A Summer in Peru – Becky Hoover, 28 years old
I helped Jorge this summer to prepare for The Congreso which took place in the village of San Juan from August 7-10th. So after much preparation a group of approximately 60 people headed towards San Juan on the barge on August 3rd. This group included my team, Jorge’s family, a large group from his church, from another Peruvian church, and a group from a church in Alabama. We had health care workers, children’s ministry workers, music ministry, preachers, teachers, kitchen staff, etc. We arrived in San Juan on August 4th and for the next two days worked at preparing the village for the 1400 people set to arrive the evening of the 6th. I was involved in readying the clinic, helping to set up and prepare supplies for the hundreds of people to whom we would be ministering.
The following four days were a world-wind of activity…and also one of the most amazing experiences ever! There were1400 people from the many different villages that Jorge ministers to arriving in their canoes and boats…some paddling two plus days to get there! The people of San Juan opened up their homes to host the people arriving. Each day three meals of chicken, rice, and potatoes were provided for the people. This is a big deal because they normally do not get rice or chicken and also they normally only get 2 meals per day. There was children’s ministry going on each day while the adults were ministered to in the main “Congreso House.” This was the chance for them to be spiritually fed and ministered to through preaching and teaching. While all of this was going on I was working in the clinic each day. We kept busy from morning till the evening session each night seeing patients. We saw God minister to and heal many people. We would assess the patients, give the necessary medications and pray for many of them. We saw a lot of patients with high fevers and saw God touch and heal many of them. I also got to assist with stitching up another machete wound. There were many interesting stories and cases. We also got to minister to many of the staff as a fair amount of them were sick throughout the time…and we would have people coming up to us for assistance 24/7. But it was a blessing to be able to assist those needing a healing touch.
It was wonderful to see the spiritual hunger and renewed dedication of those wanting to press into God and deepen their relationship with Him. Over 200 people were baptized right there in the Chambira River. It was an incredible time of rejoicing! Although we were tired in body from only 4-5 hours of sleep each night, our spirits were encouraged and uplifted at the incredible ways God moved and ministered. It was an experience like none other!
We returned to Iquitos on the 10-11th of August. My team returned to the US on the 13th and 14th. During my last couple weeks by myself I was stretched in my knowledge of speaking and communicating in Spanish. I also had the opportunity to meet more missionaries in Iquitos and hear about their ministries. Many of them requested that I help them in different aspects with health care teaching when I return in October. Also, another pastor in the Iquitos area asked if I could assist them in ministry opportunities. I became friends with another missionary in Nauta which is a village two hours from Iquitos. I hope to be able to assist her also when I return. So I have many exciting opportunities ahead in the next two months.
After my team left, we returned one more time to San Juan to clean up “post Congreso.” To rewind a little, during our second trip to San Juan in July in preparation for The Congreso we had the opportunity to minister and care for a 10 year old boy, Adonias, who had been seriously burned when his mom had accidently spilled hot oatmeal all over his stomach, back, and arm. It had happened on a Friday and we arrived the following Wednesday. He had second and third degree burns which were starting to get infected and probably about 50-60% of his trunk was burned. Praise God we had the necessary medical supplies-bandages, creams, pain medications, and antibiotics to care for him and redress it each day we were there! It was quite serious-had he been in the US he would have been in the hospital for some time. It easily could have led to a serious infection or worse but through prayer and caring for him I am happy to say that when I last saw him in late August he was almost entirely healed-praise God! This led to an even greater testimony.
During this last trip to San Juan I checked up on him and put some cream on the last two affected spots that were still healing. I had noticed that his family never came to church so I invited him to come that Sunday and to bring his family. Then on Sunday morning I went down to see if they were able to come. His mother, Lucy, said they couldn’t come that morning but that they would come to the service Sunday evening. Now, initially Jorge had been thinking of having us leave Sunday afternoon as we were finished cleaning up from the Congreso. We had cleaned the house, moved the benches to store them in the Congreso building, and had painted his new boat. But he came to us Sunday morning and said he thought there was still enough to do that we should wait and leave Monday. So I really felt this ended up being a God thing as Lucy said her family would come to church Sunday evening.
So Sunday evening when I walked down to church they weren’t there. When I went to check on them again Lucy was concerned about having the appropriate attire for church. It ended up that only she came to the service that evening. It was her first time at church since they had lived in San Juan! After the service I asked her if she had a Bible and she said no. So I got a Bible from Jorge and gave it to her. She then asked if we could talk for awhile. I found out that she and her husband had read the Bible some in the past. She had some exposure to church in the past, however that church had required a certain dress code. Since she didn’t have a long skirt she had never even attempted to go to church in San Juan. I explained to her that Jesus was concerned about our heart more than our outward appearance. We had a great time talking about the Bible and the Lord. I was so excited! I explained it was very important that she be reading her Bible and also taking her children to church. She is 26 and has four children-ten, eight, six, and two. So she is going to be reading her Bible and I told her when I got back in October that we would talk more and see how she is doing. I am very excited to follow up with her when I return! I’m also hoping to take a women’s bible study guide along in Spanish that hopefully she and some of the women from the church there can go through!
So these are a few of my experiences and highlights throughout the second portion of my summer. There were so many more stories and exciting times too! Thank you once again for all of your prayers and support throughout the summer! They were definitely felt and appreciated! I stayed healthy throughout most of the summer and I know it was due to your prayers! I have been back in the US for about 6 weeks and will be returning to Peru October 20th for two more months. I would ask that you continue to keep me and Jorge and his family in your prayers. Below I will list some prayer requests to assist you in prayer:
~That God would continue to work in and through Jorge’s ministry and guide and direct him.
~For health and safety for him and his family.
~For more US connections. Jorge has an amazing heart and an awesome vision for continued ministry into more unreached villages but not the funds to back it all up. He has the potential and connections to do so much as a native missionary!