Monday, December 31, 2012

New Blog site from Raegan, Sabrina, and Adrianne

I would like to introduce you to a blog that my daughter Raegan and her friends Sabrina and Adrianne started.  According to their blog, this is their purpose:

Adrianne, Raegan, and Sabrina created this blog to connect teen girls living for Jesus around the world. Whether those girls are in their home country or in a foreign one, they are all shining His light. Girls Gone Global is a place for them to share encouragement, thoughts, and experiences.

Raegan and her friends are all about the same age.  Raegan, of course, lives in Peru, Adrianne lives in Ecuador and Sabrina lives in Uruguay.  The are all missionary kids and they have unique perspectives about life in the field.  For those who are interested, you can check out their blog:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Our new work in the Jungle

We are excited to announce a new work we will be starting in the Peruvian Central Jungle.  We will be partnering with Scott Dollar from the The Way Church in Clarksville, Tennessee. 

How it all began.... A Peruvian pastor named Miguel was a pastor of a Pentecostal church in a small jungle town but his denomination told him that he had to move to another town in Peru to pastor a different church.  His denomination does this every 2 years.  This devastated his family and the church.  When he was at his new church, he studied the Scriptures continually and soon came under conviction that some of what he was taught in the Pentecostal church was completely wrong.  He continued to study and conform to the Word of God and found the doctrine he was taught was much different than what the Bible taught.  Because of his understanding of Scripture, he left his church and found that how he understands the Scripture aligns with Baptistic beliefs.  Miguel met Scott Dollar in Jauja and told him about his new convictions and his desire to start a church in the jungle town of Satipo. 

Scott kept in contact with him and then decided to meet up with him this December to explore the possibility of working with him in the jungle.  Scott brought him a MacArthur study bible and some great resources from Paul Washer.  We then went with him into the jungle and when we came out we learned some amazing things.

The first thing we learned was that he was pretty solid in doctrine and his idea for church planting in the jungle was amazing.  Miguel and his father in law already had went into 8 villages, gained permission to teach and began to teach them a little.  Miguel's father-in-law, who has a little farm in Satipo, taught the villages to grow and harvest coffee to make money to sustain a church.  He bought the harvest from them and sold it on the market.  This was amazing to us because these 2 men were already laying the foundation for self-sustaining and self-replication churches in the jungle. 

We also learned how the gospel was brought to these jungle villages.  It is not clear but either Peruvian or Brazilian Pentecostals planted the churches a long time ago but then abandoned them.  After the bad doctrine began to play its course, the churches fell apart and lost most members.  This was a blessing because only the true Christians remained.  Now is the perfect time to teach solid doctrine to these few remaining believers.

While we met with these men in the jungle, each tribal representative told us their needs.  They all stressed that they wanted us to come teach them as much as possible and to supply them with materials that they could study and teach the tribe with when we were away.  Others had small needs for their church "huts" like tin for a roof or gasoline to cut wood for walls and doors. 

We are partnering with Scott Dollar to meet their needs of teaching the Word of God and to supply materials.  Scott's church, The Way, is also going to support Miguel financially so that Miguel can start the church in Satipo.  Satipo will be the launching point for the work with the villages, even though it is still 150 miles and bad roads and an hour long boat ride away.  Our team is also going to take part of the burden in supporting Miguel, starting in January. 

Our team in Cuzco will be going with Scott back into this village in May to teach and preach.  After our trip in May, our time will be returning to teach and preach every other quarter and Scott and his team will be going in the opposite quarters.  This way the people will receive training and materials every quarter.  We will eventually go much further into the jungle to the villages of the other leaders.

Below are the pictures of Miguel (the pastor we will be supporting in Satipo) and the leaders of each village we are working with:

Pastor Miguel starting a church in Satipo...population over 40,000 with only two small evangelical churches.
Pastor Eli of the River village of  X...15 believers with Population of 120

Eliazer...Pastors River Village of  XX...population 42 with 12 believers...Eliazer has been a Christian for about 6 months
Juan...Pastors river village XXX which is on the X River...28 people in village with 10 believers
Pastors river village XXXX...population 48 families with 4 families that are believers

Teofillo Pastors river village of XXXXX...population 30 families with 6 people that are believers

Wilder...Pastors village XXXXXX...12 families and all are believers...Wilder is impressive. 
He has killed 10 black panthers, and many boa constrictors, and anacondas. 
This is a man that the terrorists are scared of. 
I like him a lot and he really wants us to make the 30 mile hike to his village next trip.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Jungle Expedition Part 2

We followed the lady to where they were holding our friend.  It turned out that Raul was bird watching 5 Kilometers from the village when a group of women saw him.  They got scared and ran back to the village to tell the men.  The men responded promptly and surrounded Raul with guns and he was brought into custody. 

