A Real Blog About the Jungle

So, we´ve slept, we´ve eaten and we´ve showered, and now we´re ready to tell you about our trip to the jungle.

It started on Sunday night, when we went to spend the night in hammocks on our trusty, albeit rickety old barge ¨Calipso.¨ We did a short change to a smaller boat halfway up river, and then we landed in a village called Nueva York (for those of you doubting your Spanish, yes that is New York). We met up with the Real Life team there, and then it was down to work. It was the final stage of the ¨training¨of our Peruvian friends, and they did fantastically at organizing and leading VBS. We had ATLs in the mornings, VBS in the afternoons, and church services or team devotionals in the evenings. If you´re thinking we were a little busy, you´d be correct. We still had time to bathe in the river (well, it at least washed off the first layer of dirt), eat a lot of interesting fruits and make new friends. We went to a second village via the biggest canoe I´ve ever seen (it held 30 people and all of our stuff), and then held VBS there. Now, I know you are on the edge of your seats, wondering what words of wisdom Chris and I have about our team and the jungle, but somehow I think that you might be slightly more interested in what the kids have to say. So here they are, direct from Nauta, Peru on what they loved and learned about the jungle (with a few corrected spellings).

Ryan (see, I told you´d he´d be better!): Every time I come on a trip, I learn something new about myself or I learn a new lesson  that can be applied in everyday life. This time around, it had a lot to do with patience, which I lack a lot of times. Whether it´s patience with people, the task at hand, or just plain waiting for something, I´m learning to have it. God has been working with me on that a lot, and I´m glad He´s here to help, as always. Also, the majority of wild ¨delicious¨ fruit is actually hideous-tasting. That´s pretty much it.

Ben: The jungle was really cool. I really loved the hike Chris, Megan, Sophie and I went on. Almost saw a monkey haha. The jungle also really brought me out of my comfort zone for a little while which you could tell by my mood during the first day but it was a great learning experience. It was also really sweet to see all the animals, and to see God move in the Church there.

Shosh: In the jungle I learned how important it is to teach children about God. I learned this when we met a guy who fell on a boat and broke his ribs. We were talking to him about if he was saved or not and he told us he went to church but he was waiting to accept God into his life until he knew more. That hit me hard because we don´t know when our time is up on this world. Children are so willing to step out into faith and this trip to the jungle made me realize I need to have faith like a child, just like it says in Mark 10:14. The letters from Mom and Dad encouraged me to continue and I knew I was being prayed for a lot because Dad LOVES ice cream!  Hoping there is a big welcome party at the airport when I get home. Love you!

Ashley; In the jungle I learned a lot. I learned that there are a lot of people in the jungle who believe in God but they don´t fully understand or they don´t read the Bible. I loved being able to see the change as we went to different villages that were close together. The change was really cool. One thing I loved was being able to do ministry to the little kids. Something I´m definitely going to miss is all the wonderful people who I´ve met and get to know. I know that for me it´s going to be hard to leave, cause this is like my second home. But I¨m really excited to come home! Love you guys. xoxoxo.

Sophia; I learned that God has given me a piece of His heart for teens and not for missions as I thought He was. I learned that after all expectations have been surrendered to Christ, all you have left is His call for you to go. Would you still go if your ministry your experience, your team, the place was nothing you expected and all that´s left is Christ? He is all we need and even if our focus is on serving the people or even serving God, it´s enough of a focus change to not have it fully on Christ. At that point, your service becomes merely a good intention instead of a godly intention. Apart from Him, we bear no fruit. It´s really funny how God works. John 15 really didn´t mean much to me at all until about 2 days ago =P; kinda one of those verses I always glanced at and said yeah, uh-huh. But really, God does all the work and we just get to spectate.

Lakin: In the jungle, I learned how selfish I am. There was an older man who broke his ribs and we were able to pray for him to be completely healed right before our eyes. Once we finished praying, he wanted to sit up. It was clear he was in so much pain. I was disappointed because God had not healed him. Then I caught on to what I was thinking. Who am I to tell God what to do then be upset when it doesn´t happen? God taught me how I should pray and how I shouldn´t. God also showed me how to be still Just to be still and know that He is God, that he is in control and he holds the power. Going into the jungle was insane! We all saw more of God´s creations than ever before, but we also realized that no creation is more beautiful than it´s Creator. P. S. Hi Momma and Dad! Love you and will see you soon! Hope you´re not upset, but I really would like to stay in Peru!!! But my visa runs out soon so I guess I need to come here. Don´t forget to bring sweet tea, anti-itch cream, and posters 😉

Megan: The jungle taught me so much about myself, the people of Peru and God. Getting to talk to so many different people, my heart would break at how these people would claim to know Christ, but when asked, wouldn´t know anything. To me, it is the worst to claim to know God, and think you are going to heaven, but in the end have different results. We could try to give them as much knowledge of Christianity and how life is supposed to be walked once you have accepted Him nto your heart, but really what it came down to was prayer, prayer, prayer. A huge part of what I learned in the jungle had to do with Prayer, and how important it is. Lindsay really brought to realization after a team time in the jungle how much we try to depend on our own devices before prayer when really prayer should be our first resort. 

Chloe; The jungle was really cool. I learned in the jungle that people really don´t have very much. I thought that the people in Nauta were unfortunate, but so many of the kids had parasites because they didn´t have any clean drinking water. 

Well, I supposed that about wraps it up for now. In the the early morning we are headed to Iquitos for debriefing and shopping and then we get on a plane on Wednesday. We´ll be in Atlanta at about noon on Thursday, and then you´ll see your kids on Friday! We´ve enjoyed being with each one of your kids and will miss them very much. I think they started planning a reunion the first week of the trip, so maybe we´ll see each other again. We might blog again from Iquitos, but I would count on it. We´ll write that we´ve arrived in Atlanta on Thursday. We´d appreciate your prayers for travel and final ministry!

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