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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Mission Trip Report from the Amazons in Peru.



The Plan!  (for pictures go to https://peruepic.shutterfly.com/pictures/1197)
When I left on this trip to Peru, and knowing that the final week was going to be focused on “the mission trip” I knew that I wanted to make the whole 6 weeks my mission. 
I had brought a case of Spanish Gospels of John from livingwater.org as well as some ones in English and was determined to give them all out during my time there.  Little did I Know that I was going to wish I had more.  I gave them out to almost all of my taxi drivers. “tienes aqua viva?” and I would give them to someone.  If I felt the Holy Spirit bring it to my mind with someone, I tried to respond immediately.  Everyone I gave it to seemed excited and pleased I offered it.  I would sometimes tell them a little more if they seemed to question what it was.  I told them it was free, and so was the Aqua Viva.   
               Arequipa -  A few that stand out.  While we were in Arequipa in a historical area for shopping I saw a guy sitting behind his wares looking extremely bored.  I talked with him for a moment and offered him the Gospel. He took it, and when I went by again 30 minutes later he was engrossed in it.  A woman my wife bought some jewelry from was very friendly, and we built up a relationship with her because of our repeated purchases.  I gave one to Marisa to give to her, and when she did, she seemed very happy, but even more so the next day.  She was excited and said she had aqua viva and had given it to her husband to read as well. 
               Another time I was with a Taxi driver who I was unable to get to open up in conversation.  He stayed glum the entire trip, but as I left I felt like I needed to give him one anyway.  I leaned back towards the car and handed him the book saying “quieres aqua viva?” or do you want living water?  He looked at me funny and I told him it was about Jesus Christ and he gave me a grin and said thank you.  Another time we were in a Taxi with 2 brothers, one of whom was training to be a taxi driver.  That was interesting, but they were happy to get the gospels as well.  
               I walked by a security guard in front of a casino for a few days near where we stayed for the first week.  One time I went by, and felt like I should give him one.  He took it gladly, and we spoke about it for a few minutes before I moved on.  Close to this was a restaurant called Crepisimos where we ate several mornings and got to know the morning crew.  They were happy to get the gospels as well.
               Another day, we took a bus on a 2 hour trip to some hot springs.  These were the inexpensive bus’s where they would get packed, and I only had about 5 with me.  I would sit there practicing reading them ni Spanish and catch people reading over my shoulder.  Once I saw they were interested I would offer them one which they took gladly.  I ran out quickly.
Virtually all of my wife’s uncles and aunts, as well as cousins got them, and I was able to speak to a relative in depth about Christ.  They are Mormon, so please continue to pray for them.  He is willing to discuss, but fell back into his testimony as a defense against what God’s word said.  I also gave one to my wife’s 95 year old grandmother who said she would read it with her reading glasses.  I have shared Christ and gospels with her previously.
Chimbote and Chiclayo – I spoke with an Indian looking gentleman who was from British Guyana in a hotel lobby in Chiclayo.  We spoke for a few minutes and he asked why I was there so I mentioned a mission trip.  He was concerned if we were just here to talk or to help, and I explained some.  He was a Muslim, but when I offered him the words of Jesus Christ who Mohammed said was a prophet, he accepted with a thank you. He spoke fluent English as well as a few other languages so he got one in English.
At my Wife’s well to do uncles factory, the security, one janitor, and two secretaries got them as well.  They work with my wife’s dad and were excited to meet us and were happy to receive them.  
A few days later, my wife’s Uncle took us to see another of his houses where he has vineyards and an interesting discussion came about.  My mother-in-law was with my wife and I as well as Kianna and one of my wife’s cousin.  My mother-in-law we have spoken to and prayed for years, as she was raised Catholic and was converted to Mormonism before coming to the U.S.  Our upcoming mission came up in conversation, and my wife’s Catholic uncle who has many people working for him began to discuss how we just need to follow John the Baptists example.  My wife and I tried to get a few words in, but he is used to being listened to.  I finally was able to quote Jn 6:47 to him and told him it was important what Jesus said.  My wife reiterated, and then, my mother in law said “its not what you do, you just have to believe in God”  AWESOME.  Not quite theologically correct, but it sounds like she finally has it! J   My wife’s uncle was not interested in continuing the conversation at that time, and we did not want to be pushy, but we will continue praying.
Picture of a llama.. actually a river from the plane on the way to Pullcalpa from Lima.
Sunday - Day 1 – We got up early to get on the plane and fly to the Amazons! It was exciting as we arrived in Pucallpa.  We got on the bus to head to a Church that supports the mission to the Shipobo people and sung a few songs with them before heading down to the boat. I purchased some Chirimoya (an exotic fruit) for some of my fellow missionaries and began to get to know them.  As I found out later, we have an awesome group of excited believers! Once on the boat, I began to try and get to know some of the crew and gave out some more gospels of John.  You can see the Evangelista on the left side.  David and Gelyn were the two security guard used for the “prevention” of any issues with “river pirates”  once or twice they showed a gun, and one evening fired a warning shot, but that was all that was necessary.  I gave them both Gospels of John and spoke to them briefly.  Gelyn was an agnostic and David was more open.  We would talk more over the coming week.  
 You can see below that the sunsets on the river are beautiful.  When we arrived at the village, they were waiting for us even though it was late and had a ceremony to do so.  (please note that the actions on given days are all based on my recollection and could be slightly off. )
  Some of the children who I hope you will keep in prayer were, Renaeln 11, Laison 1, Anderson 10, Raul 11, Leibis 11, and Ken 8.

