Into the Jungle

The story so far: David Gates, a mission pilot in Mexico, is imprisoned unjustly on false charges. During his time in prison, God uses him to provide medical care for many prisoners. A series of providential events leads to his release. David and his family move to Peru, where he does computer work for the Adventist church. There he experiences several miraculous escapes from danger. Through it all, he learns to rely totally on God.

After almost five years of constant traveling, Becky and David decided he could no longer endure a routine that demanded long hours away from home. They had adopted two more children–Katia, a lovely Peruvian girl, five years older that their daughter Lina, and little Kristopher, also a Peruvian, four years younger than Carlos.

David asked for a change in job.

“I’m sorry. We have no budget. We need your skills and expertise. Computer specialists are difficult to find.”

“I understand, but God has impressed us that I cannot continue this stressful work, even though I enjoy it. Our children hardly see their daddy. Please give me a permanent return to the U.S., where I’ll complete graduate training in computer software engineering.”

David’s request was granted. When he completed his graduate studies, he received a call from the president of Caribbean Union College in Trinidad. “We need a director of computer services, but we have no overseas budget for you.”

“Could I come as an Adventist Volunteer Service worker? Just provide a home for a family of seven and a stipend so we can eat. We work for God, not for money. He will provide.”

God did! God provided a regular salary.

David began teaching at the college part time. He also worked as director of computer services for the entire Caribbean Union. This included flights to Georgetown, the capital of Guyana in South America. While there he flew to the interior, where he met the Amerindians who live around Mount Roraima, surrounded by vast jungles, treacherous rivers, steep mountains, and numerous waterfalls on the borders of three countries: Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana.

David met the Davis Indians, whose old chief had talked with an angel many times. The chief had taught his people Bible truths, which they followed. In 1911 Adventist missionary O. E. Davis fulfilled the angel’s promise to the old chief that a White man with a black Book would teach them more about God and heaven.

But since that time, mission workers had rarely reached the remote Indian villages of the jungle.

When David returned home, he told Becky and the children, “I wonder how many of those Indians die from lack of medical and spiritual help. What a blessing an airplane could be in reaching many of those inaccessible villages.”

Becky exclaimed, “David, I’d love to go there. We could help those dear people so much.”

* * * * *

After several years of service at the college, David shared with Becky, “God has given me a burden to become a missionary among the Davis Indians. But the Guyana Conference has no budget for that area. The Holy Spirit impressed me that we should become volunteers again.”

“Are you suggesting that we take our five children into the interior and live in a small jungle village with no means of support?” Becky asked.

“Why don’t we postpone our trip to the U.S. one year and experiment with God,” David suggested. “Can’t God supply our needs 200 miles into the jungle? Are we willing to take that risk and depend totally on Him? Let’s talk this over with the children. Before they leave home and go to college, our kids need to know that God’s promises to supply all our needs are for real.”

The next day David talked with his boss, the college president. “We would like your permission to go to Guyana on a volunteer basis and establish God’s message with the Davis Indians in the village of Kaikan.”

Reluctantly the president consented to release him. “It’s a needed work. The Amerindians have been long neglected.”

That evening at supper David broke the good news to the children. Katrina spoke first. “Sounds great, like real adventure.”

But another girl added, “You mean no running water, no electricity, no bathrooms? How can we live like that?”

Ignoring her, the others chimed in, “When do we start packing, Daddy?”

“The sooner the better. I’ll make arrangements to fly from Trinidad to Georgetown. Since no roads lead to Kaikan, we’ll need to catch a ride with a bush pilot to go into the interior.”

* * * * *

The day he received his last paycheck, David’s emotions hit the panic button. No more money coming in. Was this foolish presumption or living faith? He prayed, “God, please give me assurance, peace, and trust.”

Instantly Jeremiah 33:3 flashed into his mind: “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (KJV).

David did keep their airline tickets for a flight home to the U.S., should they discover this wasn’t God’s plan for them. But in his heart he felt the tickets would be used only for a short visit.

When the Gates family arrived in Georgetown, David called the village on the shortwave radio. “We’re coming.”

The welcome they received from the village folk of Kaikan almost overwhelmed them. The people arranged little posts from the runway to the church, with jungle flowers on each post. Above the church door they placed a large sign, “WELCOME TO KAIKAN.” All 150 people sang as they walked into the church. David and Becky cried with joy as they listened to a well-planned two-hour concert.

Then the villagers took the family to a small house near the river, similar to their homes. Smiling, one of the villagers said, “We’ve prepared this for you. We hope you

The adults smiled at the cramped quarters, but the kids thought it fun to hunker down on the floor together. The small cupboard contained no food, so they went to bed a little hungry. Kaikan had no stores.

But the next morning people began coming from every direction with packs on their backs full of bananas, papayas, root vegetables, rice–yes, every kind of food they had.

A beautiful river with pure, clean water ran by their little home. This served for bathing and washing clothes. A nearby spring provided good drinking water. A convenient outhouse cared for toilet needs.

At first they cooked like the locals, chopping wood and using a campfire-like stove. Becky observed, “Preparing food takes too much time away from providing for the people’s health needs. What do you suggest?”

“As soon as possible I’ll purchase a propane gas stove, which will speed up meal preparation,” David answered. “I’ll also get solar panels to charge up our 12-volt battery that runs the high-frequency radio and lights at night. An inverter will provide electricity to operate my notebook computer and your sewing machine.”

The children loved the vast playground–the jungle and river. They invented games as they scrubbed the clothes on a washboard by the river. They laughed as they navigated their little aluminum boat across the river to a little store in Venezuela. To them everything seemed fun.

After a few months of adjustment, Becky shared with David, “I love this place. My joy comes from seeing our children value real living. They’ve discovered that happiness doesn’t come from things, but from serving the Lord.”

Leave a Comment

Into the Jungle

Guide magazine only prints true stories. However, we do publish some imaginative stories on the Guide website. If you want to share your story with our online readers, click below.

Claim Your Thumbuddy

See if you can add another Thumbuddy to your collection.

Enter your claim code*