Jungle Master Ministries

December 2020 Newsletter

DID YOU KNOW?

The McGees have a PO box in Peru where they can receive letters, cards, or gift packages! If you would like to send them something once they’re back in Nauta, you can mail it to:
Joel & Amy McGee
Jr Arica 402 Maynas
Apto #156
Iquitos-Loreto, Peru

A MCGEE FAMILY UPDATE

by Joel McGee

We have certainly been looking forward to the day when we will be able to go back to the place where we feel God has placed us! And that day has finally come! On December 16th we will be returning to our home in Nauta!

Our family has been well cared for throughout the nine months we’ve been in the States. God has given us the chance to rest and heal from some of the challenges of living in a different culture. We’ve had some good times traveling, serving together, and connecting with extended family and friends. But we’ve also had some challenges. Not having a place to really call home has been hard. And we’ve had to deal with many other difficult family issues, as well.

I would never try to say that I know what God is up to, but I do like to ponder at times. As I’ve thought about the Pandemic and all of the missionaries I know personally who have had to leave their field and return to their passport country (many of these being from the U.S.) I can’t help but think, “Has there ever been a time when we’ve needed missionaries to spread the Gospel in the U.S. more than we do right now?”

Of course, I have no idea what God is up to, but I do know that he will use it all for His Glory, and that puts a smile on my face.

Again, thank you so much for your generous support, not only financially, but through your prayers, as well!

Following Hurricanes Laura and Delta, Amy, Carmen, and Joel had the privilege of traveling to Louisiana to volunteer with Samaritan’s Purse. Joel is pictured above, working on the roof of a house.

LEANING ON OTHERS

by Joel McGee

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 has looked very different this year for JungleMaster Ministries. Because my family has been stuck in the States since March, unable to return home to Peru, the ministry has had to lean heavily on the relationships that Amy, Carmen, and I have built during our years of living in Nauta. I’d like to share a little bit about several of these relationships and what has been accomplished through them.

We’ve leaned heavily on our good friend, Laura, a missionary from England who lives in Nauta. She has helped us to handle JungleMaster’s in-country financial business, as we have not been able to be there to manage these tasks ourselves. We are so extremely blessed to have this relationship.

We are also blessed with the relationship of our brother, Keny, who is Peruvian and lives in Iquitos. We leaned upon Keny this year when the people of Santa Rita ran out of many of their daily use medications during the pandemic. The Mayor of the town had gone to find more, but when he still hadn’t returned, they contacted us. Keny, who has many connections in Lima, was able to locate, purchase, and transport the needed medicines from Lima to the medical clinic in Santa Rita.

We continue to be blessed through the relationships with the many Peruvian pastors we have worked with. Through their churches, many of them helped distribute food to people who couldn’t work because of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Some of the latest and most exciting news from the jungle is the recent anniversary celebration at Monte de Sinai Church in Santa Rita, where Abram, longtime friend and partner of JungleMaster, is pastor. Several couples were wed in Godly marriages during this anniversary event. We can’t help but be extremely excited that God’s redemptive grace is being lived out in some of these couples. Abram shared that the healing and forgiveness that some of these couples had experienced in their broken relationships, and their desire to enter into godly marriages, is a miracle; a true testament to God’s faithfulness, as well as to the faithfulness and hard work of these couples. Praise God!

Amy, Carmen, and I can’t wait to get back to Nauta, but we are so thankful for these relationships, and others, which have allowed the ministry to continue in our absence! We’re also thankful for your generous, on-going support during these challenging times! Your prayers and financial gifts are so appreciated!

A wedding during the anniversary celebration

At Monte de Sinai Church in Santa Rita

Prayer & Praises:

  • Praise that God has continued to provide for the needs of the ministry in Peru while the McGees have been here in the States
  • Praise that the McGee family will finally be able to return to Peru on December 16th
  • Please pray for safe and uncomplicated travels for them.
  • Please pray for a smooth transition for Joel, Amy, and Carmen back into life and ministry in the Amazon.
  • Please pray for the funds needed to sustain this ministry.
  • Please pray that God will provide Christian fellowship in Nauta for the McGees. Their friend, Laura, who has been meeting that need, will be moving out of the area in May.

THANK YOU!

As we all know, 2020 has been an extremely different year, but we can cling to this promise given to us from the apostle Paul in the book of Philippians: “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” That verse is so calming for me, especially during our earthly trials, knowing that God will carry on His work.

We want to extend our heartfelt thank you to each of you for standing together with us during this year. Your continued prayers and support have brought help and hope to our brothers and sisters in Peru during a time of uncertainty for all of us.

