Today I read an article in a Lima newspaper. The article talked about the major problem of counterfeit prescription drugs in Peru. Local authorities held a news conference and a crowd gathered as they destroyed more than one ton of adulterated medications. The article went on to describe the major problems that pharmacies and medical facilities are having with illegal and counterfeit drugs. We've personally been warned by several doctors to avoid generic prescriptions in Peru. Others have warned that we should only purchase drugs from a handful of certified pharmacies. Counterfeit drugs are a dangerous problem in Peru.
We've realized that these fake drugs aren't the most dangerous counterfeits in the country. Millions of Peruvians are being deceived by false teachers and preachers. Many churches are preaching messages contrary to the Gospel found in the Bible. Peruvians are caught up in lots of ancient religious traditions, yet they have no personal relationship with God. They never trusted Christ for His redeeming offer of salvation. How sad that these evil preachers are dragging millions of lost souls with them into eternity without God.
We've experienced this counterfeit Christianity first hand recently. Our church was the only church located in our target neighborhood. We have made an influence among the neighbors and people are starting to take notice that we are there. A couple of months ago we started noticing people standing outside of church watching our children's and youth meetings. They've been taking notes and observing all of our programs. Then a couple of weeks ago we saw that another group has started holding meetings during our regularly scheduled meetings. They've done their best to mimic our services and activities. They've gone to the children and started pulling them away from our church. They claim to be Christians but their reputation and testimony in Peru says differently. They are a religious group. They can even claim to be a church, but they are not teaching the Gospel. They are not leading others to a personal walk with Christ. They are dangerous counterfeiters and they are misleading many, starting with our church kids. Thankfully many of our children and teens have already seen the difference. One young girl came to us and apologized that she had attended one service at the new church. She had already noticed that what they were teaching is not the truth of the Bible. The counterfeit religions will keep offering their way. Counterfeit drugs and counterfeit religion will always be a problem for Peru and the world. May God give us wisdom as we continue to offer the "Real Thing."