“I must work the works of Him who sent me, while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work.” John 9:4 KJV
In our last trips to the Pintuyacu and Chambira Rivers, we went to encourage the pastors and let the Holy Spirit use us as His instruments to restore His people, but this trip was different since instead of encouraging others, we have been encouraged by the way the churches are working in perseverance and unity. It is precious to see how God is giving growth to His people through supernatural experiences. We will here describe the condition of the churches church along the Nanay River.
Santa Maria Village.- Having been present during Sunday School showed us that pastor Jaren is doing a good job leading the church. We had the opportunity to preach that morning and encourage them to continue following the Lord. Evening service was so special since children presented an illustrative description of the love of God for His sheep. We had a wonderful time in worship and people were touched and began to reconcile their lives to the Lord. Pastor Jaren agreed with us about the importance of visiting the churches in different places to encourage the congregations. The next day we moved to Anguilla Village where Pastor Julian is leading the church.
Anguilla Village.- We found Pastor Julian feeling discouraged in his ministry and because of this, church services had not been held for the past month.
This is a community that has been affected by the flooding of the river this year and sometimes it is hard for people to move from one place to another, because they have to use canoes to move about in the village. We were there to encourage him and the church congregation, so we went house to house and invited the people to come to a service that night. We really did not expect many people to show up in church, but as soon as we started to play our drum and sing some songs people began to head to church. They came and were willing to hear God’s word. We spent two nights in this place and brother Alex preached a message of reconciliation and seven people acknowledged they were not pleasing our Lord and walked forward rededicating their lives to the Him. We stayed at Pastor Julian’s house and met his family and spent time sharing our testimonies. Pastor Julian felt encouraged for our visit and intended to keep the church open and he also drove us to the next village.
Lagunas Village.- It was wonderful to see how most people of the village came to welcome us. The house of the Lord was well maintained and we knew for sure that people were encouraged and serving the Lord there. Pastor Roberto, who attended our seminar in January, let us know that most people are attending church and it was wonderful to hear that!!! The seed of the word is bearing fruit in this place. Glory to God for this!!!!!!
Maravilla Village.- As soon as we got to this village we heard that there were two churches there. For us, it was kind of unusual since it was a small village. Pastor José has been leading the church since long ago. In His attempt to get help, he allowed people from Iquitos to come and preach at this church, not knowing that it would cause the dividing of His church, but it brought about the scattering of the sheep.
This situation brought discouragement to the pastor and many others in the church. Many times he tried to abandon the village and the church but the Lord showed him in a dream that he needed to go back and restore it. Obeying the voice of the Lord, he began to do church services at his house, since the roof of the church was collapsing.
When we got to His house he felt really surprised and encouraged because of our visit. We could sense that Pastor José felt hurt because of the condition of the church and the attitude of false preachers that only destroyed the flock. In spite of his feelings, he still has a great will to do more for the kingdom of God. We let the Holy Spirit guide us to bring a word of encouragement to him, his family and the church. Now he is working hard to restore the house of the Lord and the church itself with the help of the Holy Spirit. Before we left His community Pastor José encouraged us to be part of the overnight vigil in Porvenir Villaage.
Porvenir Village.- We accepted the invitation and went to Porvenir Village where we met Pastor Esteban. He was expecting our arrival to his community and greeted us with kindness and joy. He and his family were so welcoming! We went to encourage them, but it was they who encouraged us through their spirit of perseverance and unity. Pastor Esteban also had been to the seminar and showed us his notebook with his notes on the teachings Pastor Breon had done in the seminar in Nina Rumi. He was using those notes to teach his people the same thing he had learned at the seminar. Praise the Lord!
After lunch He told us a little bit of his testimony how he became the pastor of that village and the wonderful things God had done in this place. Also, he told us about his ministry goals and his plan to meet them. It is really precious to hear someone speaking in faith that way in a place like that- in Christ there are no limits! Amen.
Finally, he told us about the purpose of the vigil in his village that night. He explained to us that six churches from different communities would attend this event : Samito, Lagunas, Maravilla, and Yarina, which were villages we had already visited. Long ago they agreed to support one another in a spiritual way. Ever since, they have been visiting each other’s communities sharing God’s word and showing the love of God, not only by word but by actions, exchanging presents, such as cloths and food to the people. Unbelievers mark this attitude and are encouraged to come to church. During the vigil all of these churches were present and praised the Lord in a precious way. We were blessed to have been a part of it and enjoyed it very much.
Mishana Village.- I really didn’t expect to find Christians fellowshipping in this place, as people in other villages told me that church was abandoned, but when we got there it was our surprise when we found a remnant who praised the Lord boldly! They were not many but it was a strong group of believers who were being shepherded by Pastor Pedro Gonzales. At night during church service, we could see during prayer time how they take authority in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ like an army ready to the battle.
There was a strong presence of the Lord in this place, as even children had a fervent will to serve the Lord. We were so encouraged by Pastor Pedro and His family when they told us the revelations and wonderful things that the Lord had done for them. Pastor Pedro’s wife was a blessing to us since she treated us as sons of the King. What a blessing!!!
Shiriara Village.- We were so concerned about Pastor Marcos health since we heard that He was having heart problems and found those reports to be true. Pastor Marcos has been leading the church for 42 years and now he is 77 years old, He lost his wife a year ago. Ever since then the ministry has been very difficult for him. He stopped having church services because of this health condition. We ask your prayer support for this man of God and that the Lord may raise up leaders who can help him in the work. We blessed him with some money so he can buy some needed medication. Also, we spent some time with him bringing joy to his heart and words of hope and encouragement. He promised to continue serving the Lord until the end of his days. May the Lord bless this man of God.
Libertad Village.- There is a popular saying in our area, “ It is better to have more churches than bars! “ that’s the case in this small village. There are four churches that are working in unity and humbleness. All of them were here for the recent seminar. We had the opportunity to preach in one of these churches and encourage them to wait for the Lord Jesus!!!!!
We want to thank God for His protection and blessing upon us during our trip, and for your intercessory prayers so we can fulfill the task the Lord has given us. May God bless you.
Luis Armas and Alex Venancino
Please know that we worked the Nanay River system for seven years, nearly exclusively, building a church building in each village and drilling at least two deep, fresh-water wells in each village. We have replaced pumps and repaired dozens of wells, some over and over and even other individuals have come in and repaired some of them, but regretfully after many years, some have just gone by the wayside.
We have held medical clinics there, sometimes as frequently as every three months, giving vitamins, treating a myriad of illnesses, given bibles, new glasses, sandals, machetes, clothing, mosquito nets and tons of food. We felt called to branch out to other river systems and now only visit the Nanay River villages on a yearly rotation. We appreciate all those who have come down to help us carry on the work in these villages and we can all rest assured that these villages have heard the word of God preached in boldness and the people surrounded by much love.
We thank each and every one of you who have made this ministry to the Nanay River possible for all these years by coming down to help and by bringing these gifts! Himself sees it all!
We thank our home church, Free Chapel, Gainesville, GA, for their monthly support to our work here that has made this river evangelism trip by Luis and Alex possible.
We love you all,
Mike and Susie
“So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. ” 1 Corinthians 3:17 King James Version of the Holy Bible