December 2019 Newsletter

Grace For the Hard Seasons of Life    by Joel McGee

Here in Nauta, where we are 4° south of the equator, there are only two seasons: the “not so rainy season” and the “much heavier rainy season.” Both are hot and humid. And because the seasons are so similar, it’s a challenge for me to distinguish between the different times of the year. December feels much the same as July, and, as a result, I’m caught off guard when I see the stores filling up with Christmas decorations and fake Christmas trees or when I see the random guy dressed as Santa Claus wandering the streets.

In spite of this, the seasons still come and go. It seems hard to believe, but October first marked the end of our fifth year living full-time in Nauta, Peru. I want to say that this has been the best season of our lives, but that certainly wouldn’t be true. I’m not even confident I could say that it has come anywhere close to being our best season. In truth, these have been the hardest fought five years of our lives. We’ve had some bad, hard days…like the day we realized the house we had bought was termite eaten and too dangerous to live in, and that it needed to be torn down and rebuilt…or the day Amy broke her little toe (at a 90° angle to her foot! Ouch!)…or the day I sunk our boat at the port. I could go on and on with stories of these “bad” days. Of course, we have certainly had good days, also, but I will hold firm to the fact that in the beginning years there certainly were more bad days than good. And it’s only by God’s grace that we’ve managed to hang on.

A few months back, a good friend, encourager, and mentor made his annual trip to visit us in Nauta. We were discussing the ministry and our family and all we had been through during our five years here. This friend has a way of saying some simple, but profound things, words that usually resonate deeply with me. During our conversation, he said, “You know, Joel, there is never growth without pain.”

When going through difficulties, a person’s heart can become hard. But for me, difficulties have had the opposite result. I have grown spiritually through these hard times. God has shown me grace, so much grace, during this season of my life. And the pain has softened my heart in areas that used to be hard.

I find it ironic that we expect God to give us grace time and time again, but we rarely, if ever, extend this same amount of grace to our brothers or sisters. We all have our bad days, even our bad seasons. And we each need grace and strength to endure, grace from God and from each other. So today, let’s pray about how we might be able to give grace to someone. That grace is so needed!

Ministry Update from Joel McGee

I continue to work on, and develop, my “technical” training program with the focus on three different areas: 1-mechanical repair, 2-welding and metal fabrication, and 3- carpentry/house construction, and home electrical. I am currently doing mechanical repair training with one part-time student, as well as with Carmen. We are in the process of building a motorcar that will be used for racing the local race track. This is a great “hands-on” learning experience and a way to bring God’s love into an area that is extremely dark spiritually.

When Amy, Carmen, and I last returned to Nauta from the US, we brought with us 13 recurve and 2 compound archery bows, as well as arrows and targets. We are hoping to bring an archery program into the local schools as a means of teaching those skills and of sharing the love of God. We’re also in the process of training some of the youth at our church to teach others and to use archery as an outreach. So far, Amy and I have been invited to teach archery to kids at two camps during their summer break.

Joel instructing a young woman
Archery lessons in progress

Amy has partnered with Laura, another missionary who lives here in Nauta, to help teach English to students enrolled in the tourism program at the local community college. Once a week, they also have a class to help the local Peruvian English teachers polish up their English.

Besides continuing to be extremely involved in the local church here in Nauta, Carmen trains in Judo 3 times a week. She has also joined a co-op of other homeschooled missionary kids. They meet in Iquitos each Tuesday, and as students must have a parent attend with them, Amy usually goes. It’s a long day for them, as they have to leave Nauta no later than 6 AM to make it to class by 8 AM.

Carmen with her co-op

HOW WE’RE PARTNERING:

We continue to partner, side by side, with many different ministries working here in the jungle.

Laura had a grand vision of delivering one hour of water two times/day to the neighborhood where she lives but, for various reasons, had some difficulties achieving it. I was able to use some of my resources to do a bit of “re-design” work. I enjoy working on these types of projects, especially when the bulk of the work has already been done. With a few tweaks here and there, we were able to help her reach her goal. A huge thank you to God, and to Laura, because the benefits that clean water is bringing to this neighborhood are enormous.

We continue to work alongside the cofraternity of pastors in the river communities. We recently attended the second anniversary of the Monte de Sinai church, which is the new church that Abram has started in Santa Rita. It is so encouraging to watch him grow this church and love the people in his community. He has such a big, open heart for sharing the love of God in the villages. The cofraternity has several outreach events planned for the coming year. Francisco, as president, continues to try to organize the members, which is a slow process in this culture. He is trying to encourage inactive members to either become more active or else separate from the group.

At the anniversary celebration in Santa Rita
Abram walking a bride up the aisle at the
anniversary celebration

This year we partnered with Pastor William and his sports outreach ministry. In particular, we invested in his quite successful, and growing, Judo training program, which I believe is an excellent opportunity for the youth here in Nauta. Pastor William belongs to a Judo club from Lima and has always had the desire to hold competitions here in Nauta, where he’s been training youth in Judo for many years. He has not been able to do this, though, because he has never had a regulation size dojo with regulation size mats. This past year JungleMaster was able to help him purchase the mats and renovate the current dojo to make this a possibility.

