Sunday, December 5, 2010

El Triunfo

Across the river from Puerto Maldonado, is a tiny village called El Triunfo. It so reminds me of lots of bush communities in Alaska that sit across the river from the main village. To get there, you have to cross the river on one of the many ferries. They are installing a bridge that will connect the two and provide a transportation route to ship goods to and from Brazil. They have power, but no water or sewer services.

We are starting a church plant in El Triunfo. On Thursday, I went with our two 40/40’s, Ana and Elisa, to go visit their a couple of disciples and recent converts there. The first visit was to Charlie and his wife. Charlie’s wife is disabled and can not walk, and was suffering from Dengue fever. About 50% of those we visited were down with Dengue, a disease carried by mosquitos, and is very common this time of year due to the rains. She lays all day on her mat under her blue mosquito netting. But her spirit is strong and she continues to tell of the goodness of God. We did a short Bible lesson with her and Charlie, and spent some time in prayer. When we asked what prayer requests they had, they did not ask for themselves, but asked for their 20 year old son to come to know Jesus as his Savior. As I was praying for them, God spoke to my heart about how the daily struggles we all go through, no matter where we live, are nothing compared to an eternity of not knowing Him.


I am in Puerto Maldonado, a southeast city in the jungle of Peru. Today is hot and I am sweating like crazy. A couple of days ago the pump for the septic tank went “kaput”. It had just been install a month ago, so it seemed odd. When I dug the system up, I found they had installed an above ground water suction pump in an underground manhole. Guess what happens when it rains. The manhole gets full of water. These pumps don’t like working underwater. J So I scurried about town yesterday looking for pumps. Everybody kept telling me to go to this one place to buy a submersible pump, but it was closed for inventory. Ha,ha, who would have thought they even did inventories out in the jungle of Peru. About 4:30pm, I found a place that had some. Got it installed last night with the use of my trust headlamp. Managed to only spray myself once with sewer water in the process. The system is up and running again and I can now flush my toilet. Oh how good are the little things in life.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Puno Visit

Puno City is the capital of the providence of Puno. It it located on the shores of Lake Titicaca the highest navigatable water body in the world. The elevation is just over 12,500 feet. Boy does that make breathing difficult, especially if you have a cold or asthma.
Densie and I and group of 40/40's took off a few days last week to go for a visit and look for housing for the 40/40 missionaries. The trip takes about 6 hours by bus each direction. We arrived about mid-day. We were greeted by Pastor at teh bus station and headed to a hotel operated by one of the brothers in the church. After a quick lunch, we headed down to the city square where they post all the property for rent or sale. We visited a few properties over teh enxt few days, but did not find any that we're looking for. Please pray for our housing needs in Puno.
The second day we were there, the 40/40's decided to explore the city and find the the most authentic “Punonian” souvenir shop! Garren and Roy initially discovered it, and then Kristen, Francisca, and Trevor met them there. Garren, in an attempt to get a discount on a hat, had told the store owner that they were missionaries working in Puno to plant churches. The store owner, Hector, showed immediate interest and started asking more questions about what we were doing there. Francisca, being our only native Spanish speaker there, took the opportunity to share more about who we are and what we believe. Then, she asked him if he was ready to make a decision to give his life to Christ. There was no hesitation. He immediately said yes as he wiped away tears. They gathered around him, and Francisca led him through the sinner’s prayer. Afterward, they were joyful and shared more with him about our Christian walk and tried to feed him spiritually as much as they could in the short time they were there. One of the most amazing things is how he shared how he had been looking for the truth in other religions. He had gone to Seventh Day Adventist, Mormon, and Living Water churches, but he didn’t find what his heart we looking for there. He told them that he could feel God’s presence with them. Then, he shared that he never has his shop open in the mornings… and that he knew that that day he needed to open his shop. I told him God had a plan for him and God had wanted to come to him that day!
They gave him the address to the local Nazarene church in Puno, took down his information, and gave it to the Pastor. Pastor Herman said he would be in contact with him! The 40/40's were all blown away by this encounter. Not only was it awesome to see this man come to Christ, but also to see how God is preparing Puno for us before we are even there!


A few weeks ago, I got to participate in an exciting event at our home church, Alto Libertad. As a result of our Love Extreme Event in June, and our followup efforts, and our continued cell groups, we have seen many new Christians maturing in their faith. One of the natural steps in the nuture/maturing process is baptism. We had 7 people ask to be baptiszed as a symbol of thier new lives and the cleansing that comes from Jesus. So we set a date of September 18th. We took 2 bus loads of people from the church and traveled to a little hot springs about 25 miles out of town. We pitched a couple of tents for some shade and began a worship/ celebration service. Then we gathered around the pool, and Pastor Solano, District Super, Pastor Elvin, and myself waded in. One by one our new believers entered and made a public confession of What Jesus had done for them and their committment to follow after Him. The highlight for me was getting to baptism my spanish teacher from when I first got to Arequipa.

