A few months later, Manuel, our Field Ministry Coordinator told us that some of the pastors were feeling led to minister in the village of Santa Maria, and a team was being assembled to go to the village to preach. We had been told that there was no pastor in Santa Maria, and we were excited that the people there would have an opportunity to hear the gospel and respond to the message of Hope.
Manuel felt God leading him to work with the Mission Team from the Good Samaritan Church in Iquitos. Pastor Ramiro has a vision to "Make Disciples" and he is discipling a group of five men in his church, ranging in age from 15 to 80. He believes that if people won't come to church to hear the Word of God, we must take the Word of God to the people. This team is actively involved in ministry in the city.
Manuel went to the village to meet with the community leaders and share the plan for coming to minister. The leaders were happy to have them come and a date was set.
On August 16th, Manuel, Pastor Ramiro and the Mission Team arrived in Santa Maria. As they were going door to door sharing the gospel, they met a man who said he was the only pastor in the village and he had been praying that God would send someone to help him! He said that his Son-in-Law wanted to be a pastor so he could work with him in ministry, but he had no training and no way to receive training.
The men told him they would be happy to come back to the village regularly to train him. They made arrangements to return to Santa Maria in a couple weeks to begin the training. The next time Manuel talked to Pastor Raul by phone, he was told that there was now a group of 6 - 10 men coming to be trained as pastors. Four were from the village of Santa Maria, and the rest were from neighboring villages who wanted to be trained so they could go back to their villages and plant churches! Ironically, Mike and I were at Train & Multiply Training at OMS (One Mission Society) in Greewood, IN while this was transpiring, learning how to train pastors to preach the gospel!
The date was set for September 11th and 12th, but when Pastor Raul attempted to call the men in the other villages to inform them of the times for the training, the cell service was OUT of service! We enjoy sharing our experiences with technology in the rainforest. We have been in parts of the jungle where we had only a kerosene lamp in our rooms and there were no flushing toilets, but we had wi-fi and could even watch our church service livestreaming on YouTube on Sunday morning! :) It doesn't take much, however, to hit a glitch and what technology you thought you had disappears like an ice cube on the equator.
After some discussion, Pastor Ramiro and Manuel decided that rather than taking the whole team for a two day session, they would go alone on Friday and make plans for when to kick off the Pastor Training that would allow more time to invite others who would like to be involved and pray for God's leading.
Please be in prayer as this is exactly what we feel God is calling this ministry to do! We are SO humbled that He is allowing us to be a part of His work in the Amazon!
- That the word will spread to the neighboring villages that pastor training will be available, and that God will call men to the role of shepherding their communities in the gospel of Christ;
- For a hedge of protection around the Mission Team and the pastor trainees as they prepare to begin this work;
- For financial provision to pay for Study Bibles for those beginning training, copying costs for the training materials and meals for those attending the training;
- That we may have ears to hear God's leading and that He will work behind the scenes, working all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
To GOD be the glory!!