The reasons that they were so afraid were bazaar. 

First of all because the Shining Path terrorist group is near this area and they are afraid of them and are very protective of their people. 

Second of all their are also organ traffickers in the area and they have killed their people to steal their organs to sell on the black market. 

Thirdly because their was an old wives tale that Gringos come to slice open their children and take their grease.  This was a bazaar one and I have no idea of where it started but the people were so scared that women hid their children for 2 days when we were in the village. 

Fourthly because someone heard a crazy Pentacostal preacher once say that in the United States they were administering microchips into people which was the mark of the beast told in Revelation.  Many of the professing believers in the village really though that our purpose for coming into the village was to give them the mark of the beast.  This was the first question they asked when we got there.

So Raul is sitting on a bench when we arrived and Adin did all the talking.  A large group of angry and scared people surrouned us and began to express their trouble and the predicament that we were in.  Adin was a swift talker and handled the situation perfectly.  They express that we are not to go more than 100 meters from the main hut we were using and that pictures or video were not allowed.  Woops!  That one got lost in translation somewhere.  Both Jack and I had video cameras with us at the moment but they were hidden.  Adin talked and talked to calm their nerves and convince them that we meant no harm.  We had permission to come to the village through Migual so the boss of the village knew we were here, which was the only reason we were not killed.   A big group now warned us that if we were found more than 100 meters from camp that we would be shot on sight.  They told Adin to tell the gringos this because they wanted us to understand this very clearly.  Adin translated it to us and they had a look of satisfaction and kind of a "try me" look.  We took Raul and walked back to the hut with the Christians.  The people followed.  One little girl had a monkey on her head the whole time, which was a little distracting.  This would have been a bad time to take a picture. 

We never saw any monkeys because the people shoot them for meat and then the little kids get the baby monkeys and carry them on their head.  The baby monkey thinks that their hair is it's mom.

We took it easy back at the eating hut until after dinner.  Obviously we did not want to test the 100 meter warning because their is no doubt we would be dead.  They told us that without permission from the Jefe, we could not have entered the village and most likely would have been killed.  The told us there is no Peruvian law in these indigenous zones but only their own law.  They have killed people before. 

After dinner we walked in the dark to the little church hut.  They prayed fervently for a half hour and then sung a few songs.  I had the opportunity to speak this night.  I shared my testimony and then the gospel, calling for repentance and faith.  This was my first time preaching in Spanish and I thought it was a great place to do it.  I feel my Spanish went smooth and easy, although I know that I made a few mistakes.  Around 70-80 showed up I would guess.

Scott Dollar got up next and preached an outstanding message on the doctrine of regeneration from John 3.  It was a little distracting trying to worship with giant spiders on the walls right next to us but we managed.

We hit the sack in our "beds" early this night and dealt with the same spiders, cockroaches, bats and now shouting villagers that were in the direction of our incident.  Jack was worried that the villagers would kill us so he asked Adin if they were serious or just messing with us.  Jack was hoping for latter as a sign of comfort but Adin said that they were angry and could try something.  This did not help Jack.  Throughout the trip whenever Jack was freaking out he started talking in the 3rd person and this time, like several times before he said, "Jack is not coming back to the jungle."

Our typical breakfast, lunch and dinner
It started raining at 4am and it was so hard.  Jack called it a monsoon.  It rained hard until day break where it let up only a little.  The village was now flooded.  We were scheduled to leave at 6am so I walked in foot deep water to the gathering hut and found everyone asleep.  I asked if we were leaving and they looked at me funny, like I asked a strange question.  Apparently everyone knows that when it is raining they don't go on the river.  They said their pants would get wet.  This saying became a joke for us for the next several hours.  It was now a waiting game.  I brewed up some coffee with my stove and it sure hit the spot.  Adin finally convinced them to let us leave and we piled in the old wooden boats. 

