Floatplane Destroyed by Winds

November 11, 2020 |

SAMAIR floatplane destroyed by winds

Sunday, November 8, SAMAIR Peru suffered a significant loss: a floatplane destroyed by winds.

Around 2pm a strong storm rolled in from the east. One of the wind gusts picked up the roof over the floatplane and slammed it back down, crushing the airplane and damaging it most likely beyond repair. There was other significant storm damage around the aviation base but none as catastrophic as the destruction of our plane.

Since 1992, our floatplane 0B-1467 has been serving the missionary force and tribal communities of the jungles of Peru with service into and out of some of the most remote parts of the Amazon jungle.

These flights have included carrying Bible school students back-and-forth from villages, transporting missionaries to and from ministry venues, and providing air ambulance services for medical emergencies. She can even boast being the birthplace of a baby boy during one such medical flight, as well as being used to rescue two missionaries who had been missing deep in the heart of the Amazon for over a month.

These and many other examples are why this floatplane is so important to the people of the Amazon region of Peru. As I write this, there are multiple ministry teams depending on us to provide critical transportation into some very hard-to-reach places.

Our ability to respond to emergency medical requests has now been cut in half, which is critical as we have the only missionary floatplane operating in the country of Peru.

We are compelled to find a way to continue to serve.

We are not sure how we are going to accomplish this. However, we do know that God is great and that he can overcome all of these setbacks that we have suffered. It has been amazing to see the outpouring of love and concern coming from so many different quarters as we have been getting phone calls and emails from literally all over the world expressing dismay and support following the loss of this airplane. Obviously many lives have been touched through the ministry that OB-1467 made possible.

Our immediate goal is to temporarily convert one of our two wheel planes over to floats to fill the gap until we can replace the OB-1467 floatplane. We will have to operate with a minimal fleet for a while until we raise the needed funds to purchase a replacement aircraft. We also need to replace the destroyed floatplane hangar.

  • Pray for wisdom as we make big decisions regarding plans going forward, including assessment of costs and wise budgets.
  • Please pray that we will not need to ship parts from the US to make this float conversion, which will allow us to get a floatplane back in service much quicker. This will depend on if the damaged floats are repairable with what we have here. We won’t know until we are able to safely extricate the aircraft from under the collapsed roof. Pray for safety as our team works in these coming days to free the airplane.
  • Also pray that the Lord will provide financially as we seek to raise funds to replace OB 1467. Due to sky-high insurance costs, our insurance coverage was minimal and we estimate it will only cover about 25% of the replacement. If you feel compelled to respond with a donation, visit SAMAIR Peru’s ministry page at www.southamericamission.org

 

South America Mission Center, Based in Recife, Brazil.

October 14, 2020 |

DeLilles and friends

Craig and Mary DeLille are tangible expressions of Christ’s love to the vulnerable and marginalized. Since 2008, Brazil has been their home where they’ve lived out their calling as part of South America Mission. In Brazil, South America Mission is known as Missão SAIM.

The DeLilles have worked tirelessly—and sacrificially—to demonstrate the good news of the saving grace of Jesus to thousands in communities across the urban area of Recife. But their reach has also extended into isolated communities of the indigenous and rural poor.

Craig and Mary’s passion is for the church to be the church— “the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way.” They believe that the people of God assume a proactive role in God’s redemptive plan. Meeting felt, physical needs, and encouraging the spread of salt and light are catalysts for spiritual transformation. The church’s role in society is to proclaim and demonstrate the gospel through an outpouring of grace and mercy. The DeLille’s work in Brazil has been about accentuating the beauty of the Bride of Christ as they encourage local churches to embody the Kingdom of God to a watching world.

Their robust view of the church and its mission, and the fruit born through their years of ministry make the DeLilles ideal catalysts to develop the South America Mission (SAM) Center. The Center will promote Christ-centered community engagement that leads to wholistic, gospel transformation.

 

Music School, Recife


The SAM Center will be based in the city of Recife, an urban hub of 4 million in Brazil’s northeast corner. Cities like Recife, which are growing rapidly across Latin America, need dedicated efforts to shape gospel influencers for the masses as they swell beyond the capacity of the church to reach them.

While based in Recife and poised for impact on this urban area, the Center’s work of developing church leaders and missionaries will also emphasize the need to go to the isolated, rural places of Brazil that are home to millions. Brazil—the 7th largest country on earth by population, the 5th largest by land mass—boasts more than 340 distinct indigenous people groups in its jungles and dry forests, millions of descendants of African slaves, large Gypsy populations, and marginalized rural peoples.

The Center’s vision is shaped by a strategy to train and develop the most leaders to reach the most people. We maximize this potential by locating the Center in a major urban area that is also a launching point out into Brazil’s remote northeastern region.

