Here is a short video report recounting a morning of hut to hut evangelism and pastoral visits to some of the outlying homesteads around one of the villages on my circuit. Please pray for the work in this area and that Christ would be exalted in our preaching! There is so much to do and the time is short!
Robert Murray MCheyne said: "I feel that there are two things that are impossible to desire with sufficient ardor: Personal holiness and the honor of Christ in the salvation of souls"
Micah for the Tuttle's
We are in full construction mode! As many of you know, we hope to open a bible institute next spring and there are a lot of details to work out between then and now. We've entertained lots of ideas, had lots of meetings and done lots of manual labor. We are trying our best to get things ready for our starting date of March 6th. We will see if we make it. Jesse Mattix has been a huge help doing innumerable little things like working on our website (ibemselva.wordpress.com), getting propaganda out and thinking through the execution of every detail. He is very good in the areas where I am lacking. We are forming a good team!
In the midst of all the construction and planning there has been plenty of ministry to do too. We were able to make a whirlwind trip to the coast where I preached in the streets, in houses and in churches. There are so many opportunities to preach the gospel and to encourage the saints that it is difficult to balance my time. I taught through the book of Hebrews in the bible institute in Trujillo, preached about hell in the church in Lima, encouraged the brethren to be evangelists in Puerto Maldonado and proclaimed the gospel in the open air in all three of those places.
Amy had a busy three weeks in which she traveled to the States to speak at and participate in a few homeschool conferences. While at those conferences she was able to present her book "discover reading" which she just finished writing prior to her trip and then had it printed off with the help of our good friend, pastor Bill Webster. We are so proud of Amy! She is an amazing wife, mom, teacher and now published author! It is great to be back together as a family again and now everyone is settling back into a "normal" routine of life here in Tarapoto.... back to school, church, evangelism, river trips, construction...
Missions Quote for the day by Jonathan Edwards: "Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will."
Micah for the Tuttle's
In 1 Samuel 17 we read the famous story of David and Goliath. In verse 10 the Philistine cries out,“I defy the ranks of Israel this day. Give me a man that we may fight together.”Tens of thousands of Israelite soldiers heard that challenge, and yet not one of them responded. Verse 24 indicates that “the men of Israel fled and were dreadfully afraid.” Not a man among them was willing to stand up and fight in the Lord’s battles! We’re not talking about one day of failure here. According to verse 16, after 40 days of fear still not one soldier was willing to fight with Goliath. There were plenty of soldiers but no men! Where were they? They fled and hid; they were afraid, uninvolved, aloof and disengaged.
Sounds like the condition of things today. Here we are 3,000 years later and the problem persists. Men are absent.They seem to have left the battlefield. Giant-slayers are desperately needed, but where are they? Where are the men? Let Goliath’s words sink in. Hear his booming voice echo:“Give me a man!" When David comes onto the scene he can’t believe Israel’s inaction. In verse 29 he says to his brother, “Is there not a cause?” The answer should have been resounding:“Our cause is to make God’s name great among the nations!” But no such answer was given. Passivity and a lack of conviction prevailed. The Philistine had defied the armies of the Living God and had mocked the power of Yahweh—and no one did anything about it.
David was only a youth but he seemed to know more about biblical manhood than the soldiers around him. A teenager was about to give Israel a few lessons in manliness. Real men are strong in the Lord and they know that their character is shaped by the decisions they make on a daily basis. Real men are willing to go upstream in a downstream world. A man’s faith in God is what conquers giants, and for David, even if it meant standing alone with nothing but a sling and a few pebbles, he would do it. Why? Because he believed that if God is for us who can be against us? He believed that the steel of manly character is forged in the fires of a fervent faith in the Lord. David heard Goliath’s words “Give me a man!” and he responded because there is a cause and it’s the greatest cause in the universe.
Today we continue to have a giant problem, and giant killers are few and far between. Men are absent everywhere. They have disappeared. Who will hear Goliath’s call: “Give me a man”? And who will respond? It’s time to face the giant. There are certain bold risks that are worth taking. Risk is right when it has to do with our great cause for Christ’s great kingdom. David took that risk and ran to fight Goliath (verse 48). Where are the men that do that sort of thing today?
Many would say don’t take risks, be cautious, be careful.That kind of thinking has debilitated many Christians, and they end up living a wasted life. John Wesley said, “Give me 100 men who fear nothing but sin in their own life and want no one but God and God alone. I care not whether they be clergymen or laymen, they will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of God upon earth.”You have to take the last part of that statement with a grain of salt, but the point is God uses men who flee only from sin and trust only in Him.
We are living in giant country. There are giants everywhere: the giants of false doctrine, postmodernism, evolutionary thinking, Islam, the homosexual agenda. And there’s the giant
of a rebellious world that has rejected its Creator. What are we to do? It has to start with the men and they have to start in the home. Men who love their wife, invest in their kids, get involved in their local assembly and preach the Word.We must be like David and run to the battle! Time is short; the stakes are high. Yet men everywhere are sleeping. They have disappeared, are uninvolved and missing in action.
