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

June 2017 JungleMaster Newsletter


Proverbs 19:21: "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."



Joel McGee never "signed up" to be the Director of JungleMaster Ministries. In fact, when he made his first trip to Peru seven years ago, he never intended to do anything more than fix boat motors. But God had other plans. Joel considers what followed to be a sort of "bait and switch" experience. Whoever imagined that he would end up living in Nauta, serving as JungleMaster Ministries' full-time missionary?

In November, after the sudden passing of our founding Director, Tom Clark, Joel took on the huge additional responsibility of leading the ministry: first as our temporary, Interim Director, and starting in March, as our official Director. This was yet another "bait and switch" experience. It was not Joel's plan, but God's. Joel willingly accepted the role and is doing a great job so far. But, although the transition is going smoothly, it has also been a challenge. Joel has found his new role to be both busy and exhausting. And, admittedly, without the accustomed camaraderie and the encouragement from Tom via their near-daily phone conversations, the path has been a lonely one for Joel.

The good news is that God's work in the jungle is moving forward, thanks to Joel’s hard work and the faithful prayers and financial support from so many of you! Here are some of JungleMaster’s ministry highlights since Joel and his family returned to Nauta in January:

Developing and equipping the cofraternity leaders to be disciple-makers in the jungle: 
  • In March, after receiving reassurance that JungleMaster’s ministry in the jungle would continue as it had before, four more leaders began the seminary training in Nauta. This training will help them to be more effective in making disciples in their own communities and beyond. 
  • Pastors who have benefited from seminary training and/or teachings from past missions festivals are now putting their education into practice. In February, Joel and several representatives from JungleMaster traveled 200 miles upriver to the village of Dos de Mayo to see these leaders implement a program of bible studies, teaching, worship, and encouragement for that village.
  • The cofraternity has put together a schedule of additional churches they plan to visit this year (3-4/month), and are working to achieve their goal.
  • With funds from JungleMaster, the cofraternity was able to purchase a boat and motor that is making these trips along the rivers faster than before.
  • The cofraternity has begun to receive a small monthly stipend from JungleMaster which is to be used for things such as gas to travel to other villages. The pastors will need to cooperate amongst themselves in order to agree on how this money is spent. 
  • The cofraternity leaders from various villages have also begun to cooperate with one another to achieve mutual goals, completing new churches in Mundial, Progreso, and Nuevo Union.
Pastor Abram ministering to children in the village of San Roque

Pastor Eduardo of Parinari, (at keyboard), his wife, and others leading worship in San Roque


The cofraternity's new boat


Besides making numerous trips upriver to meet with the cofraternity as well as to assist other missionaries, Joel has recently been involved with various other projects: 
  • Working with a filming crew, both upriver and in Nauta, to produce two videos for JungleMaster. These videos should be available to us within the next couple of months.
  • Surveying a total of 60 villages along the rivers surrounding Nauta, collecting information about the communities we are serving in, as well as discovering new ones. We will be organizing and reviewing that data soon.
  • Attending the ALTECO Conference in Colorado, a gathering focused on equipping South American missionaries to partner in ministry. The encouragement Joel received from this conference was invaluable.
  • Hosting a team from George Fox University’s engineering program, whose plan was to install solar panels on the JungleMaster missionary house in Nauta. The purpose of this project was to open up the students’ minds to using engineering for things other than just making money.
  • Facilitating needed repairs to the missionary house and yard

Once again, thank-you for your partnership with us in bringing God’s Word to the jungles of the Amazon! 