The ultimate words of Jesus before he ascended into heaven were an exhortation, known as the Great Commission, for his followers to “go into all the world and make disciples of all nations”. This work of going and making implies presence and pro-active engagement of the world around us. Unfortunately, and at times to the detriment of the true gospel, churches have chosen to be isolated, inwardly-focused and without accountability. This is true of churches in the US as well as in Latin America, where the logical progression of this posture has resulted in at least appearances of greed and the spread of harmful doctrines like the prosperity gospel.

The hope of the Center is in wholistic, gospel transformation as leaders are developed “to go”, be present in communities, and radiate the beauty of Christ through word and deed. Churches are the protagonists of God’s redemptive action in the world.

Also, the COVID pandemic has brought us into an era of thinking anew about how the church, today, can most effectively awaken people to Christ’s love for the world. The gospel compels us to respond to exacerbated societal injustices, deeper levels of poverty and felt, physical needs that are now more prevalent and chronic to daily life. The Mission Center will partner with churches to cultivate an effective and gospel-centered response to suffering that enhances the church’s witness. It’s a response that reminds us that first, Christ loves us, and cares about the hardships we endure as a result of the world’s brokenness.

Last but not least, individualism, tribalism and material scarcity have forced the leadership of too many churches to prioritize activity that self-preserves and protects turfs. This has been done to the detriment of the advance of the Kingdom of God. The Center will be known for its “We’re better together!” approach and work that facilitates necessary cooperation and collaboration across ministries and denominations.

 

Brazil City Scene

 

Our response is to be “on mission” in Brazil, for the good of the world and the glory of God. Gospel transformation in the hearts and lives of our neighbors is the hope of our mission. And we believe that presence, action, and the testimony of God’s redemptive work in our own lives are the most effective means God utilizes to bring redemption to the lives of others.

 

The next phase of our ministry calls for us to create dedicated space to prepare, equip and train leaders—agents of change—who are steeped in the ways of Jesus and his disciples; people called to “preach good news to the poor…to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed”.

 

Our dedicated space on 7.5 acres, located 30 minutes north of Recife in Igarassu, will focus on training intensives and special events, gospel-centered outreach ideation, and modules geared around the strategic implementation of outreach efforts. We will also focus on soul care through retreats and counseling services. The Center will be known for promoting Christ-centered engagement of communities throughout the northeastern region of Brazil for which Recife is a strategic hub.


♦ Vision
To see wholistic, gospel transformation in Recife and beyond, in the isolated communities of indigenous, of migrant Gypsies, slave descendants, and millions of marginalized rural peoples. Leaders will be developed to engage these communities as the body of Christ.

♦ Ethos
The Center will be known for advancing ministry that engages communities in truth, love and mercy. We’ll also collaborate closely with other organizations and ministries to accomplish our purposes. A few of our partners are: City to City Latin America, Disciple Nations Alliance (DNA), Stephen Ministry, Pioneers, Igreja Batista Sião and Projeto Amanajé.

♦ Strategy/Outcomes
We’re developing leaders—ones on staff at local churches, lay people within, youth who want to make a difference for good and justice, professionals who see a need for transformation in the marketplace. We estimate that the Center will enable us to develop more than 3x the number we have in recent years, jumping from 200 trained and equipped in 2018-19 to 640+ in the Center’s first full year.

♦ Funding
First round funding goal is $250,000. A target purchase price of $135,000 will acquire 7.5 fenced acres already developed with facilities (a main building for events which can also sleep 30, outdoor covered chapel, pool). We will allocate $115,000 for additional construction, including 30 suites used for counseling and care. Estimated annual maintenance and overhead costs are $6,000, with projected annual revenues of $30,000.

 

 

 

Hope in Crisis: COVID-19 Outreach

June 11, 2020 |

Puerto Supe, Peru. COVID-19 Outreach.

“Leche!” shouts a little boy. He grabs the can of milk out of a bag and starts hugging and kissing it.

Missionaries pitch in to buy a coffin so their friend can be buried in the cemetery instead of a mass COVID-19 grave.

Churches pool their money and start committees to provide food for the neediest families in their neighborhoods.

When the new coronavirus turned into a pandemic, many people wondered, “Will COVID-19 put global missions on hold?” And while missions does look a bit different these days, we’re happy to report that God is still working to transform lives.

We asked missionaries from TEAM and South America Mission how they’re still serving in the midst of COVID-19. Both ministries are founding members of Therefore Alliance, a mission collaboration created to increase Gospel impact and bring glory to God by working together. Here’s what their missionaries told us about COVID-19 ministry.

Life and Death in Peru

Despite strict lockdowns, Peru’s number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise. Hospitals have limited supplies — and limited space in their morgues.