Faithful and courageous men are greatly needed, men who are willing to be strong in the Lord and valiant in battle. I call to the men who are reading this to hear Goliath’s loud and terrible cry: “GIVE ME A MAN!” How will you respond?
Micah for the Tuttle's
Team & Plans
Over the past few months, we've been revisiting the idea of hosting a year-long Bible Institute here in Tarapoto (remember IBEM? an extension of that program). With the Mattixes, we are praying about the possibility of a trial run for next year! As the Lord provides, we'll be doing a lot of construction for this next phase of ministry.
As many of you know, we have been able to buy and renovate a rustic building here in Tarapoto. A few years ago we were able to get it liveable for our family but there was (and still is) a lot left to do. In the last few weeks we have taken a major step forward with the project! Last week, we finished putting a new roof on, replacing the leaky, old, batty one. Yes, there were hundreds of bats living in our roof! This week, we are going crazy on the second floor. Lots of workers, wire, cement, tile, paint, decisions, expenditures and lots of excitement. We'll see how far we get, but we are hoping to have the building ready for ministry by the end of the year.
After three weeks spent in a remote village, our short-termer Ian Posey is back with us. He arrived here sun-burnt, bearded and maybe a bit skinnier. :) He learned from the villagers, ate their food and practiced his Spanish. Ian will head back to the States in a few days, but we will not be left without a bearded short-termer because Patrick Mueller from Germany, a student at Moody Bible Institute, arrived last week. He will be with us until mid-August doing his cross-cultural internship. Our goal is to do what we can to teach and inspire these guys, all the while they encourage us by wanting to help and be involved in missions!
Our local assembly here in Tarapoto is going through encouraging times. On Sunday, about sixty people from our church piled onto a bus and headed to the Cumbaza river for a baptism celebration. I preached from Romans 6:3-4 before the baptism of two young men and our daughter Bria. It was a special moment as we performed this important drama that symbolizes what happens spiritually at the moment of conversion; the death and burial of our old self and then a resurrection to new life in Christ. Please pray for Fran, Kelvin and Bria. We are so encouraged to see their eagerness to grow in the Lord and to walk with Him.
Missions Quote for the day by John Stott: "His authority on earth allows us to dare to go to all the nations. His authority in heaven gives us our only hope of success. And his presence with us leaves us no other choice." (See Matthew 28:19-20)
-Micah for the Tuttle's
It was 8 p.m and we could hear the brethren singing in the chapel. Ian and I must have been a pitiful sight to behold as we walked in with muddy boots, sweat-drenched shirts and 35 pound backpacks draped over our shoulders. We had traveled by car and then by boat and finally, for the last leg of the journey, we walked 15 miles. Our backs were aching, our calves were tight, we had blistered feet and sunburned arms but our hearts were full of joy as we met with the brethren in the village of Leche. Normally we would have cleaned up before going to church but on this occasion it seemed OK and no one complained :) After a lot of hugs and backslapping I went to the makeshift pulpit and preached a short 2 hour sermon on the life of Elijah.
On the following day we had to continue on in our journey and when we arrived in the next village we were greeted with many cries of "Arrepientanse" or "Repent" (the word that I repeated about 100 times when I open-air preached there last month). It was encouraging to me that they remembered my message but it was even more encouraging that there were five people that had been wrestling with the gospel that whole month and on this trip they gave their lives to Christ! Please pray for them!
During the course of the week I preached every night and then during the day we did many pastoral visits from hut to hut. We even went to some of the outlying homesteads that are scattered around the jungle within an hours walk of the village. We were able to give out new testaments, share the gospel, give out medicine and pray for people. What a joy! No greater work exists on the planet then to share Christ's love with lost sinners. It was a very profitable time with many opportunities to make Christ's name great.
To add to our adventure we made an exploratory trip into the tribal territory of the Cacataybo. This is an unreached people group that lives in the uncharted virgin jungles northeast of "my" farthest out village. We didn't find any sign of them but it was extremely interesting to hear about these natives from our guide (a brother who works as a national park ranger in this area). The Cacataybo speak an unknown language, are nomadic and naked. They paint their faces, scavenge for food and have only been spotted a few times from low-flying aircrafts. The most staggering thing to think about is that they are dead in their sins and know absolutely nothing of Christ and His saving power. Who will reach them?
On Saturday I started the long journey back to Tarapoto. I left Ian (our short-term visitor from Vancouver Washington) in one of the villages to fend for himself. He will be trying to practice his spanish with the people, learning the "jungle way" and helping the brethren in whatever way he can. He spent the last two and a half months preparing for this and now it was time to "throw him" into the village life (part of our discipleship process). It should be an exciting time for him as he will be there all by himself for the next month. The night before I left he almost stepped on a poisonous viper so please pray for him as he tries to survive :)
Missionary quote for the day by Hudson Taylor: "God uses men who are weak and feeble enough to lean on him."