After the baptism, we enjoyed lunch, playing in the pool, hiking the surrounding hills, and of course playing fotbal. Gooooooooooooollllllllllllll!!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

July in Alaska

Denise and I got to enjoy a few weeks in Alaska this summer. It started out with a big gathering of the Biegel family to celebrate Peter and Joann's 50th Wedding Aniversary. All the kids were there including 27 grandchildren. There was lots of activities including clamming, hiking, fishing, boating, 4-wheeling, eating, and of course cards. It was really good to get to see everyone and spend some time with them again.

We also got to spend time with the Linnell's....catching reds on the Kenai.... a few days at the HDL office....and even tiled teh master bath shower at the lake house. Seems like the time went way to fast...

Reflections on Love Extreme

As posted on the

The impact of Love Extreme will be felt for a long time to come. Since Love Extreme has ended, we continue to hear stories of the awesome ways God worked during that time. Below are a few stories/comments that have been shared.

Love Extreme Mega-Event
"It was amazing to watch Felix prior to his speaking. He came and introduced himself, but then went out and picked up garbage. Rather than being served by the people in the VIP tent, he went out to serve."
– Jennifer Linnell, VIP tent coordinator

"A dancer from one of the groups knelt down in the grass behind the tent and prayed to receive Christ. He missed one of his dances during the performance, but was dancing and shouting `I’m free! I’m free!`"
– Jennifer Linnell, VIP tent coordinator

"During the men’s event, Jon Kregal, a former professional soccer player in Barcelona and New York, spoke. His testimony was more than soccer, it was about a life rescued from drugs, jail time, and self to that of resting securely on the foundation of Christ. Jon’s testimony led perfectly into that of Felix Vargas, a former member of the Colombian drug cartel. His testimony is one of redemption and forgiveness, despite his failures in nearly every area of his life. His wife was faithful in prayer, praying that one day he too would be a powerful man for Christ. It took 7 years for her prayers to be answered. Felix invited the group to respond to God’s call on their lives, and 120+ people received God’s gift of forgiveness and redemption.
– Tyson Smith, Men’s Conference Coordinator

"We originally had chairs set up for 700, and when we heard 3,000 people were lined up outside the front gate waiting, we quickly set up another 300 chairs. We could have had more women than 1,000 had the room been bigger. There was standing room only. The Peruvian band led an awesome time of worship to open. Then, Tammy Trent shared her music and testimony of how she lost her husband after 11 years of marriage. Lonna Vopat shared her testimony of a broken past of abuse and abandonment. Then, she shared the restoration by God. The women were so touched to hear a testimony they could relate to. Liliana Vargas gave an altar call, and 150 women came forward to accept Christ. One was Patricia Rodrigues, who has been a house mom for many of our new Extreme volunteers. Praise God!"
- Jill Tibbs, Women’s Conference Coordinator

"50 patients seen by the dentist, 218 by the doctors, and 32 received glasses. 300 total patients seen. Every patient received prayer and asked about salvation."
– Teri Englund, Medical Clinic Coordinator

"I cannot express the gratitude for all the people who jumped in to make this happen! There were those who sacrificed concerts and speakers to work in the food huts. I pray that God blessed them in their amazing work."
– Neil Horner, Food Coordinator

"Once the candles were lit, the altar was created, and the prayer sheets were set up, many locals came in and knelt to pray. Many of them were on their faces, crying out. Many Extremies also came in to pray. Once the prayer room was moved (moved to a different location to make more room for the growing men’s conference), many people began to walk the grounds and pray."
– Shirley Horner, Prayer Coordinator

"Trevor met up with a kid he had invited from the Plaza de Armas. He brought with him friends from his school. They had a video camera and interviewed us. "
– Garren Moore, 40/40 destined for Puno

"very good students! It is a very rewarding activity for them and for me. Even though there aren’t many students, they seem to really want to learn and appreciate the class. Two Extremies are reversing the process to learn some Spanish! "
- Vicki Duerre, Short Term Volunteer (ESL classes)

"We went to INABIF and shared the skit first for all the boys. Then, with Eva translating, Janelle shared the story of our savior. The girls offered to pray with anyone who wanted Jesus in their heart. About 30 boys raised their hands and prayed. Then, we played games interacted with the boys. Some leaders showed a group of interested boys the evangicube. It was a great day, especially since we had gone two days in a row and built a connection with many of the boys."
– Kristen Sailsbery, 40/40 destined for Tacna

