While there we seen a 7 or 8 foot alligator, tons of parrots, parakeets other birds, giant otters, capybara, the pastor and another guy seen a big snake, frogs, bats, fish, just a seemingly endless supply of animals. I got the opportunity to preach Saturday night. The way the villages work is that when someone is able to be there they a service and someone preaches, someone does worship, someone does Sunday school. It reminds me of stories of the old circuit preachers. Any how as I was preparing to try my hand at preaching in Portuguese, with no English speakers available, I was reading Genesis 1. How amazing to read the story of creation in somewhere that is surely a glimpse at the garden of Eden. Sitting in cities or towns where everything is buildings, concrete and shopping malls creation can loose its marvel. It can be easy to wonder if it matters how it came to be. Easy to think maybe God used evolution, maybe it only matters that you believe in God but don’t have to literally believe in the account in Genesis. I agree to be saved that probably isn’t important but sitting in that location looking at the incredible diversity around me I can only attribute it to God. The thing that really struck me was the separation of water and air, land and water, the abundance of plants, animals and fish that God put on earth. Genesis 1 describes the Pantanal. You all really need to come see it.
I managed to get through the preaching time ok. Pastor Altair, Andre and Rodrigo all encouraged me that it made sense and people understood. They seemed genuinely encouraging that it went well. Praise God. I prayed a lot that afternoon. I am not really someone who plans word for word what I will say and memorizes it. I need to interact with the crowd, respond, flow freely. It is who I am. If I was the other it would be easier, I could write it out in Portuguese, confirm it with someone and memorize it. It really felt like a confirmation that we are to spend more time on the river, perhaps live there and go out to other villages to do services. This will require a boat. I have one I am praying about.
On our way home Moriah said to us I really didn’t want to go out there and visit. I asked what she thought now. She said she liked it. I asked if she would want to live there, her eyes lit up and she said a big “that would be so cool”. We will see. I had to go under the church to get my hammock down in the dark. We were short a mattress and I needed to put it up in the church. I was so scared I was going to get bit by a snake. They are very plentiful and it wasn’t an unwarranted fear. Here in Brazil people always stay places late into the night. There as soon as it gets a little dark the locals bolt for home. Last time we were there one of the guys who stayed a little late had a poisonous snake try and bite him as he went up the ramp to his house. Him and his wife had to go out with lights to hunt it. His wife ended up killing it. People there are tuff. Douglas a boy Altair and I got to talk with had wounds from a knife fight that were still healing. There I found myself in pitch black under the church trying to reach up and untie a hammock. The next morning a snake got chased from the bottom of the ramp, where I was, to the river.
Sunday morning we had another little service, Altair shared, even referred to some of what I shared the night before, so apparently at least some of it got through. Then we all went down to the river for a baptism. It was beautiful.
Our kids did awesome. We loved it. We are praying. We looked at a house for sell there for about 12k dollars. I have to say we really need prayer. This wouldn’t be a little step or one to take lightly but this is where the need is. The people need disciple. Other villages need reached. I as a missionary need to be willing to go where the need is, where the average person in the church can’t easily go. Once a month isn’t enough time to disciple the young Christians. The boys end up alcoholics, the girls, many of them work as prostitutes and strippers during the fishing/tourism season. Lots of women and kids came to church, few men. To stand in the gap for those girls, for those boys someone has to go live there. Teach them love them. Lead them to go out to the others. Why not us?
The house for 12k
Anyhow, be praying. We will probably be sending out another letter soon with information on a house fund and probably a boat fund. In the mean time if you want to begin monthly support you can do it here.
Really this was probably the best time we have had in Brazil. Our whole family was engaged in the ministry. Melissa helped with kids and food, I preached, the kids served and interacted, we visited homes. It was truly beautiful.