After months of planning, it was time to embark on the mission trip to the Amazon where we were planning on ministering to hundreds and hundreds of children. Touching lives and making a difference – we hoped. Sitting in the airport in Lima none of us knew what to expect when we landed in Iquitos, Peru. This city has a population of over 500,000 but the only access is via airplane or boat. Seriously there are no roads into this town!  We were excited, full of enthusiasm and energy as our plane touched down, delivering us to the city at the headwaters of the Amazon.

Part of iquitos teamPart of the team. From left to right: Pastor Cesar Campos, Mili Campos, Stephanie, Sean, Ray Skaggs)

The first day we woke up early (4:30 am  -yikes!) and had to be ready to head to the city port/dock area by 5:30 am. This was the time schedule that would become our new “normal.” The the oppressive humidity was first to greet us. So oppressive that it was difficult to breath. At that point we had no idea how intense the sun would feel on our skin – almost to the point of scorching – and that the humidity would take a major toll, draining our bodies daily.

Our first trip on the Amazon River was to Santa Victoria, a small village about 2-3 hours downstream. The boat we took was crowded with people and supplies. Packed tightly and pressed together, we sat side by side; a team from the states, one from Iglesia Biblica de Fe (Faith Bible Church) in Lima and from a local church in Iquitos. Glad to have the wind off the river to cool us as we slowly motored on our way through the muddy waters.

Boat to sta victoria      Our first boat ride on the Amazon. Not much separating us from the water!      Inside boat to sta victoria                                  Inside the boat to Santa Victoria.

Numerous people from the village lined the muddy embankment to greet our arrival. Ready to hug us, welcoming us all to their village, their town. Navigating through the mud up from the landing area, I wondered what would lie ahead. And as we walked through the dense jungle, sweat dripping off of us, clothes stuck to our bodies, I wondered if we had brought enough for the children: food, candy, toys, smiles, hugs.      Climbing mud embankment to village                            “Boat Dock” in Santa Victoria

Next – meet the Children of Santa Victoria.

In His Service,