Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
~ 1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV)
Joshua Sauñe had not planned to speak at his brothers’ funeral. Had he planned a speech, it certainly would not have been the one he delivered on that remarkable September day in 1992.
“Shining Path is not my enemy, Satan is my enemy,” he told the mourners who packed the Presbyterian Church in Ayacucho, Peru. “The people who killed my brothers need Christ just as you and I do.”
The funeral of Quechua evangelist and Bible translator Rómulo Sauñe, his brother Ruben and their cousins Josué and Marco Antonio, was one of the largest Ayacucho witnessed during the decade that the communist guerrilla army known as Shining Path terrorized the city. Nearly 5,000 people, the vast majority of them Quechua-speaking native Americans like the Sauñes, turned out to grieve the fallen Christians, murdered September 5.
God was there that day, too, performing silent miracles in the lives of several of the mourners.
Joshua was Rómulo’s only surviving brother and had come immediately from his home in the United States when he heard of the murders. All during the long flight to Peru, Joshua seethed with anger. He later told a friend that, in the very moment he rose to address the crowd, God took away the hatred he felt for the Shining Path terrorists that had caused his family so much suffering. In its place, God gave Joshua a burning desire to carry on the evangelistic work that his brothers, parents and grandparents had faithfully performed.
“I suddenly saw (that) if I was going to fight Shining Path, I should fight with the Bible,” Joshua said. “It was the first time I understood that.”
Not long afterward, Joshua abandoned his successful art career in Arizona and moved back to Peru with his family to work with Runa Simi, the indigenous ministry founded by Rómulo and his wife, the former Donna Jackson. Between evangelistic campaigns in the Andes, Joshua and Missy Sauñe have worked to establish community self-help projects and schools for the widows and orphans of Shining Path violence.
RESPONSE: Today I will publicly affirm that my only enemy is Satan and I will be alert to his tactics.
PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for the work you are doing in Peru as a result of Romulo’s martyrdom and in the face of opposition from the enemy.