When visitors from the States stay with us, they usually make the comment that we are living in the great outdoors. We are residing in the middle of a rain forest with all sorts of bugs and animals just outside of the house. Our dogs protect us from the larger animals that are trying to get into the house along with the thieves who seek to do the same. Geckos are part of the landscape in our house. The eat all sorts of insects including the dreaded mosquitoes who carry all kinds of diseases. They seem to be very territorial creatures who have marked of territory in each window screens of the house. You will find that there is at least one gecko per window unless it is a large window and then they will have divided into two territories. Now they are not limited to just the windows. I have one that has taken over the counter in the kitchen. He will scurry around the counter trying to catch the insects flying over the food. This is why we like them, but they leave dropping all over the place which can pile up and be a nuisance in the house. So there are drawbacks but eliminating the bugs in the house is a high priority when living in the jungle. Please remember to pray for our health.
If you have not been able to keep up with my life, that is because I have trouble keeping up with all the things that are happening. Ellen has been in the States since the first week of February, which is much longer than we had planned. She has had knee surgery and shoulder surgery which she is now recovering. They are hoping that she will respond to the physical therapy quickly so she can return in September but they are not sure, so her return date is open. Encompass World Partners has decided to send me to a conference with Ellen in August. That means I get to be with Ellen the for the first time in six long months. Wayne is hoping that Ellen is feeling better by then. At the moment she is dealing with a lot of pain in the recovery process. Our anniversary was in June, so we did not get a chance to celebrate together and to make things more difficult the card Ellen sent me in Brazil never arrived. Pray that this will be a sweet time for the both of us.
Pastor Adailton is a close associate of mine and one whom we have worked together for over eight years. He seems to have such a vision for ministry that so many other pastors here lack. He is continually looking beyond his local church for ministry opportunities that he can be involved with while always turning the leadership of his local church to the elders of the church. He has also been willing to pass some of his growing church leaders to work with me because he wants to see them grow spiritually and Wayne offers ministry opportunities that his church does not have access too. Our friendship has been a great ministry partnership that has developed over the years.
He is also is a great clown! Kids bring such joy to him and if you can get him in front of a group of kids, he will have them smiling and laughing in a matter of minutes. He has a good understanding that you can have a great kids program on a shoestring budget. Adailton is a great storyteller who puts such expression into his stories and then he can organize the kids into an impromptu play about the story he just told. He has just started a new ministry to the people living on the streets near the dock where we pick up the boats. Please pray for his ministries and give him the strength to fulfill the ministries God is calling him to.
Our ministry here is a small and intimate where relationships are important. The island communities are not anything like the big city locations. Many of the families here have been part of this small community for generations. This makes breaking into these families difficult because you are seen as an outsider. This is why we focus on small groups that can provide an intimate atmosphere that can be positive and uplifting. The culture here has a lot of negative attitudes built into it. It is well known that your life is worthless and individuals are dispensable. This is one reason there is a lot of domestic violence in the general society, and the newspaper is filled with photos of people assassinated on a daily basis. Our message that Jesus loves you and His sacrifice of His life to redeem you is one that is counter culture. One way to communicate the Grace Of Jesus is to develop a deep loving relationship with these people with Grace at the core of the relationship. The lives of these people are so filled with baggage that no one wants to love them as they are, but we do! Please pray that we have the strength to demonstrate the Grace of Christ as we live out our faith in this small band of believers.
It has been a long time coming. The days of driving from behind are over! Now I just have to install the parts. The initial parts that shipped with the motor were an off brand that did not fit together. The dealer said oh well, gave me a store credit and left me on my own to source the correct parts. We found a dealer a thousand miles away that was willing to get brand name parts so that the parts would all work together, but it would take time. That was three months ago. So you can imagine how glad Wayne is. The work is not done. The mount for the control is smaller than the control, so Wayne will have to cut into the console to make it all fit. July is a slow month and no plans to use the boat this month, so there is time to fix it right. Pray for Wayne as he mounts all the controls on the boat.
This is a classic photo of two of our kids when they were little sleeping in their hammocks. One of the things you learn as a missionary is to adapt to whatever situation you find yourself in. This also means your family as well. Our ministry here in the Amazon Delta always required a bit of travel to visit families in other river communities and we enjoyed taking our family with us. That is what the Brazilians do! This meant taking our own sleeping gear, like in the Sates when you go camping. Only here we hang from people’s walls. If you look closely at these hammocks you will see they are made out of a thick fabric, not light weight material you would find a parachute made of. There is a reason for this. They sell parachute hammocks that are light weight and can fit into your pocket if you have a large pocket. The thin material is great for travel but so thin the mosquitos can bite through the fabric. You will then wake up in the middle of the night with a very sore back and possibly contract some mosquito-borne disease. The thick fabric protects your backside from these vicious creatures. Pray for us as we travel in our hammocks.
In January 2017 we took over a kids club on Farol beach on the other side of our island. There was a baptist missionary who had started this kids program about four months previously. They started it because they meet Stephine at a church camp and she accepted Christ at the church camp. Now Stephine did not know us at the time and there was no other churches on the island preaching the Gospel and she wanted to reach the kids in the neighborhood for Christ. So she asked them to help her start a kids program at her house. For the Baptist missionary this was a six hour round trip each weekend and they could not find a local Baptist Congregation to take over the ministry. These missionaries are acquaintances of ours so they contact us about keeping the ministry going. We had been praying for the Holy Spirit to open a door for us on the other side of the island. This opportunity was an answer to years of prayers. Inheriting the kids program was the easy part, over the year we have developed three teams from three different churches to operate these kids club and we are training our leaders to reach into the community. This has now opened other doors such as a womens craft / bible storying group and one man named Roger who was baptized in June. It is amazing to see how Jesus is in control of the building His Church. Pray for the work at Farol (which translates as Lighthouse).
Have you stoped buy the pet store at the shopping center and saw the most beautiful birds and other tropical pets. How about a exotic turtle? We do not have to go to the pet store or zoo to see such beauty, they are in our backyard. The people here love them as much as you do. They are prized pets. The macaws can live as long as a human. If you rent a place that has a macaw, there are conditions in the rental contract for you to care for the bird. The real owner of the property is the macaw who is protected under law. No you can not take these birds or many other animals out of the country but local do have them as pets. Monkeys are fun as they swing around the house climbing up trees and walls at someone’s home. Now we have done some traveling since we have been living in Brazil as missionaries. It is always fun to visit a zoo and see displays of animals from Northern Brazil, they are just common animals to us. I guess that makes us tropical too.
Paul is the son of George our first baptized believer on the island of Cotijbua. He is a bright guy and has a back ground of drug use and an aimless life. We have tried over the past few years to reach out to him but with little response. As our group has grown and he has personally seen lives change over the year, including his fathers. This seems to have made some impact on his life because he stated showing up at the Monday night bible studies. As we studied the stories they seem to touch his heart and give him questions to ask. While we where at the Monkey Island Church for baptisms the Spirit got hold of him and he decided to accept Christ as his Savior. Glory to God! Please rejoice with is in this new life and pray that he will complete the process through baptism.