La Iglesia Luterana de Peru, IL-P (The Lutheran Church of Peru), a member of the Lutheran World Federation, is comprised of over a dozen congregations and several mission starts (faith communities). Our congregation established a companion relationship with four congregations/faith communities in Trujillo, in 2010. As you might imagine, Peru has been hit hard by Covid-19.
On April 27, Peru’s daily death toll crossed 150 for the first time. Since then, Peru (pop. 33 million) has recorded over 150 deaths nearly every day for four months. Peru’s president was initially praised for locking down early and hard, while passing a large aid package for workers. But Peru’s health care system has been chronically underfunded, its economy is largely informal, and social distancing is difficult in its densely populated slums and crowded food markets. Hospitals struggle to cope with rising caseloads, while attempts to restart the economy caused further spikes. On August 2, IL-P was dealt a tragic blow as Rev. Adita Torres, IL-P’s President (Bishop) died of Covid-19.
Peru is facing the worst of both worlds, a high death rate and potentially one of the deepest economic contractions. The lay pastor with whom we collaborate, Jorge Aguilar Pereda, reports that Trujillo has done a relatively good job of lockdown and social distancing. However, the death toll continues to climb. He and his family own a small tienda at which he must work every morning, while in the afternoons tending to his pastoral duties within his small congregations (San Andres, Chocofan, Magdalena de Cao, and Cristo Vive). Note the pictures below of Jorge suited up in his personal PPE to work in his shop. Much like our own congregation, worship and teaching occur online. Before the lockdown, the congregations in Trujillo were visited by Jaime Dubon (from the ELCA) and Patti Cuyati (of the Lutheran World Federation). Jorge expresses his deep gratitude for our support of the missional and educational efforts of these small, but vibrant congregations in the Trujillo area.