Judo lessons in session
Using Judo as an outreach

God has also brought JungleMaster alongside Rocio Ricopa, a local woman who has a heart for children and children’s ministries. Along with several others, Rocio has started a program that serves the kids here in Nauta. They do a two hour session every Saturday morning, engaging the children in fun activities and teaching them about God. She desires to better serve the children by getting a degree in elementary education, and, through your faithful prayers and donations, JungleMaster Ministries has been able to assist with her online studies to reach that goal. As she has been attending classes and learning about child development Rocio is seeing that many children here in the jungle miss critical cognitive stages of development. As a result, she has created a twice-weekly movement program for children ages 3-6 in the church to help them develop their motor skills while learning about God. It’s amazing to watch how God is using Rocio in her community to give these children strong foundational truth in God.

PRAYER REQUESTS:

Please pray for the two upcoming archery camps.

Pray that the kids who attend the camps will experience the joy of Christ.

Please pray for Amy and Laura as they teach an upcoming month-long intensive English course in February.

Pray, also, for the students who will be attending that class.

Please pray for protection and guidance for Francisco and Abram, the leaders of the cofraternity.

Please pray for encouragement for Joel and Amy as they serve God in the jungle.

Please pray that God will bring people alongside them who have the desire to join them in the work.

Posted by JungleMaster Ministries at 8:00 AM

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June 2019 JungleMaster Newsletter


JOEL, WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO TAKE THIS MINISTRY?                by Joel McGee

For the first two years after becoming the director of JungleMaster Ministries, I felt God telling me to move slowly, to rest in Him, and to wait for Him to lead me. But early in 2018, God started to speak to me with a different theme: “I have entrusted you with this ministry, Joel. Now where are YOU going to take it?“ I really didn’t have an answer for this question at the time. But it led me to start asking myself, “What kind of future does JungleMaster Ministries have?” and “What will the organization look like?”

After a lot of thinking and praying, I realized one thing. JungleMaster Ministries has always had a somewhat short-term, project-based mentality. There was nothing wrong with that, but was it still the right strategy, now that Amy, Carmen, and I were living full-time in the Amazon?

The more I prayed about where I was going to take JungleMaster, and the more Amy and I talked about it, the clearer it became that it was time to change the mentality, time to stop thinking short-term and change to a long-term focus. I am learning that to make disciples it takes relationships. It takes loving people the way Jesus commands us to and being the examples He calls us to be. Mentoring pastors and leaders is no short term project, especially when it is being done cross culturally! I’m sure glad God never thought of me as a short term project!

So, what steps will we need to take in order to make this switch to long-term thinking? At a retreat with the JungleMaster Board in January we discussed this in great detail, and we agreed to do the following things: 1) Make some modifications to the mission house to make it more livable. 2) Make some minor organizational changes State-side related to having a full-time paid director who is also our on-the-ground missionary. 3) Consider putting certain organizational or structural things in place in Peru so that, if and when the McGees are called off the field, JungleMaster’s work will continue in a sound and accountable way.

Joel has recently tiled the concrete countertops of the
mission house kitchen in order to make them more
hygienic.

Even more importantly, I’ll need to work hard to maintain correct priorities. My relationship with Christ is the most important part of my life. Next is my relationship with my wife and the job of leading my family. Then comes my relationship with, and my ministry to, the community I’m in. Keeping my responsibilities in line is an important part of modeling the Christian life for those I’m ministering to and also makes the work I have to “do” or get to “do” a bit easier and more enjoyable.

So, now that we’re thinking long-term and recognizing that we need to focus on developing relationships out of the hope, peace, and love we have with Christ in order to successfully do ministry, what are the pillars of that ministry? What has God gifted JungleMaster to do? Well, there are a couple ways that I feel God has truly gifted us: 1) The ability to partner strategically and help others connect and 2) our mechanical abilities and resources.

JungleMaster has assisted Jared, a Peruvian youth
sports ministry in numerous ways. JungleMaster
transported Jared staff to Santa Rita for 2 days of
training with this group of kids.

It’s foolish to think that JungleMaster would be able to fill all the needs that people have. We are building relationships with other ministries and NGO’s working in the area to find out what they are offering and what they are teaching, and we are building relationships with the people to learn their true needs. With this kind of mindset, I often find that I can connect Peruvians with organizations that are specializing in the kind of training that they need. This frees JungleMaster up to do what we are gifted at doing. I think you get the idea. For me, it’s the old adage, “Why reinvent the wheel?” If I know of an organization that offers good, sound, biblical training, and someone I know wants to get good, sound, biblical training, why wouldn’t I connect the two of them? JungleMaster is also really good at connecting people from the States with places in the Amazon where their talents can be best used. Connecting needs with the people and ministries that are able to fill those needs is so fun and exciting, and it truly feels like how the body of Christ should be working.

