Home to the ancient Incan Empire and Machu Picchu, Peru is a stunning country. Within its borders rest parts of the Andes Mountains, the beginnings of the massive Amazon River, and thousands of square miles of jungle. Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion, but Evangelical Christianity can be found, as well as Mormonism, and syncretist beliefs, where people mix Roman Catholicism with traditional beliefs.
It was only this year that YWAM Louisville became acquainted with Peru. We felt the call to send an outreach team there, to the city of Iquitos. It is in the heart of the Amazon Jungle, resting on the the Amazon River, and is the largest city in the world that is not connected to the outside world. You either have to fly or take a boat because driving isn’t an option.
“Iquitos isn’t connected to the outside world. Driving isn’t an option.”
When we arrived in Iquitos we saw the great need that the people have there. Drug abuse, prostitution, physical and spiritual poverty were very evident. We could look out of the YWAM base we stayed in and see a hotel reportedly used for prostitution to our right, and a Mormon temple to our left. We walked down the boulevard that ran along the Amazon River and met drug dealers. We walked through the slums of Iquitos early in the morning and saw people who had spent their entire night getting high, and were just now coming off of it. It was into these situations that we brought the hope of Christ.
Not only did we get to bring life to people in the city of Iquitos, but we also had opportunities to travel up the Amazon River to remote villages. In these jungle villages we drilled wells for clean water, visited and ministered to people in their homes, and ran church services. The very first village that we ever went to we saw God do amazing things. The village ‘mayor’ heard the voice of God in a dream telling him to, “Listen to the foreigners.” We ran a church service the second night we were there and saw people come to know the Lord. We also were able to make an impact in a physical way by providing clean water for them.
Pray for Peru and our next outreach team that we are sending there at the start of this new year!