​This panoramic view shows the five houses under construction and the street on Isla Iquitos, a small island near the main island, Iquitos, Peru. That's where a fire destroyed Isla Iquitos Mennonite Church and the neighboring homes on Aug. 29. Volunteers from the Mennonite churches of Iquitos and the local community are working together with an experienced carpenter and the families who will live in the new homes. Due to flooding in the area, the new houses will be built on stilts. Photo by David Moreno.

By Laurie Oswald Robinson
Wednesday, October 13, 2021

NEWTON, Kansas (Mennonite Mission Network) — A generous outpouring of $13,000 USD in donations and grants is helping Iglesia Cristiana Menonita Iquitos Perú (Iquitos Mennonite Church) rebuild five houses that were ravaged by a fire on Aug. 29.

Local and global communities quickly offered help after the fire on Isla Iquitos, a small island near the main island where Iquitos is located. The five families who were left homeless by the fire included 13 adults, 11 children and a three-day-old baby. They are currently living in tents, while the new houses are being built. The fire started in the church building next to the houses.

Pastor David Moreno said the Mennonite church in Iquitos has been very grateful for the donations, which they see as a sign of compassion for and solidarity with these families and the church family. The posts for the new houses are in place now, and the roofs are in process.  

"We want to move very fast, as the river is beginning to rise, and these families need a place to live," he wrote. "When the houses are built, if there are funds left over, we will use them to start building the church building. The children and young people are gathering in the street and neighboring houses, all very excited, waiting for the reconstruction of the church."

Elena Satalaya, a Mission Network worker, reported that local organizations gave dishes, a stove, chairs, pots, pans, etc. so that less than a month after the fire, ministries with children and youth could start up again under one of the houses on stilts in the community.

Children from the community help carry wood from the boat to the building site for the five houses. Pastor David Moreno wrote, "It's teamwork in which everyone contributes according to their capacity."  Photo by David Moreno.

She wrote, "Last week at the children's ministry, Adela Cainamari, one of the young persons in the program and a victim of the fire, told me, 'The houses are going to be so beautiful and they're advancing so quickly!' I was glad to hear that from someone who will be living in one of the houses. Two of the women also told me that their houses will be ready to move into soon and that they can't wait to be out of their tents and back into a house!"

Linda Shelly, Mission Network director for Latin America, said, "It is very encouraging to see how the church and community are working together to rebuild the houses that were lost. We are grateful for the generous donations that are helping to pay for this work and also recognize the many people in Iquitos who shared food and material goods."

Mission Network is grateful for donations and grants that have already been given. If you would like to help the church respond to priority needs, send contributions marked "Iquitos fire recovery" to Mennonite Mission Network.






​Laurie Oswald Robinson is editor for Mennonite Mission Network. 



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