Joel is developing a course in
basic mechanics. His daughter,
Carmen, and their friend, Luis,
are among his first students.

JungleMaster is also gifted technically. We have a boat and the operational skills needed to be of great use transporting locals or mission teams up and down the Amazon, Marañon and Ucayale Rivers. And due to my mechanical background, we have an amazing opportunity to teach mechanical skills to people that live in a small engine world. This technical training is one of the things that I have felt God has us here for. I’m currently working on developing a program to teach the locals practical skills related to small engines. The focus of the program won’t always be on preparing individuals to obtain a career in the field, although in some cases, this could be the result. Rather, the training will focus on dealing with every-day scenarios such as what to do when you have the family in the canoe five hours downstream from your house and the motor dies. This training will also have a focus on safety.

Joel teaching some of the local
youth the basics of peque peque
motors

As JungleMaster moves forward with this long-term mentality and with a focus on building relationships in order to make, and train others to make, disciples in the Amazon, look for us to concentrate our major efforts on these two areas that have become the pillars of our ministry: building strategic partnerships and providing technical training.


                         ADOPTING A HEALTHIER MINDSET   by Joel McGee

Besides being the wrong strategy for JungleMaster at this point, there is another important reason to start thinking long-term. Not having long-term goals can be dangerous for marriages and families. For Amy and me, it’s meant our life in Nauta has been lived like this: “We can push through the next two years because we know we’ll return to Bellingham after that, and life will get back to normal.” Things that needed to be finished in the mission house, and furniture that we needed, got skipped over due to the thinking, “Well, we’re only here for two years, so why do we need to be comfortable?”

In order to be healthy in the long-term, we need to start adopting a long-term mentality. Our thoughts need to become: “This IS our normal. So, what do we need to put into place today to MAKE this our normal, and what do we need to do today to ensure that our future will be successful, also?”

                        Because of this desire to prepare for the long-term, Joel has recently been making much-need improvements to our mission house:

He has replaced rotten wooden supports with
sturdy concrete ones like the one on the right.
The front door has been replaced.
In addition to tiling the kitchen countertops,
Joel has also tiled the floors.
Joel has replaced the former wooden ramp spanning the
drainage ditch in front of the house with one made of concrete.

                                                      

WHAT IS MY MINISTRY?   by Joel McGee

I used to think that “doing” ministry was something that I “did.” I now know doing ministry is being the best example I can as I live out my daily life.

Ministry is about relationship. It’s about loving our neighbor as Jesus commanded each and every one of us to do. Most of the time people just want a friend to listen to them, walk with them, and be with them, someone they can talk to. It’s during these times I can be the example Jesus calls me to be and love them the way he commands us to love.

God keeps coming after me even though I fall short daily. He loves me, and there is nothing I can do to get more love from him or less love from him. All I had to do was accept the gift that he offers to every one of us. There is such freedom in this! Amen.

JungleMaster is going to be in Peru until God lets us know it’s time to do something different. Until then, I am called to be a disciple maker, and I am commanded to love people by sharing this gift of God’s love with them.

                                                             PLEASE PRAY:

  • For groups or individuals who will commit to praying for and with the McGees
  • For mature Christian couples to mentor the McGees and reach out to them on a monthly basis
  • For safety, health, and strength for the McGee family
  • For God to raise up more missionaries (individuals and families) to join the work in Nauta and on the rivers
  • For the local Peruvian pastors to stay encouraged and to desire to work in unity
  • That God will raise up strong leaders who desire to lead their villages and communities to God
  • For the chains of corruption to be broken
  • For the locals to experience the true peace that comes from having a relationship with Jesus Christ

Posted by JungleMaster Ministries at 2:15 PM

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God’s grace, mercy and strong foundations

The past two weeks we have been replacing the posts to our house. Last year Joel replaced the back 5 posts and now we are replacing the front 5 posts. They were rotten through and we are having them replaced with concrete posts. Its been quite the project; very messy and having big holes in our walls and floor. For me it’s a very interesting process to watch. The other day I was taking pictures and giving thanks to God for being able to do this work and have a strong foundation. This morning I woke up with this on my heart…what it means to have a strong foundation. You know where I’m going with this, right? The bible talks in Matthew and Luke about the importance of building a strong foundation so that our “house” will not fall and will withstand the storms that come. And, in Isaiah, God declares He laid a stone of sure foundation. Maybe you even sang the kid’s song about the wise man building his house upon the rock.  But, what I realized wasn’t this lesson that I learned and that I am trying to teach my daughter and sharing here in Peru with the young children that visit our house and we see in our ministry. No, what I realized was the magnitude of God’s love and grace for us. Because you see, like this house, many of us maybe didn’t start out with the best foundation. But, God’s grace and mercy and gift to us through Jesus Christ allow us to go back and replace that rotten foundation with one that will stand firm. God’s love and word is the surest foundation. He is there just waiting for us to accept the gift we have in Jesus Christ. And, like our house project… it will be messy! It’s hard work digging out the root of that old foundation that can only be filled by Jesus. But, when it’s done the assurance and faith that remains will be forever strong.

