Friday, September 11, 2015

Peace like a river in my soul.

John 20:21  Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."

When Jesus said this to His disciples, I wonder what kind of image popped into their mind. Did they think of the fundraising they would have to do before they could afford to "go", did they think of the shots they would need, or the medication they would need to take in case they got sick, maybe they took out a travelers insurance policy. Did they make a list of items to take along; sunscreen, four pairs of clothes with extra socks and underwear, toothbrush, earphones, deodorant, hand sanitizer..... I'm sounding sarcastic I know, but really, I think they likely did go through preparation process, although I think what they thought of as the most important thing to take may not match what we would think of as very important. For example, have you ever had one of those travelers pillows, you know the ones that wrap around your neck, I used to think 'what could be so great about that' but I tell ya I am sold, I don't think I'll even get on a bus with out one lol, all of a sudden what used to not even cross my mind now is one of the first things I think about when I think "trip". Any way lets get to the point....

Avis and her brother Fred, when they first came to Peru spent a fair bit of time in Iquitos, on the amazon river, doing medical campaigns, showing movies, and preaching, church planting really. I had the great privilege of going on a mission trip with an awesome group of people to Iquitos. Layla is a great woman of God who Avis worked with back about 13 years ago, she is still at it, with 7 churches under her care. 
I had the awesome privilege of preaching in the same church Avis preached in back than, only instead of  a wooden shack rocking back and forth on logs floating on water, it is now a concrete building firm and sturdy, what is amazing is that the church members themselves funded the building, and this may not seem so unusual to you but in a country trust is rare and money is rarer, for people to stand together in unity to fight for a better building in which to worship God without the help of an outsider is amazing. 
An amazing missionary house was supplied for us in Iquitos where we had some amazing cooks feeding us some of the best food I've ever had. The first day we had a little tour of the town, which included a small boat ride, I had to chuckle when the preacher who was acting as guide a small boat with its owner, another boat owner runs up and says, "you can't take them on that boat, the gringos are scared, you need a bigger boat that wont tip so easy" of course he was the one with the bigger boat, I assured him that this gringo didn't mind taking a smaller boat for less money. 

The next morning however we boarded a boat that was a little bigger, well, longer at least, it may have been only about 5 or 6 feet wide but it was at least 70 feet long or more. we started up river being told "o its just two hours or so, not far...) of course 2 hours later we were still going, 4 hours still going, finally 8 hours later we arrived just before dark at our destination. 

That night there was not enough beds so we kindly let the lady's have the beds while us men slept on the floor boards, with mosquito nets draped over us to keep the dinosaur size mosquitoes off of us(I was thankful for my neck pillow) 
we found out the next day we had had the better end of the deal, all the ladies wok up with lots of tiny new friends, with spots all over their bodies to prove it. We had an amazing day that day, with one pharmacist, three nurses and a dentist we gave medical attention to over two hundred people. That night we all took turn preaching, we had like a mini preaching conference right there in a small amazon village. 

We decided that nigh that floor boards and bed bugs are temping but we would rather set sail down river back to Iquitos. I have to say, to lay flat on your back in the middle of the amazon, in the middle of the night, I don't care what your sleeping on, there is nothing more awesome, the sky so packed full of stares it takes your breath away. 

The next day was basically the same thing, when we arrived and asked about the size of the town, we found it to be about a third of the size of the last town, being a little on the tired side I thought, good, this will go quick, we started our process of diagnosing and handing out medication, and the time actually did go by pretty quick but I found out we had served almost the same number of people here as we had at the last town, people from miles around had heard about us and made the journey to be seen, and to receive some medication. Another great night of worship and preaching, we set sail once again into the night towards Iquitos. 

We wrapped up our trip with a night of worship in the main church with all the leaders of all the churches, I felt undeserving of standing up to speak to such an amazing crowd of God fearing leaders, but God gave me grace. 
I desire this for people from our small little church here in Pacasmayo, Anyone who has ever gone on a mission trip knows how it can change you, I pray that God opens doors for our church to step out into the unknown and grow. There are many obstacles that the enemy likes to put in the way, but with God all is possible. Please pray for us as we all worship one God, to bring Him glory and honor. In Jesus name amen.