Posts tagged #pucuro

Jackie's Journey: Is It Worth It?

In the Princess Parable Series, Princess Hope is the oldest of the five princesses and carries the responsibility of setting a good example and leading the way for her four younger sisters who are watching and learning from her.  She experiences first-hand what it takes to “count the cost” when she sees her grandmother’s priceless ring in a store window in the village. She has to get it back…but how and at what cost?  

How many of us understand what it means to “count the cost” for someone or something that is so important we cannot not hesitate to boldly step up to the plate?

Before you commit…count the cost!  Luke 11:28

Before leaving for the shores of Panama I was cognizant of the cost it might take to leave the U.S. and live in a foreign country, but it was not until Christina, my first daughter, was born that I became acutely aware of the expanse of what it might actually demand.  I was leaving my homeland with my parent’s first and only two year old grandchild. After arriving in Panama, it would take us two days by three different means of transportation to land on the muddy banks of the river Pucuro.  It would include living in an “off the grid” bark-walled house with no running water, electricity and an outhouse that screamed “unfriendly”. 

Would the cost be too great?

Our jungle house was located in an extremely dense and remote area of the jungle. There was malaria and T.B.; there would be harry eight-legged creatures, not to mention venomous insects and reptiles of every kind the imagination could conjure up and worse!  We would be called to cook, eat and drink unidentifiable “chichas”, mammals, reptiles and even rodents!  We would be on the Colombian border where drug runners passed through our village.  My neighbors would speak a different language and have a strange culture; there would be no privacy; there would be no hospital or urgent care facility, no contact with the outside world, except for an unreliable two way radio …and on that first trek in, I would have our second daughter, a tiny three month old nursing baby on my lap…


Getting the picture?

An aerial view of our house with the tin roof in the foreground Would the cost be worth it?  

An aerial view of our house with the tin roof in the foreground
Would the cost be worth it?  

I would be the first to admit that life brings serious unknowns, struggles, doubts, fears, and temptations from the enemy, even if you have “counted the cost” in all the light you have.
 
On one of the many rainy days in the rainforest I began to share my heart and woes with a seasoned missionary who was listening intently.  To every comment of comfort she gave me I inserted, “BUT you don’t understand; I know God says that but what about…?”

When I paused to catch my breath, she asked me if, “I thought God’s grace was sufficient enough for me for today?”  

Well, what???… I’m a missionary living in the jungle…I could hardly say “No”!  Of course, I answered, “Yes!” 

She followed up with, “Then… would His Grace be sufficient for tomorrow?!” 

She had firmly and graciously admonished me to keep my BUT on the appropriate side of the word GOD!  Not,  “Ok, GOD, BUT…”(we always have a good excuse for not trusting Him); rather, this is my situation, BUT GOD is more than sufficient and faithful.  He has proven Himself over and over again when I keep my BUT on the correct side of God.

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    II Cor. 12:9

II Cor. 12:9

As a mom, is living for God, demonstrating genuine Christianity, being a “cross-bearer”, and claiming Christ as Lord and Master of my life for His glory too much?  I ask myself:


Can I trust Him for today?  Then, I can trust Him for tomorrow!

A wise woman counts the cost… 

Recapturing a stolen ring and moving into a dense jungle do not, on the surface, seem comparable; yet, the point is, what do you treasure enough to pay, even and possibly, the ultimate price to achieve?  What is important enough for you to “count the cost” and plunge into whatever sacrifice it takes to see it accomplished?

There was no call to the jungle; BUT GOD did call us to respond to the need in that jungle…to open up a work among an unreached group of people who had yet to hear His Name spoken even once, nor His wonderful redeeming message.

“The house of the righteous contains great treasure”! Pro. 15:6
Moms, your house is full of eternal treasure…treasure that will spend eternity somewhere.

It will be worth it all…!

When all is said and done and we have reached the end of this life…what will be said of us?  Did we choose the most important?  Did we succeed in our calling?  Did we “count the cost” for what was on His heart in His perfect will for us or did we do our own thing and hope for the best?  

How does the fruit of your commitment look so far?  
We only pass this way once!

