Vision Forum Opens Our Spanish-Speaking Ministry with a Men’s Outreach on Family Shepherding in the Peruvian Amazon
There is a problem that Christian pastors face all around the world. It is a common denominator of crisis that reveals the universality of sin and shows the strategic consistency of Satan in his attempt to wage war on the Church — it is the tragedy of widespread family disintegration. Fueling this crisis is the decline of biblical manhood and the absence of discipleship-driven fathers among the people of God.
A principle testing ground for success in this battle is found in the home. How a man shepherds his family and disciples his children will not only define his life and theirs, but can have far-reaching implications on the Body of Christ and the spiritual health of the Church. And one of the most important tests is a father’s relationship with his sons.
Doug Phillips Teaching in the Amazon Jungle
In more than a decade of ministry travel around the world — from Japan to Ecuador and from Haiti to France — I have spoken to thousands of fathers and sons, and one theme prevails: We live in a generation in which the hearts of fathers and sons have been torn apart. Tragically, there seems to be little difference in the statistics, whether we are speaking of Christians or unbelievers. One mission of Vision Forum Ministries is to address this problem with a message of generational hope from the Word of God. And this week we will be traveling with teams of Christian fathers and sons to bring this message to the gateway of the Amazon in South America.
Mission Nauta: A Family Shepherding Conference on the Edge of the Jungle
The Jungle Board Village of Nauta, Peru
Situated on the Maronon River, in the northeast of the Peruvian Amazon, is the small but bustling town of Nauta. This was the 2011 staging ground for our Into the Amazon expedition and the location where we boarded our 1905 steamer, the Ayapua. This small jungle border village was birthed in 1830 by the Cocama tribe, following an uprising at the Jesuit mission of Lagunas. Today, Nauta has an Evangelical presence, including several local churches, but the community remains very impoverished by Western standards with most of the crammed apartment homes on the main street leading to the jungle river made up of plywood, dirt floors, and with occasional electricity for appliances.
Nauta Is the Starting Point for River Boats Like the Ayapua
It was in Nauta on our expedition that we met the family of a 19-year-old girl named Rocio who helped prepare food for our 2011 expedition. Rocio explained that her family had been in turmoil because her father had been a violent man and a drunk until he was gloriously saved. With tears Rocio explained that now one of her father’s greatest desires is to grow as a Christian man and father. This week we hope to see Rocio’s father and bring encouragement to Christian men like him, as well as pastors in Nauta and the vicinity.
We will be explaining to them what the Bible says about fathers as family shepherds and why the battle for godly leadership in the home must be waged and won. This means that Christian fathers from America to the Amazon must embrace their spiritual duties as family priests, protectors, and providers. It also means that fathers must cry out for the hearts of their children, and a special emphasis of this outreach is the relationship between fathers and sons, which is why our outreach is called “Dame, Hijo Mío, Tu Corazón” (“Give Me Your Heart My Son”). Our team will be bringing special messages on the vision and practicalities of how men can lead in family worship. We will be addressing both the fathers and sons on the importance and meaning of “The Promise: The Fifth Commandment.”
Mission Iquitos: Bringing a Message of Biblical Manhood to the “Pirate City”
Our next Gospel training outreach for Christian men takes place one hundred kilometers from Nauta at Iquitos, the principle gateway city to the Amazon. If you watched our Into the Amazon episodes then you heard me describe Iquitos as a “pirate city” and may have even listened to one of the most unusual adventures I have experienced in a foreign town. Iquitos is a strange and mysterious city filled with dangers and curiosities. In Iquitos you can taste turtle eggs, buy a monkey, or wrap a live anaconda around you. Once one of the wealthiest cities in South America, its heyday faded a century ago when the rubber boom busted and the wealthy tycoons who promoted the boom left. In Iquitos we will be meeting with 150 pastors and men, fathers and sons, bringing the same message of family discipleship which we shared in Nauta.
First Steps in Vision Forum’s Spanish-Speaking Ministry
Our mission in South America is similar to our mission in the United States — to bring Gospel encouragement to the Church through a ministry of helps to the Christian family. There are many Gospel outreaches to South America that the Lord is using for His glory. Ours is humble and simple, but it is unique. We want to equip men to be strong spiritual leaders. This trip is the first step. We purpose with God’s help to see Vision Forum Ministries’ material translated into Spanish and placed in the hands of pastors who can use them to disciple the families in their congregation. We also hope to send teams in the future to some of the hard-to-reach areas with training and helpful tools for Christian men and their families.
Alfredo Torres Preaches in a Peruvian Village
Our guide in Peru is Paco Laos, a very faithful brother who served for many years with my friend Paul Washer of HeartCry Missionary Society. Paco brought us through the jungle in 2011, and this week he is our liaison with local pastors. We hope to be working with Paco in an ongoing effort to bring encouragement to the Christian men of Peru.
Paco Laos in the Amazon Jungle
We are also grateful for the work and ministry of Chapel Library, a Florida-based global outreach that provides outstanding books, tracts, and materials that communicate the beauty and sovereignty of the Lord Jesus Christ. We will be sharing some of their Spanish Gospel literature with the pastors and fathers of the Amazon towns we will be visiting.
As we minister in Peru throughout this week, we solicit your prayers and encouragement for the safety and spiritual success of this mission. Please pray that the Lord would speak through his Holy Word and touch hearts. Please pray for spiritual revival for these Christian men, for encouragement for the pastors, and for the hearts of the sons to turn to their fathers and fathers to their sons. Please also pray that the Lord would direct us as we seek to make important connections with church leaders for future outreach. And if you have time, please drop a note of encouragement that we can get by e-mail in Peru and share with our friends in the Amazon.