Here is a little summary of our mission work in Peru.
Friday, April 3, 2015
March 25, 2015 Wednesday
Up with the sun, made coffee, and now all the guys are doing their devotions. How sweet it is to be serving with godly men.
We started teaching at 9:30am and taught all day. We had a good turn out for the teachings, now that the witch hunt was over. The people had a lot of questions about cults, Satan, money, and many other topics. They seemed to be more interactive than ever.
Wilder and the guys at Chembo are very excited about the Reaching and Teaching center we are starting in May. They call it "seminary." After three years they will graduate. Wilder said after he graduates he wants to be a missionary to all the other villages around him and preach the gospel. Very exciting for us.
One of the village kids brought a monkey in on his head to show us. The parents kill the mother monkeys for food, and then the kids get to keep the baby monkeys. They carry the monkeys around on their heads because the monkey thinks that their hair is their mom. In a very funny event that unfolded, Martin had the monkey on his head when the monkey saw a mole on his neck and bit him. Martin screamed and threw the monkey down. Of course we laughed at Martin's expense, but he did as well.
|Martin and his monkey|
Martin preached a good message at the community center in the evening. Everyone was really listening intently. After the service, we ate paneton bread and oatmeal water. The stars were shinning very bright on our last night.
March 26, 2015 Thursday
We waited at the river at 5:30am for our boat drivers. Of course no one was there. The drivers showed up late and shuttled us across the Tambo river at first light. We were sad to say goodbye to the brothers and sisters in Christ, but also ready to get out of the jungle.
We hiked the same muddy trail back to the road. The driver was waiting for us. We suffered through the 8 hour truck ride.
As we neared Satipo we got news that there was another giant Huaico (Flash flood/mud slide). This one was so big that it wiped out a town and the only road to Lima. This meant that we were stranded. The bus company said that it may take five days to open the road. You can read about the Huaico HERE. We decided to take a bus all night to Huancayo, about 8 hours away. We found airplane tickets that flew out of the only airport in the area, but not until Sunday.
As the bus climbed from the low jungle to the high mountains of 11,000 feet, it got very cold. I was getting sick with a fever when we left Chembo, and now I was really sick and freezing with chills on the heatless bus. I don't remember being so cold.
March 27, 2015 Friday
We arrived in Huancayo at first light, and it was cold. We checked into a hotel and slept for a while. We lost our plane tickets to Cusco because we were not allowed to change them at the last minute. The guys from the States were able to change their tickets to fly out on Monday. Even though we found ourselves in a new city and delayed several days from going home, we trusted that this was the good providence of God and that there was a reason we were here.
March 28, 2015 Saturday
|Martin preaching in the plaza|
Around noon, Martin, Anthony, and I went to the plaza to redeem the time by sharing the gospel. Martin preached to a big crowd of around 65 people. After he finished, I shared the gospel with a few people that seemed convicted of their sin. They said they were going to Hell and needed a way out. Martin and Anthony spoke to three school girls who were very convicted and asked many questions. A few days later Martin received a text from one of the girls saying that she wants to know Christ. Praise God. The guy I shared the gospel with asked us to move to Huancayo and start a church. Once again, that is another impossible need that we can't meet. We need laborers.
The rest of the trip back to Cusco went pretty smooth. It is so good to be back in the greatest city in the world.
|Me hiking through the jungle to the river|
Before we went to sleep last night Miguel told us that it wouldn't rain because it was a new moon. At 5:00am this morning the sky opened up and it rain so hard that it seemed a cloud burst. Anthony and I woke up to rain pouring into our hammocks because of a leak in the thatch roof of the hut. We frantically put up tarps and went back to bed a little damp.
The morning dawned with a bright sun. We cooked up some morning coffee, ate breakfast, and met up with Wilder (the guy from the far village of Nazaret) and his wife for the rest of the day. Wilder started the village of Nazaret during the terrorist days when they had to escape deeper into the jungle for protection. Wilder builds boats, huts, and plants crops to earn money. He is also the pastor of the church in Nazaret. Wilder and his wife taught us some of the Ashaninca language and songs. A few are below:
Pasonki = Thank you, Tasorentsi = God, Jesoshi = Jesus, Ishire Quirishito = Holy Spirit
Hymn - Impocaje Jesoshi Inquenapee Jenoqui
Impocaje Jesoshi, inquenapee Jenoqui (He comes, Jesus, again in the clouds.)
Aneavajeri impiaje Tasorentsi Itomi (We persevere until the coming of the Son of God)
Aririca impoque, amenajeitauajeri (When He comes we will be with Him)
Aneavajeri impiaje Tasorentsi Itomi (We persevere until the coming of the Son of God)
We waited and waited for the teachings to start but all was delayed as usual. Every time we come to teach, there is some spiritual battle that tries to hinder us. This time he hindrance involved a witch hunt.
There were nine people in the village that became ill. Naturally the tribal people assumed that there were witches in the village that were using witchcraft to make the people sick. It was the job of the curandero (basically a witch that supposedly does good and heals people) to find out who the bad witch was. The curandero of the village has more power and control than the president or jefe. The curandero is like a medicine man that mixes plants together for different purposes. To discover a witch, the curandero mixes a concoction of very strong hallucinogenic drugs so that he can take the drugs and see a vision of who the witch is. This is very controversial because the curandero could just make something up and blame his enemy.