Prayer requests:
·         For strength (Phil 4:13) and encouragement (1 Thess 5:11) for Joel
·         For follow-through with classes and community visits for the cofraternity

God's Hand on Joel and the Survey Team

April 17, 2017

As we’ve mentioned before, JungleMaster places a high priority on partnering with others as we do God’s work in the jungle. One project currently in progress is a survey of community leaders in numerous villages along the rivers near Nauta. This project was born out of a desire, shared by Tom Clark and Joel McGee of JungleMaster, Laura at the Christian training center in Nauta, and a local pastor, William Sifuentes, to learn more about the communities they are serving in. Together, they decided on what information they would include in the survey. Because they wanted to get unbiased information, they thought it best that the survey be performed by someone other than themselves. Two students from Oregon, Steven and Daniel Lindstrom, who were looking for a month-long mission project in the jungle were available and eager to do this, with Joel providing the transportation. The survey, funded entirely by the students, is helping to gather information about the needs of everyone in the villages rather than just the Christians living there. A side benefit for JungleMaster is that Joel is discovering villages back off the rivers that he wasn’t previously aware of and is visiting villages he’s never had the opportunity to visit before.


The survey team at work in a village


The story that follows is an example of God’s help and guidance throughout a very difficult situation during this survey project. It is evidence that God is holding Joel and the survey team in His loving hands.

During the second phase of the survey project, Joel, the two students, and their interpreter had headed 2 hours up the Tigre River and were surveying villages on their way back down. They were near the junction of the Tigre and the Marañon Rivers, still around 40-45 miles from Nauta, when, with a “clickity-clack, bang, crash,” the lower unit of the boat motor froze up, the gears stripped, and “all things nightmares are made of” happened: They were dead in the water and at the mercy of the current!

Joel knew there wasn't much that could be done at that point to fix the boat, but the village of Miraflores was in sight. So, they started paddling. About halfway there, a man in a canoe with a peci peci motor on it approached them. He graciously asked if the survey team needed him to tow them down to Miraflores. When they gratefully accepted, he tied his canoe to their boat. Surprisingly, in spite of his tiny motor, he was able to move them along at a pretty good pace.


Being towed by the canoe with the peci peci motor

They successfully got the boat to Miraflores, where Joel was able to remove the lower unit, but the unit was so badly damaged that repairs were not possible. The team would have to leave the boat there. How would they get themselves back to Nauta? There was no one in Miraflores with a fast boat to take them there. However, they were told that in the next village, about 5 minutes downriver, there was a boat they might be able to hire.


Arriving at the village of Miraflores

JungleMaster's disabled boat at a dock in Miraflores


Thus, the same man who had pushed the survey team downriver to Miraflores also gave the group a ride toward this next village. On the way, they spotted a ferry heading down the Marañon. Knowing that this boat would take them to Nauta, they tried to catch it, but try as they might, the little canoe was not fast enough. The distance between it and the ferry was quickly growing. At that point, about halfway into the Marañon River, they saw another ferry coming. Thank God, they were able to catch this one! And so, the four men made it safely back to Nauta.

The breakdown of JungleMaster’s boat was a bad situation. Some might even have considered the trip a failure. But things could have turned out much worse! In spite of the difficulties, God had Joel and the group in his loving hands. Joel knew that He would guide them and work things out. God had a plan, and all would be okay as long as they were walking in that plan.



Since the trip, a missionary friend arranged for a small ferry to tow JungleMaster’s disabled boat back to Nauta. The bad news is that the lower unit, which was purchased used, is in very bad shape at this point and will need to be replaced. (The cost is $2800.) The good news is that the smaller 115HP motor from JungleMaster’s original boat is available as a temporary replacement until a new motor is purchased so that the survey project can proceed.

We at JungleMaster are thanking God for His loving provision for the group on their trip back to Nauta. Please pray for His continued physical and spiritual provision as the group continues the survey and for financial provision for the repairs to the boat.


Thank you!

Building Teamwork Between Missions Organizations


Joel McGee
ALTECO CONFERENCE 2017

Getting our work done in the jungle requires teamwork between multiple missions. And yet, for many reasons, missions (foreign and domestic) don’t tend to work very well together. This is why JungleMaster is a member of a coalition called ALTECO.

