The Ones Who Leave

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. -1 Peter 2:9

God calls people out of darkness into his wonderful light. I’ve seen it happen several times in Cusco. I’ve heard about extreme struggles and experiences, and I’ve met with people who have passed through dark and horrible moments. Some have taken lives. Some have abandoned babies. Others have been victims to losing their children to kidnapping. Some were even forced to be sex slaves.

Over a million tourists pour into Cusco every year, and they walk through the Inca ruins and look at the architecture. Some visitors participate in the darkness that’s in Cusco. However, many leave thinking it is just another great tourist destination. Cusco, like every other city in the world, can be a very dark place, full of suffering.

Our congregation is made up of individuals who have passed through horrible darkness, and now they’re enjoying the wonderful light of God’s kingdom. Knowing what they’re being called out of makes their baptism all the more exciting. It also makes discipleship more challenging, and it makes the process of spiritual growth even more delicate. It’s a messy transition. The allure of the darkness still tempts everyone who is a part of the church, and unfortunately, several leave, just months after their baptism.

I can definitely relate to Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 4:10:

… for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.

What’s especially frustrating is that Demas, as Paul’s teammate, previously had sent his greetings to the Colossians by way of Paul. How could someone who had worked with Paul, and who experienced what he had, later abandon him and the church?

We report about many baptisms and about all the other blessings God has given the church-plant in Cusco. It is an exciting and very encouraging mission. However, there are many moments of discouragement. It’s common to pour your time and energy into someone, only to have them quickly disappear. It isn’t an issue with their initial repentance, or their conversion, or our strategy, or a lack of true discipleship, or their lack of understanding. Again, it’s the allure of darkness.

We respond with prayer and patience. The temptation is to take control of the situation, but that never works. It’s a matter of the heart. Please pray for the Christians in Cusco. They’re being called out of a strong and horrible darkness, and into a marvelous light.

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