Friday, May 14, 2010

Brazil: Monday-Tuesday

I combined Monday and Tuesday, because we spent that day and night, and most of Tuesday on a River Community.
The Community, Igarape Grande, was a small village about two hours north on the Amazon. You can only reach it by boat.

So about 30 of us boarded this boat, and rode for two hours. It was a fun trip, it was also really pretty. The pictures don't really do it justice, but you can see your yourself.

I got to spend a lot of the trip talking to friends, reflection, and interviewing one of our translators, Levi, about what it is like to be a missionary. It was really enlightening to learn all about what it is like to be a missionary, but definitely not discouraging!

We finally reached the community after two hours of travel... and I feel in love. Maybe instant love isn't real, but looking back it seems like that is how it happened.
WE got there, and two girls were on the docks waiting to see who was coming in. The looked scared, but I know they were excited! I sure was!

We were told not to share the gospel because some missionaries had come in five years before, and did a poor job of presenting the true gospel. We were only allowed, by the mayor, to be there for travel reasons.

That can't stop us living the gospel though! I know, in eternities future, we are all, all of us on the team, are going to see many good things come from this stop on our trip!

We started by playing some games with the kids, and it ended in Brazil vs. USA... in the rain. Totally out of our league. But luckily an Australian, four or five Brazilians, a Canadian, and a really good USA soccer player were on our team. Basically, we won, but not without the "foreign" help. Good times.

After that I wanted to go swimming in the Amazon, so I got some people, and we jumped in! It was great. I got up onto the barge, and was standing there trying to catch my breath. Sure I used to be a life guard, but it was been a while! While I was standing there, I saw that two boys, about my age, were standing there. Lacking the language skills to communicate. i did something that is universally spoken. I pushed the one closest to me in.

After that it became battle royal. I fought with two little kids, about 7, and two older boys, about 20, and we tried to throw each other in. Believe it or not, I got them a lot, although they did get me too. Some where from people that I thought would help me, Maddie Robinson, but all was well, we had a great time!

And I got a good friendship out of it! (This is Jonas)
Jonas and I spent a lot of time together. Even though we don't speak the same language, God's love is universal, and doesn't need to be verbally spoken. And I know that he could feel it!
We taught each other English and Portuguese. He took me and some friends on an exotic fruit hunt (although they are not exotic to him, I thoroughly enjoyed them!), and I got to give him an English Portuguese Bible. I wanted so bad to explain salvation to him, but I highlighted a few key verses (John 3.16 and Romans 10.17). Luckily for me, the Bible is strong enough, that it doesn't need a weak vessel, like me, to explain it. It can do all the talking it needs to by itself!

I cool thing I liked learning about, was charcoal, and how it is made.

This is the building that it is "cooked" in. There is a hole out back were a certain type of red wood is placed. The hole is then sealed, except for a small portion, where air can enter. The oxygen travels into the cavern, carbonizes the wood, and travels out through a hole in the back (or the front in this picture) as smoke. It sits for four-five days, and when it is done cooling, it is ready for BBQ or cooking with!

This was Jonas' job, that is what he did for work. Tuesday morning, while the rest of the group was playing with the kids, I did a little personal exploring. And I happened upon Jonas. I got to help him move the wood for charcoaling, and talked to him a little. That is a loose term though. The whole time this was taking place his boss was watching with a glaring eye. Gringo distraction. I helped Jonas move 2 loads of wood, and the time flew! So on the third time I decided to take over pushing the wheel barrel. And I was pushing it fine, although it was difficult (that and the humidity made me break out in a sweat in no time!). A man happened by us, and thought that it was so funny that I was pushing the wheel barrel. Having seen me take pictures before, he wanted my camera to take a picture. Laughing the whole time, he just couldn't get over it. I was happy to let him take the picture.

That is when Jonas' boss saw us... and he was laughing too! He had me take several pictures of him, and then had me come over, hold his ax (he was cutting the wood), and had Jonas take a picture.

The quote goes, "The people won't care about how much you know, until they know how much you care."

We could have gone in there, pushed the gospel at them, and had some come to Christ, while others were left forever scarred.
Or we could have done it just like we did.
Showed God's love.

The boat driver, Wilson, goes in there, and now he, and others, have tons of ministry opportunities to share the gospel with that community!

Monday night, we showed the "Jesus Film" in Portuguese. About 25-30 showed up. I didn't understand what was being said, and having a lot of things I wanted to write down, I headed to a quiet part of the shelter. And Juliel came with me.
I was writing about 5 minutes, when this man, Juliel showed up. It was obvious that he wanted to talk.
After feeble attempts, he took my journal, and wrote in it. He kept that up for a good while. Then we tried talking again. Luckily Levi showed up, and was able to translate for me.
Juliel was an electricity worker, and traveled around to all the communities in that area and worked on electricity. He and about 20 others.
He and I got to talk for a while, if I ever go back, I know I will have his friendship.
But before he left, he told me that he wanted a present. Something to remember me by.
Boy, did he know what he was getting into!
I was able to give him a Portuguese English Bible (everyone wants to learn English, huge gateway to evangelism!). I don't know what he thought about the Bible, but it was in English, and it was from me. I think that he liked it.

Monday night we spent the night sleeping in hammocks. There was no electricity, yet, so we had to do all of our cooking and eating in the dark, but it was an experience. And even though the way the hammocks were wet up, were uncomfortable, and rooster started crowing at 3 am, and I didn't sleep more than half an hour. I have a lot of good memories, that I would never want to trade!

Sadly, it was time to leave, and when I say I didn't want to leave, I mean it.
But I did, and even got to take a nap on the boat.

After another two hour boat ride, we got to a boat landing, and got out. It was time for dinner! We got to eat at a Brazilian steak house, the food was great! And spend the rest of the time on the beach right below the restaurant.

It was there, that I was baptized (along with Jessica Pezzente and Josh Salinas)... in the AMAZON!

(Ryan Williamson was one of the leaders on our trip. He works with Missions at Headquarters here in New York)

Don't worry mommy! I got something for you!

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