Part three of three parts; click here to read part two.
It took 40 years for Scotty and Marie to see this special day when the church building filled up with Sharanahuas celebrating their finished task. There was no relief from heat that Sunday morning when we ambled down the village path to attend the dedication service. (I looked and smelled like a withered flower, but I had to let go of it.) We carried chairs from the schoolhouse to accommodate what would be "an overflow" crowd (members from other Sharanahua villages up the river were attending). They came as families, or alone, wearing hand-me-down Western clothes and sitting on the dirt floor.
The service began with Cusco leading simple choruses sung in Sharanahua. Gus spoke in a monotone but used extravagant arm gestures—and his hearers remained engaged. Cusco said that it was a sign of the end times that the rest of the New Testaments couldn't be here. The single New Testament to be presented that morning was hidden in Scotty's notebook, not to be unveiled until the final moments of the service.
Scotty had asked my husband, who is a pastor, if he would bring a message. So Bob told a story (as Scotty interpreted) about Charles Spurgeon. One day Spurgeon encountered a "bad" and "sly" little boy who had a field sparrow in a cage. Spurgeon asked the boy what he was going to do with the bird. The boy said, "Play with it for a while, then torture and kill it." (This evoked laughter from the Sharanahuas because some of their little boys do that to birds, too.) Spurgeon asked how much the boy wanted for him to purchase the bird. The boy mocked: "It's a worthless bird. You don't want it." But the boy sold it for "400 [Peruvian] soles—$200." (The Sharanahuas ...1