Awesome time in the Amazon Jungle today! One of our prayers before leaving Fayetteville was that we would “be Jesus” to the children of La Aljaba. Today was spent doing just that. So many times I try to “do ministry,” but today we simply loved the kids. And they loved us back.
Wayne Sneed, head of Orphanos, is leading our morning devotionals this week. We kicked off the study talking about the masterpiece of the Bible. The Bible is the inspired, truthful, and authoritative Word of God, 2 Timothy 3:16. 66 books written over 1600 years by 40 different authors from a variety of backgrounds inspired by God, telling one story. We discussed God’s omnipresence and how thankful we are for His undeserved grace.
After the devotional, we ate breakfast and then walked to the Amazon River for a ride to Monkey Island with 15 children from La Aljaba. Three of the kids had never been on the Amazon and none of them had been more than 3 times, so this was a special day. The boat ride was about 1 hour, as we took in God’s beauty and loved the kids. The ride was filled playing, laughing, holding, hugging, and singing. Well, not really singing, but, actually calling the Hogs. Thirty minutes into the trip and Jeff had a few girls on the boat representing Arkansas. They couldn’t quite pronounce “Sooiiieee” correctly, but the passion was there. When we arrived at Monkey Island, we received a bag of bananas, and walked in the jungle. We took turns holding bananas and suddenly monkeys start dropping out of trees all over us. Crazy. The kids (and adults) had a blast.
After Monkey Island, we took the kids to a petting zoo in Peru, where they held sloths, parrots, snakes, turtles, and other animals. Upon making a stop for lunch at a restaurant on the river, 8-year-old Milangros yelled “otra” and held up 3 fingers. She was announcing to the boat that we were making our 3rd stop of the day! This was indeed a special treat for the kids, but also for the adults. The adults helped served the kids, as we enjoyed an amazing lunch on the water. We will have some awesome video footage from the restaurant. Jeremy gave energetic, 10-year-old, Ricardo, his video camera for about an hour. Ricardo and the kids went around interviewing everyone and created was is sure to be a special video.
The afternoon and evening were spent at the Barrio Nuevo. The Barrio is a poor village located on the edge of the Amazon Jungle. Many of the kids from La Aljaba come from the Barrio, so this is a special place for our ministry. In a survey a couple of years ago, we discovered that approx. 145 families live in the village, with approx. 155 children. The average income of the village is approx. $1500 annually. Lucy, the Director of the orphanage, and La Aljaba have been penetrating the village with the Gospel. Jeff and Jeremy ran a dental clinic in the village, and I was in awe watching them passionately serve the community. The need was great and the guys were truly amazing, working into the night by flashlight. Jeff was able to extract about 10 teeth, blessing many.
Tomorrow will be spent at La Aljaba, holding a dental clinic and working VBS with the kids.
Thanks for praying for our team. Please continue to pray that we are ambassadors for Jesus. We miss everyone, but we are having a great time with the kids.