Teaching those of the Peruvian Amazon Jungle – Weakland Update May 2023

Hello friends and family. Here is a quick update this month.

My friend Pastor Alfredo of San Rafael, Peru is the chief leader of his people, the Aents (or Awajun). San Rafael is one of many jungle communities in mid-north Peru. Alfredo, being the first pastor of his people, has the heart to share the gospel with all of them and equip male leaders. He invited certain Aents men to come to San Rafael for a conference for a few weeks to study the Bible, with the hope that they will eventually be pastors and teach their people back in their communities. Nine of these men made sacrifices by leaving their families and banana farms to come to San Rafael and learn more about what the Word of God says.

North of Moyobamba on the map is San Rafael, the yellow dot with the white star. North and northwest from there towards Ecuador are where the Aents people are spread out into different communities.

The problem is that Pastor Alfredo hasn’t been able to find any bible teachers to come to his conference. He has been praying that God would send teachers for 7 or so years (I can’t remember the exact number). Then he crossed paths with Pastor Cory, my pastor from Calvary Trujillo.

Rewinding a month, I was in Moyobamba with a team for a missions trip there and then to San Rafael. Pastor Alfredo happened to be in Moyobamba with his son. I read Nehemiah chapter 8 one morning, right before meeting with Pastor Alfredo. Verse 8 talks about the priests explaining God’s Word to the people of Israel, and says, “They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and gave them sense, so that the people understood the reading.”

Shortly after reading this, I met with Pastor Alfredo and he told me how he planned a conference, but couldn’t find anyone to come and teach some bible classes. Later I mentioned all of this with Pastor Cory and connected Nehemiah chapter 8 with Alfredo’s dilemma. These jungle men needed someone to explain to them and help them understand God’s Word. Next thing you know, Pastor Angel (of Calvary Buenos Aires Trujillo) and I were jungle bound 3 weeks later!

We had company on our taxi ride to San Rafael! Pastor Angel and I headed to the rural jungle community of San Rafael May 2 and 3.

When we arrived in San Rafael after crossing the river on a boat and then a bumpy taxi ride, 10 students eagerly awaited us. I taught a class called the Inductive Bible Study right away. It’s a class that uses tools like observation, interpretation, and application to better understand each verse of the Bible. Angel taught 1 Timothy in the late afternoon session, which was appropriate seeing that many of the Aents aspire to be pastors and teach their people one day.

I specifically emphasized in this session that as a Pastor, we have to give people the Word of God, not our opinions.

The classes went a lot slower than we expected, one reason being that we used Pastor Alfredo as a translator from Spanish to Aents. It was kind of funny because I would say a sentence in Spanish and everyone gave me a blank stare. Then when Alfredo translated, I could see the light bulbs click based on the expression of their faces, and many “aha!” moments.

It was cool to see almost every student arrive on time to their classes, with their Bible and notebook open, ready to learn. They were very humble and teachable.

The students were very thankful that we came, and some have been praying for years that someone would come and teach them the Bible. One man named Elias, who lives about 3 days away from San Rafael, said he was so desperate to learn, that he tried to invite some Jehovah’s witnesses to disciple him at one point. Praise the Lord that never came through! The students have such a burden to teach their communities the Word of God. When I plant Calvary Moyobamba in October, I want to be intentional about making a few trips a year to teach and invest further in these men, possibly with Pastor Cory and Pastor Angel.

Henry (to my right) asked for prayer that he would serve God faithfully. He asked great questions and was one of the best students.

Pastor Cory has invited Pastor Alfredo and 5 other Aents men to come to our Inductive Bible Seminar in Trujillo in August, as well as the church planting conference in September. Alfredo happily accepted the gracious offer. These are great steps to further disciple the Aents men.

Thank you for the financial support to allow me to go on this trip. And thank you for taking time to read this letter! I am thankful for you all! I will send another update in June.

Praise Reports

  • Praise God we made wonderful friendships with the Aents men.
  • Praise God for Pastor Cory and Calvary Trujillo’s prayers and my relationship with them.
  • Praise God that Angel wants to involve his church in missions more.
  • Praise God for the hunger of God’s Word the Aents students had. They want more!
  • Praise God that Alfredo is in the process of building a bigger building to host more bible teaching sessions.

Prayer Requests

  • Pray that the Aents men can be patient and diligent with their time in the Bible. It’s more difficult because they have it in Spanish, and it’s not their first language.
  • Pray for God to call more people to help with the church plant in Moyobamba in October.
  • Prayer for financial support.
  • Prayer for me growing in leadership, organization, and communication.