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 Seventh-day Adventist Peruvian Oriente Mission in the Amazon Basin. This effort was driven by many former missionaries, including pilots, pastors, doctors and nurses from United States, many of whom had served in the jungles of the Amazon. 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 work of evangelization. Pilot and mechanic Beto tirelessly provided aerial support to the people of the communities. This support included medical evacuations, humanitarian and evangelistic flights. Trips that took days by boat could be accomplished in a few hours. Amalia, a capable administrator, always supported Beto, organizing the flights, tracking the aircraft and working through the challenges of managing the program.
In 1999, a new dimension was added to our program. In collaboration with AMOR Projects (Ambassador's Medical Outreach and Relief Projects), a medical ship was purchased and refurbished. For several years, the new medical boat served as a working platform for short term foreign missionary groups. In 2003, a full time medical/evangelistic work plan was developed for the boat. This plan included traveling the Ucayali and Amazon rivers, providing free health education and medical and dental care to people living along the river. Once friendships were formed, sharing the gospel became a natural follow up. During the renovation of the medical boat, a local businessman noticed the work in progress and visited him to inquire about the project. This visit led to his decision to donate a Lake Renegade 250 amphibious aircraft to the program to support our work. This aircraft has repeatedly proven valuable in accessing the many villages along the rivers where there are no airstrips.
Sharing Jesus in the Amazon Basin has always been part of Peru Projects' vision. In the early days, local short term volunteer Bible workers were taken to different villages where they worked for several months before returning home. In 2002, training sessions for the Bible workers were added to better prepare the volunteers for service. By 2004, Peru Projects was using full time Bible workers to conduct most of the program's evangelistic outreach, and the training programs continued. In 2008, the focus of the Bible workers 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. Peru Projects through the generous support of friends and volunteers has built many chapels for new believers in the Amazon basin.
The mission in the Peruvian jungle is very big, but thanks to God with the support of friends and brothers and sisters of the church we can persist in our mission. This year we want to share with you the needs we have as a ministry, your support, big or small, will be a great blessing. Thank you, a big hug!