One night this month, a nurse in our community called me asking that I visit her home. We went and found an elderly lady named Rene in very poor health. In the home we sang songs of worship to God and preached the gospel to them. They were very happy, so much so that they didn’t want us to leave. It’s interesting to see this happening because the family is Catholic and not long ago they didn’t want anything to do with the gospel. Now, they call us and ask us to come over and the elderly lady said she now believes in Christ. A similar thing has happened with a man that has consumed drugs for many years, who now calls us to come and speak with him. It seems that the Lord is working in people that used to hate us.
This month was very difficult for us as a family and for all the brothers and sisters in the church. To our surprise, the Huallaga River flooded on November 13. It was a surprise because we are not even in the rainy season, which is February, March, and April. My wife and I were helping my father—who is 84 years old—in his fields. Before we were able to realize it, the river had flooded the banks so much that my wife and father were unable to come back from across the field. I had to leave them there and swim through the water all the way back to the church in order to salvage what was left from the last flood. Along the way I came very close to several snakes. Thanks be to God, none of them attacked me, and instead, when they saw me they went in the other direction. I was afraid, and kept entrusting myself to the Lord. I believe He made the snakes swim in the other direction.
By the time I got back to the church, I couldn’t return to the field where my wife and father where because it had gotten dark. Thankfully, my wife had a cell phone and I was able to give her instructions on what to do. They went to the highest place they could find. To everyone’s surprise, the water did not continue to rise higher into the field. My father said that this particular part of the field always floods whenever the town floods, and I believe that God held back the river so that my wife did not suffer any harm.
The next day, very early in the morning when the water was still covering all the ground, I went to the field to see my wife and father. The damage to our community is terrible: houses are destroyed, fields and crops are lost, animals drowned. Surely, this is going to be a very difficult time for everyone. We live in the lowest part of San Rafael, so the waters remained covering the ground for eight days. This means that it has turned into a breeding ground for dengue fever and malaria.
My wife and I are now in the town of Contamana, about a five-hour boat ride from the city of Pucallpa. A friend of mine is an engineer there, and when he found out about our situation he invited us to come stay with him for a while, taking advantage of the opportunity to preach in the surrounding communities. So, I have been able to preach in a community called Alan, where there is no church, and also in the village of Nuevo José Olaya, where the people speak the Shipibo dialect, but they also understand Spanish.
It breaks our heart to see the people in these communities engulfed in idolatry. They are extremely poor, even though they are surrounded by many natural resources, like wood. Only the business owners make money off of the wood, while the people live in deeper and deeper poverty. The children are malnourished, with chronic anemia and parasites. I have spoken with the dentist that leads the medical campaigns in Tarapoto, and he told me that he wants to do a campaign here to provide free medical treatment and for us to preach the gospel to the people.
Please, pray for San Rafael and the other towns of San Martín that have been affected by the flooding. Many people have already died, and the strong rains of the rainy season have not even arrived yet. May the Lord deliver us from further harm.