Peru Mission Report
"And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the Word in much affliction,
with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.
For from you the Word of the Lord has sounded forth …" 1Th 1:6–8a
One of the greatest adventures of missions to remote people and places is the discovery of men and women who live sacrificial lives for the sake of Jesus Christ. Coming from cultures and environments where even necessities are luxuries, they suffer even more to take the liberating truth of the light of Christ to others, We are always challenged by the dedication and faithfulness of brothers and sisters in Christ who truly reflect the love of Christ, and who live by the measure of the cross. Our team members (three translators: Joan Wainer, Cindy Garcia and Benjamin Garcia, along with Jonathan Gallo, Jeanie, Madison, Nan and myself) were blessed, challenged, and instructed through the course of the journey.
In the remote jungle village of Saramiriza, Pastor Manuel Rivera and his wife Lindowra hosted us for a wonderful Bible conference with about 120 believers—some of whom traveled for four days along jungle trails and riverways to attend. The town of Saramiriza sits on the Maranon River, a tributary of the Amazon. It was especially interesting to me, having been at the other end of the Amazon, back in 1967, to visit and see the headwaters in Peru.
Pastor Rivera is an example of the love of Christ. He could easily pastor a church in one of Peru’s cities, yet he and his wife have chosen to carry the love of Christ and His Word to these isolated people. His evident care and compassion showed through in every preparation and provision, not only for them but for those of us visiting for a short time. After the financial provisions were made for the conference—through your gifts and offerings to Basic Training Bible Ministries—something amazing occurred. Pastor Manuel came to us with a reimbursement, telling us it had cost less than anticipated due to the gifts of food the people had brought with them. This has never happened in all the places we have gone! We ask that you remember him and his minsitry in your prayers.
Specifically, there is need to finish some of the buildings in the church compound. Also, he is the missionary of the House of Prayer in Chulucanas, and the point of contact for many pastors working in more remote areas of the jungle. Our contact with him was through our Peruvian representative, Julio Ceasar. We are so thankful for Julio’s faithful ministry in the Bible Institute and his outreach to pastors and children’s ministry with his wife Betty. He is a powerful and true teacher of God’s Word and has a passion for sharing the truth with his countrymen. At the conference, we were able to distribute copies of The Basics in Spanish, and our classes looked at Paul’s missionary methods, with emphasis on Bible study methods and interpretation.
The journey into Saramiriza involved eight hours of travel by public bus from Chulucanas to Bagua, then 12 hours by four-wheel drive on rugged roads down into the jungle basin. We had no trouble on the way in, but on our return trip, we had two delays: one truck went off the road and had to be pulled out; then the other truck broke the rear spring bracket, and it took about three hours of work to get going again. With a pair of wooden wedges and the springs wrapped in rope, we made it back to Bagua. During this repair process, the jack slipped and the full weight of the truck fell on the shoulders of our driver who was working under the truck. As he fell and lay motionless, we immediately prayed for him and—to our surprise—moments later he was back up working on the truck! On our return to Bagua, one truck was found to not have current licensing, so Jonathan, Benjamin, Joan, Jeanie and Madison were privileged with a forced visit to the local police station—something I am sure they will not forget!
On our return to Chulucanas, we did another three-day Bible conference—our fourth one in that city. We also had the privilege of conducting a large children’s ministry on the Sunday morning we were there, distributing Bible verses, Jesus Loves Me coloring books, and serving the children a healthy lunch.
We hope to do another printing of The Basics in Spanish within the country of Peru so that Julio has an ample supply to distribute to fellow pastors and leaders throughout the country. Please pray for this.
Here are some short reflections from others on the Peru team:
Cindy Garcia … "What a privilege and blessing to be included in this mission trip, my fourth to Peru. It is wonderful to serve others, but the better blessing was to hear the teaching. Two principles stand out in my mind: Paul’s question to God after being struck blind on the road to Damascus (which I’ve read a jillion times), ‘Senor, que quieres que haga?’ (Lord, what do you want me to do?) and the teaching clarifying that the Gospel of Paul, as given to him personally by the Lord Jesus Christ, was a different message from that of the incarnate Christ and given to the disciples, offering His kingdom to the people of Israel. This cleared up some cobwebs in my mind about the gospels and the epistles of Paul and encourages me to continue to give the simpel Gospel—Act 16:31. Many of the Christians we met are heroes of the faith, standing their ground firmly and faithfully, so much so that I stand in awe of them—like the ladies who run the occupational therapy clinic for the disabled, and go out into the villages to give the Gospel and teach child sex abuse prevention, the young man who learned to read Braille and was presented with a portion of Scripture in Braille, or the pastor who traveled barefoot for four days through jungle and downriver to come to the conference and when asked to read the passage of Scripture that he was asking about said, ‘It’s not in Spanish, it’s our language’ and his joy when asked to please read it in ‘his language.’ God wants to use all of us and I can only ask, ‘Senor, que quieres que yo haga?’"
