Flight to the Jungle

Alas de Socorro plane (like the one we flew in)
A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to fly into one of the jungle communities. Tiwaeno,  the community that we visited, is not accessible by developed roads, so they depend on flights in small planes to reach civilization whenever necessary. My neighbors, Dan and Tracey Whitehead, and Chad and Andi Irwin, are missionaries with MAF. Dan and Chad work with a Christian Ecuadorian organization, Alas de Socorro, that serve the jungle communities by flying them in and out jungle. Alas de Socorro also has a contract with the Ecuadorian government to fly people out of the jungle when they are need of emergency health assistance that they cannot receive in the jungle. Chad was actually our pilot for the trip, and his wife Andi joined us. 

Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, and Jim Elliot on the beach.

The same beach where they were speared by warriors.
Picture: https://stephenandruth.wordpress.com/2015/01/

You may remember the story of the 5 missionaries, Ed McCully, Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, Roger Youderian and Nate Saint, who were killed in the Amazon Rainforest in January 1956. These missionaries had actually made contact with people from the tribe that lived in the area that is now called Tiwaeno.  A short time later Rachel Saint (sister of Nate Saint), Elizabeth Elliot (widow of Jim Elliot), and her children lived in Tiwaeno and led many in the community to Christ. 

Dyuwi with two of the other people who joined us on the trip.

We had the privilege of meeting Dyuwi. Dyuwi was one of the men involved in the spearing of the 5 missionaries. He became a Christian when he understood the truth of the gospel when the women moved to his village.  Dyuwi joined us halfway through our time in the community so that he could greet and pray for Chad. Whenever possible, he likes to meet the Alas de Socorro planes when they fly into Tiweno so that he can pray for the pilot. 

Church leader who spoke and sang with us.

tribal dance
One of the ladies showing us how they make the jewelry. 
The village of Tiwaeno has developed a mission-oriented tourist industry in their community. Tourist in Ecuador can fly to Tiwaeno to meet the people and hear about the life there. Each group is welcomed to the community and immediately taken to the community church. There, a church leader shares the gospel and sings a hymn for the tourist in the tribal language. A translator will then translate the message into Spanish. We joined the community in singing the hymn "I have decided to follow Jesus" in three different languages (their tribal language, Spanish, and English). Because the leader understood that we were all Christians, he said that although we cannot understand each other now, we will one day be able to talk to each other about all the great things God has done (referring to heaven)! After the Gospel message, we walked up a hill to see the community gathering area. The people demonstrated a tribal dance and even invited us to join them. At the end, ladies in the community showed us things they had made that we could purchase. 

Side note: On the way down the hill back to our plane, I was nervous the whole time that I would slip and tumble down the hill. I made it ALL the way back down the hill. On flat ground once again, I began to make my way to the plane. Of course, it was then (now that I was not being so careful anymore) that I slipped and landed in mud.

Side note 2: 
 This picture is of Andi and one of the ladies from Tiwaeno with her little baby girl. Before she had her baby, whenever she would fly out of the jungle, she would visit Chad, Andi, and their two children. Their daughter Olivia especially enjoyed playing with her. She named her daughter Olivia after Chad and Andi's daughter. 

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