A two-hour flight to Houston, seven hours to Lima, one hour to Pucallpa, and a three hour flight to San Lorenzo in a four seat Cessna and I am almost there. Actually, it takes an additional five-hour boat trip to reach our destination, Musakarusha.
We are deep in the Amazon Jungle. Few venture here, there are only the indigenous Indians, the Candoshi Tribe. It is not surprising then that these are largely a forgotten people. The only signs of outside support are a dilapidated health center, school, and a non-functioning water system all built by the government.
However, the Candoshi are not forgotten by Jorge Alverez and Pastor Victor. Both have committed their lives to bringing clean water and Living Water to these remote Indian villages. I first met Jorge in 2003 when I traveled to Peru to train Jorge and the American missionary employing him, Tommy Head, how to drill and install water wells. I continued to work with this team for about 10 years until I was more in the way than a help. It wasn’t long after this time that Tommy Head came to an untimely death in a motorcycle accident (his riding was part of his very popular motocross ministry).
With Tommy’s death the entire responsibility for the ministry was placed on Jorge’s shoulders. But with God’s hand on him, Jorge has met the challenge in a very inspiring way. Jorge made big plans, he made important changes in the services he offered and he formed a local charity that allowed him to expand the ministry. One particularly important change was to invite other like-minded Peruvian’s to join him in the ministry.
The key to it all is the personal relationship that the team establishes and maintains with each community.
It was at this time that he met Pastor Victor, a then new pastor in a jungle village. Victor quickly took over evangelistic activities teaching biblical based hygiene, counseling villagers, and preaching the Gospel each night they are in a village.
This effort has come with a price. The environment in which they work is dangerous, the rivers they travel are treacherous with huge trees laying just below water level ready to destroy their boat or motor; snakes, bugs, heat, floods; disease, particularly malaria that they both contracted this past winter putting them in the hospital for weeks; and even witch doctors that will incite drunken riots against them when they feel threatened. They also leave family and friends on a regular basis, living in hot uncomfortable conditions (there is not room service in the Jungle).
However, their work has born much fruit. Their efforts have seen many come to Christ, almost 700 wells have been installed and maintained, and the physical and spiritual health of the Indian’s has measurably improved. The key to it all is the personal relationship that the team establishes and maintains with each community. This is so evident as we motor down these remote rivers and in each village that we pass villagers run to the banks and cry out Jorge and wave vigorously. Jorge and Victor have gained the Candoshi’s respect, trust and appreciation. This is difficult given their past experiences with the government and outside world.
As I pack up to leave I am left with a single thought. These are the right men for the right job at the right time in this difficult environment. God’s hand is squarely on their ministry and it shows in their incredible heart for these people. I am also confident that we are a blessed church to be part of this ministry and able to support a portion of their transformative work. Please keep Jorge, Victor and the rest of the team in your prayers.