Idaho Members Minister in Peru
March 18 to 31, 2014
“OK, remember: Don’t lose your passports and stay with a buddy.” With those words Mission Peru 2014 was on its way. After a year planning, fundraising, praying and multiple vaccinations, we were only 19 hours away from setting foot — or feet, 34 to be exact — in Iquitos, Peru. Iquitos is the largest city in the world that has no roads to it. It is in the largest rainforest in the world and on the largest river in the world. It was here that 17 teens and adults were traveling in hope of impacting the lives of others and being impacted themselves for Jesus.
We worked in conjunction with People of Peru Project on several projects. One project would touch the lives of one family. We built a home for a mother and her daughter. It was a solid but simple 30-by-30-foot pole house with a dirt floor. To us it was more like a shed, but to this little family it was a mansion compared to shacks around them in this poor section of Iquitos. Unfortunately, many of Iquitos' residents live at a level of poverty that is barely above living on the streets.
Makoto Iwasa, a freshman at Gem State Adventist Academy in Caldwell and a worker on the house, said, “This trip was the most impacting event of my life so far.” But this impact went even further. At night, we held children’s meetings at the Villa Horizonte Adventist Church. Each night we had games to start then Bible stories acted out by the teens, puppet shows, crafts and a movie about the life of Jesus.
The first night about 26 children showed up, which was considerably fewer than we had expected. As we came back every night, more children would show up. At first they usually hung back by the church’s door then slipped into the back rows, and eventually they would be right in the middle of the group. By the fifth night, children were running and waving by our bus as we drove down the street and poured in to fill the small church. On the last night we had 106 children — six more than we had expected.
We finished our stay in Iquitos by taking an overnight trip to a small village in the Amazon jungle. The riverboat trip was a time to rest from the heavy schedule of the trip and recharge for the trip home.
On that night, we had clear skies in the darkness of the jungle. We saw parts of the universe not seen before, including a constellation called the Crux or Southern Cross. During ancient Israel days, this constellation was still clearly visible, before the precession of the equinoxes gradually lowered its stars below the northern horizon. Jesus would have undoubtedly seen this cross during His travels. While Crux was interesting to look at, it was not that cross that brought us to Peru; it was the cross of Christ.