Sunday, June 13, 2010

Preparing to say goodbye -- for a year

Normally, I post stuff here then put it on facebook. Today, it's the other way around. Earlier this week, I was in Iquitos--the largest city in the world that you cannot get to by car. It is in the Amazon jungle and can only be accessed by plane or boat. I was there to take pictures of cute kids, so that we can find sponsors for them when we return to the states for our year of re-connecting with churches and supporters. The year back home is obviously welcomed, but it comes at a cost. We'll be leaving behind the friendships we have here, to strengthen those we left behind 3 1/2 years ago. 

The streets are made of sand and mud.
Some experiences are harder to leave behind than others. One of those is my love for the jungle and the friends that I have there. I posted one of those experiences on facebook a couple of days ago: "I had a tear in my eye as I rode through muddy streets on the back of Jose's motorcycle. This would be my last day in the jungle town of Iquitos for at least a year. Close by, half-naked kids were playing marbles in the mud. It began to rain and I looked up to see black storm clouds hanging over the Amazon river. I thank God that I get to serve Him in Peru!"

The sewer ditch in front of one of our schools.
Yesterday, I spoke with one of the pastors I work with in the northern coastal region. Like all the pastors I work with, our friendship is deepened by the need to resolve difficult problems. Trying to build an evangelistic community of transformation in a context of poverty will either make or break a friendship. For the most part, we've made some great friendships. Yesterday, as I spoke with my friend about our return to the states, he understood that our departure was necessary for the ministry to continue, while at the same time lamenting our departure. The conversation ended and I was about to hang up, when he called out, "Bill!"


"Un abrazo. (A hug.)"

"Egualmente, Hermano! (Same to you, Brother!)"

A taxi-boat.

Motorcycles are the transport of choice in jungle towns. They are shipped in boxes and assembled on-site. This is a great picture for this blog entry, since it has motorcycles in Iquitos and also contains a shot of my friend Tim Wolf (whose last name is wild, like the jungle).

These houses are next to one of our schools and display how the children live.  

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