Richard Hetzel is a missionary serving with AMG International in Peru. A large part of his ministry focuses on training national pastors, especially in rural villages where many have no access to any biblical training. Richard travels and teaches as often as he can since he provides one of the only opportunities the majority of the tribal pastors and leaders have for training in the region. Many of these pastors are illiterate, so one of the current tasks at hand is to create a pastor training curriculum that is storytelling based.

AMG missionary Richard Hetzel exercising his storytelling skills teaching rural pastors at a tribal village conference in Peru’s Amazon region

In September, Richard, along with two pastors from Silverdale Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN, had the opportunity to teach the Achuar people for one week at a pastor’s conference in a remote area of the Amazon. They flew to a village with a grass airstrip and then took a wooden canoe downriver to the village. They were asked to teach on spiritual growth, stewardship, and apologetics. Richard says, “Every time I teach at a conference in a tribal village, the pastors share that they have all learned something that they have never heard before.” 

Money is something these national pastors do not deal with very often. Even though most do not have very much money, it is something they should learn to manage, especially to balance their church budgets. When teaching stewardship, Richard and the American pastors highlighted how we should steward our time, health, property, and everything we own in addition to money. “When we taught the concepts of managing money and creating a budget, every single person told us that was the first time they had ever heard of a budget, how to create one, and how to live by one,” Richard says.

When teaching about different spiritual topics, a huge issue that Richard and the American pastors addressed was how to break a curse. According to Richard, “Spiritual warfare is real, whether we want to admit it or not. Usually, we are just simply unaware of it. But spiritual warfare is something that the natives in the tribes deal with daily.” When they taught the national pastors how to break curses and spells by prayer, it was imperative to teach them first about the authority of God. Why? When starting this prayer, it is necessary to say, “In the name of Jesus Christ and under His authority…” The majority of the natives do not understand the authority of God because they do not have the Old Testament in their language. When they do not have the Old Testament, it is impossible to learn about the authority of God, the Creator of all. They do, however, understand authority within the village since they have a chief in every tribe. Using this as an example, the pastors are taught that the Holy Spirit has authority over all the evil spirits and any curses a witch doctor could ever place on them.

Please pray for these pastors as they continue to grow in their faith and in their spiritual leadership. Many of them leave their homes for a month to attend these conferences to become better equipped to help meet the deepest needs of their communities. Also, continue praying for Richard and his family as they serve their community and inspire hope in those around them.

There are opportunities to go to Peru and teach a class. If you are interested in serving at the institute, please contact Bill Passons at AMG International.