I had rain gear so I road up front.  On the way down the river I had a little shock.  One of the big spiders must have been in the boat and it crawled up my back and peaked over the brim of my hat, trying to get shelter in my rain coat.  I knocked it off but never saw where it landed so I spent the rest of the boat ride wondering where it was.

We got to shore, ate lunch and where off in the truck again for a long ride on bad roads.  This time it was worse.  We came to the first major river crossing and because of the heavy rains, the rivers where 10 times bigger than when we crossed a few days before.  Trucks where lined up and had been waiting to cross all night since 1 am.  We waited an hour and a half and then a crazy guy attempted to cross from the other side.  I would have never attempted this.  It would be like trying to drive a truck across the Big Hole river (for those of you in Montana).  The water was measured by a a kid and found to be over 4 feet deep.  The truck started across despite many warnings and as he entered the water went over his hood.  He somehow managed to make it across which encouraged another guy to follow.  He made it too so our guy was next.  I rode in the back in case I needed to make a quick escape.  We somehow made it and were off.

A black truck passed us but when we came to the next river crossing, the black truck was stopped because he was scared to cross.  Our drive pulled up to him and asked him why he wanted to go first if he was such a chicken.  Our guy plowed into the river and we once again somehow made it across.  The black truck followed and was made that he was called a chicken so he started tailgating us and honking his horn.  Our driver would not let him pass because he said chickens shouldn't be first.  We now raced through the muddy, dangerous, jungle roads at top speed, almost hitting other cars, motorbikes and people.  He would not listen to our warnings so after 2 hours of this we said we need to go the bathroom.  It worked, he stopped, the black truck past us and the rest of the trip was the usual hair raising ride. 
Barge crossing
After 6 more hours we got to the river crossing.  This one would be like crossing the Mississippi so there was a "barge" which was two wooden boats with a platform to drive the truck on.  We made it across and back to Satipo after dark.  We got a hostel with a bed, toilet seat, towels, and toilet paper, which are all options in Peru.  We had no hot water but we were to tired to care.  I must say it is quite difficult to use the bathroom with no toliet seat.

The next day we spent at the chacra (farm) of Miguel's father in law.  They made Pachamanca which was a meal they prepared by digging a hole, starting a fire, heating rocks and then filling it with potatos, yuka, chicken, pork, beans and then banana leaves.  They cover it with dirt and after an hour they dig it up.  It was outstanding.  They also gave us the best bananas in the world and the best orange in the world and many other things they grew on their place.  We talked a lot about future missions work in the jungle and about Miguel's work in Satipo.  Which I will right a separate blog about Miguel soon.  We had a church service in Satipo with Miguel and prayed over them and their new work and for the tribes on the river. 

Got up early the next day and drove 5 hours to Jauja.  We saw a taxi that missed a turn and shot over a cliff into a raging river.  We were now back up at the 10,000 feet range and it felt cold to us.  Jack preached the evening service which went very well. 

We hit the sack early but our hostel was hooked to a bar that blasted music until after 5am so it was hard to sleep. I left at 5am to take a flight from the little airport in Jauja. My flight was 3 1/2 hours late so I waited at the airport for 5 hours before the plane double prop plane showed up. I of course missed my flight from Lima to Cuzco and they would not help me get on another flight so I had to buy a new ticket. I got home at 3 pm.

Our trip was filled with a surprise around every corner, constant excitement, and an amazement of God.  My ipod was stolen in one of the hostels and I had to buy an extra plane ticket but I wouldn't change the trip for nothing.  We saw a hunger for the word of God, believers were encouraged, the gospel was clearly taught and preached, and the whole jungle has now been opened up to us so that we can proclaim the glorious reaches of Christ and so that His Kingdom will be advanced.

I will be writing about our future opportunities as well as posting some video very soon.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Jungle Expedition Part 1

