Deep in the Jungle

Hello everyone,

Deep in the jungles of Guyana I still think of all of you. Any e-mail I get, even though it doesn’t come often, I treasure it and it keeps me going. I miss a lot of the comforts in the US, but most of all, I miss my friends. I love being able to use this laptop. It belongs to Pam, my

[Our jungle river]
The virgin beauty of river and forest.

missionary leader/principal of Paruima college. The sun provides power by using solar panels and a DC to AC inverter. It’s great to have e-mail communication all way in the jungle of South America. Right now, the sun is shining brightly through partly cloudy skies, a typical day here. Every other day there’s rain, which is really cool to watch the dark clouds come with their veil of showers. It will pour for 30-40min then stop. I really like it when it rains all night because it’s really loud on the roof of the boys dorm. Overall, the weather here is much cooler than I expected it to be. The village is high up on a plateau, about 2,000 ft in elevation. This second blessing is that there aren’t many mosquitoes. But, the many other bitting insects (black flies, nats, deer flies, inch long ants, etc.) make up for the lack of mosquitoes. Our school nurse, Kelly, has been bitten twice by the giant ants. The sting made her cry and the bite area went numb for the day. Hopefully, that won’t happen again, to any of us.

I wish I could fully describe the beauty of this place in writing. It’s unlike any place I’ve seen before. The Lord has blessed me by calling me here. It’s definitely a jungle- thick canopies of tall 50-60ft trees, vines, and machettee chopping underbrush. The beauty comes because of the nearby mountains. Not exactly rockies or smokies, but more like jutting plateaus all around, sheer walls of rock covered by jungle folliage. The wide river with brown cyprus colored water is the main best form of transportation between villages. And that’s also how our 6 person mission team arrived. We had a one hour southwest flight from Georgetown into a

[Red Water]
Some mountains streams run across the savannahs, picking up a red color from the tanin in the tree roots

paved airstrip of Kamarang. From there we loaded our luggage into on 35 ft long tree carved canoe, just like the movies, except this Amerindian canoe had a motor on it. Good thing too, because our village is 8 hours upstream. Also and an extra 2 hours because there’s the Etubia rapids that we have to unload and carry our suitcases, trunks, and duffle bags ½ mile on a slippery jungle trail. But on arrival, the SDA Amerindians had a welcome banquet ready for us. And it was good food too. The tropical fruits are the best: guava, papaya, pineapple, plantains, tangerines, breadnuts, and lots of bananas.

The amerindians are all very nice, shy sometimes, and hard working. They are also known as the Davis Indians. There is a somewhat well known story of Elder Davis coming into the jungles to minister to the tribes at the turn of the century. Apparently, the chief of the tribes had a dream of a white man carrying a big black book. And when Elder Davis arrived on the scene with his Bible in hand, the Indians took in every bit of God’s word.

When I first thought of mission work, I expected to be explaining step-by-step the basic SDA beliefs. But these Amerindians have been

[Paruima Mountains]
Early morning clouds clear over mountains surrounding Paruima’s valley

practicing Adventists for quite some time. The population is 600 and about half are SDA. The church service is just like we have at home: Sabbath school, the main service. No permanent pastor, so local elders give the sermon which is spoken in English and in their native dialect.

Once again, I so glad I’ve come here. God has really blessed me. I have been able to enjoy getting back to the basics of life, reading the Bible, and having prayers and discussions with the group. And since the three other guys here are theology majors, they really can get into deep discussions. It’s funny, a lot of the times I’m not able to get a word in (besides they have much more knowledge on such matters). But I don’t mind just listening.

My role here is math teacher. Only been teaching a week, and I’m really enjoying it so far. The students are very respectful and attentive. Ages are 17-26 yo. However, the math skill is about a 8th-9th grade level.

I pray that everyone is doing OK with school, or work. Please send a hello from time to time. I love to here news about your lives and happenings in the US. Hope I can send e-mail again this week. David Gates is renting a plane and making mail/e-mail deliveries for the next two weeks. Then he’s going back to the US and his plane should be done with repairs.

Your brother in Guyana,

Dave

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