Last week I was preaching in Lima, Peru, which was a very unique experience for me, not because of the traveling and the preaching, but merely because of the timing. I have traveled to more than 60 nations preaching the gospel, but for me going to Peru this time was a vision coming through.
Let me give you some background. In 1988 Karen and I went on our one year honeymoon around the world, hitchhiking with a guitar and a fishing pole on top of our backpacks. At that time we fell in love with Peru. It was the country of all countries, full of ancient Inca history and adventures. We stayed in Lima for two months playing the guitar every night in the downtown area in order to pay for our hotel and there we met all the weird and dangerous people that only show up when other people go to bed. I played music with the Indians that taught me how to make artisan work, and for the next 10 years, Karen and I were convinced that we were called as missionaries to Peru.
I started to study Spanish in Copenhagen but, as the years went by, the calling got a little “rusty”. I would go back once a year to find artisan products to sell in Denmark and my little import business was growing. I kept talking about moving to Peru but eventually, Karen asked me not to mention it anymore. With a 3-year-old handicapped daughter in a wheelchair being a missionary in Peru seemed as impossible as going to the moon.
In 1992 I went on an expedition in the Amazon Jungle, fought my way down the Amazon River from Venezuela to Peru with a friend of mine. It was the wildest adventure. We traveled in a bongo (a boat made out of a carved tree) for five weeks until we finally made it to Iquitos which is the jungle capital of Peru.
At this time Peru was dominated by the terror movement called the Shining Path. People were being killed on the main roads so there was no way we could go from Iquitos over the Andes which is the biggest chain of mountains in South America. We had to go by plane so we bribed a military pilot to board his big military cargo jet. It was not a comfortable flight on top of canons and munitions. I was a young Danish man who had barely seen a weapon before so I was absolutely shocked when we landed at a military airport on high alert and ready for immediate action.
As we arrived Lima was in a standdown with the terrorists celebrating their 10th anniversary blowing up big car bombs and random killings. Everybody was tense and scared and at night tanks were driving around with heavily armed and masked soldiers on top scouting the rooftops for potential attackers. As we came around the corner of the main street in the center of Lima, a crowd came running towards us screaming “coche bomba.” I had no idea what that meant but seeing the fear in their eyes made me turn around and soon I found myself running for my life in front of the whole crowd as a car bomb went off in the middle of the day. I remember walking down the street and shots going off over our heads and us seeking cover on the ground. All in all, it was some very frightening experiences and I made a promise that I would never go back before it would be in the service of Jesus Christ.
In September 2017, 25 years later, I found myself in the same streets but where I used to run for my life, I was now preaching the gospel. Everything had changed, Lima is now double the size with 12 million citizens, and I was going to areas and cities that did not exist in 1992. I met with my old friend Carlos who used to change money for me in the street. Today he owns three money changing bureaus. He took me around on the back of his motorcycle and I took him to church.
I have had several opportunities to go to Peru but I wanted to wait for God to open the doors. This time I knew the Holy Spirit told me to go, together with my pastor friend from Clermont who has been talking to me about his constant trips to Peru over the years. Traveling with him, I met many pastors from different churches and many wonderful Christians. I preached and worshipped in Spanish, still asking God “what do you want me to do for such a time as this?”
I believe in pre-destined lifestyle and for the past 20 years of full-time ministry, I have had incredible encounters with God and with people. This time was no exception. Before my last meeting in Lima, I found what I was looking for. I was preaching in a meeting and the Holy Spirit fell on the congregation. When we started worshipping, we couldn’t stop. The worship band consisted of four professional musicians, they were all brothers, very gifted and at the same time very anointed. The worship went on and on in waves till after midnight. It was such a unique experience.
Before I left Lima I met with the four brothers whom God had connected me to in such a special way. We talked about what happened that night and they said they had never experienced the presence of God this way before. I knew it was about destiny and so did they. This was no coincidence. God is looking throughout the earth to support those whose hearts are fully committed to him (2 Chronicles 16.9), so this is what I will be looking for as well. These young men had such hearts and, as we had ministered together in the meeting, we knew that we are going to minister together in the future. God will show us how and when but this is about destiny: The calling for Peru has been revived.