Four of us drove three hours to see Virgilho, who moved his family into the jungle about six months ago. He applied for and was given about twenty acres of land by the government to live on. Homesteading is still happening here as a way for the government to manage the land and give poorer people an opportunity to live off the land. I met Virgilho two years ago when he and his three kids all had malaria. He had recently come to Jesus and was part of the Mirante Vineyard church in Altamira. It’s been two years and he and his wife are still fired up about Jesus.
When Virgilho came to Jesus, He was visited by a man who he had never seen, who told him to go to church. He went to the Vineyard and saw this man again. This "man" was visiting on a team from Ohio. Virgilho went forward for prayer after spending the whole service staring at this man. He gave his heart to Jesus and his years as a hard-living, jungle cowboy were over. The man from Ohio, however, had never visited Virgilho’s house! The next week, Virgilho was visited by two men. One stood in the corner of the shack while the other attacked Virgilho. The man in the corner told Virgilho, during the fight, that He could command the other man to leave in Jesus’ name. When Virgilho did this, a hole opened in the ground and swallowed the man up. The man remaining also told Virgilho that he needed to read the bible. A remarkable lesson in spiritual warfare for this new believer. At that time Virgilho could barely read, but now after two years of much bible reading and following hard after Jesus, he reads with ease and enthusiasm.
Virgilho has grown into maturity in a short time. He has gathered his neighbors together with love and the good news and he is leading a homegroup weekly in his new “neighborhood”, deep in the Amazon jungle. His walk with Jesus is passionate and sound. His wife has been able to use her gift of hospitality to begin friendships here, and their hope is to soon have a church on their property.
They seem to be doing well in this remote setting. They live in a house with a thatched roof and no walls. They are clearing some of their land and hope to begin some planting soon. It’s work, work, work. On the equator, in the heat and the sun, with all the insects. Just like it has likely been for a thousand years in this area.
It was good to see him and his family. We stayed the afternoon and talked and ate with them. He gave us a tour of his land. We could tell that he absolutely loves living a life I couldn’t imagine living.
The drive out and back was quite nice. Rolling, forested hills and great conversation. Rick (mission leader), Steve (four years here from Columbus), Clyde (three years here from Oregon and now living in Porto de Moz), and the rookie. God’s done some neat things here through these guys and it appears that He’s currently gathering people for something special in this region in coming years.