We visited a remote village, 45 km north of Altamira, called Pe de Galinha (“foot of the chicken”). In this region, only a few miles away from the city is “remote” because of the lack of transportation other than bicycle and foot. Beyond that “few miles”, the towns become very remote, with trips to the city only monthly or less, often on a truck that makes runs every few days for established fees.
We left early in the morning. A Brazilian friend drove sixteen people in our truck (it seats six) and Ben and I rode the motorbike in a caravan of six bikes, each holding two or three people. Most of these folks are from the Mutirao Vineyard Church which teamed up for an outreach to this small village. There are perhaps 40 adults and as many kids that are part of this church (they meet in a two car garage that opens into a dirt road) and 20 of the adults on this outreach were from the Mutirao Vineyard. This is the church where our family spends much of our time because no North Americans are part of this group. The people of this church are warm and their love for Jesus is obvious.
At Pe de Galinha, a village of about forty families, we visited almost all of the homes and we were received warmly. The village members were quite open and said that there were no Christians in the area and, of course, no churches. There were several discussions about Jesus in people’s homes and we saw an impressive openness to the Good News of Jesus’ affection for them. In the afternoon, the men played a pretty serious game of soccer under the tropical sun and then we had a service under the stars with one light bulb powered by a car battery. I was the preacher this night and gave my first "message" in Portuguese. I spoke about the Prodigal Son (Luke 15) and his focus on himself (and my personal experience with the same) and where it led him, as well as the father’s love for his searching son. It went pretty well. There was a sweet, sober, gracious spirit among those attending (about 40-50 adults) and God used the worship and the love expressed through those from the Vineyard Church, as well as the message (in spite of the butchered Portuguese) to draw five folks to a place of bowing to Jesus as their God for the first time. It was quite a thrill to see these few publicly confess their desire to follow Jesus. For me to be used in this way was pretty cool. There will be regular visits from the Vineyard to help these in their new life with Jesus. Their lives are, and will be, difficult in this remote area of the Amazon rain forest, but all things will be new for these few and for those who follow.
It had recently rained quite a bit and the roads were a mess. That made the trip a lot of fun. The truck held up well and Ben and I stayed upright on the bike. It was quite a fun, tiring two hour trip for both Ben and me, especially on the return in the dark.