- Population: 33 million
- Area: 1.28 million km2
- Climate: Subtropical (coast), cool/cold (mountains), Equatorial (eastern lowlands)
- Capital: Lima
- Currency: Nuevo Sol
- People: Indigenous 40%, Mestizo 38%, European 18%, African and Asian 4%
- Official Languages: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara
- Religion: 91% Christian (9% evangelical), 8% Other faiths/none, 1% Traditional beliefs
Peru is a richly diverse country, with an incredibly varied geography and climate. From the arid coast, to the spectacular Andes mountains, leading to the lush tropical rainforest of the jungle region.
The climate on the coast is subtropical with very little rainfall. The Andes mountains have a cool-to-cold climate with rainy summers and very dry winters. The eastern lowlands have an Equatorial climate.
Most of Peru’s population (about half) lives in the coastal area, while around 36 per cent live in the Andes and 12 per cent in the Amazon rain forest. Vulnerable groups and rural communities are particularly exposed to the increasing impact of climate change and natural disasters, such as the recent severe flooding along Peru’s northern coast.
The heart of the Inca Empire and pearl of the Spanish Empire in the Americas, Peru has had a tumultuous history. Today the country has 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Frequently repressive regimes formed the backdrop for the development of substantial internal terrorism in the 1980s and 1990s through the Shining Path group. However, democratic government has survived.
There are many challenges, both economic and political, despite plentiful natural resources in mining and fishing, and growing Asian markets. The government of President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has put a priority on economic growth, but also has a responsibility to care for Peru’s diverse and fragile ecosystems.
Peru is a multi-ethnic society, with people as varied as its landscape and climate. They are a mixture of those descended from its original inhabitants, the Quechua Indians, and those who came from the time of the Spanish conquest.
The Inca civilisation arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century. Its last stronghold was conquered by the Spanish in 1572. The administrative, political and military centre of the Inca Empire was located in Cusco in modern-day Peru.
Modern-day Peruvians are therefore heirs to the traditions of civilisations that flourished for centuries before the arrival of the Europeans. The two main indigenous or ethnic groups are the Quechua (with various cultural subgroups), followed by the Aymara, mostly found in the extreme southern Andes.
Since the demographic upheavals of the 1980s and early 1990s, when the repression and violence surrounding the Shining Path guerrilla movement drove thousands down from their traditional landholdings in the mountains to seek refuge in the coastal cities, the evangelical church has seen remarkable growth, from 3 per cent in the early 1990s to an estimated 12 per cent of the total population today.
This growth can be seen not just within the traditional denominations but also within newer groups and also in the growth of smaller independent churches. Peruvian evangelical Christians are concerned to share their faith and to win others for Christ.
Many churches organise special mission events, or send members as mission workers to other parts of Peru. Some of the larger organisations are also sending mission workers overseas, taking on the financial challenges which this involves.
The sects too have been quick to seize on people’s spiritual openness to propagate non-biblical ‘versions’ of the Gospel, often requiring financial investment for spiritual returns.
The Catholic Church is still the traditional church of Peru, although its hold over younger people is today more questionable and, institutionally, its favoured position is less strong, as the movement for equal treatment and rights for all religious professions gains momentum.
As a team we seek to listen, serve and challenge the local and national church in Peru for the extension of God’s kingdom.
We work shoulder to shoulder with the church in the following areas: the proclamation of the gospel and discipleship; the development of leaders; the mobilisation of Peruvian mission workers within and outside Peru; and integral (holistic) mission projects.
Ministry areas include: leadership training and evangelism amongst Quechua-speaking communities; theological education; local church work; medical programmes; Christian schooling; student ministry; and resource ministries providing Christian literature and teaching resources for ministry to children and teenagers.
We also work alongside the church in Peru to respond to the growing number of Peruvians sensing God’s call into mission. We have involvement in the area of help and advice for small businesses, as well as projects to help the poor and marginalised and those with special educational needs.
If you would like to partner with us in serving and working alongside the church in Peru, please go to the Opportunities page mentioned below to find out about specific needs, or contact us for more information. If you are a Peruvian interested in serving outside of Peru, please look at our other Country Team pages, or the Opportunities page below.
For more information, click here for the Opportunities page of our International website (this will open a new tab).