The vast, mysterious Amazon jungle before us had our hearts stirring with anticipation and excitement as we set out from the capital of Peru. We had now experienced the Amazon jungle of Ecuador and felt slightly more prepared this time as we headed even deeper from the Peru side. Completely covered in bites from the gnats, flies, and mosquitos we fought to not scratch our skin off because with a...ny wounds or blood it would make us an even great target for the giant piranhas that the locals continually told us were numerous in those rivers.
This entire area of the Amazon rainforest was flooded and many homes with only the roofs showing out of the water. We followed the small river systems for hours with deep jungle on both sides but no land because of the flooding it was just water everywhere beneath the green jungle bush. Pink Amazonian dolphins jumped alongside of our boat and monkeys shook the trees while they swung from branch to branch. We hoped to see an anaconda without getting too close and did not but did go past a larger river snake and many crocodiles and colorful birds and butterflies.
Our journey started with a 15 hour bus ride over top of the Andies from the coast to the jungle on the other side. It was beautiful when we reached the top and there were ice covered mountains with the moonlight but all of us were pretty miserably sick from climbing to 17,000 feet elevated in such a short time. We went through the area where the main terrorist group in Peru occupies and had an armed guard board and ask money from us to protect us as we passed through that area with skinny, muddy roads on the edge of a cliff above the river we were all a little excited at 4:30am as we sensed the danger in our experience. We arrived in the town of Pucallpa and boarded a boat up the Ucuali River. We strung all of our hammocks close together in the bottom of our boat and set out up river for our first 15 hour boat journey. In the first village with the Shapibo Kanibo people we stayed a couple nights and the village gathered together and we ministered the Gospel and prayed for them. Everyone we prayed for was healed. A man was healed from deafness and so many other people had pain instantly leave their bodies as we laid hands on them. Most of the village came forward and followed us in a prayer corporately repenting of witchcraft and shamanism. A large portion of the people there came forward and gave their lives to the Lord after the Gospel message and shared testimonies of how the Lord healed them. We then headed out in smaller boats up the small river channels searching out the ureached villages. Our boats got separated in the jungle and after being lost hours and constantly taking dead end turns our boats were reunited. The other boat had made it really near to the village of Ashakani people and were warned that it was dangerous there because the village leaders were not present and there were in a time of festivities and drinking their alcoholic beverages.
They were somewhat hostile toward foreigners because up until the year before white had been coming and stealing and killing their children to sell their organs. We trusted that the Lord had led us this far and insisted to continue to the village because they were totally unreached. The pastors refused and were afraid and because it was their boats we were in we had to turn back. Night set in and we had no lights and the moon was not out so in pitch black of night we attempted to guide our boats home with dying flashlights yelling to the back of the boat to tell the pastor with the motor which way to turn. It was a difficult challenge which seemed to never end. Often our turns were late on this narrow windy Amazonian river and we ran into the bushes and nearly tipped. We were very afraid of tipping as we would often spot crocodiles near the boat the along the river. God kept us safe and after a 17 hour journey with no stops and no food for a day and a half we made it back to village we were previously at.
We all felt pretty disappointed and discouraged about not staying at the village but through this experienced God downloaded vision and dreams for us for the future to reach all the unreached villages left in the Amazon jungle. We are planning that within the next five years we will by big boats and smaller boats and set up teams and long term missionaries in different areas of the Amazon jungle in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil and focus on the most unreached places and furthest away areas. We are believing God and hear the Spirit saying that then within ten years there will be no more unreached people groups and villages left in the Amazon. So after our ten days in the jungle we returned here to Lima and now are preparing to go to Macchu Pichu tomorrow to take communion together and pray for this nation and the people to be free from deception of the enemy to fully know and love Jesus.