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STL Boat Spreads the Gospel in Peru

Through Speed the Light, missionaries in Peru receive a boat in order to reach villages on the Amazon.
When thinking of vehicles provided by Speed the Light (STL), the missions program for Assembly of God youth, people typically think that means a car, truck, or van. However, one missionary couple required a unique form of transportation to help them more easily, effectively, and conveniently preach the gospel.

In Peru, South America, missionaries Steve and Theresa Ford are dedicated to teaching the gospel to unreached people groups of the Amazon jungle. Due to the complexity of the jungle’s landscape, traveling to these villages is more quickly accessed by boat.

Before receiving a boat from STL, Steve and Theresa traveled in a boat built by Rodrigo Fajardo, a pastor they’ve partnered with to plant churches in Candoshi villages. While it worked for them at the time, the Fords needed something more stable to advance their ever-growing ministry. As a result, STL provided them with an aluminum 12-meter boat, powered by a brand new 60-horsepower outboard motor.

Theresa says, “The new boat scoots along much more quickly! The new motor is more powerful and makes short work of the long distances one must travel to get to these mostly unreached people.”

Not only do the Fords need the boat to sustain long periods of travel time, but they need the power to haul large groups of people.

One example occurred after a six-day Bible Story Conference in the town of Yurimaguas, in northeastern Peru. Steve, along with two colleagues, were picked up by Pastor Rodrigo at the mouth of the Pastaza River in their STL boat. In addition to those three, the boat carried nearly a dozen members from Pastor Rodrigo’s church. They traveled seven hours by boat to the Quechua community of Sungachi, and another seven hours the following day to their destination, the town of Andoas.

They were welcomed by a newly formed group of Christians who were hoping to join the Assemblies of God. More than 80 people crowded into the church the first night to hear from God’s Word, and the next night, more than 300 people met in the town’s community center. Steve remarked that it had been years since he had seen a community display such a remarkable hunger for God.

Steve and Theresa’s boat has allowed them to share the gospel of Jesus with countless Candoshi communities. These people groups are responding to their “evangelistic Scripture narratives” and are sharing these stories with others. Theresa says when told simply and clearly, they understand the Bible narrative and respond to it.

In addition to the Bible Story Conference and visits to various communities, the Fords also held a two-week Bible school for rural students earlier in 2017. During this short time, 43 students were in attendance, and two of them moved on to graduate. Steve and Theresa recognize the Lord’s blessing on the event, from the opening prayer to the closing benediction, and say that attendees are excited to return in November.

The Fords and their team look forward to continuing to answer the call of God with the help of their STL boat. Theresa says, “This is surely God’s timing for these partially reached people groups, and we are so glad for the opportunity God has given us to work.”