We Work Outside The City

We Work Outside The City

Most missions are focusing on cities in our modern times. The thought is that a majority of the people live in the city so that is where the largest group of the lost are located. This strategy has resulted in the city of Belém  filled with all sorts of churches and religious enterprises while the river and the surrounding country side for the most part is void of churches.

In our ministry we seek to plant churches in areas where there is a shortage of churches which is why we are living out on the river seeking to plant churches among the islands of the Amazon River.  The next question to ask is why do not the city churches plant new churches out on the river. There are a lot of reasons why this has not happen. One is the culture difference, the river people are very different from city folks. The life style is simple and to many in the city it is a life of poverty. Then there is the prejudice against the river people, they are just not seen as real people. One good example of this is opening a bank account. If you do not have mail service to your house or an electric bill, then you can not open a bank account. You do not exist. Pray for out efforts out here on the river.

Training Men

Training Men

At the heat of our ministry is the training of leaders in practical ministry. Our goal is to plant churches using volunteers who have no ministry experience or credentials.  It is these men who volunteer their time and learn how to build the church from the foundation laying process that are the future church leaders and planters. Our system is not complex but based on learning the stories of the Bible, KISS (Keep is simple stupid). Jesus taught like this, he send out the 72 to tell His story and they made a big impact as God used them to change the world. The same is true here, leaning and telling stories is not complicated but with these stories and practical ministry experience these men can open a new community for Christ.  Pray for out leaders as they learn how to minister to the people living on the island in the Amazon River.

Sailing The Amazon

Sailing The Amazon

Some of the city volunteers that join us on this great endeavor, this is their first time to be out in a small boat. They discover the Amazon is not for the faint hearted. They are wearing the life jackets for a reason. The water can be very calm, but this is a river with a lot of large boat traffic. These monster ships, from out perspective, can create a large wake. It can be as high as three feet but two feet is bad enough. I have to stop the boat and wait for the wave to come to me. I then pass the bow of the boat through the wave. It is normally only two or three big waves, then it passes and we continue on our way. Some days the first wave will come into the boat. That is why I have a pump to keep the boat dry. Pray for our endeavor.

Bible storying Training

Bible storying Training

Our ministry is centered around Bible Storying as a key strategy to share the Gospel Message with people living out on the river. This is not something you will find taught at the local bible schools near Belém. It has been such an effective way to reach people here, yet there are only a few of us actually telling the stories. This is why we started Bible Storying Training for members of our city churches. As we seek to partner with them, they need to be equipped to tell the stories on our evangelism out reaches. We have tried a variety of formats but have settled on the one shot weekend format. We will set up a Bible Storying Training Event, they love events, and invite about 30 people to join us for the weekend normally Friday through Sunday. It is a crash course in story telling where we try to get them to memorize and tell about 20 short stories from the Bible. Many who attend know the Bible well but have never told scripture as a story. It has been a success for our ministry. So continue to pray for our story tellers.

Pray For Our Vision

Pray For Our Vision

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.

Wednesday Night

Wednesday Night

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.

Work With The Poor

Work With The Poor

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.

Our Story cloth

Our Story cloth

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.

Reaching The River

Reaching The River

Our ministry is a challenging one, as the Amazon river at this point is 200 miles wide. Our hope is to reach the people that are living out in these remote islands. There is no electric or public utilities out on these island. There is not even mail service to these islands. These people live a very isolated life. As you can see the boats are small with a very limited rage of travel.

How do we reach them? We we have our own boat “Toss the Net 01” which is part of a larger ministry effort to develop kids clubs out in these communities utilizing volunteers from our existing churches. It is a larger than life undertaking.