“My eye affects my
heart," said Stanley as we traveled home from a grueling two weeks in the
jungle. Stanley, raised in our Costa
Rican church, is a faithful witness for the Lord, but this was his first time
in the Amazon jungle.
While teaching a Bible seminar in a small village, we met Raul, a 50-year old Amazonian, who traveled down river to work in the coca trade. He needed money fast. He knew he could work for the "narcos" (foreign drug traffickers) planting coca leaves, harvesting them, and carrying the big bundles to lab for processing and within a few months have all the money he needed. He left his own crops thinking that he could buy food instead with the drug money.
Raul heard about us and attended the seminar one morning. He soaked up the Bible teaching and returned that evening for more.
He interacted with other Amazonians attending and heard more about the narcos and their enslavement of the indigenous people. Yes, the promise of money enticed many, but the narcos didn’t always pay up, and they always threatened the families involved. Once you began working for a narco, you couldn’t get out.
During our seminar, Raul attended every service. One afternoon, I walked into the house where we hung our hammocks to sleep. I saw Stanley and Raul on their knees. I stood quietly. A few moments later, Stanley looked up, "Raul has just accepted Christ as his Savior,” he said. “Raul said he will no longer work in the coca trade but will take the gospel upriver to his family members."
Stanley was overwhelmed by the experience of introducing Raul to Jesus Christ and teaching people who are hungry to learn. The trip opened his eyes to the need of more Spanish teachers in the remote villages of the Amazon region - especially in Peru and Colombia.
As we continued our journey home, Stanley talked about what he would teach on the next trip. What a joy to see our spiritual children, like Stanley, take the gospel to the unreached and under-reached!
Amazonian names have been changed for protection.