Daniel and I had the privilege of participating in a medical and dental campaign in the jungle of Peru in June. We boarded the bus on a Friday morning at 7am. It was difficult to leave, especially my little girl. I got teary as did she and I did not look back once we walked out the gate. It was a 9 hour bus ride with nearly a 2 hour live infomercial, magic in a bottle as Daniel called it. We arrived late to the hostel, had a cold dinner and one last even colder shower before getting up at 4am, for a 2 hour, “hold on to the seat of your pants” taxi ride to the boat. The boat ride was good, peaceful, so beautiful with green mountains and the sky so close you could touch the clouds. When we stopped, we were told at the 3rd and final military check point after about 9 hours on the river that we could not proceed around the bend to the Ashaninka village. We didn’t have permission is what the lieutenant claimed even though we had all the necessary paperwork. Everyone began to pray.
We spent the night in Puerto Anapati. I was a bit nervous about spending the night in this town. The hostel was a building of gapped wood boards on stilts with about a 2 feet opening between the top of the walls and the roof. I watched as the rats scurried along the rafters, amazed I was not completely freaked out. Daniel was protective of his mom. The men and women were to sleep in separate buildings unless married but he refused to leave me and we bunked with a young married couple. Praise God we slept good.
Dr. Ron, the dentist on the team that I had the pleasure to work with, had a conversation with the soldier that told us we could not proceed that night. He too was a Marine. They shared stories and then Dr. Ron said to him that he knew he was a courageous man and an honorable man, but was he a faithful man. The soldier responded that he hoped he was. Dr. Ron said that he would pray for him and his family. We were told in the morning that we could proceed to the village. God is good.
So around the bend we sailed, unloaded the boat and walked about a half mile to the village. I was a little apprehensive considering the state of the village we had just come from but when we came to the end of the trail there was the village; it looked like paradise, clean, well kept, simple, so beautiful I actually got teary. I don’t know if it was because it was so beautiful or just the relief that it was nothing like the previous town. Probably a little of both. It was a good few days, even without electricity, water, showers, toilets or beds. Those of you who know me know I am not the camping type and this was a bit more roughing it than camping, but God was in control and kept me unaffected by the situation.
One day a witchdoctor paid us a visit and told the people in the village that there were demons in the river. He said that if they paid him he would remove the demons. The Ashaninka were not intimidated by him because they know they are protected by Jesus Christ. The next day, eight people from the village were baptized in that very river. Also, the soldier who initially said we could not proceed came by the village and gave Dr. Ron a marine medallion. Evidently, this medallion is given from one marine to another out of respect and Dr. Ron was very touched by the gesture. I believe that God was working on this man through Dr. Ron.
There were about 280 people seen by our team, not as many as we hoped because some other villages were told the campaign was cancelled due to the previous day’s incident. But, we were pleased nonetheless and excited that there were 32 professions of faith.
When we arrived home I cried. I’m not sure why? Just overwhelmed with so many emotions I guess. So glad to see my family and not only feeling blessed but knowing I am blessed. Thankful and looking forward to the next campaign. Yes, I’d do it again.