Checked in online- hold luggage still overweight; yes, I’m off to Iquitos again. However, this time I’m bringing a small team from the church in Poynton. Whilst most of my time will be spend preaching and teaching they are going to be involved with children and youth work, basic hygiene and generally getting stuck into serving the people there.
On Sunday I’m preaching at Antioquia Baptist Church in Iquitos before we head up to Nauta. Nauta is a small town about 100kms from Iquitos (the two are joined by the only road in the region as Iquitos is not accessible to the outside world except by boat or air) and is the launch point for a number of river boats. Nauta is also where the BMS supported training centre is based.
From Nauta we are then spending a few days up river, visiting villages around Santa Rita where we are sharing about the work of the training centre. I’m really pleased to be involved in this: it comes from a partnership between the training centre and JungleMasters, a US based mission, whereby they are encouraging (and paying for) the leaders of the churches they have been working with to train with us in Nauta. Historically there hasn’t always been much cooperation between church groups (nor foreign missions) in the region so it is great to see relationships being formed.
The second week will be based at the training centre in Nauta. Most of my teaching is based on Mark’s gospel, but also includes Revelation and Christian Ethics. The challenge is helping pastors who have little formal education, and no access to books, get to grips with the Biblical text and think how to apply their knowledge in preaching and leadership. Each time I go I think we’ve not yet got the mix right. Each time the balance of people on the course changes; their home community (the city like Iquitos or a river community like Santa Rita) affects their experience of education and their training needs. However, the feedback from those who come each time is positive and they keep coming back for more so we are clearly being of some help.
Taking a team is, for me, a new experience. The main thing being the sense of responsibility for their preparation and welfare. I’ve just got used to getting on a plane and going with the flow so it is a good discipline having to answer questions and see what assumptions people have. The fun part will be that whatever plans we may have the reality will be different. Last year saw me baptise 6 people in the river - an unexpected priviledge. Who knows what this visit may bring?
Internet in Nauta is limited so updates will probably have to wait for my return.