The town at the end of the road

Carreterra to Nauta

Having now lived in Iquitos for a few months, I thought it would be good to revisit Nauta for the sake of talking to people who are involved in youth ministry, with a view to providing them with support in the near future.  Nauta is a town of about 30,00 people situated at the end of the Carreterra, the only road out of Iquitos about 100 km to the south. It is also the location of the Nauta Integral Mission Training Centre, where BMS and the Peru Baptist Union (AKA CEBP) deliver training to pastors based in the jungle.

My goal was to find ways to use my skills as a Youth Minister and available resources to add value to local ministries who are already doing an excellent job, though starting a new project is also a possibility.  With the help of our colleague Laura, meetings were set up with a local children’s home, to talk to their staff and have a tour around their facilities.  Also, one of our colleagues at the training centre has recently proposed a children’s holiday club, and I planned to talk further with her about how this could be developed.  Finally, I wanted to meet with a local pastor who works mainly with young people.  I enlisted the support of another local missionary to came along with me, and off we went bright and early on the journey from Iquitos to Nauta.  Many prayers were needed as this was my first time driving on this stretch of road.

The journey to Nauta was for the most part smooth – in most places it is a well-paved road – and beautiful, with thick jungle on either side and not many other cars on the road. We made substantial progress, slowing down to avoid dogs, motorcars, potholes and pedestrians.  When we arrived at the centre, the founder of Mi Refugio children’s home was already there with two other short-term missionaries, and we able to hear his account of how the ministry got started, their current progress, challenges and projections for the future.  He stated their areas of need include assistance with teaching some of the children to read, help with obtaining some of the items on their food shopping list and medical assistance.  What encouraged me most was that this ministry is home grown, with financial and practical support from local and international churches and individuals.  They also have a thriving poultry business which is an important part of their sustainability plans, though they have recently had problems with securing reliable staff for this endeavour.  We spent some time affirming their endeavours and praying together for the home and for each other.

town nauta
Plaza de Armas, Nauta


We then had a meeting with Tessy who has recently started working as our administrator at the Nauta Integral Mission Training Centre, concerning our plans to deliver a 7-session children’s club for girls over the school holidays within the next few months.  We allocated tasks and talked about some of the logistics involved in running the club.  We were all quite excited about the potential gospel impact it could have, as well as an opportunity to publicise the centre to local parents and neighbours.

After lunch at a local restaurant, we visited Mi Refugio and had an opportunity to meet the children and some of the staff.  There are about 50 children at the home between the ages of 18 months and 18 years, supported by 6 staff.  The home is beautifully situated on a large property with a lake which yields some fish for the home, the poultry farm which provides business income for them, dormitories for the children, staff and guest accommodation, and a school on site.  We met a warm welcome, shared a short message with everyone about our privilege of getting to know them; another part of our family in Christ, prayed with them, spent some time touring the site and had some short conversations with some of the staff and children.  It was lovely!

After our visit to the home, we called in one of the local ministers, Pastor William at his church and home. We had the privilege of hearing him share some of the joys and sorrows of church ministry in Nauta. Pastor William and some other local ministers are working on building more unity between local churches with joint prayer gatherings, services and celebrations. The church is currently with around 20 teenagers through mentoring and discipleship. The meeting ended with a time of prayer and we left for a light supper and our mosquito-net-covered beds.  It was a cool and breezy evening and we all slept very well.  Early the next morning I awoke to the sounds of cocks crowing, crickets chirping, frogs croaking and other interesting jungle sounds.  Laura and her college Chris served us a hearty breakfast with fried bread and sunny side up eggs. After a brief chat we headed back up the Carreterra this time accompanied by Laura, who had a few errands to run back in Iquitos.

Michele Mahon