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Donna and I went with one of the guys, Gilmar, from the boys home to visit one of the potential Christmas in Peru villages. It was an hour and a half trip up the river plus about 30 minutes walking into the jungle. The nice thing about such a remote spot is if you need to use the restroom, anywhere works.

 I did.

 We were walking around the village getting a lay of the land. A sweet old lady named Malena invited us up into her hut. We chatted for a while as we sweated our guts out, prayed for her and moved on to one more house. It was a good visit all in all.

 As we hiked back at to the boat, a bit of thunder could be heard in the distance. I began to celebrate in my heart thinking, “There’s no rain in Lima. If it rains I will be the happiest person on earth.” I would eat my words later.

We started off in the boat trying to hurry out so that we could get to the boys’ home before dark. However, darkness surrounded us as the storm rolled in with a fury. Luckily, we were with Gilmar who has grown up in this part of the jungle. One thing you can’t predict, even having grown up on the river, is where the sunken logs will be. There are tons of trees that have fallen into the river. We found one in the dark with a huge bang- but no worries, laugh it off and we’re on our way.

By this point, the lightening was constant and the rain was really coming down hard. We’d only made it about 20 minutes down the river when everything turned pitch black.

 I was at the front of the boat trying to alert Gilmar to any potential perils along the path. His brother and dad met us along the shoreline with a flashlight for us to take on the way back. So here I am in the front with a flashlight but as soon as my eyes adjusted to the flashlight, lightening would strike….in a few words, I couldn’t see anything. Now the rain was really pouring down so I retreated just a bit to be under the cover that the boat had. However, like many things here, it was leaky.

I had a constant stream of crisp, cold Amazon rainwater running down my back plus gusts of crisp, cold Amazon rainwater coming at me from the front. This is the point where I turned to Donna and said, “Donna, let’s play a game. It’s called places you never thought you’d be. I’ll go first. Stuck in the Amazon in a thunderstorm on a boat at night.” 

Sometimes things in life just take you by surprise. I don’t know how many times over the last few years I’ve looked around and thought, “How did I get here? Who would have ever thought?”

It’s sort of fun to review. From helping orphans with their homework and fixing doors and beds in the orphanage to bandaging their severe cuts and giving the hugs that they were hungry for…to visiting a blind, elderly man exactly on the day that he needed food, as he hadn’t eaten in three days. From typhoid fever to standing in front of hundreds of glowing eyes of children waiting to receive their Christmas present that they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.  Now, finally, being able to serve in the jungle where the Good News has passed through as though an honorable mention but not been settled deep into the hearts of these beautiful people. The Lord always knows what He’s doing with us.

 Sometimes we get caught in a storm where you can’t see even five inches in front of you. However,  you keep moving forward knowing that God’s promises last forever. He’ll complete what He starts. Occasionally, I remind myself of the Israelites. I begin to complain and say take me back to Egypt. I have to remind myself that even though I can’t see, God certainly can. I can trust His hand.

My question to you is where has God taken you that you didn’t expect? I bet if you take a moment to review your life, you’ll see clearly His faithfulness woven through your story.  I hope you’ll send me a testimony of it. 🙂

 If you’re interested in partnering in blessing the kids in six jungle villages and all around Lima this year with a Gospel presentation and gifts, you can click RIGHT HERE to give a tax-deductible donation. It may seem early for Christmas, but gifts have to be shipped by boat to Iquitos and it will take them about a month to arrive. Thank you so much for your partnership! I look forward to hearing from you!

 -Keith

 

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