Thinking Toward the Future (In the Past)

Amazonian Wednesdays 🌴

As promised, here is another older writing of mine. This flowed out through my keyboard in April of 1998, partway through my first year as a missionary here in Iquitos, Peru. I smile reading this, because our youth ministry here did grow to well beyond the 600 I was dreaming of back then. How faithful is the One who makes things grow! He has given me the privilege of being planted in a place where the spiritual harvest fields have been ripe ever since I got here. I know that many sowed in tears before I arrived here to the jungle, and I have been privileged to rejoice in their harvest of sheaves.

************************************

600 youth lifting up one voice in praise of their glorious Savior…Young men and women of fourteen, fifteen, sixteen years of age learning to serve, teach, evangelize…encounters with the living God where I think heaven must be standing open…weekly, new souls pouring into the kingdom, crossing over from death to life…a generation of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors birthed into their ministries…drug addicts, prostitutes, alcoholics, abuse victims becoming “the light of God”…a mighty army raised up, brought to life, empowered by prayer and by the Holy Spirit, marching to take Iquitos, the jungle, the nation, the world…

“Oh, excuse me, were you listening? I was just dreaming about all that God has breathed into my heart. Actually, we’re well under way to starting to live the reality that He has planned. In a little over two months, JIEL youth church has grown from a little over 30 youth to just about 100! At our Good Friday communion service, there was standing room only, and fifteen more young people came forward to give their hearts to Jesus.

“That weekend, several of the youth ventured out on their first-ever house to house evangelism effort and prayed with over 140 people to receive Jesus into their hearts. The discipleship program is in full swing, and with those who graduate (right now we have about 30 students), we are going to go on missions trips down the rivers of the thick, green, mysterious Amazon jungle. God is on the move! Do you also feel, like me, that the days are short?

“I want to stay in Iquitos. In the time that God has had me here, He has planted Iquitos into my heart and me into Iquitos. He has provided everything, and most of all ministry and close relationships, for me to be here. Planted here, I have become a Psalm 92 palm tree, ‘flourishing in the courts of our God. In just the three months since my arrival this year, I have personally been able to lead hundreds of people to the Lord in door to door and street evangelism! 

“’The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.’ (Hab. 2:14, NIV).

“‘We constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of His calling, and that by His purpose He may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith’ (2 Thes. 1:11, NIV).

“Love, mercy, grace and peace be yours in abundance!”