June 2019 JungleMaster Newsletter


JOEL, WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO TAKE THIS MINISTRY?                by Joel McGee


For the first two years after becoming the director of JungleMaster Ministries, I felt God telling me to move slowly, to rest in Him, and to wait for Him to lead me. But early in 2018, God started to speak to me with a different theme: “I have entrusted you with this ministry, Joel. Now where are YOU going to take it?“ I really didn’t have an answer for this question at the time. But it led me to start asking myself, “What kind of future does JungleMaster Ministries have?” and “What will the organization look like?”


After a lot of thinking and praying, I realized one thing. JungleMaster Ministries has always had a somewhat short-term, project-based mentality. There was nothing wrong with that, but was it still the right strategy, now that Amy, Carmen, and I were living full-time in the Amazon? 

The more I prayed about where I was going to take JungleMaster, and the more Amy and I talked about it, the clearer it became that it was time to change the mentality, time to stop thinking short-term and change to a long-term focus. I am learning that to make disciples it takes relationships. It takes loving people the way Jesus commands us to and being the examples He calls us to be. Mentoring pastors and leaders is no short term project, especially when it is being done cross culturally! I’m sure glad God never thought of me as a short term project!

So, what steps will we need to take in order to make this switch to long-term thinking? At a retreat with the JungleMaster Board in January we discussed this in great detail, and we agreed to do the following things: 1) Make some modifications to the mission house to make it more livable. 2) Make some minor organizational changes State-side related to having a full-time paid director who is also our on-the-ground missionary. 3) Consider putting certain organizational or structural things in place in Peru so that, if and when the McGees are called off the field, JungleMaster’s work will continue in a sound and accountable way.


Joel has recently tiled the concrete countertops of the
 mission house kitchen in order to make them more
 hygienic.
Even more importantly, I’ll need to work hard to maintain correct priorities. My relationship with Christ is the most important part of my life. Next is my relationship with my wife and the job of leading my family. Then comes my relationship with, and my ministry to, the community I’m in. Keeping my responsibilities in line is an important part of modeling the Christian life for those I’m ministering to and also makes the work I have to “do” or get to “do” a bit easier and more enjoyable.

So, now that we’re thinking long-term and recognizing that we need to focus on developing relationships out of the hope, peace, and love we have with Christ in order to successfully do ministry, what are the pillars of that ministry? What has God gifted JungleMaster to do? Well, there are a couple ways that I feel God has truly gifted us: 1) The ability to partner strategically and help others connect and 2) our mechanical abilities and resources.

JungleMaster has assisted Jared, a Peruvian youth
sports ministry in numerous ways. JungleMaster
transported Jared staff to Santa Rita for 2 days of
training with this group of kids.
It’s foolish to think that JungleMaster would be able to fill all the needs that people have. We are building relationships with other ministries and NGO’s working in the area to find out what they are offering and what they are teaching, and we are building relationships with the people to learn their true needs. With this kind of mindset, I often find that I can connect Peruvians with organizations that are specializing in the kind of training that they need. This frees JungleMaster up to do what we are gifted at doing. I think you get the idea. For me, it’s the old adage, “Why reinvent the wheel?” If I know of an organization that offers good, sound, biblical training, and someone I know wants to get good, sound, biblical training, why wouldn’t I connect the two of them? JungleMaster is also really good at connecting people from the States with places in the Amazon where their talents can be best used. Connecting needs with the people and ministries that are able to fill those needs is so fun and exciting, and it truly feels like how the body of Christ should be working.

Joel is developing a course in
basic mechanics. His daughter,
Carmen, and their friend, Luis,
 are among his first students.
JungleMaster is also gifted technically. We have a boat and the operational skills needed to be of great use transporting locals or mission teams up and down the Amazon, Marañon and Ucayale Rivers. And due to my mechanical background, we have an amazing opportunity to teach mechanical skills to people that live in a small engine world. This technical training is one of the things that I have felt God has us here for. I’m currently working on developing a program to teach the locals practical skills related to small engines. The focus of the program won’t always be on preparing individuals to obtain a career in the field, although in some cases, this could be the result. Rather, the training will focus on dealing with every-day scenarios such as what to do when you have the family in the canoe five hours downstream from your house and the motor dies. This training will also have a focus on safety.

