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Little Lulu Goes to Jungle Camp

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S: Little Lulu Goes to Jungle Camp

BC: Jack Ruth was a remarkable man. With a wife and four young daughters, he had established a good life in the city of San Diego. But his desire to serve God was more important than the comforts of life. To the amazement of family and friends, he took his family off to the mission field and never looked back. Thus began his romance with missionary life. | It was common for missionaries at that time to create slide shows with soundtracks to help explain to their supporting churches about life on the mission field, but Jack Ruth added a genuine sense of wonder and his own special gift for storytelling to make stories that are worth reading even after the passage of so much time. This is the first of several stories that have been adapted from his slide series. While the printed book cannot always capture the same enthusiasm that permeated each of his spoken stories, it is hoped that the message of God's faithfulness to those who are obedient to His calling is just as clear.

FC: Little Lulu Goes to Jungle Camp | Another Day in the Romance of a Missionary's Life by Jack Ruth

1: Little Lulu Goes to Jungle Camp

2: Hello, my name is Heidi Lou Ruth. After two years on earth, I’ve already earned the title of “Little Lulu.” I asked Daddy to talk for me since I haven’t mastered that foreign language yet. He always knows what I’m thinking anyway.

3: I have three sisters who are always giving me trouble: Jackie, | Joy Bells, | and Dawn Sue. | As you can see, we all love our dolls and have all the real good things in life like most other American girls.

4: My daddy is a City Engineer in San Diego in charge of a big Opera House. That is, until last summer. That’s when things began to change. We all went to a big university in Oklahoma where Daddy and Mommy found out if they could be missionaries with Wycliffe Bible Translators. God had called them into this work, so He took care of all the details. At least, that’s what they told me.

5: We were soon back at our home in San Diego and I thought everything would soon be normal, but they kept saying we had to go to Mexico to train at a Jungle Camp. This sent all sorts of crazy ideas going into my mind and I didn’t know what to expect. | Soon afterwards, they had a big church service for us. After everyone prayed and the elders laid their hands on my head, they told me I was a little missionary.

6: Christmas was no sooner over than I found myself out in the lane packing my duffel bag. We each were allowed only one bag. What a blow! I had to leave most of my toys home. Only one day later and our loaded car was crossing the Mexican border.

7: Boy the people down here sure have different houses than we do. All mud and grass. | They don’t seem to have any washing machines, tractors, or trucks.

8: Here you see them with their own spinning wheel. I like to watch people making things the most. | Here they are rubbing color into tiny hand-carved grooves. This will be later covered with lacquer to make it permanent. | They never seem to be in a hurry like us. | The donkey is their best friend. You see them everywhere.

9: Every town or city has their plaza with a huge Catholic cathedral in the center. My Daddy says only two hundred soldiers and a few priests started all this. I guess missionaries do make a difference to a country.

10: We finally arrived at Wycliffe’s headquarters in Mexico City. There we received final instructions of how to get to Jungle Camp.

11: After that, we spent three more days on the road traveling south. We went past many old Indian ruins until we finally arrived at Ixtapa near the bottom of Mexico, | where Missionary Aviation Fellowship had an airport there with two planes that serve all the missionaries in that area plus Jungle Camp. Here is our plane – a Cessna 180.

12: Boy, did I like flying. Off we go, down the runway. The Indian villages were soon far below us. Then we went over the mountains.

13: And after 40 minutes, the Jungle Camp airstrip was right below us. | Down we went. | And another perfect three point landing. Daddy says Missionary Aviation Fellowship never has had a fatal accident in this rough country thanks to God’s protection.

14: Two Indian ladies met my sister. They sure had funny hats. | I looked around and there was main base. Mud huts everywhere! Which one was ours?

15: Daddy put a swing up in front of ours so I could always tell it from the others. | The first thing my mother does after a trip is give me a bath. But, somehow, it was different here.

16: Mommy put funny nets around our beds, and it sure made it rough sneaking out at night. | Our sofa was an Indian hammock which always ended up flipping me out on the mud floor. | Mommy had lots of shelves, but Daddy still made more in his pioneer carpentry class, | plus all our deluxe seats.

17: We had dinner in a big dining hall, but I didn’t recognize any of the funny food. | Poor Daddy couldn’t bring his automatic washer along, so he had to stay behind. | Mommy had to learn to cook all over again. Everything had to be boiled, washed and sterilized, so I stayed by the water faucet.

18: Any time we wanted meat, the men had to go out and rope a cow. Then I closed my eyes as they shot it.

19: I don’t think Mommy or Daddy liked cutting it up, either, but they liked the meat more, so they did it anyway.

20: The poor chickens ... | just lost their heads. | I soon ended up in the nursery, | with twelve other kiddies and my boyfriend.

21: While I was there, Mommy and Daddy attended many classes to teach them how to live in the jungle and travel on the rivers. | Sometimes, they had difficulties. The water was twelve feet deep here.

22: They had saddling classes. Looks like they’re having trouble with that tail. They also learned to ride. Mommy had no trouble here.

23: Swimming was fun – but was very tiring because they swam for distance. If the raft ever upset on a jungle river, they had to know how to swim a long ways to the other shore. | The hardest class, they told me, was the Tzeltal language class. | Each word was learned right from the Indians.

24: Mission dentistry was new. And haircutting was hilarious. | Daddy even had to give a shot.