~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Jackie's Journey: First Impressions

A year or so after moving into the Darien Gap in the jungles of Panama, I was asked by our field leaders to jot down my first impressions. To my surprise I read my notes in our New Tribes Mission Brown Gold Magazine months later in May 1973.  A few days ago I was going through some photo albums and found the same article I had written.

The purpose of the writing was to call attention to the desperate need to reach these unreached people tucked into little corners all over the world.  H.A. Roberts said, “The toughest challenges lead to the greatest triumph’s”.  The call is as imperative now, as it ever was then.  Here is that quoted article reproduced:

“HERE WE ARE!  Address: El Rio Pucuro, Nowhereland!

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   Our village carved out of dense jungle.  My house has a tin roof in the foreground.

Our village carved out of dense jungle.  My house has a tin roof in the foreground.

Only 26 days ago we flew into El Real in an eight-passenger plane and were picked up in the same dilapidated jeep that had met us 6 months before.  We headed to the waterfront, a short ride on a dusty, bumpy road that I viewed between my feet through the holes in the floorboard! 

We got as close as the jeep could go and then hobbled ¼ mile with 3 month-old Kim in my arms, 3 year-old Christina hanging on to my dress, three suit-cases, an infant seat to use in the floor of the dugout, and boiled water!

We traveled an hour to Yavisa for the night.  Next morning, at 5:00 a.m., we loaded the piraguas (dugout canoe) for Pucuro.  We ate fish and rice for breakfast and began our 11-hour trip upriver.

The winding river Pucuro!

The winding river Pucuro!

ours passed and I couldn’t believe the beauty I was beholding.  The jungle is plush, full and spattered with green and yellow blankets of butterflies all along the way.  The first six hours were quick and, other than cramped arms and legs from protecting Kim from the beating sun and being sandwiched between our household belongings, we all fared well.  The last six hours were a real battle against our dry river and a swift current!  No less than twenty times Ralph and the others jumped into the shallow water to push us over rocks, etc. that worked like a barricade to delay our long awaited entrance into the land of the Kuna people.

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   Dry season means shallow waters!

Dry season means shallow waters!

Just before dark I looked up and saw brown bodies silhouetted along the sandy break in the jungle.  My heart began to pound as I realized I was about to face a people that had consumed our hearts and minds for over three years!

Would they accept us?

Would they grab my baby and run into the dark?

What should I expect?

The verse “My grace is sufficient…” flooded my mind as I yielded to His wooing and relaxed!

As we pulled into shore at 6:30 p.m. the people swarmed all over us.  Somebody took Kim out of my arms and stepped away into the dark.  In the confusion Christina lost her shoe and I felt Ralph tug on my arm to head up the bank to our house.  I called in the dark for Kimi and somebody laid her in my arms while the others laughed.

As we meandered up a narrow, overgrown path to glimpse our jungle house, all I could hear was little Christina in her Daddy’s arms asking for her lost shoe!   

Oh, for the simple trust of a child! 

In a few moments we stepped into our new home.  The dirt floor was cold, mainly because I was wet from our trip in, but too, it was dark and the river had filled the air with moisture.  The following morning I opened my eyes to what looked like a storehouse with boxes, tanks, mosquito netting, etc.  Soon we were busy greeting people, finding suitcases with dry clothes, and hunting through canned goods and paper sacks for food to eat.

Now, 26 days later, I’m looking back to the first “Congreso” where I drank my first Indian “chicha” from communal cups, the first days of helping women sweep the village where I obtained my four blisters on one hand, the initial jolt of a hairy tarantula spider on my laundered sheet, the adjustment to the intense curiosity of the people, the initiation of washing clothes in the river, the perpetual problem of children urinating in our house, and the mixed emotions of a protective mother.

This evening, less than a month interior, we find ourselves with tape recorder in hand and a house full of Indians, struggling again to communicate the precious Gospel of Jesus with these still in heathen darkness.

 

New Tribes Missionaries 1971-1984

New Tribes Missionaries 1971-1984

Will you pray for tribal missionaries?

Will you pray for the many still unreached tribes?