Mission to Peru
By Wayne Hiebert
The moon was up and the river was beautiful. You could see God’s majesty all around. I sat in silence on the bow of the riverboat listening to the sounds of the night and the parting of the water as we traveled up the Na-nay River, a tributary of the Amazon River in Peru. I had fought the call to come on this trip for two years, however, God had other plans. So, here I sat with a dear friend, who had heard God’s voice telling him that I should be on this trip. God would continue to show his hand throughout our trip.
The plan had been to travel by river to the furthest village we would minister to and work our way back to the town of Nina Rumi in the Amazon jungle. Around eleven at night, an unusual fog halted our journey. Even with radar we would not be able to detect small wooden boats, so we anchored for the night to wait for the fog to lift. With nothing else to see, I went to bed.
In the morning, a short way into the distance we saw we were anchored directly in front of a small village. The resident missionary had not intended to stop here, but after prayer and discussion, we stopped. As our boat drew closer to the village, men, women, and children were lined up on the shoreline, dressed in their best, singing and waiting for us. Greeted by a smiling, hugging, singing group of Indians, we climbed the steps of an open-sided building covered by a palm-leafed roof and situated on stilts about five feet off the ground – their church.
After introductions and the ministry stations got underway, I visited with the pastor. Wondering why a village we had not intended to stop at seemed so prepared for us, I asked if they had heard our riverboat the night before. The pastor said, “No” and explained they knew we were coming two days earlier. His wife had told them to prepare for our visit. When they woke in the morning and saw the ship, they waited on the banks of the river. Intrigued, I went to speak with the pastor’s wife and this is the story she told me:
A few weeks earlier, a missionary team from another organization came through our village and told my husband he was not educated enough or trained to be a pastor. My husband agreed he was not qualified. He went to the people and told them they deserved a better qualified pastor to lead them. The villagers disagreed and wanted him to remain as pastor, but my husband still felt discouraged and sad that the other missionaries had told him he was not qualified to preach God’s Word. So I prayed to God that he would send him a sign. The Holy Spirit told me in a dream that you would come and tell him that he was called by God to be the pastor of our church.
I asked when she had this dream and she said two nights ago. Two nights before, we were boarding our plane in San Diego. God had called a group of us – all untrained – to go to the Amazon jungle to witness to the people there. Just like this pastor, none of us had any type of specialized training to be missionaries, just like him, we only wanted to share the love of Jesus. Jesus did not say, “Go to university, then I’ll see how I can use you” to the twelve. He took twelve men with no professional training and told them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Mk 1:17
So we went fishing that day, and caught the pastor back up in the love of Jesus. We renewed his faith in himself. God had used our motley crew to encourage a man who wanted only to serve HIM and share HIS Word. We were called to cast out the demon of doubt. We at the Church of ACTS are answering God’s call. Is God calling you to go fishing with Him?
This is only one of the many times we saw God’s hand in our trip. I had not wanted to go to the mission field. I came up with every excuse there was to avoid going. Many years ago, my earthly father lived by this verse – 14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” Romans 10:14-15
In the end, I did things my earthly father’s way, and most especially, my Heavenly Father’s way, and found that to each country I travel to, I have gone “home” – to where God wants me to be.