ALTECO, or Amazon & Lowland Tribal Empowerment Coalition, is a group that fosters partnerships between like-minded missions. On alternate years this organization hosts conferences in either Colorado or in Pucallpa, Peru. Tom Clark had always wanted to go to one of these conferences because he felt that they were aimed right at one of the issues we face while working in this region: How can we work together effectively with other missions in the jungle?

While the conference in Peru is aimed at the local indigenous people groups, the conference in Colorado, in the off-years, is focused on equipping the member missions organizations. The focus of this year’s 5-day Colorado conference, coming up in May, will be on teaching like-minded ALTECO member missions how to partner with each other. There will be speakers sharing about the various elements of partnering, about how to assess current partnerships, and about how to lay the foundation for the practicalities of working together. Among many other subjects, there will be instruction on biblical examples of working together, on why individual missions can’t get their work done alone, and on how we can become more partnership friendly. Best of all, this will be an opportunity for missions to network with each other right at the conference!

Joel McGee is planning to attend the ALTECO Conference this year. He is excited for this opportunity and is looking forward to the things he will learn at the conference to make JungleMaster’s work in the jungle more effective.


The total cost for Joel to attend the ALTECO Conference will be $2800.00. Many of you have asked to be informed of special one-time needs such as this. If you are interesting in helping sponsor Joel to attend this valuable training, please consider making a contribution. Thank you so much!

PROVIDING REASSURANCE

February 2017

“Words are just words here in the jungle,” says Joel McGee. Face to face relations are the key to working together successfully in this culture…and “even those sometimes mean nothing.” This was the reason that Joel took his family and another missionary upriver to visit the cofraternity of pastors soon after his return to Peru last month.

Meeting with the pastors in the village of Atenas
When Joel assumed the role of JungleMaster’s Interim Director following the sudden passing of Tom Clark last fall, he called the cofraternity of jungle pastors to let them know that nothing would be changing with the ministry. At that time, he also encouraged the pastors to attend the seminary classes that would be held in Nauta, beginning in January. But upon his return to Nauta last month, Joel discovered that none of the pastors had come. Joel knew that a face to face visit was needed in order to determine the reason.
                                                     
Why hadn't they come? It seems that Joel’s words of reassurance to them on the phone in November had not fully erased the apprehension the pastors felt over the future of JungleMaster. In the culture of the Amazon, it’s expected that a person will lie in order to save face. Because of this, there is a general spirit of distrust. This naturally carries over into their relationships with foreign missionaries. Was JungleMaster REALLY going to continue to sponsor seminary classes, as they had said they would? It takes at least one day of travel to get themselves (and their families) to the school in Nauta and then one day to get back, so the pastors were hesitant to make the trip. After all, with Joel being out of the country, they didn't want to risk arriving in Nauta after their long journey only to discover that JungleMaster was no longer planning to sponsor their training. 

Once Joel was able to speak with these pastors face to face, they seemed relieved. Joel explained to them again that he is now the Interim Director of JungleMaster and that his family is still living in Nauta. He assured them that he and Tom Clark had shared the same vision and that JungleMaster’s mission in the Amazon will continue in much the same way as before.

After their face to face meetings, the pastors committed to coming to the next seminary training session in Nauta, to be held in March. But, as Joel says, “You never really know until it happens.” Please pray that these pastors will feel reassured of JungleMaster’s continued commitment to them and that they will follow through on their promise!

At the farm of Francisco, the head of the cofraternity
Meeting with a member of the cofraternity in the village San Juan




AREA PASTORS UNITE TO BUILD CHURCH IN MUNDIAL!


January 2017

Something exciting is happening in the village of Mundial, across the river from Santa Rita! Six of the cofraternity pastors have come together to construct a church!

This is an exciting development for two reasons: The first, and most obvious of the two, is that the believers in Mundial will soon have a new building in which to worship! But the second reason is that, with this project, the cofraternity members have taken a huge step toward learning to work together in order to accomplish a mutual goal! The pastors who are participating in this project come from different villages. This is significant because cooperation between villages in tackling major projects is a concept new to this culture.

