Luis Lopez del Aguila
2017 marks the beginning of Fellowship’s official partnership with the Christian Missionary Alliance Church in Rimac, Peru. After several scouting trips and a couple of years praying, discussing and discerning what God’s invitation to unite the two church bodies might look like, the journey has begun! We wait expectantly for God to continue to reveal His plans in the synergy of our church bodies.
Rimac’s vision and mission is aligned with ours. Their mission, based on the great commandment (Matthew 22:37-40) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), states:
We are a church called to love and serve our neighbor, building bridges for a personal encounter with Christ and contributing to the formation of lives that worship God. We long for and work to live fulfilling it.
Along with that, their vision is to be:
A dynamic and impactful church due to the commitment of its members in the areas of community, worship, discipleship, evangelism and service with the goal of blessing Rimac and, through missions, also Lima, Peru and the world.
The church’s leadership is intent on reaching the lost and growing disciples. As Pastor Luis Lopez says: “We long to be instruments and have a part in the plans that God has for our district. That is why we encourage our brothers to continuously learn and know God more deeply, to always work in unity, and allow God to burden their hearts to share His love and mercy with non-believers who then come into relationship with and become His disciples. We work through small groups within our various ministries, organized and willing to welcome new people.
We are convinced that with the help and mercies of our good God, through unity, encouragement and sacrifice, the district of Rimac will exist for Christ.
In 2018, Fellowship partnered with Rimac on two global trips. The first focused on a conference for their CADES groups. These groups form the foundation of their comprehensive, sustainable growth strategy. CADES is an acronym for their key values: community, worship (adoracion in Spanish), discipleship, evangelism and service. Led by Eric Hoffman and Paige Stroup, the conference was taught by Fellowship members who had completed Year Two of our Discipleship Training, providing them an opportunity to share what they had learned through the process.
According to Eric:
Our partnership in Rimac has been so fruitful. It allows us to come alongside them in their vision and help deepen discipleship in our people and those in the church in Rimac. For me, my relationship with Luis is mutually encouraging and our friendship is growing even deeper.
Our second 2018 Fellowship trip, led by JJ Jones and Bobby Brown, included both family and student ministry participants and had two major emphases. The first was working with students and teachers at the Benjamin Barton School in small and large group settings. The second focus was a two-night parenting conference which was presented twice.
Our team first gave workshops and plenary sessions for church members during the first conference. The following nights, the conferences were dedicated to the Barton School’s parents, of which only 30 percent are evangelical Christians, with most of the balance not attending any church.
JJ and Bobby shared:
We started this trip in 2018 to build an ongoing partnership and relationship with the CMA Rimac church, Benjamin Barton School, and their families. The biggest benefit we have seen from this first trip for both Fellowship and our partner, is that it solidified our relationships and allowed us to work together in equipping students and parents. New friendships were formed in a gospel work that will last for many years.
As part of our 2017 global offering, Fellowship gave the church $12,000 to install new roofs on three classrooms at the Benjamin Barton School. Here are several before and after photos of the work that was completed on two of the classrooms. You can see the physical transformation of the classrooms, just as you can sense the spiritual transformation the school community is experiencing because of the efforts of their leadership as well as our prayers and investment in their personal lives as well as our financial resources.
History of the CMA Church in Rimac
The Christian Missionary Alliance (CMA) began its ministry in the Rimac district in 1981 as a plant of another CMA church in the Lima area. In 1983, Kinderwirk, Lima (the sponsor of the Gutenberg NGO) donated almost four acres of land and another CMA church contributed a chapel, thus initiating the church at its current location. Although the church had fallen on hard times, it is coming back to life through the leadership of pastoral team and its lay leadership. There are currently around 450 active members.
The Benjamin Barton School was founded in 1987 as part of the ministry of the CMA church in Rimac. Over the years, the leadership of the school and church drifted apart and operated as separate entities. Now, by the grace of God, they have reintegrated. Over 350 students, preschool through high school, currently attend the school from families in the district and surrounding areas. The school serves as a practical response to the spiritual as well as academic needs of the community.
According to Pastor Luis, Rimac is a very traditional, old district, full of history, religiosity (idolatry) and much corruption. In general, many generations of families live together in crowded, small homes (great grandfather, grandfather, sons, grandchildren all under one roof) and this promotes social problems. Because they are so steeped in the traditions of the past, they do not move forward to break the cycle. Though they live in an urban area, the infrastructure of their homes has not been modernized to even the 20th century. Tradition dominates and this creates certain vices in the culture.
With a heart burdened for the community, Pastor Luis emphasized:
The influence of the church must impact this, and we are trying to flood the community with cell groups (small groups) where healthy relationships are formed and the gospel is both shared and lived out. We are witnesses of God’s marvelous work in the midst of our church, we experience the dynamics in which as a church we become involved and it thrills us to know that we are counting on and receiving the help and favor of God.
Luis Lopez del Aguila
Located directly to the north of downtown Lima, Rimac is connected to Lima's historical city center by six bridges over the Rimac River. This river is the most important source of potable water for the Lima Metropolitan area. Crossing the bridges is like traveling from one world to another.
The district was settled in early colonial days and, although full of Peruvian culture, was never economically vibrant. Today, with a population of around 160,000 people, it is essentially a lower-income, residential district with small commercial, industrial, and service establishments. The northern section is now overrun with slums.
A large part of it is occupied by military garrisons and housing. The National University of Engineering (established in 1955) is also located in the district. Overlooking historic Rímac is Cerro San Cristóbal, the highest point and one of Lima's most recognizable landmarks. From the top of the hill you can see the whole city.
Rimac's main attraction is the Plaza de Acho on the east side of the city. This is the most famous bullfighting arena in South America and one of the most well known in the world. The Plaza as we know it today was inaugurated in 1766 and is the oldest bullfight ring in America (third oldest in the world) and considered by many to be the most beautiful. It still hosts bullfights on Sundays during the months of October and November.
In 2015, while serving as one of the CMA’s Lima administrative directors, Pastor Luis and his wife Silvia were sent to the Rimac church to minister on an interim basis and help bring stability to the church. They understood God was calling them to continue their work there and, Pastor Luis was officially elected as pastor beginning in 2017 and continuing through 2022.
Before coming to Rimac, Pastor Luis worked with CMA’s Lima administrative arm (LED) from 2011 through 2015. Prior to that he pastored at the San Felipe, Pueblo Libre and Huacho CMA churches in the Lima area.
Pastor Luis comes from a family of pastors who have dedicated their lives to preaching the gospel through small communities in the Amazon area. He was born on May 25, 1964 in a very distant village in the Peruvian jungle. He and Silvia married on August 3, 1990. They have two adult children: Luis Esteban (26) and Sandra Verónica (22).