Walking through the jungle we met SO MANY children along the way to the building where we would put on the mini bible school program. More children than adults, or so it seemed. Passing by the village homes, raised huts made of wood, most of them were very worn and rotting, palm fronds for roofs, open holes for windows, no electricity, no air conditioning, no running water. No protection from the elements, animals, bugs, heat.  I couldn’t help but feel that the people looking out from behind the open air windows at our entourage…were looking at us with eyes and hearts void of something – hopes and dreams maybe? The hollow look in their eyes seemed to convey it all. And it started…the tug on my heart that brings me back to … “WE NEED TO ACCOMPLISH MUCH IN THIS PLACE.”

The immediate stark realization that a vast majority of people live in extreme poverty and poor living conditions. If you live in the United States, realistically you live at some “level” of success even if you feel you “have little.” We do have a great deal to be thankful for. You know – you can have alot to “live on” and still have nothing to “live for.” When I look at it this way then I know the people of Santa Victoria have everything to live for. They live for family. Not for materiality. They live for survival, survival of their family.

Typical sta victoria hut                                     Typical home in Santa Victoria

Hut after hut we passed by handing out candy and hugs to the kids – kids of all ages. People smiled, welcomed us into their village and genuinely seemed happy that we were there and they made us feel part of their community. The kids were so great. I love their smiles and curiousity. Their interest and willingness to step out and see what was going on. The pure joy of their laughter was contagious and brought smiles to us all.  Sta victoria handing out suckers                                 Handing out candy to the kids.

As you look into the eyes of these babies, children, teenagers you can’t help but be touched. So you smile, laugh and hug and it is all worth the blessings both given and received. You choke back the tears, frsutration, feelings of helplessness but not hopelessness. I’m an optimist. There is always hope, no matter how little – there is light in the darkness.  I know that some of us will return to this place – I will return. Returning because the people of Santa Victoria and other villages are WORTH the effort.     Iquitos baby  But that is just my observation and humble opinion!

In His Service,