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Surprising Opportunities

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Last year when I was here with Pastor Jorge Samelvino and a group from Lima, we werre given four days, an hour a day, of free radio time on the Christian station MIC here in Iquitos. I had wanted tomake a donation to the station, having benefited myself from years of Christian broadcasting, but at the time I only had my credit card. So, I made a point of setting some money aside for MIC, and I asked Foreman to take me to deliver it. Turns out he┤s a friend to the 2000, Foreman was entered in a contest to be a dj on the new station, and won, so for a year, 2 hours a day, he was broadcasting contemporary music to minister to the youth; and he built and maintained a friendship with the manager. And the mgr (Martinez Izquierdo) didn┤t realize that Fore was my #1 spiritual son . Fore had called him this morning saying, "Look, I┤ve got this missionary staying with me, and she wants to give an offering to the ministry." We went there, and then he recognized me. Well, my onlyintent was to bless the ministr, but he invited me to come to spend an hour, preach, on radio. So, I┤ll be doing that Friday morning (will send out prayer bulletiin!) MEANWHILE, they┤re under renovation - the Lord is extending their borders so that they now have a tv station, very new, channel 45 here. So he had both me and Fore greet Iquitos on video and broadcast it this morning .

Yesterday Esli had called to come visit in the afternoon, but he┤d lost track of time while doing laundry and arrived late, 6 instead of 5. Mercedes from Cordero de Dios was to pick me up at 6, but she got a little lost due to the construction and ended up arriving a bit after 7, so I still had a nice visit with Esli. When Abel and Levy arrived from Refugio with some long seed pods called guava for me, we discussed what theyshould be called.: Last year Jhon, Cesar, and Eslvis were dubbed Soldiers of Mud(for the trip down the river); in Feb, Cesar, Elvis and Moises were dubbed Soldiers of Rock (for the trip to Machu Picchu). So, we decided, considering all the waiting we had to do on our trip down the river, they would be Soldados de Espera - the soldiers of Waiting.

I was originially going to prepare spaghetti dinner for the youth leaders of Fore┤s church who were meeting at the house last night, but we decided I┤ll do it NEXT Mon instead, so I won┤t have to "cook and run".
Well, Mercedes found her way to the house, and Marleni accompanied me, and we arrived to a full church - Mercedes said they had invited the women from 5 other churches to attend. After some rousing praise, I was introduced and shared from the word about women of influence - Esther, Ruth, even Naomi - for there must have been something in HER life to testify to Ruth about the presence of God, that Ruth would leave her people to stay with her mother-in-law. And I encouraged them that theytoo had opportunities to be powerful influences in the lives of those around them. I invited Marleni to bring things together for me, as she has done in the past, but she said she believed I was quite clear and needed no clarification. So she expanded upon things by exhoriting the youth not to be unequally yoked, giving some of her testimony; then Mercedes added the need to be submitted to ones husband. So among the 3 of us there was a very good teaching for those present. Mar and I went to KikiRiki┤s after, and arrived home at nearly midnight. Fore had been a bit concerned forus - and I laughed this morning with Marleni as we considered how often as mothers WE had been up late worrying about where our KIDS were.
Anyway, I┤m here to try to catch up on my email. Tonight I go to the church Dios Me Cambio, God changed me, and not only Abel will join me, but Esl˝i wants to also. I don┤t know if it┤s just for the pleasure of mycompany, or if he also wants to hear the preaching. Since 4 adults can┤t very well fit in a motokar, I┤ll pay for one for those 2 while I go with the church rep, and they┤ll accompany me back home, But I think I┤ll have Esli find us a pizza place. NO, Abi, that does NOT mean that YOU can send out for pizza! ;)


Behold how good...

