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An Introduction of sorts to the Work in Tarapoto

Senior missionaries, Bert and Colleen Elliot worked for nearly 40 years in the jungle town of Yurimaguas. During those years, they planted several assemblies in that town (a few of which are healthy and carrying on mission work among the river churches) and then nearly 40 more assemblies along the banks of the Huallaga river. I (Micah) have had opportunity to visit many of these churches and speak with various believers in these areas and I cannot begin to explain how great of an impact the Elliot's have left on this seemingly forgotten corner of the world.

Presently, there is tremendous need for follow-up work. Twenty years have come and gone since the Elliot's left this region and now many of those original assemblies are in great need of spiritual encouragement, biblical training and a renewed passion for evangelism.

About a year ago, as a family, we were able to make a visit to Yurimaguas in order to `spy out the land' and to begin to intelligently pray about the possibility of God using us in this region. On that trip we stopped over in the town of Tarapoto (only a 2 hour drive from Yurimaguas) and found that it would be a very a strategic town for a church plant, with relatively close access to the river, while at the same time being a suitable place for our family to call "home".

After a three month trial, much prayer, and much advice-seeking, we decided to make the move. So here we are, living and working in the jungle town of Tarapoto. Six months ago, we began meeting with about 10 believers, and now have grown to about 35 who come to services currently being held in our house, Wednesdays and Sundays. Our hope and prayer is that this new church would become a mission-minded assembly that would reach out to the river villages and be characterized by a genuine faith, evangelism and love for the brethren.

We have been in desperate need of a building practically from the beginning. None of our homes are quite adequate for hosting Sunday school classes and we've found it rather imposing on healthy family life for one house to have all 5 weekly meetings.

The latest developments

God's provision has bought us a small piece of land (measuring 24' x 60') as well as materials for the first rough stage of building (a one-room meeting place with columns, thatched roof, half-height walls and a concrete floor). This building will serve a provisional purpose over the next few years, while we save for a future meeting place that would be bigger and better situated. The believers here over the last several years have been saving to come up with more than half of the money needed to get us to where we are now, which would really excite anyone able to understand their true poverty. We have recently started the excavation work, and will pour the cement for the columns in the next several days. Everyone is eager to work and brothers and sisters alike, all are contributing to the construction project.

For those of you who may be interested, we are now going to share a few of the grisly financial details. :) So far, including the purchase of the lot, expenses have totaled about $5,000. To complete the project as planned, we are praying for about $8,000 more. That would provide a finished meeting room to seat 85, three Sunday school rooms, kitchen, bathroom & office. Yes, that's a church building for $13,000! We'd be thrilled if the Lord would provide all or part of this amount very soon so that we can grow out of our living room and into the next stage of mission-minded church development.

By His Grace,

Micah and Amy Tuttle

a picture of the property last week before the columns


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