11 January 2011 – Monday morning, 160 people sitting in the auditorium, among them patients and co-workers. A young medical student stands at the lectern and tells the story of her family. Everybody seems gripped by it. She talks about her father, Romulo Sauñe, and his lifework.
Her father, Romulo, used to live in a poor Indian mountain village in the Peruvian State of Ayacucho. Having become a committed Christian as a teen, he wanted to make Christ’s message accessible to all Quechua Indians. His dream became reality when, together with a translation institute, he translated the complete Bible into the language of his people.
In those years, the Peruvian mountains saw bitter fighting going on between the terror group „Shining Path” and government troops. Romulo called on the parties to reconcile and opposed any type of violence which, of course, was a thorn in the terrorists’ side. On 5 September 1992 he was trapped in a roadblock by guerrillas.
He immediately started to preach of the love of God to the terrorist commando group. A few moments later, however, the leader of the terrorists opened fire. While Romulo was bleeding to death in a hail of bullets, his last words were „God loves you. Jesus loves you.“
The death of Pastor Sauñe played a significant role in uniting the churches of Peru. Nearly two decades have gone by since the bloody crime was committed but since then the Bible, painstakingly translated by Romulo, has become a bestseller in the Peruvian mountains.
While Qori Sauñe is relating the story in a matter-of-fact way, without playing on our heart strings, some listeners secretly wipe their eyes. She herself would like to finish her medical studies and start serving the Quechua as a doctor as soon as possible.
Such faith is more than a cultural heritage and more than a cute church festivity. Jesus once said: If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me!