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