Part of our day trip to the Antiplano in Chile was a stop at the high altitude pueblito called Parinacota. Parinacota is a veeeerrrrrryyyy small town that only has six families. I think that the town still exists only because of the tourists who come through town and buy snacks, souvenirs and snap pictures. The town boasts a main square complete with gazebo and dumm... dummm...dummm: a foosball machine! Yes folks there's not much to do in the middle of a national park so you might as well play foosball!
Dawn and Sunny the monkey try their hands at Parinacota's foosball. Woohoo!
Another very important part of the town in a 17th century church in whitewashed adobe. There are several churches that look very similar on the outside to the Parinacota church. The unique part about the church is the inside where the walls are covered with paintings. Among the paintings is a depiction of the crucifixion which uses Spanish conquistadors as soldiers! Another unique feature of this church is a small wooden table that is tied to a rope near the front of the church. The story is that this table likes to roam around at night and whenever it stops in front of a house, someone from that house dies. Over the years they've had to replace that rope but there the table stays tied up so that it doesn't creep around the town at night.
Now you and I might laugh at that story but it is really sad if you think about it. These people call themselves Catholics and yet they live in fear of a table that might creep by their house at night. There is such a mixture of Andean religion and catholicism in South America that binds people up in fear. The God of all creation is bigger and greater than any possessed table! God did not call us to live in fear but to be free as His people. The sad thing is that the people don't know this God, the God whose love casts out all fear. They choose to live in fear because it's all they know... what their parents did, what their grandparents did and so on. They need to know the truth of who God is so that they can be set free from the false traditions and deadly trap of fear. My prayer for the people here is that they would know this freedom!
And finally a picture of the famous table! Don't worry it's tied up.