Acts 4:11 “Jesus is the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.”

The good news: Jesus has risen and we are forgiven!

God Bless,

Amy 😊


 
 



God’s grace, mercy and strong foundations

The past two weeks we have been replacing the posts to our house. Last year Joel replaced the back 5 posts and now we are replacing the front 5 posts. They were rotten through and we are having them replaced with concrete posts. Its been quite the project; very messy and having big holes in our walls and floor. For me it’s a very interesting process to watch. The other day I was taking pictures and giving thanks to God for being able to do this work and have a strong foundation. This morning I woke up with this on my heart…what it means to have a strong foundation. You know where I’m going with this, right? The bible talks in Matthew and Luke about the importance of building a strong foundation so that our “house” will not fall and will withstand the storms that come. And, in Isaiah, God declares He laid a stone of sure foundation. Maybe you even sang the kid’s song about the wise man building his house upon the rock.  But, what I realized wasn’t this lesson that I learned and that I am trying to teach my daughter and sharing here in Peru with the young children that visit our house and we see in our ministry. No, what I realized was the magnitude of God’s love and grace for us. Because you see, like this house, many of us maybe didn’t start out with the best foundation. But, God’s grace and mercy and gift to us through Jesus Christ allow us to go back and replace that rotten foundation with one that will stand firm. God’s love and word is the surest foundation. He is there just waiting for us to accept the gift we have in Jesus Christ. And, like our house project… it will be messy! It’s hard work digging out the root of that old foundation that can only be filled by Jesus. But, when it’s done the assurance and faith that remains will be forever strong. 
Acts 4:11 “Jesus is the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.”
The good news: Jesus has risen and we are forgiven! 
God Bless, 
Amy 😊

 
 

2018: ENCOURAGING AND BEING ENCOURAGED

December 2018                                                                                                              by Joel McGee

Amy, Carmen, and I were off-site for much of the year, but God was still at work advancing JungleMaster’s ministry of encouragement and support for the jungle pastors and for other missions and missionaries. At the same time, He used others to encourage us.

While we were at language school in Arequipa, Amy, Carmen, and I were able to make one trip back to the jungle together: a trip home to Nauta for Christmas. While we were there, we had the opportunity to receive a team of engineers from George Fox University that had come to help Laura, a missionary from the Baptist Mission School. This team had been developing a water project for the neighborhood where that mission’s training center is located, the same training center where our pastors and leaders attend seminary classes.

Celebrating Christmas in Nauta in 2017

With the Geoge Fox University team


During a trip I made back to Nauta in February, a trusted friend and mentor came down from Bellingham to help build a church in the remote village of Dos de Mayo. JungleMaster tries to make the 16 hour boat ride to this village once a year, during the season when the river is high enough to be passable with our boat. But February’s scheduled trip had to be postponed because the river was too low. What we initially considered a disappointment turned out to be a blessing, as the local pastors of the co-fraternity decided to make the 5-day trip by peque peque boat themselves, fulfilling JungleMaster’s vision of inspiring the local pastors to do the work. These pastors not only encouraged and built up their brothers and sisters in Christ; they also got the church built! In addition to that, the change of plans allowed a chance for me to be encouraged and filled and mentored by my trusted friend. God was at work; He knew what the ministry needed. He knew what I needed. It turned out to be an awesome blessing on all ends.


Building the church in Dos de Mayo

The completed church

Getting to know the language better was a huge and continuing blessing, and our language school experience led to some great connections, as well. These connections have, in turn, led to various ministry opportunities, such as additional training for our pastors and more resources to help them and their villages. For example, we met two accountants from the Netherlands who work in southern Peru. When our pastors recently requested help learning how to handle church and personal finances in a biblical way, JungleMaster invited these accountants to come to Santa Rita to give a two day course on biblical finances. The pastors who attended were very encouraged by this training and asked for follow up classes. We are now in the process of developing training manuals for the pastors. Another connection from language school was a pastor from Texas who is with a ministry that works with and encourages local missionaries throughout the world. Through this man JungleMaster had the opportunity to help a team minister to, and share the gospel with, some village communities upriver.

The biblical finances class in progress

The team from Texas ministering to a village upriver

I also had the chance to provide transportation for a second team, one I had transported the year before. It is very encouraging to assist short term missions that want to work alongside longer term, local, “on-the-ground” missionaries, especially when the goal of these teams is to learn the needs of the local missionaries and what they can do to encourage them.