When missionaries Stephanie and Todd Edgar lost a friend to COVID-19, the body was slated to be sent to a mass, unmarked COVID-19 grave by the highway. The family didn’t have money for anything else.

In that dark hour, the Body of Christ stepped in.

Stephanie and Todd helped buy a coffin for their friend. And with some help, the family got their loved one released and sent to the city cemetery.

But while death seems to be the unrelenting theme of the day, God is also bringing new life into the world.

Craig Gahagen serves in missions aviation. And in the midst of COVID-19, he says, “We have been averaging about one medical emergency flight per week. Most of these flights are for pregnant women in distress.”

One woman was 38 weeks pregnant in a small river town with limited medical resources. The SAMAIR team flew her to the city of Pucallpa for a potential cesarean section. Earlier in the quarantine, the team evacuated a young missionary family.

 

“When we fly, strict anti-infection protocols must be followed, including protecting passengers from the pilot and vice versa,” Craig says. “We are not carrying known COVID-19 patients, but since patients can be asymptomatic, we must exercise extreme caution.”

Everyone Needs Food, Scripture and Nature

For many missionaries in Latin America, COVID-19 ministry has been a bit less dramatic, but just as vital.

Los Cabos, Mexico, is a prime tourist destination. But with travel shut down, families are struggling to buy food. Thankfully, missionaries Art and Vicki Reyes and their congregation have been preparing for this moment.

For years, church members have contributed food items each week and given them to families in need. Now, they’re donating even more.

“Some of these folks are rather poor themselves, so they give out of their poverty,” Vicki says. And though everyone expects the economy in Los Cabos to get worse, God is already answering prayers through donations from the Reyeses’ supporters.

Farther north, in La Paz, Mexico, Steve and Lois Dresselhaus would normally be taking groups kayaking. Being surrounded by nature makes it easy to turn conversations to the God who created it.

Now, instead of taking their neighbors out into nature, the missionaries are bringing nature to their neighbors.

“Our house church group … has started a food bank, which gives rather substantial bags of basic staples to families in three neighborhoods,” Steve says.

And with each bag of food, Steve includes a Bible text printed on a quality nature photograph. It’s a little piece of nature and a reminder of God’s faithfulness while most people are confined indoors.

The church doesn’t have enough money to help everyone in need, so they had to form a committee to decide who to serve. But with each delivery, they get to share who they are, why they’re helping and how people can join them after the curfew is lifted.

Missionaries Caring for Missionaries in Northwest Brazil

 

Craig DeLille, South America Mission’s field director for Brazil, made an epic road trip with a friend to bless Brazilian missionaries and a Maxacali indigenous community. Both groups have suffered severely because of quarantine measures adversely affecting the informal economies so many in Latin America depend on.

The quote below is from Craig, who shared details of the outreach while expressing thanks to donors who provided funding to make the outreach possible.

“I just wanted to thank you for the generous contribution to bless the Maxacali village in Minas Gerais, Brazil. My dear friend Pastor Iraque and I were privileged to be able to travel over 2,000 miles round-trip over five days to visit with missionaries who serve indigenous communities throughout the northeast of Brazil, pray with them, offer words of encouragement, and provide for some of their basic needs. We delivered 44 food baskets to the missionaries along the way and 250 to the Maxacali village once we made it to our destination. Since we had 6 food baskets left over, we added three stops to our return and were able to bless two missionary families and a local pastor as well. We returned home late Tuesday evening, our age showing a bit, but very grateful for the opportunity to be Jesus’ hands and feet and humbled by the depth of His love for us.”

How Can You Pray for COVID-19 Ministries

No one knows how long COVID-19, or the side effects of our fight against it, will last. Please stand in prayer with missionaries throughout Latin America as they serve those in great need.

  • Pray for good health and safety as missionaries and local churches serve — whether by delivering food, evacuating people or serving in medical facilities. Ask God to give them wisdom in every situation.
  • Pray for continued funds to buy relief supplies. As local communities run low on funds, global churches, from the U.S. to Germany, are stepping up. Missionaries are also applying for grants to fund COVID-19 ministry efforts. Please pray for favor as they submit these applications.
  • Pray for greater understanding of and love for local communities. Good missionaries always strive to understand those they serve, but a crisis bonds people in a unique way. Pray that this time of hardship won’t be wasted, and that relationships will be even stronger by the end.
  • Ask God to open hearts to Him. Pray that missionaries and local believers will make clear what motivates them to serve others. Ask that people will see their service as a demonstration of God’s love for them.
  • Ask God to show you how you can serve your own neighbors. We all know people in various states of need. Ask God to reveal who He would have you serve right now, and ask Him how to do it.

