Our family is in Peru for two years to serve with Extreme Nazarene. We are living in the jungle city of Puerto Maldonado supporting our team of 8 missionaries as 12 churches are planted here in 18 months! Please keep checking in to keep up on our our ministry and adventures in Peru!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Puerto Maldonado Cluster Base Biography

With a population of just 41,394, it's easy to overlook Puerto Maldonado. For precisely this reason, the gospel of Jesus Christ hasn't reached many of the local residents of the area. Once outside of Puerto Maldonado, small villages dot the dirt roads and rivers that crisscross the thick Amazon jungle.As with the other jungle sites, ecotourism is beginning to gain in popularity and as a result Puerto Maldonado has seen double and even triple digit growth in tourist visas granted through the small airport just outside of town. Puerto Maldonado exhibits the characteristics of a small remote town through its lack of infrastructure. The town is cut in two by the river and as of yet, no bridge exists to connect the two halves so car ferries are the only way to get people and vehicles to the roads on the other side.

In January 2008, the Nazarene Church touched down for the first time in Puerto Maldonado to establish church work there. Pastor Freddy Zapata arrived on scene without a single friend, not even so much as a contact and within 3 months had a mission church started with 15 members. The people are hungry to hear about the power and saving grace of Jesus Christ in Puerto Maldonado.

Just after dark, a tiny house sits quietly with a single dim red light that hangs from the hastily constructed ceiling. Standing in the doorway of this house appears the shadowy silhouette of a young woman in her early teens. A paying customer approaches her and they fade into the dark house. Her two year old son stays outside the house, playing in the street or just sitting on the curb waiting for his mother to reappear. This young woman's house is just one of dozens with similar red lights filled with dozens of young women, too many with innocent young kids left unattended along this dark dirt road cutting right through the middle of Puerto Maldonado. Many of these young girls are orphans or victims of a shattered family and have gotten trapped in this devastating trade that appears to have no exits. Pastor Freddy's vision for the Nazarene Church in Puerto Maldonado is to provide an exit. He wants to open up the doors of the church to the women of these brothels, to the drug addicts, to the alcoholics who have hit rock bottom and have nowhere to turn. Extreme Nazarene has agreed to partner with Freddy through the 40/40 project in this venture. The "Hope House" will be a place of detoxification, refuge and hope as the healing and redeeming power of Jesus Christ is displayed 24-hours a day for its precious and fragile patients


Anonymous said...

Would love to meet you in PM.

Im the only gringo staying at Hotel Manu, or maybe Cabana Quinta. Can introduce you to other M's working in the area.


calandjenwilkins said...

Hi Smiths! My husband read a message from you guys the other day and we are new enough to this "blog" thing that I didn't know where to find it after he read it! :)
But thank you so much for writing. It is awesome to watch your journey before we set out on our own adventure in Peru! If you have "Cluster support" tips be sure and let us know!
The whole team is in our prayers.
God Bless!

Jen Wilkins