The work in the jungle has continued to be busy and blessed. We have seen growth in the pastors and have witnessed the amazing work they are doing. The partnerships and relationships JungleMaster has built with other missions and pastors here have continued to help spread the gospel and to provide the education that is so needed. I have partnered with a Peruvian missionary who is working in Nauta, and together we are helping the co-fraternity to become more focused on, and stronger in, their biblical practices. Since I returned to the jungle, we have led several meetings and small trainings with the co-fraternity. 

Joel pastors with Pastor William to train the co-fraternity in biblical practices

Pastors at Joel and Amy’s house

This year JungleMaster was able to help take teens from a local church in Nauta upriver to put on a children’s program in another village. Being able to encourage and help the local churches to start doing missions and outreach on their own is such a blessing, as well as a way that JungleMaster can use the gifts that your support has provided.

Amy has started doing purity training for teen girls from the church in Santa Rita using content she learned at a conference two years ago. She is enjoying this ministry and is hoping to continue building strong bonds with the girls in order to help them grow in their understanding of their value and love in the Lord. Amy was invited to attend a second training conference in the Dominican Republic in November in order to continue learning how to teach and encourage the girls to walk in their faith and also to help bring healing to the many who are suffering from their broken pasts.

The team from Nauta interacting with kids in the village of Jose Olayo

We at JungleMaster are encouraged by the progress made in the jungle this year. And we continue to be thankful for your continual support and encouragement to us, through your prayers and financial gifts.

Please pray with us regarding the following things:
  • For the local pastors and communities
  • For the opportunities God is opening up for JungleMaster
  • For Joel to be able to continue to provide the education that is so needed in this area
  • For continued partnering with local missions in order to further the gospel.
  • For Amy as she is seeks to gain trust and build confidence in the girls she is working with
  • For Joel as he juggles the two roles of directing the ministry and doing the missionary work
  • For encouragement and blessing for the JungleMaster board as they continue to help encourage and bless JungleMaster
  • For encouragement and support for the McGee family as they continue to navigate their family life and the mission life. And, that God would bring others alongside to help mentor and encourage them.


Thank you so much!



STAYING STRONG DURING A YEAR OF SEPARATIONS

December 2018                                                                                                                    by Joel McGee

Amy, Carmen, & Joel McGee having family time in Arequipa

I’ve always hated goodbyes. I’m not sure why. I just don’t like saying them. But, ever since we moved to Peru 4 years ago, our family has experienced a constant series of goodbyes, hello’s, and see-you-soons, and the separations just seem to get harder each time. 2018 was especially full of separations.


Amy, Carmen, and I spent the first five months of 2018 in Arequipa, Peru, attending language school. This gave us some much needed family-focused time and helped us to stay strong during the many times we had to be apart. This was beneficial because during those months of language school the pastors in the jungle still needed to be encouraged, and their relationships with each other and with JungleMaster still needed to be nurtured. This meant I had to make several trips from Arequipa to the jungle. To keep costs down, I usually traveled solo, leaving Amy and Carmen behind in Arequipa. Goodbyes had to be said. Separations had to be endured.

In May I was called home to Bellingham for a month to help take care of my Mom and Dad who were, and are continuing to be, dealing with health issues. Another goodbye to Amy and Carmen. Another separation. Then, in August, Amy and Carmen flew to Arkansas to be with Amy’s family during the time of her stepdad, Pete’s, passing. Amy and Carmen would end up being gone for just over a month, helping Amy’s mom. Yet another goodbye. Yet another lengthy separation. Even so, we felt so blessed to be a part of a mission that understands the importance of family and enabled us to fly home to help in these times of need.

Having to say goodbye is hard. And having to be separated during stressful family times is never easy. But in spite of our struggles on a personal level this year, God continued to advance the ministry of JungleMaster. And God was faithful to provide us with encouragement in our times of need. Amy, Carmen, and I are so grateful for the amazing family and friends He has given us. They have kept us strong and able to continue doing the work God has called us to do here.

Thank you so much!

