Today’s post is written by Tim Navratil who serves with his wife as the Area Leader for Latin America/Caribbean with ReachGlobal.
Last March I traveled to a remote part of the Peruvian Jungle. I found out that the jungle there can be described in three ways. The lowland jungle that most of us think of when we hear “jungle” where the waters flow slowly and the trees are thick and the air is heavy with bugs and humidity. The highland jungle is high in the mountains where the rivers begin. The middle jungle is where I traveled. There the rivers run wide and fast, are bounded by rocks and trees and the air is a bit less humid. The road to the villages we visited was narrow and mostly gravel with several rivers we had to ford. One river we drove through for about 100 yards, part of the time running down the middle of the river. That was a bit exciting.
The people we visited are called Yanesha. They are a native people to that part of Peru. They live on a government reservation comprised of about 48 communities. I was tagging along with a church team that taught English at a middle/high school in the town of Shiringa. We spent several days teaching English and playing games with the students. Each year our ReachGlobal missionaries in this area host mission teams to teach ESL in quite a few schools in the area.
This year there will also be construction teams coming to minister among the Yanesha. They are helping to build a ministry and training center to help teach the young pastors and lay leaders in the communities. The church was planted among the Yanesha by Wycliffe and they even have a New Testament in their language. Unfortunately, the churches spiritual health has deteriorated over the years and there is a real need for spiritual and theological training.
A few months after I visited Shiringa, I read an article on the internet about a 73-year-old woman who had been accused of witchcraft in this village. She was thought to have been bringing curses on several villagers and making them sick. This poor woman was burned alive at the stake. Over 40 people in this village voted to give her the death penalty for her wrongdoing.
One of the church leaders among the Yanesha recently was ill and after receiving prayer from our missionaries went to visit a shaman. This unfortunately is not uncommon among these tribal people. There is a great need for training and prayer for understanding the spiritual forces at work among them. I am excited to be part of another team going back to the Yanesha in the Spring of 2017. One of the team members is going to be teaching for three days on the topic of Spiritual Warfare to over 40 church leaders.
Would you please be praying for the Yanesha, that their spiritual eyes of understanding would be opened and they would see that there is only One God who heals and that there are many spiritual forces of darkness arrayed against the work of Gospel transformation in their communities.