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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 youīre 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, Foremanīs 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 (Augustoīs 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 sheīd 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 doesnīt 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 weīll 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. Iīve 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 Rosaīs commode). Besides, having lost 40 pounds since last visit, I didnīt want to put it back on again! Then we waited to have the service under the circular thatched roof of their meeting house.

Jorge Chavezīchurch 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, thereīd 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. Franscscoīs 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 Godīs 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 didnīt 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 donīt 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

Itīs 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, sheīs 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, thereīs a box of supplies and a container of gas for Augustoīs boat to transport us, and a big jug of drinking water. We slung our hammocks and awaited Esli. I didnīt think heīd 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 wouldnīt capsize. He said we had to take our stuff, go home, and come back the next day. I said I didnīt mind just staying the night with the stuff - there was no official saying we HAD to disembark, and thatīs 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 wasnīt 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 -Marleniīs 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 wasnīt 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 DONīT go according to OUR plan. Iīd 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 Godīs favor was on him.How could that be, if he was insuch a situation? So, we need to see that Godīs grace and favor is with US even when we donīt 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 Hugoīs 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 Marleniīs where Abel had bunked - I THINK, because he wasnīt 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 Chineīs 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 didnīt know if the baby slept better or Iīd just slept so soundly I hadnīt 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 weīll 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 didnīt 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 whoīs known Foreman for a long time, with all the luggage, and Abel rode on the back of Foreīs 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 yáll can get an idea of the number of people, the roar of the crowd. We didnīt 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...Thereīs a lot of construction under way around Foreīs neighborhood, modern street and sewer system being put in place, so the streetīs closed and one has to pick a careful footpath around things. I may not need to use my exercise dvdīs with the walking Iīve gotten in.
The next morningAbel and I went with Marleni to her church, Vida Abundante, managed by missionaries Bruce and Gal Unterschuetz, who werenīt 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 Marleniīs church who has a tumor which doctors are not agreed upon for what to do, surgery or no, so sheīs 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 Foreīs) 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 Foreīs church - besides bringing a couple of dinners home for Marleni and Iris. But it was only about 40 dollars.I told Fore Iīve 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. Iīd 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, heīs got people working on his house and wants to be sure he can oversee to make sure itīs done right - and since Iīll 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. Iīll 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 weīll go home for lunch befor leaving for the port. Weīll 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 Godīs 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...thatīs good. UM...oh, and pray for Emanuel, whoīs 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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Saturday, June 23, 2007

My thanks to all who have been praying ... keep it up!
Sonia got me to the airport at 130, and my 420 flight left at 530, thus missing my 620 Chciago connection BUT I was put on the wait list for the 705, and JUST made that walking at a good pace! Got to Miami ontime JUST for the Lima flight...which was delayed because they couldnīt get the cargo door closed. So I got to Lima an hour later than they anticipated ...Iīm just noticing these Peruvian keyboards do different things with thieir punctuation...anyway, Foreman true to form was my most expensive son. By Godīs grace and favor instead of charging $100 for his new weedwhacker being oversized AND $100 for being excess baggage, they only charged for the excess and let it go at that. This made up for the tariff I had to pay as I declared the thing...$140. Then I just had to pay extra for weight to Iquitos from the box I was bringing him with the extra blades...not to mention his wine.
Abel, his sister Cristina, and Pastora Lorenza with baby Shelley were waiting patiently for me at the airport, since I donīt know when. I treated to coffee and tea at one of the cafes and we visited a bit. Then Abel called Foreman to get Clayīs phone number, and Foreman gave Clay a call to go get me at the airport. BUT FIRST I had to go to Lan to get my ticket for Iquitos. Abel joined me, to pre'checkin. And it turned out Foreman had managed to change my flight to be same as Abelīs, and while getting my ticket I asked to be put by him ' so weīll be traveling together after all, and arriving in the afternoon instead of late night. But I think instead of going to this big event Foremaīs helping with, Iīll just relax with Marleni at home.
Meanwhile, Iīm spending some time with Clay and Barbara and notqyuite 3 yr old Efrain. Abi, Barb and Clay thank you for the clothes. And thank you all who prayed for the difficulties she was having during pregnancy. I brought her some prenatal vitamins, and some childrenīs vits for Ef. I had a lunch of Lucuma yogurt ' a fruit with a pit similar to an avocado, but orange in color...very nice flavor, different. Before leaving their home Iīll impart a blessing. Clayīs new apt is near their old, just bigger, and they hold cell meetings there. He was showing Efrain talking about the Bible pictures ' Jesus, Moses, Noah, David and Goliath. Being trained up in the way he should go.
My right knee is bothering me, did something to it somehow and so now itīs reminding me that I may be more fit but Iīm not any younger. So, you all can pray for that.
But anyway, again, praise God for Hiis grace and favor with American Airlines for dropping one charge so that I could pay a different one elsewhere, and for helping me to make that connecting flight to Lima. I did have phone numbers in case I missed it, so I could tell people change. But thank you all who responded to Anselīs call for prayer, and thanks be to God for His mercy. Even so, I found myself at peace ' God is in control, and this is an adventure.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRAMMIE4 6/26/2007 12:40PM

    Shel - Will be praying for you on your mission ... that is good news about the weed wacker.


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CHASENBUSTER 6/24/2007 2:55PM

    Shel, I am so excited for you! I know you will have a wonderful visit. I will continue to keep you in and everyone on your trip in my prayers.


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Yes, the adventure begins. My prayer is that you will learn as much or more than you give! May the Lord teach everyone something new everyday!

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_KARA_ 6/23/2007 12:51PM

    That's one expensive weedwhacker!! Better engrave his name on it, LOL.


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Friday, June 22, 2007

I got home from school yesterday all tired...but WIRED. I KNEW I wasn't going to be able to nap until I had somewhat finalized my packing. (I still ended up shuffling things from carry-on to Iquitos box to Lima box to carry-on). Of course I can't leave behind Foreman's cheese, chocolate, and wine!
I took 2 tylenol-pm around 10 to help me sleep, and got up as usual around 5. Sonia is coming around 12:30 to get me to the airport, bless her heart. The real challenge will be the 6 foot long bushwhacker for Refugio. Mental check - have prescriptions (eyedrops for ocular hypertension, pills for malaria, cipro in case)...I've got 2 exercise dvd's and my resistance band...
When I get to the airport in Lima I'll be met by Sabina (with my hammock for the boat trip) and Abel, who'll keep me company for a while before Clay comes for me. I plan to go through the Liima box a bit, to give Sabina her surprise - a mug with a picture of me and her kids Moises and Ruth, and half of Al (poor cropping!); and to get stuff out for Clay (I put some bags in there to hold the stuff) - the special hat Al is sending to Moises by way of encouragement. The other things can wait until I get back to Lima.
For those of you who are offering prayer support, always ALWAYS ask for the anointing of the Lord. I want to be His vessel, transparent so His glory and power can be seen;that HIS word would come forth in every setting.
I'll probably post again Saturday afternoon aftera nap at Clay's.


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