Peru (Amazon) Short-Term Medical Team Trip
Vision or Purpose Statement
The Upper Amazon Field Team seeks missionaries who can partner with national believers to work along the tributaries in villages and towns to: reach the yet unreached with the gospel, plant churches, and train believers. They also seek more personnel to work in partnership with nationals in the population center of Iquitos, to stimulate the growth of homegrown missions movements that will lead to church-planting movements
History – when and how the work got started
ABWE’s Peruvian work began in the jungle city of Iquitos, Peru’s inland port for ocean-going vessels, 2,500 miles up the Amazon river. Launch evangelism has extended the ministry up and down the Amazon and its tributaries from the headwaters almost to the Brazilian border. The Iquitos Baptist Bible Institute (IBBI) has also played a key role in training and preparing pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and lay leaders, since the late 1940's.
Iquitos is the capital of the department of Loreto, Peru's largest department- located in the northeast of the country with a current estimated population of at least 500,000. There is no overland route to Iquitos. She is a city with a very international and colorful past. The rubber boom of the late 1870's through the late 1920's left an indelible mark on the city of Iquitos. Tourism is one of the primary industries today, so there are many foreigners coming to the city. Today, Iquitos is the launch pad not only for most regional tourism but also for much of the oil exploration being conducted in the Amazonía. Ethnically, the Loretano inhabitants of Iquitos are principally descendants of the former communities of the Amazon rain forest and, in many cases, mixed (mestizo) descendants of the Spanish settlers of the colonial era. The inhabitants of the hamlets, villages, and towns along the rivers, are primarily descendants of various tribal peoples, but most speak Spanish as their main language. Loretanos are known for being an easy-going, jovial, and friendly people. Relationships and friendships are extremely important to them. It has been said that the dwellers of the jungle are a people who are 'serene, profound and contemplative.'
Description of the present facilities, staff, capabilities
The Iquitos Baptist Bible Institute (IBBI) covers a city block. It has a main building, garage, smaller school building (formerly for MKs), a small house for the director, and a large athletic field in the back. ABWE also owns a property and building that houses the deaf school and is the meeting place for the deaf church. There is a mission-owned house on Yavari street, in which the Pattons are living. The are many hotels and conference facilities in the city. Currently, there are two missionary couples and one single missionary lady in Iquitos. There are a number of interpretors available, two of whom have medical experience. There are several pastors or lay leaders from the city churches who would be available to travel with the group.
Needs in the community – physical, emotional, spiritual
Physically: Out on the river, most of the people have little, or no, access to even the most basic medical care. Many suffer from lung problems (such as TB), eye problems, teeth problems, and malnutrition. The children suffer primarily from parasites and malnutrition. Adults and children are also suseptible to infections of all kinds. Ocassionally, people will even be the victims of snake bites. Malaria and dengue fever are also a possibility. Economically, the people are extremely poor. They have access to food and shelter, but have little money to buy clothing, books, utensils, or tools.
Emotionally: People who live along the river experience loneliness, infidelity, sexual abuse, betrayal, and a longing to find that there is "something more" to life than what they are living. The young people especially are constantly searching to experience pleasure and happiness.
Spiritually: Since most every kind of religion known to man has been presented (or "sold") to the people, all of which are works-based religions, there is a strong understanding among the people that God must be appeased through works, and that they must work their way to get forgiveness for their sin and to get to heaven. There is still a connection to the animistic and spiritist past of their ansestors. There are many shamans out along the river. Add to those things, the strong influence of the Roman Catholic church and the resulting syncretism, and one can get a picture of the spiritual challenge that exists in the jungle. There is also a large need for strengthening the over 45 independent Baptist churches that are in the city of Iquitos.
How ABWE is striving to address these needs
ABWE short-term medical teams will serve alongside local missionaries and national pastors by conducting simple, primary care clinics offering free medical, dental and vision services. In this way we can encourage and help build up local ministry efforts by ensuring that our service and testimony brings honor and glory to our Lord Jesus Christ, and attention on the local ministries as the source of this care.
One of the main reasons we are going as a team is the medical ministry itself in simple mobile clinics. The spiritual ministry will be working with the nationals and/or missionaries in various opportunities. Usually these ministries will be in and through the local church with testimonies, perhaps some special music and even some out of our group preaching. Perhaps some are seeking Gods will for their life. The short-term experience is an excellent opportunity for cross-cultural exposure looking at the mission field and throughout the experience praying and asking Gods direction for our lives.
In addition ABWE full time missionaries are strengthening relationships and helping equip nationals to establish church communities and train nationals to effectively spread the gospel.
Specific medical opportunities for short-term service - how and where YOU can plug in.
The first questions most people ask when considering a short-term medical trip are: 1. where can I serve? and 2. what will I do? Often those without formal healthcare training will think they can’t be of value on such a trip, but that just isn’t true! Of course licensed professionals must diagnose and prescribe treatment, but other team members support their work by performing various tasks, including: directing/managing the crowd, preparing treatment sheets, checking vital signs, identifying chief complaints, obtaining patient histories*, sharing their testimony/giving the plan of salvation, helping with the pharmacy, gathering trip statistics, and lots of other things. All of these are essential tasks for the clinic to run smoothly.
* The History Taker role is the “heart” of our evangelism effort. The HTs invest significant amount of time getting to know each patient by recording their medical history and all of the physical concerns they might have. Listening and interacting with patients about their physical needs opens the door for us to inquire about their spiritual needs and share our own faith. It is a very effective way of demonstrating the love of Christ and sharing the Gospel.
Logistics: accommodations, preparations and requirements, travel and cost information
Team members are permitted to make their own travel international arrangement to take advantage of the nearest US departure city. This generally allows the most time and cost effective approach. We will coordinate schedules, however, to ensure everyone arrives at the right location and at approximately the same time.
Base camp lodging will be at ABWE's local Bible Institute in Iquitos or at a local hotel. River trips will be arranged to reach out to remote villages where ABWE missionaries have established a presence or have made contacts with them. Accommodations may also be arranged in these regions away from base camp to maximize our time and ministry opportunities. Whether at base camp or on the river, food preparations and lodging will be arranged by ABWE missionaries and staff to ensure safety.
Participants will be provided with a comprehensive Field Information Booklet with extensive information for preparations and planning. Included are: how to prepare spiritually, how to get your church's support, how to write a support letter, how to pack, what to bring and what not to bring, what to expect on location, how our clinics work, what you'll be doing, etc.
Costs for this trip is estimated to be between $900 - $1100 payable to ABWE 30 days before departure, which covers food, lodging, local transportation, translators, contributions to medical supplies, ministry materials, etc. Participants arrange and pay for their international air travel themselves. Funds may be donated to ABWE on behalf of participant and donors will receive a tax receipt.
How you can sign up
God's been tugging at your heart to join Him on the mission field. You've cruised the websites, read the brochures, talked with others, checked your schedule, and prayed for the Lord's direction. You may already have a sense of where God is calling you, or you may still be undecided. That's OK. You may know how you're going to pay for the trip, both in finances and time, or you may not really know how all that is going to work out. You've come to the place where you have peace about trusting the Lord with the details. Now it's time to step out in faith.
If you believe God is calling you to serve with us in medical missions, please review the information contained on the navigation tab to the left entitled "Qualifications for Short Term Team Service". If you meet these qualifications and are in agreement with ABWE's Doctrinal Statement, you may begin the Application process at ABWE's secure on-line site: https://applications.abwe.org/ Select the Medical Short Term (Rotations and Teams) Application.
For more information about this trip, contact Rick Smith, email@example.com or 678-358-4801