We recently received news and pictures of a baptism that was held in the village of Atenas! Atenas is located about 20 minutes up river from Santa Rita.
The church “Monte de Sinai” of Santa Rita along with the church “La Hermosa” of Atenas came together to support each other during this baptism. So exciting to see churches working together supporting new followers of Jesus Christ as they make there public declaration.
Here is a video of me giving a Facebook live update for our sending church. It’s a bit lengthy but it sure speaks of God’s sovereign love for his children even while they are stomping their feet and throwing a tantrum.
Today, I will be travelling back to the States for a quick two-week visit. With all the issues concerning the Corona Virus, I would much appreciate prayers for smooth travels. I will be In Bellingham visiting my mom who has had some serious struggles with her health lately. Please be praying for my travels as well as for my mom. I have comfort in knowing God has given me the wisdom to make the right decisions during my travel and He has the ultimate plan.
For the last two years, Pastor Francisco (president of the cofraternity as well as the Pastor in Atenas) has been struggling with his vision in his left eye. Towards the end of 2019 Francisco asked JungleMaster if it would be possible to help him with the expenses of eye surgery and new eyeglasses. This was an easy decision for me to make. Of course, we would help him. In February he had his operation and had to stay in Iquitos for a few weeks while he recuperated and had some follow up appointments. Last night Francisco, his wife Sonya, and his son Bretan stayed with us in Nauta on there way back to Atenas. Pastor Francisco was extremely grateful to JungleMaster for helping him with this gift of sight and also wanted to make sure I let all the supporters know that he wanted to say “Thank You” to all who graciously give and support JungleMaster.
I would also like to personally thank all of our supporters for allowing us to continue to support these pastors as they fulfill their calling to bring the Love of Christ to the lost.
JungleMaster Ministries, along with Pastor William, are very excited about the interest that we have gotten from the archery program that we started last year. The basis of the plan was to get youth passionate about a sport where they could learn self-discipline, self-focus, and structure. All the things that we need to focus on to have a good relationship with Jesus Christ. We have based this program around the Centershot Ministry archery program that many churches in the States are using. Make sure to watch the short video of archery in Nauta.
So far, there has been a lot of excitement around this program here in Nauta. This year during the school vacation, which happens here from December through March, we have have been running an archery camp every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for any youth that wants to join. We have had a consistent number of participants who have participated in this camp. The camp has been held at Pastor Williams church and gives the youth not only an opportunity to practice archery but also provides the church with an opportunity to show and model the love of Christ to the youth.
We have been invited by the local education department to teach archery in the physical education program in the schools here in Nauta. We are in talks right now discussing what this relationship would consist of.
April will be the anniversary of Nauta. Usually, this is a month-long celebration with many different events and activities. The month of activities culminates in the last week of the month with many different types of exhibitions and fun activities. Examples include canoe races, peque peque boat races, traditional events, cultural exhibits, and things of this variety. Pastor William has been in talks with the officials in charge of putting together the anniversary program, and they invited us to put on an archery exhibition. At the same time that these conversations had been taking place, we had also been in contact with the Peruvian Archery Federation about the possibility of joining with them and forming an “archery club” here in Nauta. It was during these conversations that we invited the Federation to bring a few representatives from the Federation to come and join in with the exhibition in April here in Nauta. JungleMaster Ministries has helped pay for the plane tickets for the President, trainer as well as one of the women that participated in the Pan American games last year!
As you can imagine, we are incredibly excited about how God has been orchestrating all the pieces and love how God can give us a vision and passion, and all we have to do is start walking out the steps that he lays in front of us.
As always, though with these kinds of things, there are still costs involved. We initially brought with us ten fiberglass recurve bows eight being right-handed and two left-handed. Along with these, we had two Genesis compound bows donated. We need to purchase at least three more left-handed recurves as well as the ongoing cost of targets, arrows, and miscellaneous items that get worn and need replacing with a program like this. Along with these costs is the expense of inviting the Peruvian Federation to Nauta. The Federation participants have accepted our invitation but, they have asked if we could help cover the expenses of their flights and transportation to Nauta.
New left-handed bows and misc. equipment $600
Membership to join the Peruvian Federation $200
Flights for Peruvian Federation members to Nauta $400
The total cost we need to raise to help cover the upcoming expenses for this project is
As always, there are three very practical and easy ways to join us in any of our projects. Prayer, funding, or come to Nauta and see what it is we are doing, or perhaps you’d like to do all three. Oops, that was four ways.
Ok, how do you do these?
1-Prayer, well, I hope you’re doing this for us anyways.
2-Funding, go to our donate page at our website www.junglemaster.org or send a check to our address:
PO box 29868
3-You want to come to Nauta? Awesome, send me a message through our contact page at our website www.junglemaster.org and we”ll talk.
Abram’s mother in law has been recuperating and regaining strength so they have been able to bring her back to Santa Rita! She is continuing to heal, gain strength and has even been getting out and about a bit. Abram wanted me to pass along a note saying to you; Thank you so much for all the prayers through this time.
Please be praying for Nauta. There is a huge land invasion down the road from us. They invaded the land over two weeks ago and the last few days the police have started trying to remove them. Our church and other church families’ homes are right in the middle of the protests and invasion. Police have arrested a few people. Please be praying for a swift and just resolution for all involved.
“God is our refuge and strength. A very present help in trouble.” Psalms 46.1
Please be praying for Abram’s mother-in-law. She has been suffering from pneumonia and other complications last night conditions worsened to the point that they brought her into Nauta today. When they arrived in the clinic here in Nauta the doctors worked on stabilizing her but quickly made the decision to transport her to the hospital in Iquitos via ambulance where they have a bit more sophisticated medicine to better care for her. Abram and Jessica traveled with her from Santa Rita this morning and have asked us for prayers for this situation. Although Abram did say we know it’s all in God’s hands so please be praying for God’s will and comfort and peace.
I got some very exciting news this morning! I received a call from Abram this morning letting me know that there are 18 people from his church in Santa Rita that will be attending this year’s training cycle at the BMS training center. This is the same training that Abram and a few other pastors have gone through with JMM support in years past. This is the first time that I have ever heard of a Pastor in this area encouraging their members to get training outside of what the pastor brings. The hierarchical culture here believes that if someone under receives training they may rise up and knock you out of power. He is breaking every cultural jungle church faux pas by doing this. I have always been in the mindset of train up those around me to better than me because I won’t always be around and have tried to pass this idea off to the people in my circles of influence. Who knows where he has captured this idea from but we do know God is doing mighty things through Abram.
We are clearly seeing the effects of training and influence that Abram has received not only from JungleMaster but a multitude of people.
This is a great sign of a seed being planted, nurtured and now multiplying!
It’s all in God’s perfect timing
Please be praying for these attendees
1-for safe travel to and from Santa Rita
2-that the training they receive will be well received
3-that they will have the desire to complete the years training cycle
4-that they will have the same desire to go out and plant seeds fearlessly as God leads them
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
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
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.
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