The purpose of Wooddale Church is to honor God by making more disciples for Jesus Christ.
Wooddale Worldwide supports global partners annually and select ministries on a project basis. One of the ministry projects we supported last year was Misión a Bordo (Mission Aboard). This is a floating missions conference that develops young church leaders, trains pastors, undertakes medical missions and provides additional training for communicating to unreached people groups.
Last year, Misión a Bordo took place on a 27-by-91-foot riverboat, the Evangelista. Conference attendees, many of them young adults, came from various cities in Peru, Colombia and Ecuador. Ecuadorian radio announcer Mauricio Patiño was invited by HCJB Global’s pastoral training director, Américo Saavedra, who grew up in Pucallpa, the biggest city on the Ucayali River in Peru. The Evangelista made stops along the river at indigenous villages where they set up medical clinics and shared the good news of Jesus Christ.
Patiño was recognized by his voice in a community hundreds of miles from home. He seemed surprised, but maybe shouldn’t have been. Along the river, his radio programs air on Pucallpa-based Radio Maranatha. After being greeted and hugged, Patiño began answering questions from a young teacher, Huendí, who knew all the on-air personalities at the HCJB-ALAS Spanish satellite radio network based in Quito, Ecuador.
The encounter along the Ucayali River was an unexpected delight during a trip in which Patiño had expected to report on medical outreach as part of an unusual “floating missions conference.” He accompanied 60 participants, including facilitators, coordinators and four police officers who were brought along for protection.
In Ucayali River communities, the Spanish language is second to their indigenous languages. The area is populated by eastern Peru’s indigenous Shipibo-Conibo people group. One of Radio Maranatha’s producers dedicates his time to producing Shipibo programs.
Patiño said that in addition to basic needs of clothing, food, shelter and medical care are the spiritual needs of the communities. In Santa Rosa, for example, an evangelical church building stands unused. Talking with an area resident, Patiño learned that this man wants, with all his heart, a pastor for that church. He told us that among some 50 families, only two families in this community know the Gospel.
The riverside visits heightened Patiño’s awareness of the “sad reality of the indigenous people in this area,” adding that those living along the Ucayali are greatly affected by weather changes. “Sometimes they can plant and harvest; at other times the river is up, and they can’t do anything,” he explained. The riverboat team provided people with some clothing and attended to their healthcare needs. Doctors and medical residents from a hospital in Ecuador tended to 375 patients over the five-day trip.
The Lord did tremendous things in the lives of these church leaders, pastors and young people. The following are some of the comments shared in a written evaluation after the event:
• “Learning about the culture of the indigenous community was great preparation for actually being there. Both the teaching beforehand and the practical experience of visiting the villages gave me confidence that, if the Lord should confirm my desire to be involved in cross-cultural missions, I would be able to go and fulfill the Great Commission.”
• “This experience with Mission Aboard taught me new paradigms about missions. I changed my mind about the importance of knowing how to go about meeting the needs in indigenous communities.”
• “I want to help strengthen my church’s missions outreach by sharing what I learned during Mission Aboard through photos and videos, and by conducting missionary leadership training.”
• “Learning about the biblical basis of missions increased my passion for missions. God confirmed to me to invest my life in cross-cultural ministry.”
Through your giving to the Worldwide fund, the hungry are fed, those suffering are cared for, churches are planted, leaders are trained and those who had no hope are given the message of hope found in Jesus Christ.