Trip Stats: Please scroll to bottom of the page
Our sincere thanks to our old friend, Dr. Richard Gough, MD, who came with his wife, Cheri, and 3 of his children as part of a two-week team of 33 from Frederick, MD, GA, PA and Iowa to build our 72nd church and give eye, medical and dental attentions, to do evangelism, to work with the children and deliver food to the pueblo of Santa Rita de Mochila and the pueblos on the return route.
On Sunday morning, we left our homeport at 4:30 am and traveled down the Nanay River to merge with the Amazon River at Bella Vista, then to the port of Waquita in Iquitos, where our guests embarked the Chosen Vessel, II and we navigated the Amazon River for the next 26.5 hours before reaching our destination.
During the travel time, the team was able to rest up the first day and then began to fill kilo bags with rice, beans and farina cereal, getting ready for distributing the 4.5 tons of food this team sponsored.
The team both enjoyed and profited by the bible studies and seasons of prayer led by Alec Hail and different members of the team each day. Much good word was spoken to our hearts and the team leader, Curt Meyers, did an excellent job keeping everything running smoothly.
When we arrived at he pueblo where the church was being built, it was the first time we had done a medical or evangelical campaign there, and were surprised to find that the pueblo had lost so much of their land to the recent flood, which had also contributed to the weakening and finally the loss of their current church building, and they had been forced to move on back into the jungle over an hours walk! That was a bit problematic for the team, so they met the challenge by arising at 5:15 am, having breakfast and then leaving the boat at 6 to prepare for their commute into the jungle to begin work on the church. They took their lunch and then returned back to the boat at around 2:30pm. What troopers!
The church, Centro de Fe y Esperanza, (Center of Faith and Hope) is pastored by Vicente Muyayari Davila, 43, along with his wife, Maria Peña Leon, 41, and their seven children. They have 130 adults in their congregation and 84 children. As the population of the pueblo is a little over 214, it is the first pueblo we have been to that is nearly 100% believers in Christ Jesus, but we hope not the last.
These are tribal people and we found them delightful. The pastor told me the story of their pueblo. It was 38 years old and missionaries had reached the Ticuna Indians in Columbia. They then had migrated to their present location and those Ticunas who had been reached by the gospel, had in turn, reached nearly their entire pueblo. We were introduced to this pueblo by Eitan Bosch, Neve Academia, Israel, who regularly stops at this particular pueblo to have their Israeli teams to know a tribal people, who also happened to be Christians. How unusual! We stopped there with all three of our Israeli teams earlier this year.
Another great thing about this church is that it is large enough to also serve as a school!
We were so emotional to be building this church for these sincere and strong tribal believers and to know that we had done service to the Kingdom of God and that we had provided a place for the teaching and preaching of the Word of God to continue to go forth and to reach the children as they reach the age of accountability and others who come among their midst and to begin to reach out in missionary efforts and that we had followed the scripture:
For those of you who would like to pray for this family, besides Vincente and María, the children are Débora, Eber, Melquicidec, Saúl, María, Samuel y Loyda Eunice.
While the construction team started work on the church, the medical team saw patients; the Peruvian dentist, Adrian, with Mary Koechle’s assistance, began his work restoring the people’s teeth or extracting those teeth which could not be saved; Bruce Becker provided 400 pair of new glasses for both near and farsightedness.
The medical work actually began en route to the pueblo, as a family in a canoe waved us down because their 9-year-old-boy, Elias, had a wide, deep cut across his knee, which had been sutured days earlier, but he had fallen and ruptured all the sutures.
The wound was clean and healing, but given the location we could not close the wound effectively since we couldn’t use sutures and the steri-strips would not hold that large a cut together, so we had to immobilize his knee for the wound to heal with any good approximation. We cleansed the wound, applied steri-strips with Tinc-o-Ben and put a small splint on the underside of the affected leg using a partial plaster cast. We closed the cast with an ace wrap and sent them on their way with supplies to care for the wound, some Fruit Loops and a stuffed animal! (Cheri gave a gift bag to mom, too!)
It so happened that the father and mother of the lad were old friends of ours from Santa Cecilia on the Maniti River. Pedro and Janette Brown pastor the church we built for them with the finances and labor supplied by Immanuel Church in Wilmington, DE, Bill Breon. Pastor. It was good to see some familiar faces that far from our usual route and to be able to help them with their medical need! (http://www.immanuelchurch.us/)
This was a very special blend of medical and construction team and also aboard was our associate from Blackshear, GA, Brenda Sutton, RN, who is instrumental in getting tickets, trip insurance, all paperwork and a myriad of other helps to the teams coming here from the States and abroad and is much loved and appreciated by us and by the teams who have come to know her through her 14 year association with AMM.
The majority of the 33-member-team was from Grace Brethren in Fredrick, MD, R. Dallas Green, Pastor. (http://www.gbcfred.org/sales/old/) If you are in the area, please stop by and say hello to brethren there in Maryland.
Much good work was done in the several pueblos visited by this group of excited and prepared team members, who provided 560 eye, medical and dental attentions, built a larger than normal church, did incredible science projects with the kids in their Vacation Bible School, led by Lori Shrode, who used her professional skills as a science teacher to demonstrate simple biblical truths. Crafts were also very innovative and much loved by the kids.
Bob Coss did some great photography and did family photos and printed them for all 213 families. For many, this was the first photo of their family they had ever had!
Everyone had a work to do and each one did his or her part to be effective in the Eternal work of the gospel and reaching those who did not know the Lord Jesus and for encouraging the believers in Him. To God be all the glory for all He did in and through this team and the people for whom they were sent.
We are always so grateful to the teams who come to do a tour of duty aboard the Lord’s navy Chosen Vessel, II and literally be Amazon Medical Missions for the time they are here!
We are also grateful for our home church, Free Chapel and Kingdom Connection, whose monthly support keeps the Chosen Vessel on the rivers seeking to reach the lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ and to reduce pain and suffering in His name, build churches, drill wells and provide clothing, shoes, food and medical attentions/medications.
Some want to live within the sound
Of church or chapel bell
I want to sail a mission ship
Within an inch of hell!
C. T. Studd (with a small variation)
“Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
Navigation: 450 mile
Time Navigated: 75.5 hours
Team: 33 members
AMM Crew: 20
Medical/Dental Attentions: 560
Church: # 72
Families Served: 213
Pueblos Visited: 9 (Sta. Rita, Nueva Arequipa, Colonia, Caballo Cochillo, Sta. Rosa, San Pedro de Marupa, 7 de Junio, San José)
Food Distributed: 4.5 Tons/ 1,212 portions (27.5 tons since April)
Thank You, Jesus, and all You have done and for those whom You have sent to help with the work in the Amazonia of Perú!