Monday, July 02, 2007

Saturday night we had our pastoral dinner, meeting at Kikirikki┤s. I was delighted to see some familiar faces, and told them not to test me on the names of the new pastors I met. We passed a piece of paper around, arranged like a calendar, so they could write in the dates they wanted me to visit at their churches (evenings only). The are 2 conflicts, however, so I have to get those worked out. The problem is, they┤re all for Sundays, Tues, Thurs, and Sats., although Johel┤s church wants me some time today, Monday, for the women┤s group. Let me give you an idea of prices in Iquitos. There were about 30 of us, plus a couple of meals I took home to Levy and Abel - and it was only about $100 (yay, credit cards). Originally I was going to use Johel┤s church to cook up a meal for them, but after discussion it was decided it would be better all around to go to the restaurant.Johel┤s wife Betti and I agreed it was nice not to have to slave over the hot flames, nor to have to wash up after.

Sunday in the morning I went to Foreman┤s church, Nueva Vision, pastored by Jorge Utia, where I delivered the sermon. I had THOUGHT I was going to speak about one thing, but as worship progressed I sensed the Lord leading in another direction and took my cue from the Spirit. I had also brought my drawing supplies - including a small sketchpad, a gift from one of the sisters in my church (thanks, Marie!) I had actually started it that morning at home, when Fore put in some praise music in ENGLISH. After the service I gave the finished drawing to Ps Jorge. And ALSO after the service, Yeli┤s aunt Xiarra (Sara) gave me, on behalf of the church, a black Nueva Vision t-shirt, to my great delight (because, with weight loss, I┤ve been giving away a lot of XL shirts and was finding my wardrobe quickly being depleted). After the sermon, I asked Jorge to close for me and told him I was open to pray for people. So he invited people to come forward for prayer, and I took the easy way by praying in English or in the spirit, and just let the Lord minister as He saw fit. From time to time there was a word for someone. And a couple people went down, and HONEST, I only placed my hands VERY GENTLY on the sides of their heads or on top, NO PRESSURE! Anyway, people werre blessed, and I was too.

After church Foreman treated us to lunch, but discobvered tohis dismay he had dropped 150 soles - about 50 dollars - out of his pocket. He checked back at the church, and I told him, well, let┤s pray that whoever finds it will be someone who really needed it, and you were just the vessel for his miracle. But it IS frustrating.

Then when we got home, Foreman┤s best friend who is also his brother-in- law (married Yeli┤s sister Jaqui, AKA "gata" for her hazel "cat" eyes)Brandon, and Gata, and their baby Tyler were there, and we were invited to go to the park, Quistacocha, where there┤s a zoo, a botanical garden, and a lake for swimming and boating. The sun was fierce, so I accepted the invite. Abel opted to stay home., as did Fore. I used my shorts and sports bra as swimwear (it was more modest than Yeli and Gata┤s teeny weeny bikinis, but their figures are also teeny weenier!) and enjoyed a nice swim. The park itself was cooler with all the trees, and the lake was so refreshing. Then Yeli with baby Emanuel and I went to look at the animals. They have a recent addition, a Bufeo, river dolphin, rather shy, and the water similar to the river, so you couldn┤t see it until it came up for a breath, and then only briefly. There was also a loose monkey - capuchin, I think - don┤t know if it was from the zoo, or a natural visitor. But it had absconded with a boy┤s bottle of Inca Cola. ..Anyway, a good time was had by all. And I got to chat a bit in English with Brandon, who┤s from Arkansas, another missionary. He┤s commissioned me to paint a mural of the Arkansas Razorbacks - so that should help a LITTLE financially (shall I charge him Peruvian or as a gringo???)

That evening I went again to Fore┤s church, but it was brother Augusto who gave the teaching, and the music as always was lively. Towards the end of the morning service I got a mental picture and had begun it while waiting for Fore after the service.I was finishing it up during the eve service, and it was during one of the songs that the Spirit clued me as to what was going on - "The River Is Here". I showed it to Junior, the lead worshiper, and he asked if I was going to give it also to Jorge.I hemmed and hawed a bit and said, well, who has a birthday closest to today in the music team? He had no idea. Well, after the service I told Fore I┤d like to treat the musicians to dinner, so he told them (he said if others come, they┤ll pay their own). So, there we were, and since Junior was the first among them to be there, I gave it to him, to his great delight.

Oh, and during that song, I managed to give my right knee a turn which REEEEEALLY hurts, so you can be praying about that.

