Peru Mission Trip Report 2016
As long-time readers of the Teaching All Nations blog will know, I take trips to Peru and Mexico fairly regularly, usually visiting each place once a year. This year I went to Peru during the second half of March, and this was definitely one of the most challenging mission trips I've been on so far. However, it was also very rewarding, and I believe much was accomplished, even if all the fruit of our efforts was not immediately evident.
This time I traveled with brother Wade Webster, who has recently begun full-time mission work taking trips such as this one to different parts of the world. I hadn't met him before this trip, but when I spotted someone wearing an Alabama cap and shirt in the Lima airport, I figured that must be him! It was a joy to get to work with him, and despite his minimal Spanish abilities, he has a great way of being friendly and showing his love to the brethren.
From Lima we flew to Iquitos, the main city of the Loreto region of Peru, which is the northern jungle part of the country. This is where the Amazon River begins, and is home to pink dolphins, very large fish, beetles that look like mini dinosaurs, and heat that makes summer in the American south seem downright pleasant. They also eat lots of bananas, which I certainly enjoy whenever I go there.
Every evening at 7:00 PM was a gospel meeting, and during the day we did such activities as visiting unfaithful members, evangelizing, inviting people to the meetings, and preparing for the evening's lesson. I also got some TFTW translation work done, so in the coming months there will be several new tracts in Spanish coming out!
We spent the first several days in Iquitos, and then took the boat to Requena, a smaller city down the Ucayali River. Our schedule had to be shifted a little because of the boats not running during certain Catholic holidays surrounding Easter, but it all worked out. In Requena we visited both of the two congregations in town, and continued the gospel meeting every evening.
After that we headed back to Iquitos, where we spent a couple more days before returning to Lima. We considered taking the last day or two to rest and maybe do some sightseeing, but some of the brethren expressed their desire to have more studies, so we had a couple of bonus meetings those last two nights. Then in Lima we got to be with the church at Montecarlo for their Wednesday night Bible class.
Everything went smoothly during the trip, but it was certainly a lot of work. In addition to preaching, I was also responsible for translating for brother Wade whenever he preached, and after preaching every night for two weeks, I was ready to just sit down and be quiet for a while! But the lessons were well received, and I think those who heard them learned a lot.
One thing we tried to stress was the subject of fornication. Due to various factors, it is a common thing in that part of Peru for two young people to meet, live together, and begin raising a family, yet without getting married first. They may be very faithful to one another, but the fact remains that they are not married, and are living in fornication in God's eyes. Many don't even think twice about this, and even in the church we saw instances of this kind of behavior being tolerated.
One such couple was Daniel and Sarvia, who I met when I was last in Peru in October 2015. They seemed to want to serve God and do what's right, but the fact remained that they were still living in an unmarried state 6 months later. Brother Wade and I told them that if they were willing to go through the paperwork, we would help them financially to get married by law. I am happy to report that they are finally husband and wife, and I pray that they will continue to be faithful to the Lord and good examples to their two little girls.
Thank you to everyone who prayed for me during this trip and contributed financially! I am so thankful to have opportunities to travel and preach God's Word. Please continue to pray for Truth For The World as we keep carrying out this mission.