“I’m not sleeping in the jungle tonight. . . at least not here.”
We knew the trip to Mt. Olivos was going to be difficult. Most of our team had either been there multiple times before or had at least been warned about the 16 mile hike, the “boat ride” back, and the possibility of rain and mud. As much as we had prepared though, we had no idea what lay ahead of us.
On the hike up to Olivos, one of our team members was injured. The rest of the team continued on to the village and all of our packs somehow ended up going with them as well. And so, our 8-12 hour hike turned into an 18.5 hour hike through the jungle, at night, with no lights, food, or water filtration systems. Talk about a test of our faith!
As we hiked, we recalled scriptures that reminded us that our God is for us not against us, that He is a Way Maker and can speak to the storm and it must obey. We trekked on and on, but as the night stretched out before us our bodies became weak and thirsty and we simply wanted to sleep in the jungle and give our bodies rest.
Not sure that was a good plan without any supplies of any kind, I spoke out what I heard in my mind: “We are not sleeping in the jungle tonight!” A few yards away, our beloved Peruvian translator, Daniel Richtor, replied back with, “At least not here. Maybe over there!” In spite of ourselves and our situation, we all started to laugh, and in the midst of that laughter we felt God’s reassurance that He was indeed with us and preparing the way before us. We took courage in this, and forced our tired bodies to keep moving through the dark jungle, reminding ourselves that God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. With only a small pen light to guide us, over and over again we declared the truth of God’s Word and pressed forward.
When we felt like our bodies could go no longer without water, we bent down near a stream and decided we would just take our chances drinking without a filter because we so desperately needed water. At that very moment, we saw a small flashlight and slowly realized it was one of our Peruvian friends . . . who had brought us a water filter! We had nothing to store the water in, but we sat and took turns drinking in the life-giving water, knowing that God had once again provided for us.
Finally, around 2:00a.m., we stumbled into the village where the rest of our team was and were able to get the rest that our bodies were craving. We were tired, thirsty, mentally and physically exhausted, but we also knew we were well cared for. God provided for every need we had on our journey, and He didn’t leave us alone in the jungle that night, nor did He ever intend to. We pushed through, trusting in Him to make a way where there seemed to be no way, and He did not falter. He lit our path, He filled us with His power, and He gave us living water.