Lessons learned

Living in a different culture is hard! Some things are done here that I will probably never understand why, and quite honestly might not want to know why or need to know why. I also know that there are cultural things that I do that they will never understand and quite possibly might not ever need to understand about me. I could write about a million cultural things that I struggle with or have seen and not understood. One of these cultural things, or maybe we could call it traditions, that has bothered me since living here that I recently feel I have been able to put to rest is the fact that in the village of Santa Rita they have church services every night of the week except Monday. Why not Monday night, you may ask? Well, I have asked that very same question to the church leaders in Santa Rita, and the response has always been “I’m not sure why we don’t have one on Monday night, but I do know that is the way we have always done it.” It’s not the fact of why they don’t have a service on Monday that bothers me it’s the fact that for six nights a week the poor pastor has to prepare a sermon and deliver a sermon and on and on I could go why I don’t feel this is good. Now, as I said earlier there has been a lot of cultural struggles for me and a lot of these struggles through time have seemed to lessen, but this one, no, it just kept grinding on me until recently. I had taken a small group of missionaries to Santa Rita to put on a small teaching conference. I was explaining to this group how here in Santa Rita they have a full on 1 ½ to 2 hr. Church service every night but Monday. I’m also quite sure I was telling this story in a voice and a way that enforced my righteousness about this situation. It also enforced my position when the people I was telling this story to, agreed wholeheartedly with me. Man, did I feel good about all this, I also felt confirmed that this was probably the right time to address this “wrongdoing” by the church and it was time to fix this situation. This is when I heard this small, faint voice, from God, whispering in my ear. “Joel, isn’t this just like you to come here to tell about my love for these people and now you want to go and tell them that they are worshipping me too much? Who are you to tell them that, just because their style of worship doesn’t fit with the way you think it should be, is wrong? Do you think when I meet them face to face I am going to tell them, good job, but, man, I think you spent way too much time worshipping me, six days a week is a bit much. NOOOO, who are you to judge them on this? If they want to worship 24/7, let them worship.” OOOUUUCH, GOD, THAT HURT! As always, though, God was right, and that is why it hurt me, I knew this. I immediately turned back to the small group of missionaries that I had been talking to and told them how I was wrong in saying what I had said about this. 
I love how God knows us so well, and He knows me so intimately that He has known my thoughts and feelings of this the whole time that I have felt this way, yet God knew me, and He knew when I was ready to receive the correction. Had He corrected me before this, I’m not sure I would have accepted it or, I might have just ignored it. In fact, the thought just popped into my head while writing this. Maybe he has tried to correct me before, and I have ignored it, if that is the case, I’m sorry God, thanks for always loving me the way you do and thanks for continuing to mold me into the person you created me to be.

May update




Whew! Its been a busy two weeks since Carmen and I have returned to the jungle. The initial entry was a bit bumpy due to the water pump check valve going bad and leaving us without water for two days and some shipping mishaps with some things we sent from Arequipa. But, the Lord was among it all and with the help of our amazing church pastor, Pastor William and some helpful and patient customer service people here in Nauta, all is well.
*Except for the SPIDERS!! I am having to try and co-exist with these new roommates that have taken up residence since we have been gone. Please pray for my sanity and fear reflexes as they are getting quite the workout...haha!*

Carmen is now back in school and doing wonderfully. As she and I went to get her registered, Carmen was immediately whisked away by friends during recess and returned excited and happy to get back to school.
The church had a weekend retreat last weekend and Carmen was able to stay overnight with everyone and get back to being involved with the youth group here.
I helped get PowerPoint slides done so that now the church can start putting our worship song lyrics upon the wall. I think it is more to help us gringos learn the songs than for the church itself. But, the idea was that any new visitors or members would be able to learn the songs more quickly. Also, since our church hosts different mission groups from Peru and other countries then it will be helpful there as well.

The first weekend back Pastor Fransisco, President of the Co-Fraternity, visited us. It was a nice time to catch up and hear what has been happening in the jungle. The church in Dos de Mayo has been completed (we will do another post with pictures about that). Pastor Fransisco had attended a pastoral retreat in Nauta where they focused on knowing who Jesus was personally. Abram and the church in Santa Rita are going strong and really focusing on outreach. We have also learned that one of our Co-Fraternity pastors has had to leave his village to find work. We would ask that you would be praying for him and his family as his heart has always been in missions and serving so we know for him to have to find work things must be a struggle for him at this time. Please be praying that God will provide a way for him to return to doing missions and serving.
We have also heard from Pastor Orlando on the Chambira river. Pastor Orlando has attended the seminary training here in Nauta and now has two or three other pastors interested in joining the training in June. So please be praying for these men that God is lifting up.

Joel, who had to return to the US for the last minute trip due to family issues, will be returning to the jungle June 5th. Please be praying for his safe return because we are missing him terribly.

But in the midst of it all, there is God. With love and grace and help and peace. He has provided me the ability to use my newfound language skills and deal with things that Joel normally does. He has given us the help needed. He has given us the community and friendships and relationships that have carried us all through every day. Even a chance to enjoy a restful day with friends at the local pool. He has given Joel the opportunities to help where he is needed. Even in the simple everyday living beyond the mission, He is there with us.

God Bless!!

Language

by Amy McGee

Language- That word has a whole new meaning for me these last few months. Well, years really, if I'm honest. 

My love of language started young. It has been an ever growing and changing relationship; very much like my love for the Lord.