Jeanie Albers … "All of the people we met were so special! The people of Saramiriza left a great imprint on my heart. They had so little, but their love for the Lord and the graciousness of their services was so rich. From the little children, who really had no toys that I saw except a volleyball, yet they were so content, happy, appreciative, and attentive to our lessons, to the women who cooked our meals and served us like we were queens and kings, to the men (and women)—so eager to learn from God’s Word; it was quite humbling … I’m sure they will be reigning with Christ one day in glory. My favorite moment though was when Joan and I received the privilege to bring bracelets to the women who worked so hard in the hot, steamy weather cooking all of the food and cleaning dishes. These dear women were cooking over open fires in a hut made of sticks. We were all hot there, but that ‘kitchen’ was at least 20 degrees hotter and even steamier than you can imagine. Yet, we only saw smiles and gracious giving. The bracelets we gave them were made by a woman in our church with pretty crystal stones. Each stone represented part of the Gospel story. Joan explained each crystal (making sure to tell them in heaven there will be no hot kitchens!) and they were nodding and smiling and excited to hear THE story again. When each received [her] own bracelet, they cried and hugged us and kissed us over and over. Never did sweaty hugs ever feel so wonderful. They told us they would look for us in heaven. I’m sure they will hear a ‘well done good and faithful seervant’ from our Master Jesus, as they did their duty in that hot kitchen in such a loving, Christ-like way. They were some of the most beautiful women I have ever met and their example I will always remember."
Madison Albers … "Before we left for Peru, I had obviously thanked God for the opportunity. Neither my mom nor I knew what we were going to experience or what to expect while we were there. As soon as we got to Peru, I knew there was a lot more in store than I had expected. I found myself constantly praying from there on out. I prayed for patience; I prayed that I could keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and that He would remind me that everything I was doing there was for Him. This amazing trip made my faith in God much, much stronger. I’ve also learned to trust the Lord more. I am amazed now how strong my releationship with Him has become in the past few weeks. I’m so thankful that He allowed Gene and Nan to invite me along on their life-challenging adventure!"
Joan Wainer … "When Nan was teaching the women’s class, she quoted Mat 25:35 and on. She said to the women, ‘if Jesus walked in the door right now, wouldn’t you want to give Him your jacket if He needed it, or wash His feet if they were dirty?’ It was a moment I couldn’t forget as I went to bed that night thinking of the man who had walked 4 days barefoot to get to the conference, and who had just looked at me after I introduced myself and said, ‘I have no shoes.’"
"Although Matthew might be written more to Israel, the application for me was clear … I couldn’t make it another day without doing something for this man. I realized I had to have him try on my Keens that I wear every day of the summer, because it was a wiser choice than giving someone money. They fit him perfectly! A lovely older woman generously agreed to darn the double-layered socks for him that I brought with [me] so he wouldn’t get blisters … she then asked if there was any way she could possibly get a Basics of the Faith book, and I had just one on hand. Later I heard that Gene was about to give him his shoes too. I just beat him to it. Thank You Lord for moving in our hearts to impel us to go, and that Your love constrains us when we are all by nature naturally selfish."
Nancy Cunningham …
"This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness." Lam 3:22–23
With every sunrise, God is shouting out to all of creation, "I am faithful!" So often we are too busy to notice and too apathetic to remember. On this last trip to Peru, I was constantly reminded of and encouraged by the faithfulness of God. We saw it in action at every turn. God was faithful to bring sound teaching and encouragement to the spiritually hungry people of Peru. He knows where the hungry hearts are and is able to guide and provide for answers to reach their souls.
- After Gene’s teaching on eternal security, one lady came up with such gratitude saying, "We have heard so many things taught on the radio, and we didn’t know what to believe. Now we understand that we are eternally secure through faith in Jesus Christ." God is faithful to teach!
- We distributed gifts of little crocheted cross bookmarks to the ladies and silver cross lapel pins to the men. When we were distributing them, I thought to myself what a small gift it was for these precious people. But, afterward, one lady about 40 years of age said, "This is the first gift anyone has ever given me. I will keep it forever!" God is faithful to encourage.
- At one roadside cafe along the four-wheel-drive journey, Joan spotted a man reading his Bible. She started up a conversation with him which soon drew Gene in. The man knew his way around the Word of God but did not understand its truths or the concept of "by grace, through faith." God is faithful to save!
- God was faithful to us as a mission team to provide and protect in every way! Nothing did we lack! His eye is on the sparrow, and each one of His helpless little children!
God was faithful to you as a support team to answer your prayers and bring fruit from your grace offerings. Investment in eternity is never forgotten by our sovereign Heavenly Father!
Julio and Betty Ceasar … "1000 thanks for the privilege that we have had—to have you here in our country. Thanks in the name of my children, my family, the pastors and leaders of Chulucanas and Saramiriza, who are very grateful for your visit, all the example[s] of your life, and above all your teaching."
"We remember you greatly, and with all our hearts we thank you for your support, and your prayers for us. This gratitude also is from Pastor Manuel Rivera and his wife in Saramiriza and all the pastors and leaders from the different indigenous communities and also from the brothers and pastors in Tambogrande."
God’s grace be with you all,
Gene and Nan