Lessons learned

Living in a different culture is hard! Some things are done here that I will probably never understand why, and quite honestly might not want to know why or need to know why. I also know that there are cultural things that I do that they will never understand and quite possibly might not ever need to understand about me. I could write about a million cultural things that I struggle with or have seen and not understood. One of these cultural things, or maybe we could call it traditions, that has bothered me since living here that I recently feel I have been able to put to rest is the fact that in the village of Santa Rita they have church services every night of the week except Monday. Why not Monday night, you may ask? Well, I have asked that very same question to the church leaders in Santa Rita, and the response has always been “I’m not sure why we don’t have one on Monday night, but I do know that is the way we have always done it.” It’s not the fact of why they don’t have a service on Monday that bothers me it’s the fact that for six nights a week the poor pastor has to prepare a sermon and deliver a sermon and on and on I could go why I don’t feel this is good. Now, as I said earlier there has been a lot of cultural struggles for me and a lot of these struggles through time have seemed to lessen, but this one, no, it just kept grinding on me until recently. I had taken a small group of missionaries to Santa Rita to put on a small teaching conference. I was explaining to this group how here in Santa Rita they have a full on 1 ½ to 2 hr. Church service every night but Monday. I’m also quite sure I was telling this story in a voice and a way that enforced my righteousness about this situation. It also enforced my position when the people I was telling this story to, agreed wholeheartedly with me. Man, did I feel good about all this, I also felt confirmed that this was probably the right time to address this “wrongdoing” by the church and it was time to fix this situation. This is when I heard this small, faint voice, from God, whispering in my ear. “Joel, isn’t this just like you to come here to tell about my love for these people and now you want to go and tell them that they are worshipping me too much? Who are you to tell them that, just because their style of worship doesn’t fit with the way you think it should be, is wrong? Do you think when I meet them face to face I am going to tell them, good job, but, man, I think you spent way too much time worshipping me, six days a week is a bit much. NOOOO, who are you to judge them on this? If they want to worship 24/7, let them worship.” OOOUUUCH, GOD, THAT HURT! As always, though, God was right, and that is why it hurt me, I knew this. I immediately turned back to the small group of missionaries that I had been talking to and told them how I was wrong in saying what I had said about this. 
I love how God knows us so well, and He knows me so intimately that He has known my thoughts and feelings of this the whole time that I have felt this way, yet God knew me, and He knew when I was ready to receive the correction. Had He corrected me before this, I’m not sure I would have accepted it or, I might have just ignored it. In fact, the thought just popped into my head while writing this. Maybe he has tried to correct me before, and I have ignored it, if that is the case, I’m sorry God, thanks for always loving me the way you do and thanks for continuing to mold me into the person you created me to be.

May update

Whew! Its been a busy two weeks since Carmen and I have returned to the jungle. The initial entry was a bit bumpy due to the water pump check valve going bad and leaving us without water for two days and some shipping mishaps with some things we sent from Arequipa. But, the Lord was among it all and with the help of our amazing church pastor, Pastor William and some helpful and patient customer service people here in Nauta, all is well.
*Except for the SPIDERS!! I am having to try and co-exist with these new roommates that have taken up residence since we have been gone. Please pray for my sanity and fear reflexes as they are getting quite the workout…haha!*

Carmen is now back in school and doing wonderfully. As she and I went to get her registered, Carmen was immediately whisked away by friends during recess and returned excited and happy to get back to school.
The church had a weekend retreat last weekend and Carmen was able to stay overnight with everyone and get back to being involved with the youth group here.
I helped get PowerPoint slides done so that now the church can start putting our worship song lyrics upon the wall. I think it is more to help us gringos learn the songs than for the church itself. But, the idea was that any new visitors or members would be able to learn the songs more quickly. Also, since our church hosts different mission groups from Peru and other countries then it will be helpful there as well.

The first weekend back Pastor Fransisco, President of the Co-Fraternity, visited us. It was a nice time to catch up and hear what has been happening in the jungle. The church in Dos de Mayo has been completed (we will do another post with pictures about that). Pastor Fransisco had attended a pastoral retreat in Nauta where they focused on knowing who Jesus was personally. Abram and the church in Santa Rita are going strong and really focusing on outreach. We have also learned that one of our Co-Fraternity pastors has had to leave his village to find work. We would ask that you would be praying for him and his family as his heart has always been in missions and serving so we know for him to have to find work things must be a struggle for him at this time. Please be praying that God will provide a way for him to return to doing missions and serving.
We have also heard from Pastor Orlando on the Chambira river. Pastor Orlando has attended the seminary training here in Nauta and now has two or three other pastors interested in joining the training in June. So please be praying for these men that God is lifting up.

Joel, who had to return to the US for the last minute trip due to family issues, will be returning to the jungle June 5th. Please be praying for his safe return because we are missing him terribly.

But in the midst of it all, there is God. With love and grace and help and peace. He has provided me the ability to use my newfound language skills and deal with things that Joel normally does. He has given us the help needed. He has given us the community and friendships and relationships that have carried us all through every day. Even a chance to enjoy a restful day with friends at the local pool. He has given Joel the opportunities to help where he is needed. Even in the simple everyday living beyond the mission, He is there with us.

God Bless!!

Language

by Amy McGee
Language- That word has a whole new meaning for me these last few months. Well, years really, if I’m honest. 

