The children want to learn. The teachers want to teach. But neither the school in the Peruvian jungle village nor the schoolkids have enough money for school supplies like notebooks.
“Children go to school without notebooks, and teachers cannot do their job,” the leader of a native ministry said.
A young boy in one village told his mother, an ethnic tribal Christian, that he could not remember anything the teacher said, and that his teacher could not give him assignments because he had no notebook. His mother replied, “Let’s pray to God to provide.”
She had no idea how they might obtain paper, pencils and the backpacks for little ones to transport them over rough, uneven paths, but hours away by motorcycle native missionaries were preparing to bring school supplies.
“When the boy saw our ministry distributing school supplies at his village,” ministry leader said, “he ran toward his mother and said loudly, “God has answered us, Mom!”
In another remote, ethnic village, teachers had given native missionaries a list of needed school supplies. The team arrived to deliver the exact items needed as well as new clothes for children 3 to 5 years old, the age group most lacking, the ministry leader said.
“The teachers thanked us, saying, ‘God really thought of us, because many of the children come to school from far away, walking and without school supplies. Now we will be able to work!’” he said.
On one three-hour trip to deliver school supplies to 250 ethnic Ashaninka schoolchildren, the ministry team had to fight through fierce rains.
“The rain was so strong that it was impossible to move towards their destination,” the leader said. “They arrived very wet to the jungle village where the parents with their children were waiting for them to receive the school supplies that had been offered.”
The students ranged from kindergarten to high school.
“On that cold and rainy morning, approximately 250 school-age children were able to receive school supplies,” the leader said. “After they shared the gospel, they began to distribute the school supplies grade by grade. Upon completion, the parents and authorities of the tribal village thanked our team for this selfless gesture towards them. Finally, we distributed Bibles among the local teachers and village authorities.”
Compassion for Young and Old
The Ashaninka, who are found from the Central Forest in the Amazonian part of Peru’s Andean foothills to Acre state in Brazil, have long faced difficulties in education. Unrest has led to the closure of more than 70 rural schools since 1990, with many teachers either killed by rebels, fleeing them or leaving to join them, according to everyculture.com website.
“Some schools make do with improvised chairs and tables made of tree trunks and blackboards donated by aid organizations,” the cultural awareness website notes. Education gives Ashaninka kids prospects for overcoming the region’s pervasive poverty. Native missionaries who have long provided food to poor children recently expanded to include the elderly in their feeding center program.
“One day our missionaries were so sad to find an old woman who during the time of worship was lying on a very cold bench,” the ministry leader said. “They took her to our feeding center to eat something. Another morning they visited several grandparents in their homes and saw what they were cooking was very low in proteins. They no longer resisted the gospel, and that is why we extended the help of our feeding center to the elderly, so they can be with the children who come to learn the Word of God on Sunday.”
Help and Hope for Communities
The gospel is embedded in other community engagement efforts. In one area of the jungle where there is no rain for up to two months, residents of a village that can only be reached by river were drinking from the same river where they bathe and wash clothes and cooking items. As the dry season from early summer to early October drops the water line, the muddy water becomes even murkier.
Villagers were drinking water that was turning green with toxins.
“The reason is that most of the streams dry up, and they have no choice but to take the water from the river – people become truly desperate,” the leader said. “The problem of giardia and other parasites is permanent among children and adults, which leads to other health complications such as anemia.”
Native missionaries have begun a project to capture the water from a stream that does not dry up with the help of pitch pumps, store it in large-capacity tanks, filter out the bacteria and parasites and pipe it directly into homes, he said.
“We thank God for Christian Aid Mission for promoting and seeking funding to advance the installation of clean water for the ethnic village,” he said. “Our ministry has started this project, and the villagers, seeing our initiative, also helped to load stones, gravel and other materials that were needed, in addition to supporting with hard labor.”
Native missionaries are bringing life, livelihood and eternal life to communities throughout Peru with such initiatives. Please consider a donation today to enable them to help the poor overcome adversity in Christ’s name.