In the Beginning


Amazonian Wednesdays 🌮

This photo is from my early missionary days.
Traffic doesn’t look too different in Iquitos over twenty years later

I have been sharing with you posts from my first year in the Amazon. Today, I am bringing to you
 my first ever newsletter from the field, dated August 1997. (I personally get a kick out of the phrase at the end, “if you have email
” Nowadays the younger generation might not Not to mention my reference to my CD player 😁!)

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Hello, everybody! As I contemplate what I want to share with you in this newsletter, I am sitting in the hammock which is strung from wall to wall in my living room, while faint strains of Brownsville Worship filter out of my CD player and help my words settle onto the paper. I am very much enjoying this whole business. Iquitos, Peru is a delight!

I want to keep this to a page, but I thought in this issue that I would start to tell you a bit about the ministry here. As I mentioned in previous letters, I am working with Pastor José Arimborgo.
First of all, I must say that I have very much fallen in love with his family and am coming to
identify strongly with their vision to reach the jungle region surrounding Iquitos. The seeds that the Lord put into the ground last year when I came here have begun to germinate, and every day He is strengthening my sense of purpose in being strategically planted in this city. Here are some tidbits about the Arimborgos:

– Family of 8, each member involved in taking the kingdom by force
– 17 years of pastoring the church in Iquitos
– More than 22 years of traveling and preaching the gospel
– Hundreds of churches planted In the jungle
– Continual vision to send out more workers and reach “the uttermost parts of the earth”

Iquitos is surrounded by hundreds of rivers and tributaries which make up a highway system to literally thousands of pueblos, many, many of which have not yet been reached with the gospel. Of all the different groups working to evangelize the jungle region of Loreto, Pastor José has raised the most churches. He has a strong gracing for working with the people here; I am pleased to get to work with him and absorb everything I can of what he has learned in his years of ministry.

They have asked me to preach every week or two, and when you get this letter I will probably be arriving back to Iquitos from my second missions trip to Por Venir, a village about four hours away by boat, where I will be working in evangelism and discipleship for a little over a week. I covet your prayers!

If you have any prayer requests, questions, or would like to bless me with some news about how you are doing, please write me at Apartado #247, Iquitos, Peru. Or, if you have e-mail, my address is jponder@telematic.edu.pe.