Well, I (Mariesa) finally (sort of) figured out how this blog thing works. Lew has been asking me to update you on my trip to Puerto Maldonado since I got back and I finally figured out how, so here goes.
We left Arequipa in the Medical Ministry International van around 6:30 pm. Among us (4) we had a box of cookies, water enough for all of us, 3 pieces of fruit and 6 sandwiches. It had been raining here in Peru for the past 2 1/2 months and many of the rivers were swollen and flooded. Roads had been washed away and we arrived in a small pueblo where we were informed the bridge on the main highway to Puerto Maldonado had been washed away. We had come too far to turn back, so we followed the directions of one of the local people to a back road they said was still open. Well, yes, it was open, if you didn’t mind rock slides, crossing raging rivers without a bridge (yes, we drove through them) and with no hotels or restaurants at which to stop. We had to stop several times and wait for the heavy machinery to come and clear the rocks, fallen trees and debris from the road. In one place they were building a bridge across the river but had not finished it yet. In the photo you can see where a truck has gone to the bottom of the hill and is plunging through the river to go up the hill on the other side. Yes, we crossed that too, in the van. I want to thank you all for your prayers, as I believe we would never have made it through some of those rivers without those prayers. Yes, that picture of the river behind our driver (Vicente, my hero) we had just driven through.
After 22 hours of driving we finally arrived at Sue and Jim Brannen’s house where we ate, showered and fell into bed. The next day we began the preparations for the mission trip in May. We met with pastors, presidents of associations, health care personnel and missionaries in order to set up for the medical clinics which will run for two weeks. Doctors, nurses, dentists and missionaries will converge on Puerto Maldonado along with local pastors who will do follow up work after the evangelism thrust. We are believing the Lord for many souls to be saved and many medical and dental issues to be resolved as a result of this campaign in May. Please join us in prayer for the people of Puerto Maldonado who need Jesus in a big way.
When I called Lew to tell him we had safely arrived in Puerto Maldonado, I must have sounded really exhausted as he suggested I fly home rather than coming back with the young folks in the van. It was an awesome adventure for this adrenalin junkie missionary, but this time, I readily agreed. I guess it’s time for me to leave the rough stuff to the young’ens. I must admit, however, that it was an amazing time and one I will never forget. Like the jungle? Email us for information on this team, or another one soon. All for Jesus!!!