Introduction from Extreme Nazarene
With a population of just 58,044, it is easy to overlook Puerto Maldonado. For precisely this reason, the gospel of Jesus Christ has not reached many of the local residents of the area. Once outside of Puerto Maldonado, small villages dot the dirt roads and rivers that crisscross the thick Amazon jungle.
As with the other jungle sites, ecotourism is beginning to gain in popularity and as a result Puerto Maldonado has seen double and even triple digit growth in tourist visas granted through the small airport just outside of town. Puerto Maldonado exhibits the characteristics of a small remote town through its lack of infrastructure. The town is cut in two by the river and as of yet, no bridge exists to connect the two halves so car ferries are the only way to get people and vehicles to the roads on the other side.
In January 2008, the Nazarene Church touched down for the first time in Puerto Maldonado to establish church work there. Pastor Freddy Zapata arrived on scene without a single friend, not even so much as a contact and within 3 months had a mission church started with 15 members. The people are hungry to hear about the power and saving grace of Jesus Christ in Puerto Maldonado.
Just after dark, a tiny house sits quietly with a single dim red light that hangs from the hastily constructed ceiling. Standing in the doorway of this house appears the shadowy silhouette of a young woman in her early teens. A paying customer approaches her and they fade into the dark house. Her two year old son stays outside the house, playing in the street or just sitting on the curb waiting for his mother to reappear. The house of this young woman is just one of dozens with similar red lights filled with dozens of young women, too many with innocent young kids left unattended along this dark dirt road cutting right through the middle of Puerto Maldonado. Many of these young girls are orphans or victims of a shattered family and have gotten trapped in this devastating trade that appears to have no exits. The vision of Pastor Freddy for the Nazarene Church in Puerto Maldonado is to provide an exit. He wants to open up the doors of the church to the women of these brothels, to the drug addicts, to the alcoholics who have hit rock bottom and have nowhere to turn. Extreme Nazarene has agreed to partner with Freddy through the 40/40 project in this venture. The “Hope House” will be a place of detoxification, refuge and hope as the healing and redeeming power of Jesus Christ is displayed 24-hours a day for its precious and fragile patients.
My Part in Peru
I was part of the first team in late Septermber, 2009, to show up and help local Peruvians build the church, 40/40 missionary quarters, and a hope house. The trip was two weeks long and it was a wonderful experience!
I wanted to create a story just like all my previous adventures, but this page would be far too long. Check out the photo album below to get an idea of the adventure I had.