So far after 3 days, 1 hour by plane, 26 hours travel by truck,  130 miles on bad, muddy jungle roads, 2 major river crossings by truck, and 1 hour by an old, leaky wooden boat, just as the sun was setting, we found ourselves sitting in the village of an indigenous tribe of Indians deep in the Peruvian Central Jungle.  We were told when we got there that we were the first white men that have entered this village of 120 people. 
Many of the details of this trip were unknown when we left.  Scott Dollar had a contact with a Pastor named Miguel, who told him about his burden to reach a series of villages on the Tambo and Urabamba rivers.  He invited Scott to spend a few days there this trip.  That is pretty much all we knew when we started off.  We had no idea that we were going to an indigenous people, nor that we would be the first white people, nor that the people spoke Spanish as their second language, nor that it would be a reckless adventure just getting to the village, nor that we would be sleeping with spiders, like Jack would say, the size of a dinner plate, nor did we know many other details.
A taxi driver who did not make a turn on one of the twisted
Andean roads.  He launched off a cliff into the river.
 Very common here.
We left from Lima late, as usual in Peru, and we were headed for a small jungle town called Satipo.  We traveled across just about every environment in Peru.  We started on the coast and then climbed through desert and mountains until we reached one of the highest drivable passes in the world at just about 16,000 feet.  It was cold and there was a little snow on top.  We descended the rest of the way and stopped in a small mountain town called Juaja for some Chafa, which is Peruvian Chinese food.  We then continued our decent to the jungle and the finally arrived in the hot and humid town of Satipo about midnight.  A 16 hour day on the road wore us out.  We took cold showers and hit the sack.
Our guide, Pastor Miguel, insisted that we get shots for Malaria, Dengue fever and Yellow Fever.  We told them we already had Yellow Fever shots and Malaria pills but they insisted anyway and made a big deal out of it.  When the place giving the shots was closed, the issue was dropped and apparently became unimportant.  We began to find out more details of the trip.  We found out that we were going to an indigenous tribe that spoke a different language and that we had to rent a driver and 4 x 4 truck and drive 130 miles on bad muddy roads just to get to a small river town where we would take old wooden boats up a huge river that was flooded and the color of chocolate.  We also found out we would be sleeping in huts under a mosquito net.  This was a very accurate description because that is the only thing we had was a net. 
We left Satipo in a Toyota truck and 3 people road in the back and then we swapped about half way.  It was a long, long, long, 130 miles and our driver drove as fast as humanly possible which rattled us around and kept us awake.  We picked up a man and his nephew along the way, who jumped in the back with Scott Dollar and I.  He could not speak Spanish and was the first native that we saw.  We arrived at the river town with an hour of light to spare.  We jumped in a couple wooden boats with very loud motors that a few men from the village brought to town to pick us up.  We headed up stream for the 10 minute boat ride that was really an hour.  Time is relevant in the jungle, it seems that they just tell you what you want to hear. 
As we motored up the river we saw many people fishing from wooden canoes, washing clothes and bathing.  Scott Dollar's boat arrived 20 minutes after us because their motor had problems and they almost capsized when they hit a log in the river.  Some of the people in the village welcomed us.  Out of the 120 people there are maybe a dozen or more believers.  The village was spread out and consisted of many grass roofed huts and a few concrete buildings the Peruvian Government built for a school a long time ago.  There was no electricity or potable water.  We ate dinner after dark and they graciously fed us rice, fish, papaya, yuka and some kind of drink.
After dinner we went to the little church building they constructed so that Scott could preach.  It was translated in 2 languages so it was difficult but it went good.  Adin was the interpreter that Scott always uses and I must say that he is the best interpreter that I have ever seen.  There were about 70 people present. 
We were then brought to the old abandoned building that we would sleep in for the next two nights.  We had mosquito nets with woven grass mats.  Our rooms were infested with bats (which smelled and made all kinds of noises all night), huge cockroaches, and giant spiders.  The natives killed a couple of the spiders to appease us but they had a little chuckle that we didn't like the spiders.  The sounds of the jungle do not quit all night and there are many and they are loud.  A ton of different frogs.  Then of course you have the domestic animals of the village like the many dogs that barked at something throughout the night and the roosters that crowed every hour for some reason.  Around the village were anacondas, boa constrictors, poison frogs, caterpillars, jaguars, tarantulas, blood sucking bats, dangerous ants and just about everything else that can kill and maim you.
We woke up....or got up, since we never slept much, and went to the main gathering hut for breakfast.  They fed us fish soup with the guts and of course the head still attached, a stick of sugar cane that we pealed and sucked on, as well as papaya, yuka and sweet water.  The kids and a lot of the adults stared at us a lot and followed us around.  I told some kids that Jack was scared of spiders so they found a big one and were hitting it with their bare hands to freak Jack out. It worked.
Scott then taught for 3 hours on various subjects, which went very well.  The believers here are so hungry for the Word of God and they seem to soak it up.  On man walked 6 hours, which is about 30 miles at his pace, and then traveled 3 hours by boat just to come to the teaching.  This man was a real man.  He was humble but after some prodding he said that he killed 10 jaguars and many anacondas and boas.  This is a guy that the shinning path terrorist group, which were in the area, would be afraid of.  This is a man that you would not want to have on your bad side. 
After the the teaching we had another meeting so that the leaders of the 7 villages that were represented could tell us their needs.  All of them stressed that they need biblical teaching and materials and they invited us to their very remote villages to do it on our next trip.  They were very humble in their presentation of their needs and they glorified God.  After this meeting an old man wanted to show us his chacra (farm) so we followed him through the jungle.  On the way we saw the deadliest ant in the jungle whose sting is said to be more painful than anything on earth.  We got to the river and turned back. 
Then the incident happened.  A woman came running up to us and said that our friend had been found wandering and taken captive by gun point and was being held.  