Monday – Day 2 – We got up early and got started moving supplies off the boat so we could start working on the church.  My focus was building relationships with people and getting some work done.  The Indians were very friendly and open and appreciated us being there.  The children loved Kianna and it was seldom that you saw her without at least 3 or 4 following her around.
Tuesday - Day 3 – Besides working on the church, I spent some time talking to some older men of the village who spoke some Spanish.  Javier, Pedro and Caleb who was a bit younger.  They received Gospels of John with excitement.  I gave a Gospel to a man named Leoncio and he sat and read it for most of the morning.  Later in the morning, the boat Captain, Alvaro came running up to me. He was very excited after reading the Gospel of John the Monday night.  He said in Spanish “this book is very good!  Now I know what I have and now I have more love for God!  I feel so much love!”  He gave me a hug and left with a very light step.  Having assurance is amazing!  We had a time of fellowship in the church and spent time with the kids letting them color and I did a gospel presentation using an evangicube for about 40 children!  All of the children affirmed that they believed in Jesus Christ at the end of it.  We ended with some songs and games.  
Wednesday – Day 4 – Most of the Gospels of John went to adults who had learned to read Spanish, however I found some children, Lenner  11 and Lacy 13 who said they knew how to read as well.  I tested them and after they read me a few verses each, they both got Gospels of John.  More work on the church, and I spent time with the children teaching them games I had learned in Awana.  They did not want me to stop!  That evening there were a few girls hanging around the boat, and I had a finger flashlight they all wanted.  I told them whoever could quote John 3:16 could have it.  After a few tries, a teenager and his girl friend who were close by apparently were listening in, and the boy quoted it verbatim.  I gave him the light which quickly ended up in the girls hand. J When I got back to the boat, I saw another of the boat employees, Miguel on the deck reading the gospel of John I had given to him a few days earlier.
Thursday – Day 5 – I was speaking to David, and Gelyn with another villager who was a Christian and on fire for Christ, and during the conversation Gelyn stated he had become a Christian! Gelyn was the professed Agnostic from day one.  He has my email and I hope we communicate further.  Please pray for him, that if he has already believed, that he grows, and if not, that he continues to read the Gospel of John.  I was not sure if he did so out of pressure because of the conversation and the villager or not. Gelyn is the guy in the green shirt.  This was the last day at the village.  I said good by to Saibel 10 and Seti her 11 month old sister that she carried everywhere with her.  It was amazing to see how responsible these young girls were, and how seldom any of them cried or complained.  The baby’s as well.  We took a quick trek up the river to another village as well and gave them some shoes, knives, sewing materials, clothes, stuffed animals etc.  I handed out a couple Gospels of John and shared Christ with a few teenagers standing around.  Before we left Nueva Palestina, the village again gathered for a farewell ceremony that made most of us cry and said goodbye to us.  I don’t have pictures because they involved us with them.
The Boat trip back - I spent most of the boat trip back sitting with Pastor Abelardo which is one of the missionaries that risks his life traveling to these villages and teaching and making inroads into new villages.  I asked him if he had any passages in scripture that were difficult to understand or questions he had problems answering.  He seemed to have a pretty good understanding of God’s grace, but did ask me to explain about the Sabbath and if it was for us today.  I explained that it was part of the Law that we were freed from, and that Sunday worship was different and spent some time in Galatians until he was satisfied.  He was very pleased and we exchanged email for further discussions.  He asked for prayer for his son Eli who has a disease that they have not been able to diagnose and that 2 of his other children has already died from. 
I tried to give you the names of those who I had dealt with whenever I could so that if you wish, you can pray for them specifically.  Your prayers and support are appreciated and if you want further details, please feel free to write, call or email me.  951-256-4579. 

Love in Christ

Trent Hilderbrand  (if you would like an emailed copy with pictures, please give me your email)