Amazonian Wednesdays 🌴
Going through the archives from my very first year as a missionary has stirred up a lot of memories. What a privilege to share them with you! This time I also have a scan of a photograph 👆 from that early chapter of my life and ministry. The following is one of the very first newsletters I ever wrote from the field, in October 1997:
Six hundred pastors and leaders gathered to be refreshed and built up by God’s Word. They are gathered from all over the jungle region of Loreto for the first time in history. Half of them have traveled from the distant pueblos that fill the rainforest like the sand of the seashore. Some have traveled as much as a week to come and receive from God.
People are here from as far away as the borders of Brazil, Columbia, and Ecuador. A man who has never been to the city before introduces himself. Another who hasn’t been here for twenty-five years greets us excitedly, with a kiss on the cheek. It is the first ever jungle pastors’ conference, and I am here to be a part of it.
I’ve had many jobs this month, from creating nametags and food tickets for all the pastors that came to translating for Americans that came to minister to preaching the gospel myself and laying hands on the sick (I saw miracles this month that I had never seen in my life before, like legs grown out and vision healed!) I even fulfilled the role of photographer and filmed all the sessions of the conference with my camcorder! I wish you could have tasted the joy that broke out amisdst all those men and women of God! They filled the building with praises and danced in spiritual warfare for extended periods of time.
We had four follow-up campaigns directly afterwards. In the towns of Nauta and Requena, crowds exceeding 1000 gathered, and hundreds received Jesus as their Savior for the first time. Many others were healed of various physicall afflictions. I was sent with my missionary roommate Emi to the villages of Por Venir and Nueva Esperanza to prepare the way for the cam paign there. We went house to house and invited everyone that we saw to come, praying for the sick and evangelizing along the way.
Hungry people came to the meeting from five different villages to hear from and be changed by God. And a few hours before it was all to begin, Pastor Manuela invited me to preach! It was a tremendous time. After I spoke on the power of the Holy Spirit to change our lives, many came forward to be anointed with oil, consecrated, and changed, or to receive physical healing.
One young woman told me that she had been overwhelmed with sadness since the death of her parents, but that night she felt a new love in her heart and wanted Jesus to reign in her life. The next morning, I got to conduct my first-ever baptismal service. We baptized eight people in water, and several of them were baptized in the Holy Spirit as well when we laid hands on them and prayed for them afterwards.
I am scheduled again to travel down the river on October 20th to deliver and teach some discipleship material that we have been preparing. Thank you for your continued gifts, and even more, for your prayers, that are giving me the priviledge of working with you like this. Your prayers have been effective: I haven’t been sick at all, and the Lord is taking care of me emotionally and spiritually as well. I am very encouraged with what He is working in and through you and me. You are a group of very special people! You are my “hope, joy, and the crown in which I will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes.” I love and appreciate you!