Joel teaching some of the local
 youth the basics of peque peque
 motors
As JungleMaster moves forward with this long-term mentality and with a focus on building relationships in order to make, and train others to make, disciples in the Amazon, look for us to concentrate our major efforts on these two areas that have become the pillars of our ministry: building strategic partnerships and providing technical training. 




                         ADOPTING A HEALTHIER MINDSET   by Joel McGee


Besides being the wrong strategy for JungleMaster at this point, there is another important reason to start thinking long-term. Not having long-term goals can be dangerous for marriages and families. For Amy and me, it’s meant our life in Nauta has been lived like this: “We can push through the next two years because we know we’ll return to Bellingham after that, and life will get back to normal.” Things that needed to be finished in the mission house, and furniture that we needed, got skipped over due to the thinking, “Well, we’re only here for two years, so why do we need to be comfortable?” 

In order to be healthy in the long-term, we need to start adopting a long-term mentality. Our thoughts need to become: “This IS our normal. So, what do we need to put into place today to MAKE this our normal, and what do we need to do today to ensure that our future will be successful, also?” 

                        Because of this desire to prepare for the long-term, Joel has recently been making much-need improvements to our mission house:

He has replaced rotten wooden supports with
sturdy concrete ones like the one on the right.
The front door has been replaced.
In addition to tiling the kitchen countertops,
Joel has also tiled the floors.
Joel has replaced the former wooden ramp spanning the
 drainage ditch in front of the house with one made of concrete.

                                                      

WHAT IS MY MINISTRY?   by Joel McGee

I used to think that “doing” ministry was something that I “did.” I now know doing ministry is being the best example I can as I live out my daily life.

Ministry is about relationship. It’s about loving our neighbor as Jesus commanded each and every one of us to do. Most of the time people just want a friend to listen to them, walk with them, and be with them, someone they can talk to. It’s during these times I can be the example Jesus calls me to be and love them the way he commands us to love.

God keeps coming after me even though I fall short daily. He loves me, and there is nothing I can do to get more love from him or less love from him. All I had to do was accept the gift that he offers to every one of us. There is such freedom in this! Amen.

JungleMaster is going to be in Peru until God lets us know it’s time to do something different. Until then, I am called to be a disciple maker, and I am commanded to love people by sharing this gift of God’s love with them.


                                                             PLEASE PRAY:

  • For groups or individuals who will commit to praying for and with the McGees
  • For mature Christian couples to mentor the McGees and reach out to them on a monthly basis
  • For safety, health, and strength for the McGee family
  • For God to raise up more missionaries (individuals and families) to join the work in Nauta and on the rivers
  • For the local Peruvian pastors to stay encouraged and to desire to work in unity
  • That God will raise up strong leaders who desire to lead their villages and communities to God
  • For the chains of corruption to be broken
  • For the locals to experience the true peace that comes from having a relationship with Jesus Christ



God's grace, mercy and strong foundations

The past two weeks we have been replacing the posts to our house. Last year Joel replaced the back 5 posts and now we are replacing the front 5 posts. They were rotten through and we are having them replaced with concrete posts. Its been quite the project; very messy and having big holes in our walls and floor. For me it’s a very interesting process to watch. The other day I was taking pictures and giving thanks to God for being able to do this work and have a strong foundation. This morning I woke up with this on my heart…what it means to have a strong foundation. You know where I’m going with this, right? The bible talks in Matthew and Luke about the importance of building a strong foundation so that our “house” will not fall and will withstand the storms that come. And, in Isaiah, God declares He laid a stone of sure foundation. Maybe you even sang the kid’s song about the wise man building his house upon the rock.  But, what I realized wasn’t this lesson that I learned and that I am trying to teach my daughter and sharing here in Peru with the young children that visit our house and we see in our ministry. No, what I realized was the magnitude of God’s love and grace for us. Because you see, like this house, many of us maybe didn’t start out with the best foundation. But, God’s grace and mercy and gift to us through Jesus Christ allow us to go back and replace that rotten foundation with one that will stand firm. God’s love and word is the surest foundation. He is there just waiting for us to accept the gift we have in Jesus Christ. And, like our house project… it will be messy! It’s hard work digging out the root of that old foundation that can only be filled by Jesus. But, when it’s done the assurance and faith that remains will be forever strong. 
Acts 4:11 “Jesus is the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.”
The good news: Jesus has risen and we are forgiven! 
God Bless, 
Amy 😊