"Adoraba a una cruz de madera, a una estatua de hueso. Pero ahora adoro en espíritu y verdad."
"I used to worship a wooden cross and a bone statue. Now I worship in spirit and truth."
As we pulled and chopped weeds around Juan's apple trees, he and I talked about his life and his calling. His mother died, his father abandoned him, his brothers drank, and his wife left him. He was about to commit suicide - there was no one left who loved him. But he heard a voice: "God loves you."
He spent the next two nights crying, repenting of his sin. Then he put it behind him, and went to Lima to join a church. But the Pastor there recommended he go back to his own town and join - or start - a congregation there.
So now, Juan is taking discipleship classes, going to meetings with the missionaries that come once a week, reading his Bible, preparing. He doesn't want to make the mistake of rushing in unprepared.
Side note: Diego, the schoolteacher who's eating lunch at the table where I'm writing, just commented on how small my letters are. He's the second Peruvian to tell me that.
"Tengo un testimonio muy triste," Juan tells me: "My testimony is a very sad one." But I remind him of the joy it holds: he's still alive. And now he's really Alive. "The Christian life is hard," he says, "but it's seguro." It's secure and certain.
Several times, he quoted Psalm 27:10 - "Though my mother and father forsake me, the Lord will receive me." That's Jaun's life. And his Life.
This man has faith as big as the mountain he grows his apples on.