I just returned from a week long boat trip to an area north of Altamira and south of Porto de Moz. Bets and the kids joined us for the last three days. We were hosting a team from the Cambridge Vineyard, outside of Toronto, Canada. The trip was focused on people living on smaller rivers and “creeks” and took us to homes similar to what we’ve visited before but in settings that seemed more remote and isolated. The houses were set deep in misty jungle. We took the larger boat as far as we could each day and then continued on in dugout canoes. We had a service each night with Scott Roe, the senior pastor of the above Vineyard, sharing a brief message after one or more of us shared testimonies of our relationship with Jesus. We worshipped to a guitar and since the people were predominantly nonchristian, the worship was low-key and somewhat nonparticipatory. There were 25-40 people at each nightly service following an afternoon of home visits and invitations. These home visits remain quite fascinating, as each home is so simple and the living conditions beyond my imagination as to day to day living. We had five people express a desire to follow Jesus in one service and several others throughout the trip. We saw a genuine humility in these people in that almost every person desired us to lay hands on them and pray for them. Most of these people live difficult lives and have experienced the emptiness of religion and seem open to hearing of God’s desire to have relationship with them. The local pastors said there is hunger for God among these people but not enough people to take the good news to them. The pastors pleaded with us to help them find more workers. It wasn’t the first time I’ve been overwhelmed by the size of the task. The fields here truly appear white for harvest, and so many workers are needed for the exciting task of kingdom reaping. By kingdom reaping, I mean being a participant in bringing news of God’s affection for these humble, hard-working people. I don’t feel burdened by the task, only a sincere desire for them to know Jesus like I do. I have so much to learn about this culture, but it’s remarkable that the gospel appears to be so attractive to these people on the rivers.
The kids had some nice swim times in the open river and in the “creeks”. Their favorite spot was jumping off of a tree into the water at one of our stops (see pics). The canoe rides were pretty unstable but we made it without even one “dumping”. Those of us with cameras were grateful. Bets was admirably tolerant of our canoe and its one inch clearance over the water and paddled for most of one, ½ hour, journey.
Two nice health care responses: We examined and prayed for an ill-appearing three month old with diarrhea and a man with a large abscess that opened within an hour of praying for him (this saved me a little work). The child was smiling and playful the next morning and the mom seemed so grateful for our willing intervention in her care.
I return from this trip pretty tired. I’ve had a lot of river time over the past several months and it seems to be taking its toll. I hope to rest over the next two weeks and get into a bit of a routine. Please pray for God’s refreshing and deep rest. I am so blessed to be in a place where God is obviously working. I am so blessed to see my family doing really well here. I am so blessed to be so supported and encouraged by so many of you. I look forward to what God will do with this team (us and you) He has assembled. Thank you for reading our blog. Thank you for walking with us and participating with us in this cool, cool task of loving and serving the people in this area.