Thursday December 17
Twenty-five believers and I piled into the boat and we sped down the turbulent waters of the Huallaga river toward the village of Yarina. When we arrived at about nightfall we were greeted by the excited shouts of brothers and sisters that lined the shore. After lots of back-slapping and hugs and kisses we made our way to the humble homes of the Yarina brethren that would give us a place to "set up camp" for the next few nights. Precious Christians had arrived from the surrounding villages to worship the Lord, study, evangelize and encourage one another. After the evening meeting one could hear singing, prayer and out-loud bible reading late into the night from many different houses around Yarina.
Friday December 18
The highlight for me on this day was that I was awakened at 4:30 a.m to the open-air, loudspeaker preaching of a young man that I was able to bring to the Lord several years ago. I struggled between being annoyed at this unexpected alarm clock and at the same time being overjoyed at hearing the gospel preached by this fervent disciple that has matured greatly in the Lord. About three years ago I saw that this brother (Jin Hedo) was really growing and that he was serious about preaching the gospel, but was having a hard time supporting his family, so I bought him some shoe making tools and a machine to help him in his trade as a shoe cobbler. Now he is a self supporting preacher doing very well in the shoe manufacturing business and more importantly he has been very faithful to the Lord and to his family while courageously preaching the gospel all over the region. Please pray for this brother who was a tremendous help and encouragement at the convention. Praise the Lord for His transforming power!
Saturday December 19
The basic schedule for each day went like this:
6:30 Morning devotional with all 350 brethren.
7:30 Breakfast (fish and boiled plantains)
8:30 Teaching session #1 "The priesthood of every believer"
10:30 Teaching session #2 "What the bible teaches about music"
12:30 Lunch (smoked jungle rat and rice)
1:30 Play soccer
2:30 Jump in the river
3:30 Teaching session #3 "The priesthood of every believer"
5:00 Teaching session #4 "What the Bible teaches about music"
6:30 Dinner (Chicken and fermented corn juice)
7:30 Open air gospel meeting
10:30 Meeting with the assembly leaders to coordinate this coming years plans and to deal with a few church problems.
12:30 Bed time!
Sunday December 20
After the morning devotional we had a precious time celebrating the Lord's supper with all the brethren. There's nothing better than coming together with Gods people to remember the Lord in His death burial and resurrection! From there we went out into the street where I preached in the rain for about an hour before going down to the river to baptize 6 new believers. As the convention came to an end there were lots of handshakes and good-byes and kind words of encouragement. Some headed off on foot, others went their way rowing their canoes and still others left maneuvering their peke peke motors up river. All were full of joy and rejoicing in the Lord. We thank the Lord for such a time of great blessing with the river churches in this area of the jungles of Peru!
Missions quote for the day by Martin Luther: "I'll preach Christ as if He had been crucified yesterday, risen today and coming again tomorrow."
Micah for the Tuttle's
The apostle Paul said: "Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!"
Last Sunday Amy and I celebrated 19 years of marriage! I am so grateful for such a wonderful wife and the life that God has given us together. Amy can now say that she has been married longer than she was single. Its amazing how time flies! We could never have imagined that God would bless us with 6 great kids and put us in the jungles of Peru with such an exciting ministry. We thank the Lord for His many blessings!
Trip to the coast
November was a very busy month for the Tuttle-tribe! We traveled as a family through the jungle, up over the Andes mountains, down the coast and back again which ended up being about a 5,000 km journey. Along the way we were able to see spectacular landscapes, visit lots of good friends, share the gospel with many souls and preach in several churches. I had been invited to speak in a total of 12 meetings in Trujillo and in Lima which was extremely exciting and exhausting at the same time. We thank God for His traveling mercies and for opening so many doors to preach His word!
Trip to Bogota Colombia
After arriving back in Tarapoto, Amy and I left the kids at home and flew off to Bogota Colombia where we spent an amazing ten days with missionary friends, Brian and Sharon Killins. We had a great time meeting many wonderful brothers and sisters from many different assemblies. Our time in Colombia started with a leaders retreat where I was invited to motivate evangelism, teach evangelism and do evangelism. After the retreat our trip was pure action going from one place to another, preaching in meetings, visiting new friends and trying to encourage the saints. In the end Amy and I were the ones that were most encouraged as we met so many wonderful people.
