In 1954, Roy LeTourneau began a road building project in the Peruvian jungle for his father–famed industrialist R.G. LeTourneau. Roy and his crew started the project by steaming boats of equipment up the Pachitea River and landing them at a site that they called Tournavista. From there they began the long arduous task of building a road from the middle of nowhere toward civilization.
Yet even in this remote jungle location, Roy found it crucial to be in constant communication with people in Peru’s capital city of Lima. Utilizing a corporate plane, he flew back and forth from Tournavista to Lima continually. He quickly realized the power and influence of that one city on even the remotest parts of the country.
In the fifty years since, the influence of Lima has only grown. Today, one-third of Peru’s population resides in the capital city. It is the center of government, commerce, education and communications. The same is true of the capital cities in virtually every other country in Latin America.
The massive size and influence of these urban centers are the primary reasons why CMI focuses its ministry on the capital city. It has been said that in Latin America, everyone has at least one contact in the capital. It truly is the hub of the nation. While hundreds of people move into the capital each day, change and influence radiate out.
As such, the capital city is a crucial beachhead for discipling the entire nation.
“In Latin America,” notes international evangelist Luis Palau, “it is an absolute fact: if you reach the capital city you can touch the whole nation. It’s amazing. In Latin America the capital city has enormous influence in contrast to the USA where Washington is influential but New York in some ways is more powerful. Not so in Latin America. In every single republic the capital touches the nation.”
“If we reach the cities, then the cities themselves will reach out into other areas of the country,” says C&MA Missionary David Peters. “For years in Latin America we worked in the smaller towns and villages, trying to evangelize the country in that way. As North American missionaries we felt that this was the way to go. But if we can go into the cities, into key cities, and plant strong churches in those cities, then the people in those churches go out and evangelize their family members who live in the small towns and the villages.”