Tomorrow, Monday, June 7th, I leave for the Amazon. Sam and Silvana Shaw are already there and we will work with our Brazilian directors, Fabiana and Gerson Simioni. I will fly to Sao Paulo and then we will drive to Campinas. On June 9th we will fly from Campinas to the Amazon and begin our work there.
For many years, I have been praying for an opportunity to go to the Amazon. For so long I’ve wanted to have an opportunity to reach these children with the hope that only Jesus Christ gives. God has answered our prayers in a wonderful way! We have identified some friends there whom we will equip and train. They have access to a boat and they will be able to travel up the river to reach the children after we leave. Please pray for these new friends as they have much to learn and we have a very short time to teach them.
Please pray especially for the children that will see our programs. I really want them to understand who Jesus is and how completely He can meet every one of their needs. Please ask God to give us wisdom so that we will know how to best share with these children. Since this is a new area of ministry, we have much to learn and we have a short time to learn it!
As always, please pray that my luggage will arrive safely and with no damage since it is full of necessary equipment. Please pray for me as I am traveling by myself tomorrow and need strength.
Our new puppet team in South Africa is on their way to Mozambique to share for three weeks with children who live in very difficult places. Please pray especially for Rina, our new puppet director and the storyteller for our team. She has great enthusiasm for the work that she is doing with the children, but she needs your prayers. Each day they will have three programs that they will need to do for the children and this is a very new team. Conditions are very difficult in Mozambique. Please pray for strength and safety for the team. Please pray for them as they are traveling on poor roads through areas that are dangerous. Ask the Father to give all of them amazing skill.
We have been seeing God do so many wonderful things that I have not had an opportunity to share with you all of the stories. While in India, we equipped a new puppet team that will be working in Burma. The leader has a wonderful vision for reaching this country with the Gospel. Please pray for this new team, because Burma is considered a very dangerous place to be a Christian. Christians are regularly persecuted there, and it gives us great joy to have this privilege to touch Burmese children with the Good News. We were also able to send some other equipment that can be used by Sunday School teachers across the country. Please ask the Father to give these friends special protection.
After I came home from South Africa, I was very sick with bronchitis and, I confess, discouraged. I expected to arrive home and find all of the necessary funds for the next trip in the mailbox. This was my plan, but it was not the Father’s plan.I was very excited about what I had seen God do in South Africa but I was concerned that all the money necessary to buy the equipment for the Amazon had not yet come in.
I was praying and trying to sound more faithful than I really felt. It’s funny to think about, because God, who saw my heart, saw my discouragement. Clearly I heard Him say to me, "Linda, just ask me." So I quit trying to sound holy, and told God the truth. I said, "Father, please, I need immediate encouragement that you will provide the money for this trip to the Amazon." As soon as I finished the prayer, the phone rang. It was a lady in North Carolina that I did not know. She told me that God had laid on her heart to contribute to the Amazon trip. She felt impressed to call and tell me what she was planning to send. The phone call made my heart leap with joy! I was so excited!
I was reminded again of the Scripture where God says to Sarah, "Is anything too hard for God?" Within the next twelve hours, the remainder of the money was committed and all the equipment was bought. Thousands of dollars were necessary to finish this project, and the way it was supplied is a great testimony to the faithfulness of God. I am so grateful for this dear lady in North Carolina and for the generous support of Chestnut Mountain PCA. I am also grateful for so many others who choose to remain nameless – but God knows their names. I expect to see God do great things in the Amazon, because I have already seen Him do great things to get us there. His plans are always better than my plans.
The other day I missed a wonderful opportunity. Through a series of circumstances, God placed a young man on my front porch so that I could tell him about Jesus Christ. The young man was not very polite and falsely accused me of being hateful to him. Like all of us, I cling to the illusion of my righteousness. I was so offended that he thought I wasn’t a nice person! As a result of his accusation, I did not listen to the Father, but became offended. I focused on the wrong thing.
Please pray for this young man. Please ask God to send someone into his life who can tell him about Jesus Christ. I know that God has used this situation to remind me that I must not let distractions keep me from hearing what my Father is saying to me. I see it as a warning that I must be careful as I travel to the Amazon. Personally, I find the presence of snakes and piranha very distracting! Please ask God to keep all of our eyes focused on the cross. I do not want to miss another divine opportunity.
Linda, for Sam, Silvana, Gerson and Fabiana.