From Venezuela to Peru

How One Majority World Church is Receiving Migrants from Venezuela

Passersby on the walking street in Peru were speaking in what could be described as a sing-song dialect; the speakers were taller, leaner, and of darker complexion than most of the people who normally passed by.

This was 2016, and as a frequent visitor to Peru, I began to take note of a growing number of Venezuelans in the streets of one of Peru’s larger cities. The year 2017 brought a marked increase, and by May of 2018 the signs of Venezuelan diaspora were everywhere—Venezuelan flags flying above restaurants, street vendors with their flag drawn on to the cooler chests which held frozen treats, and barber shops with the tri-color of blue, red, and yellow.

Peru and Venezuela are nearly identical in terms of demographics and response to the gospel. Both have populations of about 30 million, both are about 3.1% evangelical and that evangelical population is growing at a rate of 3.2% in Venezuela and 4.2% in Peru (Operation World).

A great difference between the two is the rate at which people are leaving Venezuela. During the Chavez years, there was migration out of the country as people left for a variety of reasons. In 2005, for example, 437,000 people left Venezuela for various parts of the world, but mostly North America.

As the economy of Venezuela has deteriorated, Peru has become a destination of convenience.In 2015, just over 2,000 people entered Peru from Venezuela; significant for a small neighbor, but nothing like the 354,000 who arrived in 2018 (Migration Trends, 2018).

I traveled to Peru in March of this year and asked a ministry colleague if he could locate refugees and pastors who would be willing to tell their stories.

Our interviewees were in a secondary city of Peru and a far cry from the capitol of …

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