Phil's Page: 2005 Report
Village of Tambra the Cordillera Negra of Andes Mountain Range, Department of Ancash, Peru.
Acts 16:9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A āman of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “āCome over to Macedonia and help us.ā” ā10ā Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.
Can you hear me now?
After four days of climbing it was good news to know that we were now going to go down for a while. We had topped out at 14,650 ft. following the trial of famed revolutionary Ucchu Pedro, a 19th Century rebel to the dominance from Lima. Needless to say we were ready to trade the overworked lungs and legs from climbing for the sore knees and backs of descending for a while. We broke camp and waited around for a little longer than usual because of a not so slight logistical problem. We were waiting on a transfer truck to move our equipment to the new location. I had better explain.
When we trek we carry on our person only the necessities for the day. That usually includes: water, water purifiers, snacks, light layered clothing, toys and trinkets, pencils, pens, small gifts and of course Bibles, New Testaments, materials in Quechua as well as Spanish. The bulk of our food, clothing, tents, camp gear and the like are carried by some 20-28 burros. It is amazing what they can carry. Our Peruvian partners in the ministry of “carrying the gospel where the road doesn’t go in the Andes regions of South America,” are Adelid and Rachael Yanac, Prķspero Coloņia, and Leopoldo (Yepo) Fernandez. They lay out the trek, plot the course, and decide which villages to visit and we in turn provide the materials and the “gringos” to carry the goods. It is really simple.
In Tambra we had dismissed our 25 burros the night before, having planned to meet up with a truck at the only road in the valley to transfer the equipment to the next location. The truck did not come that night. We waited around in the morning as long as we could, but still no truck in sight. Believe me; from our vantage point we would have seen the truck for miles along the tiny, twisting cliff-hanging road. It was decision time. We prayed and followed the lead of Adelid and started walking down the mountain. There was another complication. One trekker, Boone, from Tennessee, could not walk any further. His feet were a mess from blisters and sores. He was going to have to ride the truck to the next camp. So with some admitted anxiousness we left Boone, a couple of cooks and one of the helpers at the camp site on top of a mountain and off we went. We had radios and would stay in contact.
As we descended, going in and out of ravines and gorges, we lost radio contact with Boone and the camp site. The tension was building. We could see the road ahead, but there was no truck in sight and no contact with camp. Boone, back up top and with the group getting further and further away, was little worried and decided to get out his state-side cell phone to see if there was a signal. Now about this cell phone, someone suggested to Boone that he get an international feature added to his phone before the trip and he did. He lives near Chattanooga, Tennessee and he tried the phone within sight of the tower in Chattanooga before leaving for Peru. He couldn’t get a signal. When he arrived at the Lima airport he couldn’t get a good signal. In Huaraz at the base location in the Andes he didn’t get a signal. In fact that phone hadn’t worked hardly at all anywhere.
You are probably guessing what happened by now. He nervously picked up the phone and it had a signal. In the middle of nowhere without a tower in the region, at about 13’000 ft of altitude, the phone had a signal. So he called the States to chat with a friend. As he was talking, one of the helpers saw him and asked if he could borrow the phone. With permission he called base camp in Huaraz to get information about the truck. The frantic person on the other end at the Wycliffe Bible translation center said the truck went as scheduled only to find that someone had burned the only bridge over a river that cut off our valley. No truck was coming or could come. Now what? Manuel picked up the radio praying it would work and for the first time in an hour and half it worked perfectly. Adelid took in the information, made some quick decisions, and began to solve the problem. Manuel was to scour the area for fresh burros. He sent someone from his team ahead to the next town, Pumapucllanan, to find some burros to send up.
We continued on our way still facing a big problem. All of our equipment was five hours behind us and we were three hours from camp with no food, no tents, and no guarantees. We prayed, “Okay God, it is up to you now”, as if it is not always up to God. We came into a tiny little village where we were met by the school master. It was a small town, with a small school and only one miniscule little store, which we subsequently nearly bought out. The school master called the town mayor and a couple of men and they had a quick meeting. “You can stay in the school”, they said. We were thankful. Somehow Manuel found some donkeys and by 2:00am all of the equipment arrived in the little town. The burro guides had picked their way in pitch darkness over the dangerous and precipitous mountain trails to bring all of our stuff, and Boone too.
This was an unusual trip, but once it was over and we sat in Lima discussing the blessings, we couldn’t help but see that God cared about a bunch of dirty trekkers in the Andes Mountains in Peru; He cared enough to give Boone blisters (sorry Boone) and He cared enough to make the cell phone and the radios work just long enough to get us down to safety. “Can you hear me now?” took on new meaning to us. God was certainly hearing our cries for help. Oh by the way, we didn’t get another good signal on the cell phone. God is good. He is good all the time. We didn’t actually see as many people as we have on past treks because we were more remote than ever. We may have given out a total of 6000 pieces of literature. Many did come to Christ and hundreds saw the Jesus film in their own Quechua tongue. But we, the trekkers learned that God loves His workers as much as the work. It makes me want to fall down and worship He that is Worthy.
The dates for next year are set. July 5-16 of 2006 we will pack it up again and head south to take the gospel where the road doesn’t go, but where people wait to hear of the Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ.