Servant Leadership Training in Remote Villages of the Amazon Jungle
To get to the village of Samaria, one must travel an hour by air from Lima, Peru to Pucallpa and then travel eighteen hours by boat upriver.
This is the trip DAI staff have made many times this past year, in an effort to take the principles of servant leadership to the indigenous tribes of Peru.
Juan Lopez Zumaeta is a Shipibo, pastor, missionary and student in DAI’s non-formal Servant Leadership program. The Shipibo people are an oral culture: their history, cultural values and social fabric are communicated through stories, song, dance, drama and art, passed down from parents to children. They are one of more than 100 people groups in Peru, many of which live in villages near the rivers and waterways along the Ucayali. An average Shipibo household numbers eight or more living under leaf-thatched roofs over platform floors, raised by stilts that allow the seasonal flooding to pass underneath.
Juan came to faith in Christ as a teenager living in his village of Samaria. He read and studied the Bible through a mobile bible institute in the nearby village of Galilea. In 1972, sensing a call from God to ministry, he began serving in his local church, first as a Sunday School teacher, later as a pastor and evangelist, traveling from village to village paddling his canoe.
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Materials Modified for Oral Culture
Ruth Hidalgo, a resident of Pucallpa and a university educated teacher, started working with DAI in 2015 and coordinated a workshop in Pucallpa, for leaders from around Peru, which Juan attended. He had taken advantage of many different trainings, but had always had difficulty applying it to his cultural context. After the DAI workshops, Ruth recognized that Juan needed help to understand and apply the learning. Ruth, now the DAI Ministry Center Director for Peru, decided to modify the case study in the Servant Leadership course to reference situations and Shipibo names the tribal groups would be more familiar with. Juan’s understanding of the material greatly increased which led to a greater sense of self-worth.
Together with fourteen other Shipibo student leaders, Juan has begun taking DAI’s non-formal Servant Leadership program into the jungle. He is most passionate about ministering to pastors and working with villages to resolve conflict. Ruth shares, “Juan has a great love and concern for his people, and we consider it a privilege that we could equip him with the knowledge he needed to effectively lead and minister to them.”
DAI is committed to reaching those with least access to bring more of the healing power of the Gospel where it is most needed, including the Amazon jungle!
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