The new look on the river is aluminum boats, I own one similar to this one. It is like a new fashion statement on the river. These little 24 ft aluminum boat are popping up all over the river. Many have a 20hp Yamaha outboard motor or a Habeta as seen in this photo. It is a small lawnmower engine with a prop attached at the end. These are quite dangerous but common in our area. The next question is how many people would you put in this boat? I have seen these boat packed with ten people with gear. Life on the river is very different from the city. Pray for us as we try and reach these river people with the God News.
We live in a rain forest. This year the rain has not let me forget this because it seems to have stopped so many of our gatherings or plans we have made. Monday was the mens bible study, it was calm with the thunder in the distance. George the fishermen told me it was going to let lose so no one else was coming. It did just that. The wind blew hard and rain came down at a good rate of six inches an hour. Then their was to boat ride home last week. It was a white out. I could not see where our island was as we traveled home. One of my friends lost his cell phone because it got wet and it was in a plastic bag. The rain is just part of our life. Pray for me as I deal with the rain and lean that it is mightier then me, so it make me pause in my day as we wait for the rain to pass.
Where do you sleep 35 people at your house. In my case everywhere. It is our joy to host two churches as they have brought their youth out for a three day retreat. They are also exposing them to our island ministry. This morning a group of five headed off to our Farol Kids Club location to run this mornings club. It is exciting to see this new church in voled in this ministry. It was God’s hand that arranged them to be here and we see God opening a new door for us in ministry. I have been in discussions with this church for the past year to become involved with our Kid Club outstretch. Now they are very interested after being out here and experiencing a small sip of what we are doing. Please pray that the Lord will open the door for them to become part of our ministry to reach the islands for Christ.
I have lived here for years but the massiveness of the Amazon river never stops to amaze me. We cross a small section of this river on a weekly basis as our island is located in the middle of two deep water channels that ocean going cargo vessels travel day and night. At night we can see the lights pass in front of our house, while during the day ships will blast their horns warning the small fishing boats to clear out of their way. These are big ships that tower over the small boat as we pass by them on our way to the city. Some might ask, do our boats have problems out on this river and the answer is yes. These little boat do break down and we get stranded till another boat can come and recurse the passengers. The longest you have to wait is a half hour but it can still be nerve racking floating down river on a boat without a working engine. So remember to pray for us and our safety as we travel.
The Brazilian Real (Dollar) has not been a stable currency like the American dollar. When you become a missionary you learn all about exchange rates and the banking systems of at least two countries. Like anyone living on a limited income, we try to stretch our money as far at it will go. So exchanging dollars for Brazilian reais is always in the for front of our minds. Unlike the USA dollar that has looked the same for most of my lifetime that is not the case of the Brazilian currency. Here the bills have changed their look, feel and size over the years. The question you always have to ask – is it real?
Since we were in Brasilia the capital, we stopped by the central bank. They have a money museum. It show all of their different currency for the past 400 years. Over the past twenty years their currency has crashed twice and they have issued new currency. Their displays featured a number very creative bills that no longer exist. Then there is the display cases of existing bills and the many different formates that they have taken. Then there was the Gold section. Brazil is one of the larger gold producers in the world. In the state we live in they have one of the largest open pit mines that looks like the days of the California gold rush. The have put out a number of gold coins over the years but these are not sought after items. In the culture we live such luxury items are not part of life and because there is so much thievery many people were only fake jewelery. It was great to see all this gold but for most of the common folk gold and money are not dependable.
One of the realties of serving overseas is that there are some American rights you just lose. We tried to vote through absentee ballet but it looks like as times in the past the Brazilian Postal system has lost our mail. Many times we do not get mail that people send and mail we send never arrives.
As to political conversation in Portuguese it all seems to get lost in the translation. So we become very disconnected from one of Americans citizen right, to speak our voice into the political system. This is all part of our calling. Here in Brazil the Brazilians ask us all the time if we voted in their elections, we can not, we are foreigners. As foreigners we have no voices in their very corrupt political process. So on election day we are reminded that we foreigners far from the land we love and many of the love ones we cherish.
This week Jacob sent a audio track of the heart beat of our grand child. It brought tears to our eyes and joy to our hearts. It reminds us though of how far away we are from family and the fact we can not be there.
We all know that Americans love nuts. Well Brazilians love their nuts, Brazil nuts, cashews and a variety of peanuts. Though not peanut butter. Street vendors have all sorts of nuts for sale. The cashews are packaged in small little bags that sell for a R$. The Brazil nuts are stripped of their outer casing and sold whole or chopped up in larger packages – all fresh off the tree.
Then there is Spanish Peanuts sold hot. They take a piece of recycled office paper A4 size and make a cone out of it filled with Spanish Peanuts. These are then put into a steel bucket with hot coals on the bottom of the bucket. This keeps the nuts hot, dry and tasty. All sold for a R$ coin. This is one of Ellen’s favorite treats when taking the boat home at the end of the day.
I want to thank everyone who prayed for my dog but she died. When I got back from picking Ellen up from the airport we found the dog dead under the house. It was not a surprise. She was very sick and most likely had a antibiotic resent bacterial infection. Since we have been back she received three courses of antibiotics. This is the fifth dog that has died since we started living here. We are now down to just Tuffy.
Our dog did have two litters. Out of all those puppies I only know of two pup that survived. Two were stolen, so I am not sure about them. One was poisoned, one hung himself and one died of a snake bite, the life of a dog in this jungle is short and tough. We are thinking about getting a friend for Tuffy but not at the moment. We have only been back for two months and the list of things to get done is long.
The best way to get around on our island is by motorcycle. The island is filled with taxi drivers that use these motorcycles. Unfortunately ninety percent of the drivers here do not have a license or a registered motorcycle. This is not a problem on a normal day.
My taxi driver pick me up this morning to catch a boat into the city. On the way he got word from a passing cyclist that there was a police check point in the center of the island. They come out several times a year to make sure all the drives have current documents. He stopped and said sorry I can not get you any further, my documents are not up to date. That ended my trip into the city because my chance to find a legal driver is almost non existent.
It is so bad that the city came out to contract 30 motorcycle taxi drivers to drive exclusive for the city and its employees. I am sure this would be lucrative contract. Only 12 drivers applied who could meet the requirement of having current documents. There are over 200 taxi drivers on the island, which means the chance of me finding one of the 12, impossible! So I am back in the my office writing this blog article about life on the island of Cotijuba.