I believe Isabella is Juniors wife┤, also a singer on the team.She had asked me that morning, seeing my drawing, if I could meet with their children┤s ministry to show them a little about "painting" (incorporating color with drawing) because, she said, some of them have great talent. I recalled the word that came forth through Pauline at church about the Lord doing a new thing, and my involvement therein, and I thought, this may be the bringing forth of the use of other art forms in worship - first in Nueva Vision, but perhaps in other churches as well. Anyway, I┤ll tell you all how THAT goes.

Meanwhile, I┤ve been at this over a half hour and I still have a slew of emails to review, so , hasta luego!


Back from the Jungle Churches

Saturday, June 30, 2007

We left Iquitos by LANCHA (large boat) on Tues, rather than the hoed for Mon, and LATE, so we arrived at the village of Jorge Chavez on Wed well after the sun had set. But I was delighted to see the familiar face of Pastor Augusto awaiting on shore, and we had a warm hug of greeting just before he helped me disembark. Also present was pastor Walter from the city of Pucallpa, but part of the fellowship, and Pastor Fransisco. We discussed plans, due to our late arrival. Originally Augusto was going to transport us to his village of Kuwait, but because it was dark and more dangerous to navigate the muddy canal (where my lads from Lima, Jhon, Cesar, and Elvis got their baptism in mud as Soldados de Barro), we decided to spend the night in Jorge Chavez and go to Kuwait in the morning. Abel had his tent which he pitched in the hospitality house where he, Esli, and Levy slept protected from bugs. Marleni and I shared a room by theirs, with our MOSQUETERO (mosquito netting) securely in place. We had no cushion, just the floor with our hammocks spread thereon (the hammocks were used on the LANCHA) but when you┤re tired you can sleep anywhere, even a wooden floor. The night was chilly, so I had my big CHOMPA (sweater) and Marleni had the foresight to pack a quilt. There was an abandoned puppy that cried all night long which made sleep not as sound as it might have been. Plus the ubiquitous roosters who crow starting around 3 am.

In the morning Augusto brought us by canoe in 2 trips - one for luggage with Abel, Levy, and Johel, and the other with me, Marleni, and Esli - with PEQUE PEQUE, a long shafted motorized propeller, up the muddy canal to Kuwait. Enroute I told Esli, I bet I could make an animal out of that mud. So he grabbed some for me, and I took requests - a frog (Esli) , dog (Marleni - I made Chine, Foreman┤s chow, lying frog-dog), then I made a guinea pig (CUY) and a llama. They got a kick out of it and had me leave them on the side of the canoe and brought them with us to the village. I walked with haste, eager to see Pastora Rosa (Augusto┤s wife) again.We had a long affectionate greeting, and I gave her some t-shirts that were TOO BIG for me ! :) and she gave me some seed-bead necklaces and bracelet she┤d made. I know the students at school will flip when I wear the one that features a turtle skull!

We had a breakfast of fish and platanos, rice, and oatmeal. Abel was delighted especially with the abundance of platanos, which he doesn┤t get so often in Lima, and of course the fish is the best., so fresh. Both Abel and Esli were charmed with the pueblo, and Abel declared he was going to stay there. We agreed that the next time I go to Peru we┤ll have to plan to spend more time there.

As it was we had to make it a short visit: Johel had to travel with other pastors toLeticia, Colombia early next week, so we HAD to get back by Saturday. So, after the guys had a swim and wash, and we all had a nice visit, and Marleni collected a huge boxful of CAIMITO - a wonderful, sweet, sticky fruit - as well as some platanos, we returned to Jorge Chavez, again in 2 trips. When our troup arrived, we had supper of fish and platanos and rice. I┤ve been passing on the rice...wonder of wonders, I actually experienced the OPPOSITE problem of last year (stomach acclimated? Knowing not to eat that one fruit?) (Though thanks to the caimito, I was able to make use of Rosa┤s commode). Besides, having lost 40 pounds since last visit, I didn┤t want to put it back on again! Then we waited to have the service under the circular thatched roof of their meeting house.