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Post Office, The Gospel and a God Hating Hippy

So I had to go get a package out of customs this morning before I left for Lima.  In Peru, like the rest of Latin America, you just learn that you are going to have to wait in line for a long time no matter what you are doing.  The customs office at the post office is no different. 

While I was waiting, a lady from South Africa sat next to me and she started talking to me in English.  We made small talk and then I asked her what made her move to Cuzco 15 years ago.  She told me she came to go on a spiritual journey.  This clearly blew a door wide open to talk about the gospel.  She went on to tell me a bizarre story that seemed like it was the demonic world manifesting itself to her.  She thought it was God and said it was the first time she knew she was a child of God.

I asked if she was a professing Christian before the incident and she told me that she was not before and is not now a Christian.  She went on to tell me of her goodness and how she cares for the earth and that God is with her and speaks to her all the time.  She began to preach her sermon about loving people and especially yourself because, after all, you are a great person that God is praising all day. 

I asked her how she deals with the sin issue and how she intends to find pardon for her sin.  That was simple to her, she did not sin, ever.  I could not hold in the laugh as I asked her how many lies she has told in her life.  She said only a couple.  I guess now she just told her 3rd lie.  I asked if she ever stole anything and she said never.  I asked if she ever bought a DVD in Cuzco.  Every DVD is illegal in Cuzco because they are all pirated and violate the international copy right law.  She said she did because it was her only choice in Cuzco.  So I said to her, to make things clear, that she stole DVDs because she did not have other options.  She said yes.  I went on to ask if she has always honored her parents and she said that she didn't but that she did not have to.  I told her 5th commandment but she disagreed very colorfully. 

After beginning to take her through the next commandment she started getting convicted and angry as her sin was exposed.  She started yelling at me and saying that I lived in a box and that I was judging her.  I said I was just asking her questions and she was answering me, which she condemned herself.  She then went on to tell me how all religions are right, except Christianity, and that everyone will go to Heaven, except Christians. 

She then went on to tell me how the Bible is not inspired and it was written by the Catholics.  It is amazing how ignorant people are about simple history, like when then Catholic church started.  She was convinced the Catholics wrote the Bible to control people.  She then denied that Hell exists, we have free will and that God needs us to help him because he is not Sovereign or really in control of anything. 

She now started to get really fired up and made a scene.  She called me a whole bunch of names because I said that you could only have your sins forgiven and go to heaven through Christ.  She was now more angry because she said she knows many mystics, Rabbi's, Buddhists and new age hippies that are great people and are going to heaven because they believe their own truth.

I tried to explain absolute truth to her and that there can only be one truth but she was so far gone that she started laughing loudly at the fact that there could only be one truth.  She looked at me with fury and said, "are you telling me that you think that there is only one way to Heaven".  I said that there was absolutely only one way.  She said that I was a fool to make up a statement like that.  I told her that Jesus said it not me.  Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but through Him. 

She blew up at this statement and blasphemed God.  The scene intensified now.  She erupted and yelled that she would go to heaven along with everyone she knew (except Christians of course).  I told her that unless she repent she would perish.  She would die in her sins and go to Hell.  She railed off some more blasphemy and cursed me out and then shut up. 

I have to say that arguing with a foolish new ager and getting cursed out in English because of the Gospel brought back a lot of memories from the many years of street evangelism in the States. 

Once again it is proven that no matter where you are at in the world you will find that people can't bear the gospel and when it is preached, people will become angry or converted.  Those are the only two options if you are preaching the biblical gospel. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Team video update

Here is a quick video update from our team in Cuzco.