The following stories are from the last week when we had no possible communication. There is more to tell, but this will give you some idea of all the wonderful things that the Father did. We returned today on a boat and trained our new team this afternoon. Rejoice!
We are in the state of Para, one of the three states in Brazil that we in the west identify as the region of the Amazon. The easiest way to get anywhere is by boat. Sometimes it is the only way. You can sail around the coast and then go upriver on a variety of rivers that feed into the Atlantic Ocean.
Presently, we are stranded as our second boat did not arrive until near dark. It is not recommended to travel upriver at night. So, we hung our hammocks on the boat and plan to leave in the morning after a good nights sleep.
All of us are praying. We have been told that it is not safe here. One of us must stand guard all night as thieves are a big concern. We have prayed and I know that the Father will send His angels. I trust in the sovereignty of my King. His providence. The captain was kind to let us sleep here and even had 1 of his men stand watch with us.
The night passed in peace. We were visited by 1 very drunk man and a large snake. The drunk man went to sleep in the back of the boat and the snake stayed in the cargo hole. He stuck out his tongue at us early in the morning to greet us.
The Second Boat
The first boat was 2 stories tall and carried more than a hundred people plus a lot of freight. However, our second boat was a new adventure. For 4 hours, we puttered down the river, with the engine sound roaring in our ears. It was a very small boat, packed full of our equipment.
I kept thinking about how much travel it took for me to reach the children. I had 2 flights to reach Sao Paulo and then a 2 hour drive, followed by a bus ride and then 2 more airplane flights. Then, I had another short drive to the harbor. I rode on 2 different boats for a total of 8 hours.
Last night, I boarded a third boat, the smallest yet. It glided across the water like skis on a rough lake. Sam and I went over by boat and everyone else walked through the jungle. We traveled during the daylight, but returned at night.
It was wondrous what we saw God do. Many children came to the program and many prayed out loud, asking Jesus to save them. We are blessed!
The sky was ablaze with the brightest stars. I prayed that this place would be filled with many believers, “ Shining as bright as the stars in heaven.”
Denilson is a little boy that I met as soon as we arrived in this place. He was the only child around and I wanted him to know about God. I told him that God saw him and knew his name. He was amazed to hear that God had a plan for him. I told him about Jesus Christ. He listened as though all of these very basic truths were news for him.
All of these things I told him as I tied a balloon animal. Please pray for Denilson. Ask the Father to write His truths on Denilson’s life. He came to several puppet shows and I talked with him more about Jesus. Keep praying!
CiCi is a little girl with Downs Syndrome. She lives near where the Amazon river empties into the Ocean. The beach near her home is covered with rocks that resemble smooth coral. It is a beautiful place surrounded by a jungle full of immense trees and strange fruits. However, it is a hard place to be a little girl who does not understand many things.
CiCi has a beautiful smile. I saw it when I stopped the other children who were making fun of her speech. I told her that I was from the southern part of the United States and everyone thought that I sounded funny. She listened and came to other shows. Pray for CiCi to discover the One who made her beautiful! After one show, I gave her my drawings and she was so happy.
Rita De Cassia’s Story
Rita is a beautiful little 10 year old girl, with dark eyes and silky black hair. She is named for a Catholic Saint. Her relative must include many peoples, maybe slaves, Indians, and Portuguese. I do not know the exact details of her family tree, but I know that today she became a child of the King, a member of God’s family. She prayed with me. Rita wanted to thank me for telling her about Jesus, so she took pencil shavings and shaped them into flowers. A missionary here gave her glue and paper. She made me a bouquet of flowers.
Tears fill my eyes as I write these words. She belongs to Jesus. Ask Him to protect her and keep her pure. There is so little light here, no hope. Little girls became pregnant at 12 or 13. I do not want this for this little lamb. Pray!
Up The River
I can not tell you where we are. I doubt that the children here have any understanding of where they are in relationship to the rest of the world. The place is called Crairu, but you will not find it on any map. We went up river for about 30 minutes in a severely overloaded small motor boat, 5 of us ,our missionary partner Jacobena, the boatman and all the puppet equipment. Sinking appeared to be an option. I hoped the puppets could swim. We traveled through a giant green tunnel and tried not to think about snakes. Strange birds and so many butterflies are everywhere.
At the school, the children stare at us with wide eyes. They dress like your children but the world they know is nothing like the world your children experience. You can only travel here by boat. It is so hot and we are always soaked. The fire ants bit me as soon as I climbed out of the boat. I now have 51 mosquito and ant bites. I definitely should not have counted.
The Gospel is news in this place. What a privilege God gives us. This is the most precious adventure. Please pray for the seeds of faith that are being planted in this place. Ask the Father to grow in these children deep faith.
It makes you focus on the cross with all that is in you when you realize that you are telling children the first Bible story some of them have ever heard. More, you are by God’s grace, introducing them to God, Jesus, the Bible, everything. There is a Pastor who comes to the village maybe once a month, but this is the first time they have had such a special program just for the children . Our friend plans to return to this place with more of God’s great stories. Pray for these children. Rejoice! Your prayers and support threw open this door. Thank you.
It took so many boats to get us to these places. Part of the team rode in one boat and had fish and shrimp jump into the boat. Sam and I rode part of the time on a school boat (the school bus). As we were riding, a lady showed us a school of fish and said pyranna, whether it was true or not the timing was of the discussion was not very motivational for me. I was very, very careful as I climbed into the other boat.
At both schools, the children were very excited, but at one there were more Christian teachers. You could feel the difference in the 2 places. At the first school, so many children prayed loudly, asking Jesus to save them. At the second school, a little boy bravely prayed out loud. I wondered if he would have the courage to finish, but he did. Please pray for all of these children. Ask the Lord to make them strong Christians.
The Bota is actually a fish that resembles a dolphin. He swims in the river and is to sport because of his pink color. There are many legends surrounding the Bota. The village people believe that when there is a full moon, the Bota becomes a man and comes a shore. They say he sleeps with girls. Often, when a girl does not want tell who she was with or is not sure, she will say that it was the Bota. Even now, there is a girl in the village who claims the Bota made her pregnant. This is a different world.
So many people here pray to images of people, believing that they have the power to help them. Many superstitions are held as truth. The first who came to this place claimed they knew God, but they didn’t teach people how to know Him. They taught the people that they could be good enough to go to heaven. Others more recently came who did preach the Gospel but added a list of rules. Again, they did not get the truth. The children and the adults listened to the Bible stories with delight. They are hungry for the truth.
My friend Taise talked with a little girl. She asked her what she liked best. Remember, we were working with dentists and doctors, who gave everyone free care. My friend and her father had wonderful games for the children.
When she asked her what she liked best, she quickly answered that the stories about Jesus were her favorite part. It is so sweet to see how His stories thrill these children.
In Jesus, Linda for Sam, Silvana, Fabiana, and Gerson