25: The days went fast, and it didn’t seem any time at all before Daddy was reading our nightly Bible story. It rained pretty much at first, but us kids all liked our new raincoats.

26: Hikes helped build up our leg muscles ... because missionaries have to do a lot of walking.

27: Sometimes, we took the family mule. Daddy always got the worst ones - they wouldn’t work. But all the kids thought they were great.

28: The hikes got longer and longer and took us to the very edges of the valley. | Here’s how Mommy looked after a four-day, fifty-mile hike. Once, Daddy even found a Mayan grave in an old temple.

29: I always stayed home and was a good little girl. | On Sundays, we had Sunday School and Worship Service in the dining room. | Then, maybe, a picnic dinner outside in the front. | In the evening, a testimony service where each camper told everyone how God had called them into missionary work.

30: Our wash was done by the Indians. And I held the clothespins when Mommy hung it out to dry.

31: A nice long canoe trip finished up the fast six weeks here. They had some wild experiences on that – especially when they shot the rapids.

32: After that, everyone prepared to leave for advanced base. The next six weeks supply of food was issued here. The whole camp left at sunrise. Our family stayed behind, however, to help out around camp.

33: Mommy had to teach. And Daddy had to build a schoolhouse. For, as you can see, the old one was too small. Of course, I helped my Daddy the most.

34: I had lots of Indian friends. And we visited their homes many times. The Tzeltal Christian Indians always had a smile on their face.

35: Our turn came to leave main base with the next group. Down we went through a mountain pass to Advanced Base ... Twenty miles away. | We got there at night and hung our jungle hammocks.

36: Next day, our instructions were “Choose a site apart from everyone else and build your Chiapas house." | My Daddy built a ladder out of a Balsa tree to put up the high poles and for a toy for me to climb up the vines. Then we began to clear the sight.

37: Daddy made a temporary stove first because he likes to eat. | And a teepee table which also helped hold up the roof. | Then came the main poles. | I helped to make our second floor bedroom.

38: There was no rope or string. All the poles were tied together with Balsa bark or vines. | All the kids helped on the framework which was made from cane poles. | At the top of each cane pole was a big fan of leaves. | It takes hundreds of these to finish the roof.

39: Daddy thought he’d never get done. But it was finished soon with all of our furniture and shelves. | We finally hung the hammock and here is where we stayed for six weeks.

40: My favorite spot was our bedroom. And, boy, was it fun to climb that ladder or swing in the vines.

41: I brought all my friends over to see our new house, and to show them around the clearing.

42: I had quite a time here. The first night, I walked off this dock and everyone had to jump in to pull me out. | The next night as we ate on the ground, I decided to walk in the center of everyone’s plate of food with my muddy shoes. No one appreciated that. | And I always ended up in the doghouse.

43: My main buddy was Blackie the chicken. I soon learned to pick him up. We were supposed to eat him, but he became my friend. And I soon carried him all around; then nobody was going to eat my pet.

44: Night soon came and off to bed I went with all my fears of the jungle erased. I think it’s a great place.

45: Mommy and Daddy attended more classes on survival before they left on their four day test of being lost in the jungle without food, water, or shelter. Our director, in the foreground, was the nicest guy and always gave me some of his homemade candy.

46: Mommy had the roughest time in the kitchen. All of our food had to be cooked on the big mud stove Daddy made. Built in it was a five gallon can where all our drinking water had to be boiled for at least five minutes before we could drink it.

47: Then all our dishes had to be steamed to get rid of the germs. Daddy and I helped with the firewood.

48: Our meat supply had to be dried in the smoke. All of our dinners had to be made from our small supply of food. A jungle cookbook helped out a lot. Mommy even learned to bake with hot coals on a frying pan lid.

49: To keep the house straight with all us kids was quite a problem. Mommy made cloth bags with pockets for each of us. Yes, sir. Us kids really had it made.

50: Our next door neighbors were the Hamiltons who are going to New Guinea. Her daddy is a pilot. After the survival hikes, Daddy helped out in the clinics, putting to practice what he learned at main base. Also an Indian store was set up to buy local supplies.

51: The rest of the supplies came down the river on a hot dugout canoe. The Indians thought it really was the greatest. My last big hike was upriver to stay at a local Mexican rancher’s house overnight. Our Director took us up in the outboard dugout and we walked back.

52: We stayed all day at the ranch and played with all the animals. The girls took us to see the waterfall right behind the house.

53: Daddy and Mommy practiced their language and saw how they lived. Mexican hospitality is wonderful. | But what a world of difference from the Indians who live in the jungle.

54: The last few weeks, Dad left us to hike far into the jungle to set up clinics and witness for Christ to those who have never heard the Gospel before. We hear of Jesus every day at our daily devotions. I think all kids should hear about Jesus and his love for us.

55: Well, all too soon we were flying out of advanced base. The dock area is right in the center of the picture.

56: No, sir. I’ll never forget Jungle Camp; | and all the good times us kids had there; | and all the fellowship our parents had; | and all the swimming we did.

57: If any parents have a call of God to missions and are staying home on account of us, I hope this will quiet their fears. These Indians should know about Jesus, and who is going to tell them if we don’t? Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15. | I’m going to do my part. How about you?

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  • By: David K.
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  • Title: Little Lulu Goes to Jungle Camp
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  • Started: about 7 years ago
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