Dr. Diego Ramos-Rivera, MD, on this his third trip here with us through Hearts Afire Ministry, led a team of 8 from Sarasota, FL and Dr. John Swisher, MD, brought 11 from Knoxville, TN this past week to work with us on the Chosen Vessel, II. The team met in route to Lima and flew on together to Iquitos with Dr. Diego leading the team. They focused on construction, evangelism and medical care.
We traveled to the Napo River, a tributary of the Amazon, where we built the 76th church, drilled 2 deep, fresh-water wells, which were sponsored by the supporters of Hearts Afire, in the village of San Alejandro, a community of 205 people, where we rendered 202 medical and dental attentions. Hearts Afire was co-founded by Vilma Vega, MD and Joe Pecoraro, MD, FACS. Dr. Joe still serves as director of this ministry out of Sarasota, FL.
We had a combined North and South American medical crew of 4 doctors, 1 dentist, 1 nurse practitioners and 4 nurses.
We treated the villagers where we built the church and then traveled on the next day to the nearby village of Mangua, where we gave 201 medical and dental attentions, to 60 families. In the two days of clinics, we rendered 404 medical and dental attentions, ministering to 98 families, who will never be the same.
We also washed feet and gave sandals to the people, which always is a humbling and touching experience, which they do to show their love.
When this organization sends a team to us, we can always count on having a strong Christian witness to the people and in return, they are always responsive to the love and caring shown for their souls! We also had several who spoke Spanish and that always means more outreach.
The VBS team did wonders! So much fun for the kids, parents and the team! Susanne formed a kids and adult choir and both performed beautifully during the dedication of the church building! Good job gals…and Stephen
During the home visits I made with Ron, Sharon and Jana, I asked each lady what significance this new church had for her. They had similar responses saying that for them to look at the church and know that they can have their own place to worship the Lord for the first time in their entire lives was a marvelous blessing from the Lord!
One of the ladies said, I know what you mean!
When I heard that, a thought impacted my heart so strongly was that anyone living in the States can’t begin to know what it is like to never have access to a church in their community and can only guess what it would be like! We just don’t have the experience to draw from since we have had a church nearby all of our lives! What a wonderful thing it is to build a church and give it freely to a people who have NEVER had one in the entire history of their village!
One man brought a recorder that plays the Bible on tape powered by 2 solar panels and gave them to the pastor for the church.
We had a good, sincere team, who worked together tirelessly, despite exhaustion, heat and whatever else came against them, to get that church done, to have clinics, home visits, VBS and a Children’s Choir and an Adult Choir, who both performed beautifully at the dedication of the church, I might add.
They stayed at their post and we had such good team meetings that were so encouraging and we thank God for sending this team our way. We realize they could have gone anywhere in the world, but the Lord showed us favor as they labored in love among us, here in the Amazon jungle of Perú! We pray the 100-fold-blessing in whatever they need the most right now!
Thank you, Hearts Afire and our home church, Free Chapel, Gainesville, GA, and this team who came here and did this hard work and all who helped in this endeavor to make possible this week of healthcare, providing a church and 2 wells and all the countless things the River People received from this team this week! To God be the Glory!
I heard a woman say this one time. When you do something for God without questioning or complaining, especially when the cost is great, an angel writes it all down. Jesus taps him on the shoulder and says, Write out there beside that name, I owe this one a favor!
The favor of God! What is like that?