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.