My love of language started young. It has been an ever growing and changing relationship; very much like my love for the Lord.
My mom and dad always had friends from different cultures around the world, and they were able to speak another language. I was always so fascinated by the sounds and rhythms of all the different languages. But even in the differences, there was the same core to communicate and understand each other better.
Similarly, as I grew up, I moved a lot. Therefore, we attended many different churches and different denominations, and like language, they each had their own cultures with different sounds and rhythms. However, there was always the same core: the unconditional love and mercy of God and Jesus Christ.
I continued to love language and even studied it a bit in the short time I attended college. I would stop and listen anytime someone was speaking a foreign language. I still do, and I wish I could have them talk to me whether I understand or not. And the words themselves, I mean they have such rich history and purpose, ya know. 

I guess I never really understood just how much until I started trying to learn Spanish. It’s the same with other believers; I love to listen to their stories even if they differ slightly from mine; but, their stories have so much purpose and richness of God.
The thing that has impacted me the most is how much more rich and purposeful God’s Word and God’s people are to me now.
I know a lot of people have spent years reading God’s word and looking at Hebrew and Latin translations to grasp the true meaning and depth of His word. But, I have never done that much. We have a wonderful man in our church who loves to look up and study the Hebrew words and meanings, and I am always in amazement at his knowledge and love for the language.
Right now in class we are reading Bible stories, and as I am learning the Spanish words and figuring out what they are in English, well, it adds a different dimension to me; like they are becoming 3D. The word they use might be different from the word I have heard used in English. And I am curious, why would they use that word? Why wouldn’t they use the “correct” translated word? Well, maybe the actual Latin word (Because let’s face it, Spanish is a Latin language) is closer to this. Or maybe what was being said here was closer to that meaning. But the fact is I am growing in God’s word and gaining a more profound understanding of His love through His word here at the language school.
And, also, being out here on the mission field I am gaining a more profound understanding of His people and the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ through His people.
I am so grateful for the chance to study so that I can more clearly and deeply share God’s word and love to those He has called us to serve. You all have greatly impacted the kingdom of heaven with your prayers and support. You all are spreading the message of hope and love, and I am so thankful for each one of you that have supported us through encouragement, loving us, praying for us, and donating to this ministry.
~ Amy 🙂

Back to school!!!

We have been praying since deciding to become full-time missionaries in Nauta, Peru that we would need to attend a language school so that we could learn the Spanish language. We have now been on the field for over two and a half years. Last year we attended language school for a month. Although that helped, we also knew that eventually, we would need to return to complete the full six-month course.

At times, it has been incredibly frustrating and scary to be living here with my family and not knowing the language well. We have often prayed about this and felt God telling us to trust Him, and when the time was right, He would open the path for learning the language. It was through this obedience to God that He performed many miracles in our lives. There were plenty of times when we would cry out to God in frustration because we had no clue as to how we were going to get something done without speaking the language. It was always in these times that God would send somebody, just the right somebody, to help us complete the task.
We don’t need to know the reason why God hasn’t allowed us the time or finances to go to language school. What we do know is that He has a plan and His plan is greater than our plan.
God has now made it clear to us that to deepen relationships and further continue God’s work here in the jungle we must gain a deeper knowledge of the Spanish language. We would like to start school in October of this year. The cost for us to attend language school is $15,000.00. Like we said earlier God has made it obvious to us and is telling us to take this next step, to put the burden of the finances on Him and that He will put the desire in people’s hearts to support us with this next step. If you feel led to financially support this, please indicate that the donation is for “McGee language school”. If you would like to make an online donation, you can visit our blog at http://junglemaster.blogspot.com and use the donate buttons.
Thanks for continuing to support us with your prayers and financial support.
In Christ’s love,
Your missionaries the McGees

Armed With the Right Tools, a Cofraternity Brother Shares the Gospel With Confidence

by Joel McGee


Abraham
Praise God, a couple of weeks ago, Abraham, one of the brothers from the cofraternity, invited me up to the small village of Seis de Septiembre to show the Jesus film. Last year this cofraternity leader had been sponsored by Junglemaster to go through the seminary training. This visit would be my opportunity to come alongside Abraham as he put his training into practice.


About a year ago, Abraham had felt the calling to go to Seis de Septiembre to start bringing the good news of Christ to this village, a community that has no church and no godly leaders. Abraham now leaves his home for three days every month to go to this little village. There, he leads bible studies, holds church services in the house of one of the locals, and is mentoring one of the men from the village so that he can start leading the services.


Abraham leading worship in Seis de Septiembre

It was such a blessing to have been invited to this village to show the Jesus film and to help Abraham. The gathering was small, but as I sat in this village of no more than 20 adults and 30 kids watching the Jesus film it reminded me of Jesus’ words in Mathew 18:20, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

I’m so excited that God laid this burden on Abrahams’ heart and that Abraham feels he has been given the tools and has the confidence to do this work.



July 25, 2017