JungleMaster helped the pastors to get the lumber cut and to obtain metal roofing and nails for their church construction project. But the cofraternity members then organized themselves and pooled their efforts in order to do all of the work themselves.

This particular church is being constructed in the village of Pastor Braulio, one of our November 2016 seminary training graduates. We pray that this major success in Mundial will spur the cofraternity pastors on to successful collaboration on additional, future projects!

 Pastor Braulio and his wife praying
 prior to the beginning of construction


Laying the floor



Hanging the doors

Peeking inside





December 2016 Year End Update




We’re All About Partnerships!



JungleMaster Ministries is all about partnerships, both at home and in the jungle! Because of your partnership with us through your prayers and financial support, we are able to partner with leaders in the Amazon, training and equiping them to further God’s Kingdom within their own communities and beyond. These leaders, in turn, are now beginning to multiply their efforts by partnering with each other on various projects! Here are some examples of how God has worked through these numerous partnerships in 2016.

Your gifts have allowed JungleMaster to partner with pastors and leaders to enable them to attend the seminary in Nauta, Peru, Centro De Capacitacion de Nauta. The first six of these graduated from seminary in 2016!

Your gifts have also allowed JungleMaster to come alongside our cofraternity of pastors and leaders in the Amazon this year to assist their churches in becoming legally registered with the Peruvian government. This process took 1 ½ years, but was completed in October, just before the passing of our director, Tom Clark. The legal recognition now protects these 22 churches from being shut down without warning and also makes them eligible for government funding when they put on future training events. JungleMaster has also been working with the 22 cofraternity member churches to come up with their own plans for discipleship in their local areas. The pastors are setting goals and working to achieve them, while JungleMaster is providing financial help and encouragement. It is the vision of the local pastors to support each other in building up the body of Christ, and it has been exciting to see these churches come together to help each other complete various projects of their cloosing! Six of the cofraternity churches are currently working together to rebuild a church in the village of Mundial.

The new church in Mundial

Our 6 seminary graduates!

Because of your generous donations JungleMaster now has a “new” boat with a 150 HP motor!! This boat is faster & safer, has an on-board bathroom, and is cooler, due to an insulated roof. It not only helps us transport people associated with our mission, but it also allows us to parner with, and help other missions and missionaries by transporting them safely, affordably, and reliably upriver to their ministry sites.

150 HP motor

Our new boat

Through your partnership with us, JungleMaster was able to help Marco, a local Peruvian missionary, transport supplies and gasoline so that officials from the Minesterio de Educacion (education department) could travel to the village of Nueva Union in the Urarina district to see the need for a high school there. In January, our portable sawmill will be transported up the Chambira River to the site where community members will build the new school and also a dormitory (necessary for students who couldn’t otherwise attend due to the up to 2-day commute time!) This project will be a partnership between JungleMaster, the local church, a Peruvian Missionary, and the government.
In June of this year, because of your support, JungleMaster was able to partner with a team of future engineers from George Fox University. Together, we researched the possibility of piloting a solar project at JungleMaster’s mission house in Nauta. This group also was an encouragement to the pastors and congregations of two villages up river.
So…THANK-YOU!!!

The George Fox University team

The trip upriver to Nuevo Union

 

Praises:

  • For your continued support!
  • The cofraternity members are working together to complete projects of their choosing!
  • Our 22 member churches are now officially registered with the government!
  • Six of our pastors/leaders graduated from seminary this year!
  • We have a new boat!
  • For our ability to help other missionaries!


In Other news:


This fall, Amy McGee attended a two-day conference in the Dominican Republic. It was hosted by the organization Pure Freedom, founded by author and public speaker Dannah Gresh. Pure Freedom teaches young girls about purity and finding their value in the Lord. The conference dealt with Sexual theology, healing, and fatherless families. It addressed how to help the young girls in areas where sexual abuse, un-wed pregnancies, and broken families are a normal way of life. Amy is excited to use this training in Nauta and in the river communities to help young women heal from the devastating effects of  this culture and to build closer relationships with the Lord. Hopefully, it will also be helpful in strengthening families in Peru.