"We went out as a group to pray and the Lord directed us to a young woman, who goes to college in Arequipa. I had an evangicube, and shared the gospel with her. She said, “I want God. I want to know God.” So, we led her back to the church, and invited her to the retreat. She was happy to speak with us, and said she wanted to come join us. Today, God brought the harvest! "
- Kristen Sailsbery, 40/40 destined for Tacna

"It was nice to see American kids interacting with the Peruvian kids even though they couldn’t understand each other."
– Kristy Andrews, 40/40 in Pucallpa

"We worked out of Alto Libertad construction site today for our medical clinic. We had six new short term volunteers in the group, who were a big help. We saw 80 patients today. We also had 10 people give their lives to Christ. Even after the clinic was finished, many people were standing around waiting, so we invited them to Love Extreme Mega-event. Several short term volunteers commented on how the patients were honest with not only their physical ailments, but also with their spiritual ones."
– Beth Beers, 40/40 in Arequipa

"The fact that we were able to go into these public schools to do drama and puppet shows about Christ, blows my mind!"
- Henrietta Scriven, 40/40 in Arequipa

"Many people were excited that there will be a church near their home in the future."
- Stephen Tarrant, 40/40 destined for Cusco

The following were supplied by Heather Simpson, Cluster Support in Iquitos.

"Team unity was totally spirit ordained. Ruth brought a magic wordless book bag. Susan brought a wordless bracelet craft. Karen brought 200 tubes of toothpaste, and our dentist, Mike, brought 200 toothbrushes. Another brought the life of Jesus paintings, and someone else a cross craft. All of this happened before even getting together or arranging things! God was in charge and it was beautiful to see how the orchestrated things." "One group brought princess dresses. They felt inspired to not just bring a few but 18, even adult sizes! It was so beautiful to see the older ladies and moms dress up, have their hair done, and participate in the devotional to learn how God has made them wonderfully and desires for them to be beautiful inside and out.""While cleaning up trash in Belen, we received a lot of “thank yous” and within minutes, several children were walking along and helping us!""A couple in our group, David and Celine Sumner-Clark, evangelized wherever they went. They had a total of 3 mototaxi drivers accept the Lord, and several street vendors as well. One mototaxi driver told them before they even said anything that he has wandered away from the Lord and wanted to rededicate his life. A street vendor, Guiseppe, accepted the Lord. He went out to dinner with them, came to church on Sunday night, came to say goodbye/thank you to them at the airport, and brought them gifts of gifts of gratitude. ""A little boy from the first day in 9 de Octubre, when we did the trash cleaning and lice treatment, found out that we were going to Padre Coche on Friday. He came with us to help. He wanted to carry our stuff, teach the children, and just felt drawn to be with us. ""Jose, Clarita, and Jasmine live here in Iquitos, and were asked to join our group fro their friend Ruth, who they met when she was here last year on a mission trip. They were such a blessing as translators, missionaries, Bible story tellers, puppeteers, and servants. We were honored to have them work with our group.""A local dentist even let us borrow all his equipment for free for 3 days!"

Puerto Maldonado
"The goal of this event was to reach the hardest to reach group of people, the 18-40 year old man who might likely spend their time drinking, at prostitution bars, and engaged in violence. The testimony of Felix was exactly what the people needed to hear and was so powerful. He just knew how to get their undivided attention. They were cheering, laughing, and totally engaged. That's the type of response we were praying about, God is so so big. Oh and the final match came down to a tie breaker with penalty kicks, it was epic."
Tyson Smith, Cluster Support in Puerto Maldonado (Soccer Tournament)

"The testimonies of Lonna Vopat and Liliana Vargas was like the perfect recipe for touching the women's lives here in Puerto. From dealing with abuse and neglect or dealing with an uninvolved, abusive or unfaithful husband, this conference was what women needed to hear to give hope and change lives for Christ."
Tyson Smith, Cluster Support in Puerto Maldonado (Women's Conference)

"This week seems like a person who hasn't been taught how to highlight effectively and ends up highlighting the entire page. This week is like that because it's all been a highlight"
Sara Zelner, Short Term Volunteer

The following were supplied by Andrew Kendall, 40/40 in Puerto Maldonado. Andrew was the project leader in Puno.

"It was the first time the church was let in a school. The director loved it! The church has been invited back. A great start to the work in Puno."

"In Ilave, we were able to eat lunch with the local people. The president of the community was very happy and wants us to come back. One of the mothers of the children accepted Christ. The pastor has a small group here, and it is also one of the future church plants. "

"We passed out fliers and invited people to the youth service. About 15 new people were there! The church was packed out! "

"On Sunday night, we had about 30 new people there, most with the flier that we had given out. There were 15 new converts, and lots others touched by Christ."