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Strike in Peru cuts missions trip shortcomment (0)

June 18, 2009

Rusty Arnett said he and his missions team weren’t scared when they heard that a strike was going to shut down the roads into and out of the remote part of Peru in which they were serving.

But they didn’t want to make themselves an easy target either.

“Basically they were going to shut the roads down, and for anyone who tried to get out, they would slice their tires,” said Arnett, youth minister at Beulah Baptist Church, Valley, in East Liberty Baptist Association. “You’re kind of free game if you try to leave once the roads are shut down. We didn’t want to put ourselves in that position.”

Indigenous tribes there were on strike against the government — why, he’s not really sure, Arnett said. The team members were just hearing that they probably needed to move while they could.

So, following the guidance of the International Mission Board representative working in the area, the team — made up of Arnett; his wife, Angela; two college students; and a high school student — decided to cut its 10-day trip three days short.

Team members made it home safely June 11.

“We didn’t have any problems getting out; we just had to spend a lot of extra money,” Arnett said, explaining that they had to buy new airline tickets at full price because they were denied the ability to switch their tickets to a different date. “We were disappointed, too, that we had to leave early.”

But God took care of them, he said, and they had a lot of opportunities to share before they left.

The five had traveled two hours by boat down the Amazon River to a remote village to do chronological Bible storying.

“We only made it to the Flood story before we had to leave,” Arnett said with a laugh. “But we had some opportunities that no one had ever had before, like going into the schools to teach. That was one of the first times that had been done in that particular village.”

It wasn’t until the team had made it home that Arnett learned that more than 30 people had died and more than 50 were wounded when indigenous citizens clashed with police over the weekend of June 6.

The clash had taken place in another region, and CNN reported that what happened “depends on who’s telling the story.”

“But apparently, that is what started the whole thing though,” Arnett said. (TAB)

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