"JUNGLEMASTER STILL HAS A LOT OF WORK TO DO"



11/15/2016

Dear JungleMaster Ministries friends and supporters,

The JungleMaster board is currently hard at work determining the logistics of continuing the mission’s work in the jungle following the passing of our director, Tom Clark. We have some big shoes to fill! The following is a current update.

First of all, we feel God leading us to continue the vision. This was not Tom’s solo ministry. Quoting from a letter Tom had written only days before his passing, “JungleMaster still has a lot of work to do in the Amazon.”

Just what is the vision Tom spoke of? And what is still left to do? We, at JungleMaster, believe that it is the job of the local pastors and their local churches to carry out the Great Commission among their own people. To this end, JungleMasters’ role in the Amazon is  to train and equip the indigenous leaders within our sphere of influence to send their own missionaries into the deepest parts of the jungle.

In order to accomplish this, our efforts have been, and will continue to be, focused in two areas:


1)  Assisting pastors to receive seminary training in Nauta, Peru.
 
2)  Mentoring the cofraternity of 22 pastors that has been established deep in the jungle. Tom felt that this cofraternity was key to reaching our goal. The group has begun to learn, for the first time, how to collaborate with each other in order to do projects of their own choosing. Members are currently working together to build churches in other villages. But, collaborating is a new skill for them. Suitable transportation that will allow them to travel between villages will be needed. Training in basic financial skills will be required. We are also working to help them come up with a plan for doing discipleship in their local areas. These pastors will need our continuing encouragement to become confident and competent in all of these areas. 


Joel McGee has graciously agreed to serve as the Interim Director of JungleMaster Ministries. Joel has been a long time partner of the ministry and serves with his wife, Amy, and daughter, Carmen, for us in Nauta, Peru. The three are currently on a short term leave in Whatcom County, but plan to return to Nauta in early January. (To learn more about Joel, please read a short bio, which follows at the end of this letter.)

Huge steps have been taken thus far to educate pastors and to equip the cofraternity, but our job is not yet done! We will need your continuing prayers for wisdom and for God’s clear direction as we move forward. And we will need your financial help in order to complete the vision. So, we ask that you prayerfully stay joined with us as we transition through this difficut time. To quote Tom once more, “Will you join us on this journey?” 

If you have questions or comments, you can send an email to JungleMasterMinistries@gmail.com or contact Joel McGee at 360-510-5792. More details about the status of specific current projects will be the subject of future newsletters or blog posts. You can access our blog at: www.junglemaster.org.

For God’s glory,

The Board of JungleMaster Ministries:
Joel & Amy McGee
Janet Clark
Greg Gosda
Simon Petree
Dave Shupe
Joe & Robin Wilson

We understand that some of you many have recently received requests for money from individuals in the jungle. JungleMaster has learned over time that attempting to help individuals in this way can sometimes end up harming them in the long term. Responding to their requests for money can create an unhealthy dependence upon us. Although each of us must do as God leads, please be aware that JungleMaster does not endorse the practice of giving monetary gifts to these individuals, regardless of how deep our connection is with them. If you wish to make a lasting difference in the jungle, we encourage you to please continue to route your funds through JungleMaster Ministries’ official channels. Thank you!


More about Joel:
Joel McGee is well-qualified to be JungleMaster’s interim director. He has been involved with the mission for eight years, taking many short term trips to the jungle. Two years ago, he moved into a full-time position with JungleMaster as our field missionary in Nauta, Peru. He and his wife, Amy, and daughter, Carmen, have served us very well there. Joel and Tom worked closely together, communicating their ideas with each other daily. Joel both knows Tom’s vision intimately, and shares Tom’s vision whole-heartedly. Like Tom, he is passionate about training the nationals to carry out their role in the Great Commission!