuador were present, with the exception of two laborers; and in addition, there were some from the Lake Titicaca field and from Bolivia, and a number of workers representing the South American Division. At this closing meeting I felt impressed to give a study based on the exhortation of Revelation 3:11: "Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown;" and Hebrews 2:1: "Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should" "drift away from them." In a wonderful manner the Holy Spirit touched our hearts, and gave us a new realization of the tender love of our heavenly Father.
With deep gratitude of heart, we all gathered about the rostrum in united prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. Elder Westphal offered a most earnest prayer that, as God's messengers, we might all be kept steadfast in this new, warm spiritual life which had been breathed into our souls, and that all might return to their fields in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. During his prayer, men and women wept. A mighty Presence was in our midst. When we arose from our knees, the workers joined in singing a hymn, the words and melody of which were very sweet and comforting.
As Elder V. E. Peugh, the superintendent of the Inca Union, was about to invoke God's blessing and abiding benediction upon us, we all joined hands in the bonds of Christian brotherhood, thereby signifying our unity and our firm purpose to remember one another in our prayers. Although the hour was late, all were loath to leave the chapel, and the workers passed from one to another giving assurances of brotherly affection. It was all so sincere, and so free from affectation. I have seldom, if ever, seen the like, and my heart was deeply touched. But why should we not love one another? We are all together in a great conflict with "the world, the flesh, and the devil." Surely in meeting these forces there is warfare enough, without having any estrangement among ourselves.
Thus closed a series of truly triumphant meetings.
I realize that this report comes far short of conveying to the readers of The Ministry the full life and glow and the gripping force of the five institutes that were held in the South American Division during the months of November and December of 1929, and January, February, and March of this year. It is impossible in limited space to give anything approaching a full report. Many thrilling parts must be left untold. But it may truly be said that God is at the head of His work in South America.
Takoma Park, D. C.