In memory of Fernando Stahl. . . .”
So reads the plaque unveiled at Miraflores in the Peruvian
Andes on May 4 by administrators of the South Peru Union as part of a unique
mission-focused leadership retreat.
At Oxapampa, at 5,500 feet elevation, and the first site of
their meetings for fellowship and rededication, administrators and departmental
directors of the union and its six local fields met from May 2-4, to enjoy
times of refreshing and inspiration through communion with God and each other
in nature, while also receiving biblical messages from Lael Caesar, Adventist World and Adventist Review associate editor.
Church leaders could only marvel on their journey from
Oxapampa to the site of the unveiling at Miraflores, known as Metraro a century
ago, at 10,000 feet elevation, that Fernando Stahl could have made such a
journey in 1921, given the challenges of accomplishing it in 2014. If the
journey now takes 4 hours on government constructed roads, what did it take
almost a hundred years ago when Stahl first journeyed there!
Speaking at the unveiling, Caesar reminded the 40 leaders
assembled for rededication at the foot of the monument, of the solemn privilege
it was to stand on this ground where God’s pioneer stood for Him for the first
time almost 100 years ago. From the village where this monument now stands, an
obelisk erected in their honor in 1999, Stahl and his wife Ana spread the love
of God to the highlands of Peru and Bolivia, defying and infuriating an
exploitative society, being called communists because they taught the
indigenous to read, erecting schools, inspiring self-respect in the
downtrodden, and establishing the work of healing that now makes possible three
Adventist clinics in Peru.
Because of the holy gall of Fernando and Ana Stahl, the word
of truth disrupted Satan’s organized hostility and spread across this
forbidding geography until today more than 430,000 Adventist believers rejoice
in the faith of Jesus across the length and breadth of the nation.
Honoring his name, the Central Andean Mission of Seventh-day
Adventists, led by officers Julio Medina, president, Iván Valladares, secretary, Walter Vallejos, treasurer,
repaired the 15 year old obelisk, and embedded upon it a plaque of bronze and
iron, providing an occasion at which the united leadership of the South Peru
Union could, as the high point of their week-long retreat, rededicate their
energies to sustaining to its glorious climax, the work for which Stahl left
his home in the U.S.A. to come to their own, and bring to their ancestors the
liberating truths of the gospel of eternal salvation.