Calvary Chapel Iquitos

December 2007 / January 2008 Update

Hi Everyone,

I had a great Christmas at home with family and visiting friends. I got to make all of my favorite stops, like Red Robin & Arby's.


Before we left we Iquitos we continued with all of the regular ministries, which are:

I would like to focus on Panguana on this update.

Panguana (The river community)

We visit the river community of "Panguana" weekly, where we teach the children and have a mid-week study for the adults.

Jeremy and I leave our place around 8:30am and meet some of the guys from our Youth Group at the boat. There is a port in Belen where the boats dock that go to Panguana. We have a choice of three boats, all which you might question if they will make it or not. We hang up our hammocks and that is our seats and beds for the rest of the trip up river.

We try to have devotions on the way and it is a great to spend time with our young guys, sharing more of the word with them, It wasn't planned but this has turned out to be a great way to disciple them. There is more time to talk since we are just kind of hanging out for three hours, they can ask all sort of questions that might seem unimportant or silly if they were asked during the Youth Group.

The boat usually leaves Belen around 9:00am and We usually get to the spot on the river where the boat drops us between noon and 1:00pm. We hike about 30 to 45 minutes to Panguana from there, because of flooding when it rains there is a sort of pier for about 15 minutes of the walk. When we get there, we drop off the food that we brought and one of the sisters there, prepares lunch for us. Then sometimes we go the local swimming hole and cool off for a bit, we are usually followed by anywhere from 3 to 15 of the children, and we all play in the swimming hole.

(click to enlarge any of the pictures)

Jean Carlos & Julio hanging in the hammocks on the way to Panguana

There is a sort of pier for about 15 minutes of the walk

This is where they prepare our lunch

We get back in time to setup, have a late lunch and do the children's program around 4:00pm. We start with prayer, worship and then a teaching. We are blessed to be using materials provided by "Gospel Recordings", They are great graphics of many Bible stories. They also come with a CD of the graphics so we can print and make copies of the pictures for the children to color, they really love it, and try so hard to copy the colors exactly like they see them on the flip chart they are looking at. Coloring is a big deal for them, since it is not something they would be able to do unless we provided the materials for them.

Carlos from our Youth Group - teaching the children

The children coloring

Showing off thier work

Showing off thier work

The children coloring

All the children in the community center

It is usually starting to get dark by then, so we rest a bit and put up the lights for the Adult study. We use special flourescent lights that run off a 12v battery. The battery is a regular car battery and lasts about four services and then we have to carry it back into town and have it recharged. We have our mid-week service in thier community center, it is dark in there, even with our lights, so I don't have any good pictures to show you of that.

The people of the community had a discussion that took about four months, but they finally voted to give us a piece of property so we can build a church there in Panguana. We have had the land cleared and started framing but we are waiting on the Lord to provide the rest. They use thier community center for other events, so there have been times that we have arrived and have not been able to use it, so we are looking forward to having our own church.

The mid-week service usually starts around 7:00pm and is over about 9:00pm, then we put everything away and walk back to the rivers edge, where we wait until about midnight when the next boat comes by and picks us up. There are mosquitos but besides that it is kind of nice to sit there in the quiet of the night. Sometimes we talk, but most of us usually get sleepy and end up trying to sleep although it is hard we swat mosquitos while we fade in and out of consciousness until we hear the boat coming by.

Coming back should be quicker since we are now going with the current, but the boat makes many stops to pick up other people, their produce and thier animals that they will sell in Iquitos. We usually get back between 3:00am and 5:00am Friday mornings. The rest of Fridays are kind of lazy days since we shower and go to sleep when we get home. So we usually hang out with the street kids on Friday nights.

The river ministry is a lot of work, it is sometimes difficult, there are travel and food costs to take the team and it takes a good chunk out of our week, but is it worth it?

The children of Panguana praying to accept Jesus as their saviour
(click to enlarge)

We had been visiting Panguana for about eight months, when the teaching that week was on being a Christian and accepting Jesus, so in December we asked the children if they wanted to accept Jesus as their savior. Almost all of them joined us in prayer. Although some are young and some don't understand what they did I beliveve that at least half of them meant it and we will be there to make sure the other half get a chance to do the same.


Iquitos - Team News:

I am back in Lima now and will be here for two weeks, to take a "Inductive Bible Study" class at the CC Bible College here. Jeremy and I will be heading back to Iquitos around the middle of February.

Praise Reports:

Prayer Requests:

Opportunity to parner with us:

If you would like to contribute towards the building of the church in the river community of Panguana. We don't know exactly what we need, but we think it is about $3000 for the church and about $1000 for the Pastorial house next to the church, a place where we can put our backpacks and ministry supplies, where we can leave our food, and cook when we visit. And about $500 for benches, a pulpit, table, etc.

You can send donations to the following address:

	Friends of Calvary Chapel Bible College, Peru 
	1771 E. Palomar Street
	Chula Vista, CA 91913 
	Memo: "Iquitos - River Ministry" 

Financial Status:

Thank you all for your prayers and financial support.

         and God Bless   

                Albert Smith 

Calvary Chapel Murrieta 24225 Monroe Avenue Murrieta, CA 92562 Memo = Peru, Albert Smith Or for Jose Garate Memo - Peru, Jose Garate (the river Preacher)

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