Padre Cocha

(December 3, 2009)

Today we went to do some evangelism at a village just outside of Iquitos. To get there we had to travel by boat down the Amazon River about 30 minutes. I felt so much excitement to be on a boat traveling on the Amazon. However I didn’t yet get to see any pink dolphins or piranhas… hopefully some day! We arrived at the small village of about 3,000 people and went to the local Nazarene Church to see what the plans were for the day. We walked around in our pairs for a little over an hour knocking on doors and inviting as many people as possible for a skit and games and sermon at 4pm. I was fairly happy that I was able to trade off doing the inviting with my Spanish. I felt much more like I was in the selva (jungle) today than I have yet. As we were walking on the outskirt at one point to our left was extremely dense green jungle. So awesome, minus the fact that I don’t think I’ve ever sweated so much in my LIFE. For lunch 2 ladies from the church cooked for us. Each of us had a broth soup with a whole fish in it. Head, eyes, tail, bones, everything. We all put on our missionary faces and ate it all. I felt pretty proud of myself for finishing even though my stomach was churning the whole time I ate!

We had a little over 100 kids and probably 20 or so adults show up in the afternoon in the Plaza. It was an awesome turn out. We played games with the kids and then put on a skit. My friend Gary gave a short sermon with part of his testimony and the story of Jesus.
I went to sit next to a teenager during the sermon and had this overwhelming feeling that God was saying "focus on this one". So I prayed for her during the whole sermon, not yet knowing her name or anything about her life. I prayed that God would open up her mind to what she was hearing. And that He would just make his presence so real to her that she couldn’t deny it. I talked to her after and learned her name is Leslie and she is 17 years old. She just finished school and wants to study to be a nurse, but has 3 little siblings at home who she helps to take care of and therefore can’t leave right now. I invited her back to the church where we were doing more stuff for kids. She came with and on the way invited 3 more friends. We were able to talk for a long time. We talked about all kind of random things, a lot about our lives in general. It was awesome getting to know her, I was feeling like I really needed to just keep talking to this girl, and she didn’t seem to mind. I would say we became friends quickly. After the presentation for the kids I introduced the girls to the pastor and one of our Peruvian girl missionaries talked to them and told them the story of Christ. She invited any of them who wanted to accept Christ into their lives so that they could know the love of Christ and live a life following God. She said that she wanted that and prayed a prayer for it with Empatriz. I had goose bumps the entire time. I am continually amazed by how faithful and powerful and loving our God is.

There is a lot more that happened today. More lives that were saved and cool stories along with that. But for me this is the story that sticks out. The 17 year old girl Leslie who has up to this point never been to church. Who today accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. Pray for Leslie… that God would continue to make His presence known to her. That He would change her life. Pray that she follows through and starts to go to church like she said she wanted to. And that she can be a light to her 3 younger siblings and parents.

Getting on the boat to ride on the Amazon.

The view from Padre Cocha of the Amazon

Walking around, me and the jungle and the river

Some of the kids waiting for the skit.


OutOfTheSilent said...

Laura, what an awesome opportunity to "work" with a teenager. It is great to see the gifts God has given you put to use in such a "foreign" environment (to us). I pray continues to impress upon you those that you need to minister too. God give you strength, love, and courage. We are praying for you...