I always swore I would not be one of those people that only blogs once a month. Woops. BUT I have a good excuse! We definitely had no internet access in Iquitos, so we weren’t able to get online at all. Trust me, that was a long two weeks!
Iquitos was amazing. Our internet here at home is kind of sporadic, so I’m not going to try to upload pictures. But, if you send us your email address, I can email you a copy of a Word document with lots of pictures and more detailed information about the trip.
In a nutshell, the trip went really well. Brian didn’t see any snakes or anything dangerous. We both lived with sunscreen and bug repellant, but still managed for Brian to get very sunburnt and we both got bit by millions of mosquitoes. We are still taking our malaria meds and we won’t know for another week or so if we got dengue fever, so pray that we didn’t! That would be miserable.
Brian and the other 8 men basically finished what they went out to do, although there are some finishing touches that some local men will be hired to do. Brian and the men left the guest house we stayed in (in Iquitos) every morning at 8:30 to drive the 30 minutes (up to 3 hours depending on mud) and then take a boat another 30 minutes up the river to the village the BCM camp is in. It’s in a tiny village called Llanchama (yan-cha-ma) and trust me, it’s jungle. Where the men got on the boat is the last place outside of Iquitos that has electricity. And yes, they do live in huts and yes, the people further out in the jungle do still believe that white people steal their faces and wear their skin. Yup, jungle! The BCM camp is being used primarily to board high school students from jungle villages so they can go to high school in Llanchama. Without the boarding school BCM provides, these kids would not have much education at all. They also use the time with the kids to disciple them and encourage them spiritually. It’s really pretty neat. Right now, 8 kids live there, but with the new dorm being built (that’s what the men did) they can now house 15 girls and 15 boys. It’s pretty cool.
I worked in two different VBS’s in Iquitos. They were both held for only 2 days, 2 hours per day. The first one was in a section of town just outside of Iquitos where all the buildings were thatch and it was pretty poor, but still relatively safe. We had about 50 kids, but we could’ve had hundreds more if they’d advertised. The second one was in a “barrio” that basically was on a side street of Iquitos and was impassable, even by the moto-taxis we used to get there (no one in Iquitos drives cars, it’s all motorcycles or “moto-taxis” – motorcycles with carts attached to the back). So, we walked another 5 blocks once we arrived. That was an extremely poor section of town and we had about 30 children, but again, if they’d advertised, it would’ve been hundreds more. Amazing how many kids are back in the barrios. They average 8 per family in Iquitos and in a city of 400,000 you can imagine the number of children!
We thoroughly enjoyed being in Iquitos, regardless of the heat and the bugs. It was beautiful and so incredibly different than anything we’ve ever experienced! Brian will be returning in June and July with teams from the States who are coming to help continue the building project in Llanchama. It will be 40+ degrees Celsius while he’s there! Crazy. We were there in winter and we about died…the heat is just outrageous!
Now we’re back safely and I am busy getting orientated at a local ACE school for the ACE curriculum. I leave around 7:45 every morning and get back sometime in the evening depending on when my ride shows up and how many other errands they need to do while they’re out (we’re about 45 minutes from any big town). Next week is a missions conference and the students begin arriving this weekend. This week is Candidate Orientation for the six Bible School students who would like to become BCM missionaries after this year of schooling. Brian will be working the rest of the week with his team getting the Bible school ready to go for this weekend. Friday evening we’re apparently going to downtown Lima for the evening with everybody to eat chicken (which really isn’t that exciting since that’s what we eat every day here) and hang out downtown. Saturday is a Compartiendo (Pennies for Peru – children’s program) that Brian will probably go to. I might stay here since I’ve been gone every day this week and still need to set up my classroom. Looks like I will begin teaching in a few weeks and our house will be started in April!
Keep us in prayer; we’ve hit a lot of cultural differences already and it gets discouraging. Pray also for language acquisition! We really do need to learn spanish quickly. We’ll be hiring bible school students to teach us Spanish and what we pay will cover half their tuition, so that’s actually pretty exciting. 🙂
Please DO NOT send us packages any bigger than a shoebox!! They will NOT pass customs without large fees and being opened and thoroughly searched (and sometimes made unusable). Preferably send items in envelopes you get from the post office; those never get stopped. thank you!!!