Micah for the Tuttles
My team was made up of 16 believers who all effectively played different roles on this trip. We had a nurse who was constantly ministering to the sick with prayer and medicine. Another one of the sisters gave a sunday-school teacher training course. Three of the believers dedicated themselves to a VBS event with children (about 70 kids came out each day). Several brothers split up into evangelism pairs and went hut-to-hut sharing the gospel with each family in the village. One brother faithfully filmed and photographed the different events. I preached a devotional every morning, taught the bible institute students for 6 hours each day and preached open air every night. One afternoon we even did some back-breaking work, carrying heavy sacks of sand for about 300 meters from the beach over to the main square to fill in some mud holes for which the villagers were very grateful.
The work was arduous but we had a spectacular menu to keep us going! Each day was different but here's the short list of our quality cuisine: we ate turtle, monkey, jungle pheasant, jungle rat, wild boar, peanut soup, peanut mazato, armadillo, lots of rice and hot chocolate made right from the coa-coa tree. Wow! Makes me hungry just writing about it! Yes, just about everyone on the team got sick at one point or another but nothing was real serious and all recovered quite quickly.
On Saturday morning as we prepared to leave we gathered with the believers on the beach for one last word of exhortation and prayer. It had been a great week of ministry and everyone had been greatly challenged and encouraged! Our trip back to town ended up being quite a sobering experience. After two days of travel (and many obstacles faced) we finally made it back to Chazuta where we docked the boat and loaded the van. Just as we were getting ready to leave a screaming woman covered in mud and blood arrived from the Tarapoto highway. She had just lost her four year-old grandson in a huge landslide that had swept him out of her arms and into the river. Others that narrowly escaped were able to pull the woman out of the mud and save her life. If we had been a half an hour ahead of schedule we would have been in that landslide too. It was a sober reminder that life is fragile.... Don't waste it! You never know when you might be called home.
Missions quote of the day by Elizabeth Elliot: God's command 'Go ye, and preach the gospel to every creature' was the categorical imperative. The question of personal safety was wholly irrelevant."
Micah for the Tuttle's
While it was still dark this morning, at 4:45am, the team, sardined into the van with LOTS of packs, headed for the river.
They left almost a day later than planned because one of the team members' bus had been delayed because of bad road conditions. The roads were pretty bad, rather dangerous even. There had been some significant landslides recently. But most of the delay was due to the fact the workers (big machine drivers, flaggers, etc) had the holiday weekend off.
In order to make all the boat connections, they were thinking they may have to leave her behind. Thankfully, the cell phone signal finally got through. Just in time, too, as the van was burdened with stuff and the team was only bathroom breaks away from loading up. But, she was still nine hours away!
We decided to wait.
At 7am this morning, Micah called. I could hear a roaring motor in the background. Forgetting that I could hear him just fine, he shouted, 'We're in the boat! We made it. There were some landslides on the way, but it wasn't too bad. We're just about to pass out of cell phone range, so I wanted to let you know, they're saying that the rains from yesterday might have been just enough to raise the Chipporana enough that we won't have to do the LONG walk."
I smiled and said, "Of course. Because God IS good like that."
It could be that the delay was just what God wanted to bless them with. It hadn't rained for more than a week and the extra fourteen hours may have been enough to fill that little river. Let's pray that they remain sensitive to the Lord's leading and that everything continues to go well with them.
You may have heard me mention mazato. I had to drink some the other day. Mazato is the famous fermented yucca spit juice that many of the jungle peoples of Peru drink. The villagers may be quite offended if you refuse their prized beverage. So I recommend taking at least a small swig.
Yucca, manioc in English, is a root grown and eaten all over Peru. Its texture is somewhat like a big potato. Most people boil it but we prefer it fried. In the jungle villages, the preferred yucca preparation is chewing it up and spitting it into a batán (a wooden canoe-shaped trough). There it sits for a few days and ferments into a powerful mash of manioc madness. When it's good and frothy, just add a little water and then guzzle it down.
Many of the villagers drink it as if it was Red Bull or some kind of energy drink. You don't have to get drunk on this stuff, but sadly, many do. Drunkenness has destroyed many, many lives in the villages along the Huallaga river. I often quote Proverbs 23:29-30, "Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has redness of eyes? ...He who drinks [mazato in excess]". (MTT-Micah Tuttle Translation).
Here is a video of a woman preparing the mazato mash. Notice how she chews it and spits quite nicely. Only minimal saliva. It's not so bad. :)
Missions quote of the day by Robert C. Shannon:
"Never pity missionaries; envy them. They are where the action is — where life and death, sin and grace, Heaven and Hell converge."
Micah for the Tuttles