Jorge Chavez┤church has a lot of children, and Esli and I had them in delighted shrieks and giggles. I took pix, the flash of which would cause one set of girlish shrieks (girls are the same the world over, I guess), then when they saw themselves in the screen, there┤d be another set of shrieks and giggles. And Esli just has a great way with kids.

I had the honor of sharing from the word, and it was good that I had been delving therein so it was pretty well ingrained in my spirit, because it was too hard for me to try to read by the kerosene candlelight. I shared about Josheph, as I had mentioned before. Ps. Franscsco┤s son , Paco, led us in praise and worship. We met him when we had first arrived, and he shared his testimony, but also how they needed encouragement, and had all been praying and waiting for our coming, with great expectation. I hope he was not disappointed!

After the service, the children first were allowed to greet us visitors with hugs. Esli took the task of photographer as I got swarmed by the gigglers. But in the midst of all the hugging I also laid my hands on each one as I could and invoked God┤s blessing on them.

That night we slept in a different building that afforded a little more elbow room (CONCRETE floor this time) and rose before 4 to take a rented boat big enough for all 6 of us and our luggage, to go to Requena. That was a long trip, and we took a rest stop, where I had one of those few moments where I envied men... then we arrived in Requena around 1 pm. Alas, no LANCHA to Iquitos, BUT we could take one as far as Nauta, and then take a bus to Iquitos. We bade a fond farewell to Walter and his wife Rosario, boarded and slung our hammocks and waited till we were to leave, around 7 pm, enjoying the sights and sounds of the port (the others making occasional forays ashore for various and sundry). We arrived in Nauta around 3 in the morning, and got a bus around 4, which didn┤t leave for a while - I tell you, a lot of time was spent WAITING, and this is one of the very few times in my busy life when I don┤t have to DO anything. So I enjoyed the change of pace. We arrived around 7:30, and I claimed dibs on the bathroom to wash off my accumulated insect repellent, sweat, and travel dust. After breakfast, Foreman brought me and Abel here to his favorite cabina in the Plaza de Armas, where I expect to spend another hour after posting this. Till next time!


