The vision we have for the work here is a large one and one we can not do alone. If you look at our map you can see a series of islands that snake along with the river. These are the communities we are striving to reach with the Gospel Message. This is no easy task and we need your daily prayers as we toil in the garden the Holy Spirit has placed us. Now these waterways are filled with dangers and pitfalls. It is very common for us to have a boat load of volunteers who we are taking to one of these remote locations when we will hit a tree. Not a stick but a full size tree below the water line. This river is massive with some days moving large amounts of debris down the river or up the river depending the direction of the river at the moment. Keep us in prayer as we work the garden for Jesus.
What is in your back yard? Since we live on a an island located in the middle of a shrinking rain forest, our backyard has a few different animals than you might have. There are lizards running through our yard on a regular basis. Why running, well we have dogs protection, so when they lizards come into the yard they find a few big dogs coming after them. These lizards come in a variety of colors and sizes. As you might expect most of them are small in size though we do occasionally get a bing one in the yard. We think our old cat tried to eat one some time back. He came home with a few strange injuries that left him laying around for about a week as he healed. So back yard watching for us can be interesting.
We are a Wednesday night church, which means that there is not much happening on Sunday. The little church group meeting is held at a house across from where my teammates lives, Jeu and Ester. They are a couple that pastors the Monkey Island Church on the weekends and helps us during the week. Which is one of several reasons we meet on Wednesday.
Our little group has fun laughing and singing as we praise God. What do we have to laugh about? We we play games and tell stories, Bible stories. It is a fun time. One of the activities we like is act out the story. It is more like an quickly improvised play with most of the audience knowing what the story is all about. It is a great way for these people to remember the story.
We are so excited about the news Sindia shared with the womens group on Tuesday. She has asked Christ into her heart! Sindia is the daughter of George and Maria. George was the first to get baptized and she has been staying with her parent along with her husband and two kids. She has been attending the Womens study and two other events during the week. So it is with great rejoicing that we see our work bearing fruit. Please pray for her as she tries to understand what her new found faith will mean for her and her family. Pray for her husband who attends our Monday Mens Bible Study. Remember Jesus Saves!
Popcorn is his nick name and he is the one to the left. He is a motorcycle taxi driver here on the island of Cotijuba and he will be getting baptized next Sunday. We are so excited about this man who has been with us for over a year now. He is a great story teller and still trying to grasp the concept of Grace. It has been an interesting road with this man, who’s real name is Christava, like many he started attending a few bible studies and then he opened his own home for us to use on Friday nights. Now he is on fire for the Lord sharing with people some of his personal testimony along with the story of Martha and Mary from the scriptures. Please Pray for him as he prepares to be dunked next Saturday.
The people here on the street and on the surrounding islands see me as a rich man. That is because they are very poor even by Brazilian standards. As we desire to ministry to these lost souls we find that this white skin of our is seen as dollar signs. When we talk about new life in Christ they are thing we are talking about getting rich! The prosperity gospel is preached here on many street corners and yet it is ironic that there is no prosperity only poverty where every you look. This provides us with some real ministry challenges as we seek to share the Good New of our Savior. One way we are dealing with this issues is to work with our local believers for evangelism and outreach. They do not have the same stigma that we come with. This process seems to be slower than if we did every thing ourself, but we have learned that if they see as a source of money when the money does not come, they just walk away and miss the entire message we are sharing. Pray that the Holy Spirit will keep providing believers for us to partner with.
What type job can you get on our island? There are only a few employers on the island. The government (police, school, bus driver) and an ice plant. Outside of that every one is in business for himself. There are shop owners that employ a hand full of people and guest houses that are very seasonal with all of them are family run. Motorcycle taxi driver is the most popular trade here. The island is crawling with them on popular weekends. Yes, we are a local tourist spot. We have 14KM of beaches at low tide, that people can walk on the beach or sit at one of the many restaurants that line the beach. This means the weekend is busy for the locals. There is jobs here but most of them are service jobs that are part time. Many people have to find some other self employment during the off season just to get buy. As they say it is a great place to visit but not to live here.
We have been training volunteers for the past number of years to share the “Good News” using a story cloth. It is a simple tool we have printed up here in the city of Belém. The Holy Spirit blessed us with a young lady who is an amateur artist and had the time to give us 24 pictures on short notice. It took about four months to develop the story cloth including selecting the stories. The stories are short stories from the old and new testament. The cloth is similar to material a handkerchiefs are made out of. It has been referred to as our picture bible and is very practical for our environment. It can get wet, use it to cover your head, put it through the wash and still use it to tell stories.
God has blessed us with two teams to work out on the river. This is Mario’s team whom are visiting families out on the river. This past week they stayed overnight in a river community and found the door open at six different homes. When they pulled out the story cloth the entire family came round to see what it was and to hear a few stories. They loved it. Some of the families called the neighbors to come join them. At one home they had five families packed in as they told a few Bible stories. It was a great experience for our team and the all the families invited them back for a visit. It will not be till the end of he month before the team can return. So please pray for them today as they put on a kids club and June 16-17 as they return to visit families.
Many of you prayed for the Big Event and God answered. We had 18 new kids show up and a total group size of 33 kids. It was a smash. The team that put the event on did a great job. There was a clown, Pastor Adailton, puppets and balloon games. It has raised out awareness in the community and expanded the number of contacts we have in the community. Praise God! Our goal is to grow our contacts in the community so that we can make follow up visits with the families. This way we can share our Bible Stories with the families and pray for them. It is also a opportunity for us to invite the ladies to our womens meeting during the week. Please continue to pray for this point of light at Farol Beach.