Many times when gringos come into a village and by coincidence someone dies or gets sick, the gringos get the blame for it. It did cross our mind that the curandero might blame us. The meeting went on all day until 6:00pm. They kept the whole thing quiet, not wanting to talk to us about what was going on. Apparently they found the witch and "kicked him out" of the village. Wilder used this same phrase when he was telling us that they killed their wives for being witches.
When Dustin and Josh tried to use the "bathroom" last night, they discovered that there were big bats living in the hole. When they tried to use the "toilet" the bats came flying out of the hole. Let's just say there was not a little screaming as they shot out of the bathroom like they were shot from a canon.
To pass the time today, we investigated the bats and found, using a Go Pro camera, that there were as many as 40 big bats living in the toilet. You could use the bathroom during the day because they wouldn't fly out into the daylight. It was still a little freaky because you could hear them right below you. Bats in a "toilet" does make using the bathroom in Chembo a bit of a challenge. Anthony took a picture of one flying out of the hole.
Finally we got the news that we could preach at the community center tonight at 7:00pm. I preached about Elijah and the prophets of Baal on mount Carmel. I challenged the people to quit fearing and serving other superstitions and other gods, and serve the only true and living God. I challenged a lot of their fears about the legends they have in the jungle. It went very well. Afterwards, over a cup of oatmeal water, Wilder told us many stories about his encounter with mermaids, Chuiachaci (a demon of the jungle), and many other strange things. We went to sleep in our hammocks, protected from the many spiders, cockroaches, and bats. Here are a few pictures of the spiders that sleep with us.
Thursday, April 2, 2015
March 21st, 2015 Saturday
Martin Manchego (Lima), Anthony Olson, Trevor, Dustin, Josh (three missionaries from the States), and I rolled down a Peruvian highway through the night, only half sleeping. Around dawn I noticed that the bus was stopped. I looked out the rain covered window and saw a whole lot of bananas, so I knew we were in the jungle, but I didn't know where. As I exited the bus I saw a great congregation of buses and cars waiting. I walked down the high and learned a new Spanish word: Huaico. A huaico is a flash flood that propels high volumes of rock and water, destroying everything in it's path. This huaico left tons of mud, boulders, and debris for one mile of highway. We were stuck.
We waited all day, about 8 hours, for heavy equipment to clear the road. During our wait we redeemed the time by talking to a Peruvian missionary to the Ashaninca people. She has been living in a village for more than ten years. She was a wealth of information, telling us of tribal spiritual warfare, curanderos, witches, and abuse. Little did we know that this conversation would be very important to understand what we would experience in a few days. This missionary, probably in her mid 50's, had a friend with her. Her friend was also a missionary that lived in the same village. She was probably in her mid 60's. This puts to shame all those in American enjoying their retirement and saying they are too old for missions. This lady sang us a few hymns in Ashaninca. It was sweet.
To pass the time and gain a little money, some local Ashanincas traveled up and down the road with their parrots, bows and arrows, and a couple of giant anaconda snakes.
We finally arrived to Satipo around 4:30, just in time to eat with Pastor Miguel and his family, check into the hostel, and go to the church for the evening service. Miguel's church is growing in numbers and spiritual maturity. I preached from Matthew 5.
March 22, 2015 Sunday
Woke up to jungle heat. We will now have no relief from it for many days. Martin preached the morning service, we talked with the church, and then went to Miguel's for what he said was a "surprise." The surprise turned out to be ceviche (raw fish that is cured by sprinkling a little lime on it), stuffed peppers, fish soup, and roasted corn kernels.
After lunch we bought all the food we would be bringing to Chembo, made the final preparations for the trip into Chembo, and went to bed early to prepare for a 4:30am departure tomorrow.
March 23, 2015 Monday
We were on the road by 5:00am. This leg of the trip is the most dreaded part of the trip. We rattled around in a truck for the next eight hours. We alternated riding in the front and bed of the truck the whole way. Martin and Dustin puked several times along the way, which is quite normal. All our stomachs were destroyed after the constant rattling and jarring around of our bodies.
In December the guys found a short cut to Chembo. We stop before Atalaya and walk through a different village to the Tambo river. The guys from Chembo only need to take us almost directly across the river to Chembo. The only problem with this plan is that it is the rainy season. The trail to the river was about a mile of mud; the kind of mud that sucks your shoes or sandals off with each step.
Trevor started the trip out by falling face first into a swamp. It was very funny and a sad way to start off sleeping in a primitive village. Once we saw he was OK, we all laughed and had a good time over his feat. By the time we reached the river, we were all quite filthy. Three guys from Chembo took us to the village.
We set up our hammocks, organized, rested, and ate lunch with the believers in Chembo. Josh preached a short message for the brothers and sisters, and then we opened it up for questions and answers. The guys asked many questions in great humility. They genuinely wanted to know simple things such as, "what is marriage" "what is baptism" "how do we raise our children." It was a great pleasure to be able to teach these guys who were so willing to obey the Scripture. Sadly, Ricardo said that many people can't read the Bible in Spanish or Ashaninca, and even the people who can read an write have trouble understanding big words. They really rely on someone orally teaching them, and then they can repeat what they learned to their families.
Once again, this is the state of the church in our part of the jungle. We need missionaries to come here and pour their lives into these simple people.