Today we had a very special day. All of the Nazarene churches in Iquitos were invited... and many came to a special Baptism ceremony set up for the church plants that us 40/40's are working on. We had 3 church plants represented. Belen, Mazusa, and 9 de Octubre. It was so amazing to see so many people there from the places where we are all working.
In Belen we had 17 people come out! With the 3 of us missionary girls we had an even 20 of us. So great. And out of those 17... 7 were baptized. It was so cool to see how much God has worked in the lives of this group of people. My heart was soaring the entire time. Someone commented that I didn't stop smiling the whole day. It was probably true! I was so filled with joy to see the "fruits" of a lot of work. God seems to be pretty great at filling us right back up when we pour ourselves into other people.
It was a pretty fun trip. We all met at the house where we hold church at 8ish in the morning. We were supposed to live no later than 8:30... but because we live in Peru we left by 9:15 once everyone showed up. We all walked a ways to catch a bus together. And then spent the morning worshipping with a short church service at a church with a "pool" out in the middle of what felt like nowhere. Nely... who is one of our first contacts and it is at her house that we hold services... was baptized first in the church. This is because about a year ago she lost her leg because of complications with tetanus and diabetes. So she was unable to climb down the many stairs to the pool. But it was so special to see her really wanting to be a part of things despite her "disability".
The other 6 were baptized down in the pool. Afterwards we all ate together. None of our contacts brought food, even though we had asked them to do this because there is no food at this particular place. But I believe mostly for financial reasons this really wasn't possible, something we didn't count on beforehand. My partners and I had brought enough food for ourselves and 1 other of our missionary partners that works in 9 de Octubre. The 4 of us decided to try to make the most of what we had and share with the Belen group. I was reminded of the miracle when Jesus feeds the 5,000 out of just 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Food that was only meant for 4 easily fed 17! It really didn't make sense. No one ate a huge amount of food, but it was enough to be filled. It was truly a cool miracle to me.
After we ate we played soccer and volleyball together before finally heading back home. Sweaty, dirty, thirsty, and decently sunburned.
I think things can be best told through pictures so here are a few...