A world-traveling missionary from Dawson County left the country this week on a dangerous journey.
Rivers of the World Founder Ben Mathes wants to “build a bridge of understanding” between children in Paraguay and the United States.
Mathes left for Ciudad Del Este, Paraguay on Oct. 10 with a suitcase full of books, banners and personal letters from the students of a Christian School in Lawrenceville, Strong Wall Academy.
He plans to give the items to students in Paraguay this week and link the schools together via Internet.
The area, however, is surrounded by Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist groups.
Mathes had to gain clearance into the foreign school by talking with a notorious terrorist leader.
The meeting occurred about a year ago, when Mathes was visiting Paraguay.
He went inside of a mosque and met with Muhammad Yusuf Abdallah, who introduced him to a school’s headmaster.
“The guy made it real clear he couldn’t stand me, couldn’t stand America,” Mathes said. “He did give me a Koran, so I’m taking him a Bible this week.”
Mathes has no illusions about the journey’s perilous nature.
“It’s scary,” Mathes said. “It’s very possible that I’m being set up, but I need to do this.”
Mathes returns at the end of the week.
His organization, Rivers of the World, focuses on “everything from faith-based Christian missionary work to nation-building and research.”
Since 1978, Mathes has traveled far and wide on behalf of health development, exploration and Christian missions.