Sorry it takes so long for me to post. I just do not have too many opportunities to sit down and take the time to do this. Forgive the delay and thanks for the patience. Hopefully before the rapture I can post some pictures.
So here the details of my training, basically the makeup of what we did during the training. First of all our training consisted of eleven guys, four girls, and a couple that are now my bosses. it was a diverse group with two Chayahuita, two Aguarunas (indigenous tribes), two Ecuadorians, and four Peruvians. And of course I was the only male Gringo in this training. The whole training was entirely in Spanish. Every word spoken in a language besides Spanish was five push ups. If you can imagine, I did a lot of push ups.
The first phase of the training was all physical. We had a rigorous training of exercises of push ups, sit ups, and running almost every morning. In total I ran one hundred and fifty-two miles and walked one hundred and forty-eight kilometers to practice for Bolivia. In this phase we also constructed houses, using our machetes and axes. They were made only out of wood and leaves for the roofs. While we worked on our houses we stayed in tents. It was in this phase that J (Jeremy, our boss with the tattoos) tried to teach us discipline, responsibility, brotherhood, and overall how to be a missionary. Most of the first month was just getting used to the outdoors, bathing in the river, eating less, and learning to survive in those kinds of circumstances.
The second phase dealt with learning about the church, the history of the church, and how to start in a church in the communities. They put us through what they called, “Virtual Missions.” In this they acted out being the indigenous people and put us in situations that tested to see how we would react and what we would do.
The third phase focused on the stories, but in reality we did this from the beginning to the end. The people groups that we work with do not know how to read usually but are usually a very oral culture. So, we memorize the stories of the Bible in their language and teach it to them, from the beginning all the way to the end, so that in this way they can have their own Bible and be able to form their own church that is distinct to their culture. We were given the responsibility to construct the stores and teaching it to the rest of the group. We learned up to Thirty-seven stories telling the story of God’s redemption through Jesus Christ.
At the end of the training we were tested on the three stages – the physical, the knowledge about missions and the Bible, and the stories.
During training we also spent time in the communities near our training. We found our “man of peace” at the beginning and this is where we slept and ate and studied their culture. This was kind of our practicum and allowed us to share stories with them. For some of the teams they were able to see churches formed in these small communities. But overall this was a great way to give us some practice and confidence in the future.
As for a normal day we would get up about five, usually a little before and do our workout. After we bathed in the river we fixed breakfast, which we used fire wood and cooking pans. We would then have our classes and during the first stage we spent the day constructing our houses. Even during this time we were responsible for learning the stories. We would eat lunch in the middle of the day which was always the biggest meal. Usually when the sun went down, we would cook dinner and go to bed between six thirty and nine. Not a whole to do in the jungle when it is dark.
The food. Well, we were given an allowance for the week to buy our food from the local market. It rounded out to be about four dollars per person per week. The food usually consisted of watery oatmeal used as a drink, rice, beans, potatoes and the famous pancakes (more like a tortilla made from flour, water, and a lot of sugar. We ate this almost every meal, which probably took a few years off my life)Some of the guys made traps and we (I use “we” very lightly) killed a few rats and an anuje (giant rat) and yes, we ate it. We did not have a whole lot of meat so anything like that we thoroughly enjoyed. We also ate turtle, rabbit, guinea pig, and cooked and raw worms. This might sound intense but to be honest after the first week I was satisfied to have my rice and beans. I never realized how much I idolized food until I was put in this situation but I learned, with all aspects as well, that it is amazing how when taken all my comforts away I can really start to be content with my lot, that in all things I have joy because if nothing else the Lord is my Bread.
Maybe some of you who are reading this think you could not do something like this but after my experience I know that to be untrue. I believe man was made for the wild, for the outdoors. It is in his blood. Sure the heat, the bugs, the rain can be irritating but only in the end it makes you appreciate more and builds more character. I can honestly say there is no peace like one can feel out in nature. It definitely was a struggle throughout, if only after battling spiritual struggles and language struggles you have to deal with nature. For me, the peace that I felt, I know that God carried me all the way for which I am so thankful and could not have done any of it without His Grace. I guess, in the end one only has to be willing and God takes care of the rest.