Peru – The Panao Quechua People
Since 2008 Crossroads has been on mission to reach the Panao Quechua people of the Andes Mountains in central Peru. The Panao Quechua number approximately 60,000 people and speak a unique Quechua dialect. They are considered one of the enevangelized people groups in Peru, with less than 5% of the people having been reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Crossroads “adopted” this group through ConnectPeru, an entity of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, that connects churches in North America with unreached people groups throughout Peru. Each year we mobilize two to four teams to travel to Pachitea Province, the home of the Panao Quechua, to minister, train, and share the Gospel. The ConnectPeru team works with us to plan logistics and secure translators for our short-term teams.
Our strategy for ministry in Peru is threefold:
- We utilize veterinary teams to gain access to new and unchurched areas. This is a very effective method for reaching this rural, agricultural people group. Local leaders actually target new areas and prepare the area for the team to com in, treat and vaccinate livestock, share their testimonies, give out literature and Bibles in Spanish and Quechua, and invite people to come to Christ.
- We equip and train pastors and other leaders for church planting and pastoral leadership. In 2010 Crossroads helped start the Interdenominational School of Missiology in Pachitea. This school meets for short intervals throughout the year and takes learners through a specialized curriculum to prepare them as pastors in Quechua churches. Leaders from several denominations, including the Christian and Missionary Alliance, Peruvian Evangelical Church, and the Assemblies of God in Peru, all train together in this school. Local pastors now lead in all of the training in the diploma program. Pastor Geoff Baggett travels to Peru once a year to teach advanced classes for the graduates of the diploma program.
- We support, resource, and equip an indigenous missionary family. Emissaries from Crossroads met Edmin Leon in Pachitea on their very first trip to the area. Edmin is a seminary-trained leader among the Panao Quechua. He was on the translating team with the Southern Institute of Linguistics, the group that developed and alphabet and translated the New Testament for the spoken-only Panao Quechua language. After completion of the translation project in 2009, he refused to take on a church as pastor, choosing instead to become a missionary to his people. He and Pastor Geoff developed a deep friendship very early in the partnership. In 2010 Crossroads moved to recognize Edmin and his wife, Maura, as Indigenous Missionaries among the Panao Quechua people. We pray for him and support him regularly and attempt to meet missions needs in order to assist him in reaching his people. Edmin and Maura have two young sons, Geoff Caleb and Benny Benjamin.
The work of Crossroads in Peru has been quite effective. From 1990 through 2007, there were less than ten new churches planted in Pachitea. Since Crossroads started fielding regular teams in 2008 and launched the seminary in 2010, over seventy churches have been planted there!
We will continue to have a limited presence in Peru for the near future, fielding two teams each year. Crossroads sets aside approximately $12,000 each year in regular budgetary giving to help support these teams on the ground. Volunteers pay for their own plane tickets and transportation.
In addition to being a “going” missions church, Crossroads is also a giving church when it comes to missions. Each year we take an active part in the Lottie Moon Offering for International Missions. This offering, taken in the month of December, goes directly to the field operations budget of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention to support our almost 5,000 full-time missionaries on the field throughout the world. Church members give as they desire to this offering, and Crossroads also sets aside a portion of regular budget offering to go toward this offering.
Other International Efforts
Throughout the short history of our church, various members of Crossroads have traveled on short-term international missions teams either through Crossroads or with various other area congregations or parachurch groups. Some of the international fields where our members have served include:
- Bulgaria – Crossroads Ambassadorial Team, 2003
- Jamaica – A partnership with other Trigg County churches to minister in an orphanage there.
- Haiti – Earthquake disaster relief and medical recovery teams.