The best laid plans...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

It┤s so nice to have a trustworthy God so that when our own plans are foiled we at least know that those of our God do not. Marleni, Abel, Levy, and I arrived at the port in good time with our stuff. Ps Johel arrived soon after (Betti took the ride with him, so I got to give her a big hug and kiss, she┤s such a sweety) While waiting for Esli to show up we began taking stuff on board. I stayed with onboard stuff to guard it while more was brought. After all, besides our personal stuff, there┤s a box of supplies and a container of gas for Augusto┤s boat to transport us, and a big jug of drinking water. We slung our hammocks and awaited Esli. I didn┤t think he┤d know whcih boat, so Johel went to look for him. But he ended up strolling on board, and said it was, after all, the only boat heading to Pucallpa. He, Johel, and Levy are all experienced in traveling the river, which is good. Well, not too long into the afternoon, as we were waiting, Johel came and said the boat would be delayed a day - having to do with the cargo, it had to be reorganized so the boat wouldn┤t capsize. He said we had to take our stuff, go home, and come back the next day. I said I didn┤t mind just staying the night with the stuff - there was no official saying we HAD to disembark, and that┤s a lot of hauling and such. He was concerned about thieves, said it was dangerous. Problem was, he was telling this to only me and Esli, because the others were elsewhere on board, enjoying the river breeze. When Abel joined us, Johel repeated his advice. Esli wasn┤t too certain of it, and I too was reluctant. Finally, Johel took some of the stuff and headed to shore, and I was telling Esli that someone had to be able to stay with stuff on BOTH ends. Marleni arrived wondering what was going on, and Levy - and Levy suggested he and Abel stay to watch the stuff while the rest of us go. Meanwhile Johel came for another bit -Marleni┤s box of clothing - and when esli was just getting ready todisembark, the boat had already slipped away from shore to go to another nearby port to take on more cargo and rearrange what it had -so the 5 of us remained on board while Johel remained ashore. We made the best of it. I wasn┤t perturbed - Augusto was waiting for us, and would just have to wait another day- such things happen around here- but Esli was the one who was perturbed, saying Johel should have called to ascertain that the boat was indeed leaving as scheduled or not. "I HATE when this happens" he said.I told him maybe the Lord wanted to test HIM. We do what we can, we make our plans, if it were up to MY will, it would happen so, so, and so, and glory to God it went off without a hitch. But we also have to give glory to God when things DON┤T go according to OUR plan. I┤d been studying about Joseph, and shared with Esli some observations - when Joseph was sold into slavery, it was said of him that he PROSPERED. Yet he was a SLAVE. And in prison as well, it wasnoticed that God┤s favor was on him.How could that be, if he was insuch a situation? So, we need to see that God┤s grace and favor is with US even when we don┤t seem to be in the most ideal situation. Besides, it could have been worse.
Well, after a while, rather than sit on the hard bench, I asked the boys to sling a hammock for me so I could relax a bit, cause it would be a couple hours before we returned to the other port and could disembark. They slung one for me, one for Marleni.I journaled, she dozed, the lads watched the stuff, and finally just as I was dozing off, Levy came and said we were at our port again. So Esli , Marleni and I disembarked - I left Abel with 10 soles , equivalent to about 3 bucks, to get a bite from the ever-present vendors if he and Levy got hungry. Then we 3 took a motokar to our late brother Hugo┤s favorite Chinese restaurant in Punchana and had a treat to make up for the inconvenience. About $10 for 3 people. We took the bus home and I took my room (which Levy had before) and Esli slept at Marleni┤s where Abel had bunked - I THINK, because he wasn┤t there when I got up, he may have gone home- and having been sleep deprived since Friday I slept quite well. I did get up once to use the bathroom, and Chine┤s puppies woke me once, and I was aware in a half-sleep of someone covering me. I got up around 730, and Foreman greeted me. i said I didn┤t know if the baby slept better or I┤d just slept so soundly I hadn┤t heard him. BOTH, said Fore, as he had taken the baby to the doc yesterday where he got a shot in his bum and some med. I washed up - but put on same clothes cuz the rest was on board - and had a fruit and yogurt breakfast, and after a bit Mar and I headed downtown by bus to stop at the internet cabina so I could send off one more note before heading to the boat to relieve Abel and Levy a bit. I was online with Johel too, so we┤ll all be back around 3. The boat SHOULD leave around 6. So...adios agian...hopefully this time for SURE! keep on praying!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LMSW55 6/29/2007 11:03PM

    Mammllama, I think one of my blogs actually says "The best laid plans" also. I think we are on the same wave length in that regard. Losing my job has pissed me off, but at the same time, I have to have faith that there is a more meaningful job out there where I am suppose to be. Part of me shakes my head and I talk to God saying "Okay, guide me". I'm up for anything at this point and you are also right that it is in HIS time, not mine! It's a difficult lesson for anyone to learn, but so necessary for us all. Thanks for sharing.

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GRAMMIE4 6/26/2007 12:43PM

    Shel -

What a great lesson - and how wonderful of you to use this to tell the story of Joseph and how he prospered in what would seem like to most of us terrible conditions ... but, his hope was in the Lord, not in his surroundings. .. Sounds like you are doing well.


