In 1997, the Piedmont Park Seventh-day Adventist church in Lincoln, Nebraska, took on the challenge of reopening the Yarinacocha air program in support of the East Peru Mission of Seventh-day Adventists in the Amazon Basin. This effort was driven by many former missionaries including pilots, pastors, doctors and nurses from all over the United States, many who had served in the jungles of the upper Amazon rain forest. In support of this vision, Peru Projects Inc. (PPI) was founded.
In December 1997, our first missionary couple, Alberto (Beto) and Amalia Marin, accepted the challenge to further the evangelistic work in the dense Amazon jungle. Pilot and Mechanic Beto tirelessly provided aviation support to the people in the villages. This support included medical evacuations, humanitarian flights and evangelistic outreach. Travel that took days by boat could again be accomplished in just a few hours. Amalia, a capable administrator, was always supporting Beto, arranging flights, tracking the airplane and working through the challenges of running the program.
In 1999, a new dimension was added to our program. In partnership with AMOR Projects (Ambassador’s Medical Outreach and Relief Projects), a medical launch was purchased and renovated. For several years the new medical launch served as a work platform for short term, foreign mission groups. In 2003, a full time medical/evangelistic work plan was developed for the launch. This plan included travel up and down the Ucayali and Amazon Rivers and their tributaries, providing free health education, medical and dental care to the people living along the river. Once friendships were formed, sharing the gospel became a natural follow up.
During the time that the medical launch was being renovated, a local businessman noticed the ongoing work and visited to inquire about the project. This visit lead to his decision to donate a Lake Renegade 250 amphibious aircraft to the program in support of our work. This airplane has repeatedly proven valuable when accessing the many villages along the rivers where no runways exist.
Sharing Jesus in the Amazon Basin has always been part of the vision of Peru Projects. In the early days, local, short term, volunteer Bible Workers were taken to different villages where they would work for several months before returning home. By 2002, Bible Worker training sessions were added to the schedule to better prepare the volunteers for service. By 2004, Peru Projects was using full time Bible Workers to do most of the evangelistic outreach of the program, and the training programs continued. In 2008, Bible Worker focus shifted to a vision of using established congregations to do church planting in neighboring villages. This plan is currently being followed with the Bible Workers focused on leading the church planting effort. Peru Projects through the generous support of friends and volunteers have constructed many chapels for the new believers in the Amazon Basin.
Some other dates of interest are:
2002 Edie Mulvihill joined Peru Projects as Project Coordinator
2005 Peru Projects received their 501C3 Tax Status
2006 Peru Projects became a member of Outpost Centers International
2008 Orville and Odil Donesky join Peru Projects to replace the Marins upon their return to the United States
2009 Chris and Amy Borcherding join Peru Projects for maintenance support