Sunday, June 16, 2013
*these are slightly edited journal entries from our time with a tribe in the Amazon (6/16-19/2013) – so that’s why they are posted after the fact and in present tense. This was my first jungle trip! Loved it! We had so many stories from the trip that I decided to post a series of blog posts from my journal, of which this is the 2nd. SO sorry it’s so long – a lot happened our first day. It’s like 4 stories in one blog post… I hope you enjoy getting a more detailed, up-close glimpse into some of our adventures with this tribe – I know I did! Thanks for your prayers!
days of travel! (1 day flying to Iquitos, 1 day on a series of speedboats on the
Amazon, & 1 ½ days of chugging our way upriver in our own boat – all in all,
quite an adventure!). What a day…so many things I want to jot down & not
forget about. The Lord has already done so much within our team, with the tribe,
and in my heart.
We had been warned that the village was not your
traditional village – all the huts together in a clearing. That proved to be the
case. When we arrived on the outskirts of the community, our driver took us down
a tiny branch off the main river. It was about the size of a creek back home,
but a little deeper, thankfully! J As we slowly edged our way around the corners of this
narrow creek (trying not to hit any submerged logs or run aground on a sand
bar), we started seeing our first evidences of the community – dotted along the
dense, jungle banks were canoes and barely noticeable paths leading off into the
jungle. Most of the houses weren’t visible from the river. We had to have passed
at least 10 or 15 of these little “docks” – our first glimpse of the village we
traveled 3 days to reach!
just begun to work on translating Scripture into their language – she is there
off and on, and during the time we were there, off) where we would be staying.
We were warmly greeted by some believers who had come from a moderately close
village to help Hamer, the Peruvian missionary we partnered with who traveled
with us to do discipleship training with some of the adults in the village while
we worked with the kids. Great people! We were so blessed by their warm, loving
reception, especially since we were a little unsure of how the tribe would
respond to our arrival. (The tribe had been hesitant to allow a team of
evangelicals to come, but thankfully, after Hamer talked with them, they
We got settled into Krista’s stilt hut/house – with 2
bedrooms, 1 main “living room” (if you will J), and a kitchen. The roof is thatched grass (or
something like that) and the walls and floor are these small strips of wood
lined up side by side = a cool house! It even comes with it’s own pet snake, or
so we’ve heard! =)
the edge of a canoe to soak and scrub our nasty, smelly clothes. After that, we
began to have guests slowly appear in the yard and around our doorway. Three
girls (10, 8, & 3) and one little boy (Peter, 3) particularly made
themselves comfortable, sitting in the house, watching everything we did.
After exhausting the 4 or 5 phrases I knew in their language& basically using up my poor,
limited Spanish, I was able to pry their names from their shy, quiet, giggles (giggling over
my humorous attempts to speak their language, I’m sure, lol). After a while of just sitting and
making small talk – really small talk with my limited Spanish, I noticed a little bit of fingernail polish on one
of the girl’s hands. Bingo! Something to relieve the awkwardness! Thankfully, I had (for some
reason) brought fingernail polish on our jungle trip. I know. I’m not really sure why either! ;)
Anyway, I dug though my bag and proceeded to paint all 3 girls’ fingernails amid their shy
smiles and giggles, and ever since, we’ve been best-buds! A huge praise for the Lord breaking
the “I’ve just met you & while I enjoy watching everything you do, I don’t know you” barrier.
Who knew? God used a ½ empty bottle of polish that I forgot to take out of my
backpack to make friends the first day – a huge answer to prayer for me!
After lunch, our team split up and headed in different directions,
following a trail through the jungle that connected all of “the homesteads” (I’m
running out of ways to describe the huts, lol) in their community. Our goal was
to meet the families and invite them to come to our kids’ program, Kids Games
that starts tomorrow.
Our group passed maybe 8-10 houses, but only 2 or so had adults who
were home and sober. With 3 of the houses, the adults were basically passed out
from masati. Despite our limited success with connecting with the adults, by the
end of our mile+ hike, we had a good sized group of kids (maybe 20ish) following
us, chatting (but mostly giggling with us over our attempts to speak to them),
as we stomped through the mud and in Seth’s case, fell through the wooden planks
of a bridge…twice (getting an early bath of sorts :). All the while, I had two
little, brown hands tightly holding mine, lacing their little fingers in mine.
Apparently for them, if more than two people want to hold one person’s hands,
they solve the problem by simply holding the hand of the person that is holding
the other person’s hand…if that makes sense. So I had a string of 6 or more
little girls, all holding hands on either side of me. Oh yeah, I was a goner at
that point! I was head-over heels for their little giggles and shy smiles. Love
these little girls!
all our little amigas happily settled around in a circle on the floor to make
bracelets and necklaces. There were maybe 8-10 girls with about that many boys
hanging out outside the circle. I had so much fun! We also went swimming/bathing
back down at the river. So cool, refreshing, and a bit terrifying all at the
same time, lol. No one ended up getting eaten by anything in the murky depths,
but we sure thought about it as we splashed around, laughing with the
my favorite moments from the trip! – and Bethany, one of our team members, asked
a group of kids outside our hut if they had ever heard the story of the rainbow,
and they hadn’t. So Bethany and Juan (a youth that had traveled with us to the
village) proceeded to read them the whole story of Noah – so far one of the
coolest moments of the trip. The image of those 10 or so kids sitting in a
circle, with a rainbow overhead, hearing for the first time about God’s promises
and how He delivered Noah…that image isn’t going to leave me anytime soon.
spent 2 or 3 hours sitting with a flashlight handing from an overhead beam,
singing and praying, worshipping the Lord. This was by far one of the most
incredible times of worship we’ve had as a team, and perhaps one of the most
powerful I’ve ever experienced. So incredible! None of us wanted it to end, so
we sang and prayed, and then sang and prayed some more. Like I said, the Lord brought that image of those kids
hearing of God’s promise for the 1st time as they stared up at that rainbow.
That and remembering those tiny hands clutching so tightly to mine as we tromped
through the jungle. Oh man, the Lord used both to break my heart into pieces for
these people. (I’m sitting in a coffee shop now days after that happen, making a
blubbering mess of my mascara as I remember it, lol.)
I’m not really sure what the Lord’s doing, but I’m pretty sure the Lord
gave me a small glimpse into His heart for these people. These people that have
gone millenniums, perhaps, without hearing that He treasures them so much that
He came and died for them, paying the ransom for them. He loves them SO much!
The cross leaves us no doubt of that fact. Oh how He (and now I) love these
people and want them to know their Creator’s great love for them!