Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Back from the jungle

We awakened early Saturday morning with great anticipation. The sun was shining, the mountains were glistening, and the birds were singing. In just a few hours we would be leaving for Puerto Maldonado, the jumping off point for the real jungle interior. We were brimming with expectation at the thought of contacting the unreached Mashco-Piro tribe. Who knew how they would receive us? We certainly did not know, but we were thrilled to wait on the Lord for His plan. The five of us were preparing to depart around noon for the 20-hour trip to the jungle city; however, our schedule quickly changed as a marathon going right through our valley had the only road shut down for hours. We were to learn a lot about flexibility and the fact that God’s plans are sometimes very different than our plans. Originally this trip was supposed to include about a dozen people, including doctors, dentists, and nurses, but none of the medical professionals could make it; so Loren, with her intense jungle medicine course, was our only resource.
We arrived in Puerto Maldonado with no major issues, and after meeting with the office of tribal groups and making boat arrangements, we were on our way. The river is currently at its lowest yearly level, which makes travel either upstream or downstream very tedious. We spent nearly four full days on the river, while spending our nights camping along the way. We used the time to build relationships with nationals, gain insight from our senior missionary, fix equipment, read God’s Word, and pray together. The boat ride was longer than expected, but it was very valuable.
Friday afternoon found us finally arriving in Monte Salvado (Saved Jungle), where we were met with a scant but warm reception. The next morning the community came together for a meeting to talk about how to best use our visit. The Yine people of Monte Salvado, who speak a similar dialect to the Mashco-Piro, decided that we should have a devotional at 5 a.m. and a service at 4 p.m. daily. For our part, we passed out a very simple questionnaire regarding the basics of salvation in order to assess their condition. Within a few hours we realized that, although they called themselves the “Saved Jungle,” they had almost no knowledge of true salvation!
To make a long story short, we jumped into all aspects of tribal living: we hunted with them, planted with them, fished with them, collected roofing leaves with them, cooked with them, and ate with them. On Wednesday Loren spent the entire day finding, digging, peeling, boiling, mashing, and spreading Yucca in preparation for our special service. She taught the ladies how to make a special dish, and we had a great turnout for the Wednesday afternoon service. The Lord was obviously at work in hearts, and we had about eight people request a visit to learn more about salvation. By God’s grace, we were able to lead each of those individuals, as well as a few others, to a true saving knowledge of our wonderful Savior! They used to call themselves brothers and sisters, but during our trip to Monte Salvado, the Lord allowed us to bring ten people into His true family!
Our plan was to contact the primitive, nomadic Mashco-Piro tribe during this trip, but the Lord did not allow that. He had plans for ten sheep who were wandering astray and needed to be brought into the fold. Praise the Lord for His work for the sake of His glory, and please pray for continuing growth in: Daniel, Claudio, Herman, Felipe, Juan, Ronald, Ritma, Diana, Hilma, and Rosa.

For His glory,
Buddy and Loren
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