It doesn't take long to notice that "pirating" is a real problem here in Peru. A quick search in any marketplace will uncover counterfeit goods of every product imaginable. The most notable pirated items are CD's, DVD's and software. The government estimates that 98 percent of all music and video sold in Peru are illegal copies of the original. This gives Peru the honor of having some of the highest piracy rates in the world. I imagine that's why Blockbuster just closed all its stores in Peru. A rented original DVD in Blockbuster rented for $3.50, your own illegal copy from the street vendor sells for $1.00!
The illegal products don't stop with simple CD's. Counterfeit brand name clothing, cigarettes, even medications are being sold throughout the country. For a small fee, copies of important documents are available. This means that the diploma hanging on your doctor's wall might not prove to be credible. It also means the prescription you purchase at the pharmacy might not be safe. Those new Nike tennis shoes the neighborhood kids are wearing are probably cheap imitations. Oh, and check that money you get from the currency exchange, it might be fake as well!
We do our best to avoid purchases of pirated items. We would prefer the higher quality originals and we don't like the idea of stealing from those that deserve credit for their product. It looks like a spiritual parallel is clear. There are lots of counterfeit religions in Peru and around the globe. People trying to copy "the original" for their own good. People taking the Bible and using it as they see fit. But how many true religions are there? Jesus clearly shows us there is no room for counterfeits when it comes to our salvation: "I am THE way, THE truth and THE life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me." (John 14:6) Pirating continues in Peru. We can't stop the production of fake CD's but we can deliver the true message of Christ. Pray for us as we share Christ here in Peru.