One evening, we divided up the team and ½ of us went to Bom Jesus, a river town of about 800 people. It has had a struggling Vineyard Church for several years. When churches struggle here, it is usually for lack of leadership, and this is the case with this church. The pastoral gift is much needed in this culture and this is why finding, training and equipping leaders is a priority for this mission. The unique situation here is that a "pastor" is an esteemed position in the community. Therefore, a pastor doesn’t necessarily love Jesus and isn’t necessarily called and gifted for the work, but may simply be seeking a good job. We are looking in each village and community for Jesus-lovers, called to shepherd and to serve His people.
This town is "dark". Foreign teams have visited here over the years and left with the same spiritual impression. There is a unique darkness and oppression in Bom Jesus. On this particular night, however, joy came to this river community. Over 100 people showed up for the service in a building that was incredibly hot and where the sound dynamics were quite poor. There were many kids present and Terry, a member of the team that is considering relocating and joining our long-term mission team, did a simple, wonderful rendition of David and Goliath with puppets. The people enjoyed the story immensely. There was much laughter as many kids volunteered for simple parts in the play. Many people came forward afterward for prayer as there was an obvious longing for God’s touch among those present. Terry plans to come to the Amazon Basin and specifically minister to children, which is a huge need in this culture where children are commonly neglected.
We are so blessed that foreign missionaries continue to join our work here. The need for workers, both local and foreign, is greater than any other resource. My understanding is that this has been the case historically and remains so. Two thousand years ago, Jesus said that the "fields" were ready for harvest but the workers were few. The Amazon is not the only field where this is true. There are so many opportunities to go to need, in so many areas of the world, for people of ANY giftings, to love people and simply share what they have been given. Loving people is God’s heart. How each of us is called to love will vary, but to love with passion and with care, is what largely what God uses to reveal Himself to people who don’t know Him. Would you consider talking to Jesus about this today and see if He would ask you to go to a place of need (perhaps to someone in your neighborhood, or perhaps to another culture) to share with someone hungry the bread that has been given, so freely, to you?