If you had the opportunity to spend a week on a remote river in the Amazon basin of Brazil—which would mean sleeping under the stars or on a boat; oppressive, humid, energy-sapping heat every day; the real possibility of no shower unless you take a dip in the river; no cellphone or TV; very early mornings and late nights; and a lot of walking, carrying, setting up, and tearing down in the heat—would that seem like paradise to you or punishment for some misdeed?
Well, I actually did have that opportunity this month. I took advantage of the opportunity, went, and loved every single minute of it. This past month I went with a few other missionaries into the Javari River Valley, which forms the border between Brazil and Peru. It was such a beneficial experience for me personally; I cannot wait to go back again. This area has the highest concentration of uncontacted people groups in the world. The plan was to head upriver on a boat and work our way back down, visiting villages along the way, holding medical clinics by day, and holding evangelistic services in the evenings. A trip like this is not for everyone, but for those who can deal with the heat and strenuous activity, it is a highly rewarding experience.
When you go into some of these places, the reality sets in of just how much we take for granted. These people live without so many of the luxuries that we consider necessities. Sin has blinded some of these people groups for centuries, and the results can be heartbreaking. You will regularly find a 12- to 14-year-old girl who has been married off to a man three to four times her age. You will find every type of child abuse being committed in these remote areas. You will find rampant spiritual confusion and even open opposition in some areas, and you will see hundreds of people who are nothing more than mules or field workers for the drug cartels. In places like these, the effects of sin and the Devil’s deception are tangible.
Praise the Lord, however, for His mercy and power to change all of that! In each village the clinics were well attended, as were our services. The team was able to speak several times in the school in one village, and each place gave us the use of a public meeting space to hold services. Though I don’t have the total numbers, there were over 90 salvation decisions in just the first village alone. I even had a few of the families asking if we were going to put a church there so they could continue to grow. What a blessing to be able to tell the Gospel to people who are hearing it for the very first time. We praise the Lord for His provision and safety during the trip.
Thank you for making endeavors like this possible. Because of your faithful support, several hundred people finally heard the name of Jesus and why that name is so important. We continue to need your prayers. Whether we are preaching in the jungle or in the massive city of Sao Paulo, we need God to open the eyes, ears, and hearts of those whom we are trying to reach. Thank you for partnering with us. We are honored to represent you.
Declaring His glory,