Jhon Chavez moved to Peru with a team of church planters this summer. Jhon is one of the most passionate gospel proclaimers I know. His eyes often fill up with tears when he speaks it. He’s bold. He’s blunt. He presses hard while being full of compassion. He loves God, but he didn’t always.
Jhon, a native of Peru, did not love God in his past because he had never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. By not hearing the gospel, he could not put his faith in Christ as “faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of God,” (Romans 10:17). It wasn’t until a group of short-term missionaries came to his country and shared it for him to even have an opportunity to believe.
These short-term missionaries were (and still are) serious about the mission of God. They didn’t go to Peru on an adventure or to get a t-shirt. They went to obey the Great Commission—to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). Making a disciple is hard work and usually involves walking through the gospel with an unbeliever many times until God opens their eyes to the glorious truth. It involves persistent prayers for their salvation for days, months, or even years. During their trip, Jhon ended up attending their group gathering where he volunteered as a translator. Soon he began translating the gospel story from English to Spanish word for word. He didn’t trust in Christ that day though, and the missionaries left. But God planted seeds.
The missionaries returned home to Brandon. They didn’t forget their new friend Jhon and prayed for him often. They got their church behind them, and for months, Grace Community Church in Jackson labored in prayer alongside them for God to save this Peruvian’s soul.
Over a matter of time, Jhon got in touch with them and communicated his desire to come live in Mississippi. He wanted friends like them that loved each other and talked about God, he said. Jesus told his disciples the world would know they were his because of their love for one another (John 13:35) and this proved right for this group of Christians.
Not only did Jhon believe they were true followers of God, but he wanted to hear more about God himself. Excited for what God may do, they found him a place to stay.