Looking back on the last few years is an interesting process. 4 years ago we were finishing off getting out of debt, closing the business, praying about going back to YWAM. God seemed to through us a curveball when he led us to our now beloved church WCC. Taking a job at a Baptist church didn’t seem to make sense. It seemed to be starting over. Though doctrinally I am pretty well aligned I didn’t have deep roots, I was wanting to go into missions starting over in a new church, building new relationships seemed to be going the wrong direction.
We were amazed at how quickly we fell in love with our church. Amazed at how God used us bringing more passion for foreign missions and how he has used WCC to launch us to Brazil. What we didn’t see was how he would continue to use our church not only to bless us, to visit with us on skype, to share with us financially, to pray for us but also to open doors for us here. God sees so much further down the road then we do. Here we are sitting in Corumba MS, Brazil, a million miles from anywhere. We had no connections and no idea what would await us but had got excited about the Pantanal (swamp land, buyou). The remote wetlands that are full of life, including people. An area of Brazil still in great need of missions. Because God grafted us into the Baptist movement we have been able to show up and see God use that to open doors with a very cool association of Baptist churches. God’s foreknowledge of Him bringing us here and our need for this connection amazes me.
We have chosen to attend the first Baptist church here. We are really enjoying the people. The pastor invited us to his home for dinner last night and we looked at hundreds of pictures of boat ministry out in the Pantanal. He is encouraging us and excited to help us minister there. Had we came on our own with no connection to our home church we would not have had the opportunities we already have had.
Last weekend Daniel and I went out to a little village with a group from the church. They were celebrating 9 years of consistent meetings. They were also beginning a commitment to going to the village every 15 days to train up leadership. We as a family are going to go out a little early the next time and wait a few days for the group. I am excited beyond what I can describe for Melissa and the girls to get to go. I met so many cool people the last time. The leader of the little congregation is a fishing Guide. I am having trouble not packing up to go right now. He has a set of pictures on his wall of his wife with a couple 50 pound catfish, assorted other family pics with piranha and what not, also of the whole family around a very large anaconda.
The people from the villages were really kind and simple, some came from other places by boat. It was very different. Saturday night as it began to get dark they all scurried home so nothing would eat them on the way. There are lots of kids and women but not too many men in the villages. I don’t know if they leave to go work or just aren’t around but I know it results in a lot of problems. A lot of the girls go to work in prostitution fairly early. There is a tourism season where a lot of people come to fish it creates a demand for girls. Many parents even turn to this with their daughters as a source of income. Pastor Altair and I were both very concerned for a girl named Jacqueline. It really appeared she was perhaps being groomed for a bad end. Alcoholism is a huge problem as well as a lack of health care in many villages. Boats pick up a lot of the kids for school, some kids in far remote villages even spend the week at school and only return home on weekends. Last night Altair and his wife were encouraging us to focus on the river. Telling us that is where missionaries are needed. Discipleship, food, medical, teaching the bible as many people don’t read. There is huge need, but we must wait on the Lord. There is need everywhere. It is hard to be patient and make sure what the Lord is leading. I want to sell the van, buy a boat and take off.
If nothing else comes of it Daniel and I had a great time. He caught and held a piranha, touched a baby alligator, seen how many people live much different then us. God is doing a great work in us and I can only hope using us to do a great work in the lives of others.
Thank you again for partnering with us, loving us, praying for us. You are dear and important to our family.