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From Iquitos

Monday, June 25, 2007

Well, When we arrived in Iquitos, I didn┤t want to pay a porter to lug our stuff so between me and abel we hauled our luggage out to the curb where Foreeman was waiting. Hearing his characteristic whistle, I called to him , Toma tu bendita maquina = take your blessed machine! because the bushwhacker, while not very heavy, at 6 feet long was a rather cumbersome piece. I went in the motokar driven by a friend from church who┤s known Foreman for a long time, with all the luggage, and Abel rode on the back of Fore┤s motorcycle. We got to his house long enough to unload, and so I could give Marleni a warm greeting, but Foreman wanted to take me to the event - Festival of the Rivers - where some teams from the states had invested, what did Fore say, a half million or more dollars, to haul all the sound equipment and such. Anyway, I made a couple of brief clips so when I load it to Photobucket yßll can get an idea of the number of people, the roar of the crowd. We didn┤t stay the whole time, as Yeli was there with beby Emanuel who began to get fussy, so the now 5 of us went to Kikiriki, a polleria (Kikiriki being the onomatopeia for the crowiing sound a rooster makes) for pollo a la braza, and choice of fries or platanos. I chose fries for a change, and was perty hungry by then. Not sure what time we got home, but it was a little hard to sleep due to festival noises - the feast of San Juan, a lot of music, dancing, debauchery...There┤s a lot of construction under way around Fore┤s neighborhood, modern street and sewer system being put in place, so the street┤s closed and one has to pick a careful footpath around things. I may not need to use my exercise dvd┤s with the walking I┤ve gotten in.
The next morningAbel and I went with Marleni to her church, Vida Abundante, managed by missionaries Bruce and Gal Unterschuetz, who weren┤t there but daughter in law and granddaughter were. Still, some familiar faces. After a little lunch of juanes - traditional meal for the fiesta de san juan , a leaf-wrapped bundle of seasoned rice with chicken, an egg, and olives, plus a traditional drink of slightly fermented corn and wheat flour mixed in water - I forget what they call it - then the 3 of us went to visit the paralitic in whose home we had rented a room when Hugo had gotten married in 2003. I had maintained contact with Ray by internet, and he was delighted to have us come to visit. Prayer request: that a whelelchair may be obtained for him so he can get out of the house. Then we went on to visit Reina, an intercessor from Marleni┤s church who has a tumor which doctors are not agreed upon for what to do, surgery or no, so she┤s waiting on the Lord.You can pray for her too!
In the evening Abel and I joined Fore at his church, Nueva Vision, and it was wonderful to greet freinds again .Praise and worship was loud and lively, Junior in the lead, and the message Foreman preached from John 15:1-5 was very good. Afterwards we went to Kikiriki where I treated again, this tiime not only Fore, me, Yeli, and Abel, but also Levy (formerly of Vida Abundante, now from Pucallpa, also staying at Fore┤s) and Dany ( formerly from VA, now serving through YWAm in Ecuador, but withFore to help organize a youth event for end of July - another son) and his mother, and pasotr Jorge Utia and wife Sonia from Fore┤s church - besides bringing a couple of dinners home for Marleni and Iris. But it was only about 40 dollars.I told Fore I┤ve spent more on just 3 of us at Red Lobster.
This morning I woke hearing Fore discussing plans with someone - on rising I found it was Esli, son of the late pastor who hadinterviewed me on radio in 03. I┤d invited him to join us on the river, and Fore was explaining why HE (Fore) would not be coming - besides finishing up biz after the big stadium event, he┤s got people working on his house and wants to be sure he can oversee to make sure it┤s done right - and since I┤ll have 2 sons with me to look after me, and his mother, and Levy, and Johel, he figured I was in good hands. And, good administrator as he is, he delegated some things to Esli, who is also very capable. I┤ll be combining some English lessons with visitation , as both Esli and Abel want to practice and review. Presently Fore has dropped me off here at the cabina while he shops for necessities for the trip, and then we┤ll go home for lunch befor leaving for the port. We┤ll be leaving this afternoon, and should be back Sat.
Pray-ers, pray for health and safety, because these are more at risk in less modern conditions, but also for God┤s power and anointing as HE brings forth His wrd, through whatever vessel He chooses in each place we visit. All 3 of the men with me are musical...that┤s good. UM...oh, and pray for Emanuel, who┤s had some bronchial issues - very phlegmy, passed a rough night.
Till next week!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARCY3373 6/29/2007 9:13AM

    Shel, Praying for everyone's safety. What a wonderful adverture. And I love you blue poncho, BTW...Had to throw that in somewhere. Godspeed.

Marcy, Bflo

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    Praying for you, sweetie!

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COOKIEHAWK77 6/25/2007 11:56AM

    Did I see the word "y'all"? Are you from southern New York? It sounds like you are having a great time. I pray God will use you and bless you abundantly! Carol

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