My mom and dad always had friends from different cultures around the world, and they were able to speak another language. I was always so fascinated by the sounds and rhythms of all the different languages. But even in the differences, there was the same core to communicate and understand each other better.

Similarly, as I grew up, I moved a lot. Therefore, we attended many different churches and different denominations, and like language, they each had their own cultures with different sounds and rhythms. However, there was always the same core: the unconditional love and mercy of God and Jesus Christ.

I continued to love language and even studied it a bit in the short time I attended college. I would stop and listen anytime someone was speaking a foreign language. I still do, and I wish I could have them talk to me whether I understand or not. And the words themselves, I mean they have such rich history and purpose, ya know. 

I guess I never really understood just how much until I started trying to learn Spanish. It's the same with other believers; I love to listen to their stories even if they differ slightly from mine; but, their stories have so much purpose and richness of God.

The thing that has impacted me the most is how much more rich and purposeful God’s Word and God’s people are to me now.

I know a lot of people have spent years reading God's word and looking at Hebrew and Latin translations to grasp the true meaning and depth of His word. But, I have never done that much. We have a wonderful man in our church who loves to look up and study the Hebrew words and meanings, and I am always in amazement at his knowledge and love for the language.

Right now in class we are reading Bible stories, and as I am learning the Spanish words and figuring out what they are in English, well, it adds a different dimension to me; like they are becoming 3D. The word they use might be different from the word I have heard used in English. And I am curious, why would they use that word? Why wouldn't they use the "correct" translated word? Well, maybe the actual Latin word (Because let's face it, Spanish is a Latin language) is closer to this. Or maybe what was being said here was closer to that meaning. But the fact is I am growing in God's word and gaining a more profound understanding of His love through His word here at the language school.

And, also, being out here on the mission field I am gaining a more profound understanding of His people and the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ through His people.

I am so grateful for the chance to study so that I can more clearly and deeply share God’s word and love to those He has called us to serve. You all have greatly impacted the kingdom of heaven with your prayers and support. You all are spreading the message of hope and love, and I am so thankful for each one of you that have supported us through encouragement, loving us, praying for us, and donating to this ministry.

~ Amy :)



February 2018 Newsletter


USED BY GOD   by Joel McGee


As I reflected over 2017, I could see so many instances in which God had used JungleMaster and all of its partners to further His kingdom. One story in particular, though, will always remain close to my heart. In February, several representatives from JungleMaster traveled 15 hours in a speed boat to reach the very remote village of Dos Demayo, a community of approximately 100 people. Several of the pastors of the cofraternity also joined us on the trip. On the night we arrived in the village, we had a church service. After that service, Pedro, the local pastor, shared with us how discouraged he had become and how hard it was for him to be located in such a remote place. I took that opportunity to invite him, along with any other interested brothers or sisters from that church, to come to Nauta to take part in the seminary training that JungleMaster had already helped other pastors to attend. Pedro, along with his wife, his son, and three other Christian brothers, came to the first training session in March. They continued to come to all of the remaining one-week training sessions throughout 2017 and graduated from the seminary in December. Every time they would come to Nauta for class, I could see a clear difference in Pedro. After the first week of training, I could see a clear difference in his facial expressions; he just plain looked happier. When he came for his second session, I could see a difference in the way he was standing; he no longer had his head down and his shoulders slumped, but was standing tall, with his head held up. After one of the training sessions, Pedro told me how encouraged he was and that he was ready to go back to Dos Demayo to teach his community the things that he had learned.

God could have chosen anyone to encourage and equip Pedro, but what humbles me is that He chose us, JungleMaster, to do so. Thank you, God!

We are excited to see how God will continue to use JungleMaster to further His Kingdom as we head into 2018!


Joel with Pedro and Pedro's wife and son


FINDING HEALING   by Janet Clark

In December, my family was privileged to travel to Peru and spend time with wonderful friends Joel, Amy, and Carmen McGee.
My children, Kelsey, Eli, Hannah and Tessa, along with daughter-in-law Anna Wüst and son-in-law Jared Bailey, were able to spend time traveling the river, visiting jungle villages, and meeting people who their dad loved.
After a year of grief, this trip provided us healing. Walking places where Tom poured his heart into Ministry, worshiping alongside believers in a church that grew out of the support and encouragement of JungleMaster Ministries, and experiencing the wonder of God’s creation as river dolphins leaped and splashed around our boat, are all memories that will be treasured!
I’m so grateful for friends of JungleMaster who have supported the work Tom did - work Joel and Amy continue to do, in jungle villages of Peru.

From left to right: Jared, Tessa, Hannah, Kelsey, Janet, Anna, and Eli



Joel, Amy, and Carmen have roughly 3 more months left of their 6 month Spanish course in Arequipa, Peru, and they are already making huge strides with the language. The improvement in Joel’s communication skills was evident when he visited the jungle in December. We’re praising God for their progress!





 Prayer Requests:

  • For us to stay focused on God's vision for the ministry as we head into 2018
  • For Joel to keep his priorities in order: God first, his wife and family second, and the ministry third
  • For Joel, Amy, and Carmen to get as much out of language school as possible
  • That the benefits of knowing the language better will outweigh any disruption resulting from Joel being temporarily gone from our area of ministry
  • That the new class of seminary students in 2018 will be faithful in their attendance and successful in applying what they learn
  • For wisdom as we consider future projects in the villages





At JungleMaster we strive to use your financial contributions wisely and with the highest integrity. Your 2017 donations totaled $151,458. To the left is a summary of how expenditures were distributed over the year.