South America Mission and TEAM have been responding since the beginning of the crisis. Our gospel collaboration has allowed us to respond more widely and more quickly than we could alone. This blog post was originally composed by Bethany DuVal, who serves as TEAM’s marketing manager and editor. 

Peru & COVID-19

May 6, 2020 |

Peru’s quarantine began on March 16th and many believed it an indefinite lockdown, as the dates for its end have regularly been pushed back, with phases for reopening just announced this week. Much of the panic in Peru is connected to the medical facilities that provide adequate medical care under normal circumstances, but would be stressed and overworked if the pandemic grows too quickly at any time. An example of this is in Pucallpa, a major city on the edge of the Amazon where many SAM missionaries work, which has three major hospitals, two that are currently closed and the remaining one only receiving patients with health insurance.

Still, we see God’s mercy and His providence. The Peruvian church and our missionaries there have hope, and from day one have worked creatively to meet the growing needs in their communities. In Arequipa, a church plant in an under-resourced part of the city created food bags to distribute to neighbors, as pictured above, and the missionaries there have helped to distribute food and resources to church members in need. In Lima, the Iglesia de la Ciudad team distributed food and money to neighbors in Manchay, an under-resourced district Southeast of the city. Like elsewhere in Latin America, most Peruvians rely on day wages to survive and this extended quarantine has been hard on many families.

As the stories flow up from the cities and communities where our missionaries serve, we are privileged to share them and give glory to God. Pray for Peru and the church there as they continue to weather an extended lockdown. Pray for our missionaries as they discern how best to serve those around them and care for themselves well. This month, thanks to the generosity of many, we have equipped our missionaries with extra resources and we ask for your prayers as they support those in need.

Bolivia & COVID-19

April 22, 2020 |

santa cruz
[Empty highways in Bolivia’s largest city, Santa Cruz; photo taken by Zayit Clavel]

 

Bolivia’s lockdown and quarantine is currently set to last through April 30th. It began officially on March 31st and individuals have been permitted to leave their home on designated days of the week based on their government ID number. Each household is only permitted one person to leave their home per day, and they must travel on foot or bicycle as all vehicle travel has been banned.

In some ways, Bolivia’s nationwide strike last October and November prepared many for this event. While people could still leave their homes and congregate in the streets, there were blockades on every corner and vehicle traffic was heavily reduced. Even so, the church was united at that time in prayer and worship movements, just as she is united in these days to be generous and support her surrounding communities.

The Association of Evangelical Churches in Eastern Bolivia took up donations and made over 1,000 bread rolls to distribute to families in need. The SAM missionary team was able to send funds out to Bolivian partners in rural Santa Cruz to support team members and friends at the discipleship center. One of our missionaries has built relationships with women in the local prison in Santa Cruz and received donations from individual supporters to help provide food and medical supplies to the women, as these prisoners rely on help from the outside for their daily needs.

The generous spirit of those whose faith is in Christ and whose peace comes from God cannot be contained by fear. Though there is chaos in our world today, God’s people stand firm in His promises and bring light into the darkness. Pray for the church in Bolivia and our missionaries there as they continue under strict quarantine guidelines and seek to meet needs in communities where businesses and livelihood have come to a halt.

Colombia & COVID-19

April 16, 2020 |

Guajira
[Photo from the Guajira Desert of Northern Colombia, taken by Lauren Jones]

 

The most recent message from the Colombian government says that mandatory self-isolation will stay through April 26th. Each region or department is enforcing the “stay at home” order in different ways. For many Colombians, crisis began overnight as their daily income from labor work was suddenly inaccessible and unsustainable.

Even so, the church has not remained idle. Missionaries throughout Colombia are sharing stories of generosity and love despite their circumstances. In Bogotá, one missionary team and their house church community is continuing to provide support for young adults who were graduated from Colombian state foster care without adoption. The team had to close their community center to the public but are still using it privately to process food they purchase from a local food bank to distribute care packages within the neighborhood.

Another team in Bogotá which walks alongside communities to engage in peace and justice work has suddenly shifted into relief efforts, despite the ethos of their ministry being concerned with long-term development work. They have already sent available funds up to the Guajira peninsula to aid the Wayuu people in this time of need. As they put it, “Many of these people now live mostly dependent on the monetary system and a daily income from their labor, while often the previous generations of Wayuu did not. Amongst many factors, severe drought in the past 8 years has served to push this marginalized people-group to further dependence on the developed world, and now, as we are seeing throughout the globe, that system is at a pause.”

Pray for the people of Colombia as many face economic crisis within their communities. We know both from their history and from our long-term friendships throughout Colombia that they are a resilient people, but even so we are all in need of God’s mercy and strength in these days.

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