Even though we have been busy with ministry this last month we have still been able to continue with our construction project for the Bible institute. While we were away our construction "maestro" kept at it and has accomplished a lot on the floors, ceilings and bathrooms. The few days that I have been around I've been able to do some wiring and fixture installations which has been fun and brought back old memories. We still have a whole lot to do and are determined to get as much done as possible in December. Thank you to everyone that has helped financially with this project. Just three short months left until we start classes! Please pray that we get everything ready by March 6th!
Missions quote for the day by Hudson Taylor: "Oh that God would make hell so real to us that we cannot rest, heaven so real that we must have men there, Christ so real that our supreme motive and aim shall be to make the Man of Sorrows the Man of Joy by the conversion to him of many"
Micah for the Tuttles
Last month we were blessed to have a team come from Fort McMurray Christian assembly in Alberta Canada. They helped us with our construction project, encouraged us with their friendship, challenged us from Gods word and suffered with us on the trail. It was a great joy to have them. There are too many things to recount so I will just let you in on the events of one day.
Here are my journal notes from the first day of our river trip:
Wednesday Sept 23rd
3:45 am - Up for Bible reading and prayer.
4:30 am - Load the van (13 people and our packs).
5:00 am - Drive to Chazuta.
6:30 am - On the boat and headed down river (spectacular landscape!).
9:00 am - Out of the boat and on the trail. Spirits are high. Backs are strong. Pace is quick.
12 noon - Now we’ve crossed several streams and passed through two pueblos, leaving NT's in the hands of many villagers. The 50 lb pack is starting to take its toll. Really hot (100 F, 90% humidity). No food since dinner last night.
2:00 pm - Rob looks like he might faint. Sick, overheating, foot blisters, aching back. How are we going to carry him out?
3:00 pm - We have painfully stumbled into the village of Leche (not our destination yet). Water! Shade! Breather!
4:00 pm - Forded the Chipurana river on a balsa raft.... The march continues...Rob is just barely stumbling along on the trail now.
5:00 pm - Every step is agony. Heavy packs, swollen blisters and overwhelming heat. Hungry! ...
6:00 pm - FINALLY! Our destination point for the day. The village of San Jose. We've walked 20 miles in difficult conditions today! Rob miraculously made it. Thank the Lord that he didn't die of heat exhaustion!
7:00 pm - After lots of back slapping (ouch), hugs and hand shakes from the brethren, Sister Leonor opens her humble home to 13 sunburned, sweaty, hungry and muddy gringos with aching backs and torn feet…. She killed her last three chickens for us! Chicken, rice and noodles rarely tastes so good! There is nothing like the family of Christ!
8:00 pm - We limp over to the main square to our planned open air meeting. Crowds gather. The body doesn't want to cooperate but the heart longs to preach the gospel. The body aches but the spirit is aflame for Christ..... Brother James preaches from Mark 10:45. I translate. New energy is infused. Fire in the bones. Much joy in proclaiming the glories of our great God and His plan for salvation!
10:00 pm - Vocal cords are shredded. Body is exhausted. Head hurts from prolonged preaching without microphone.
11:00 pm - Bible reading and prayer.
12:00 midnight - Boards and a mosquito net for a bed. Rats scurrying about overhead. Strange smells. The sound of a million cricket symphony! Joy indescribable.
Missions quote for the day by John Piper: “But whatever you do, find the God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated passion of your life, and find your way to say it and live for it and die for it. And you will make a difference that lasts. You will not waste your life.”
Micah for the Tuttle's
Last month I had a great opportunity to preach at two different youth events here in the Tarapoto area. My topics were Evangelism and Knowing God (it doesn't get any better than that!). Each event had about 60 university students in attendance and these "camps" were back to back on the calendar so I ended up preaching 10 times in 4 days. Each of those messages were two hours long (that's what they asked for) so I was quite exhausted by the end of the marathon. Please pray that God would raise up a new generation of young people that seek hard after Him!
An encouraging visit
Last month we were blessed by a two week visit from Fred and Kathy McMaahn from First Colony Bible Chapel in Houston Texas. Kathy was loads of fun for our little kids as she read to them and taught how to paint and to do various crafts. Her presence and joyful spirit was an encouragement to the whole family. Fred helped with the construction, taught 5 sessions in our assembly about the tabernacle and also did a trip with Javen, Cullen, Bria Josiah and I to visit one of the outlying villages. The believers in this particular village had been begging us for quite some time to come for a visit and to preach the gospel in the open air. I was a real privilege to thunder out the word of God to all the village of "Palmeras".
Micah for the Tuttle's
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