Do Not Despise These Small Beginnings

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.
Zechariah 4:10 

Greetings in Christ,

Well, another year has passed and we forge on into 2019 with great expectations of the wonderful, and marvelous plans of God.  Who knows the plans He has for us?

(Psalm 35:10) 
I will praise him from the bottom of my heart:
“LORD, who can compare with you?
Who else rescues the weak and helpless from the strong?
Who else protects the poor and needy from those who want to rob them?”

And again….

(Psalm 106:2) 
Who can list the glorious miracles of the LORD?
Who can ever praise him half enough?

Surely we can not!  We try on a bi-monthly basis to relate all that He has done here, using us, using you, administering His great power and glory amongst the Apurina people, but we are constantly searching for the right words to express all of this, knowing that we come up really short.  Suffice it to say, We will praise Him all our days and trust that you too are catching a taste of what we are trying to relate.

2019 is looking very bright from our earthly perspective.  Let’s start this update with another story from our trip into the village last week.

It was 1:30am as Brad arrived at the mouth of the Indian reserve, pitch black, the main river swollen from the raining season having arrived, large tree trunks ominously bobby through the strong currents fighting to get downriver, the steady beat of the large passenger boat which had transported him there was quickly buh,buh, buh, buh, buhhing off into the dark.

The mighty Purus river is not like any river we have in the U.S.  It is massive, powerful and yet deceivingly calm on the surface.  It is deep, averaging 140 ft, and wide, 5 minutes to cross at full speed in our boat.  Of course the depth of the river just plays with your mind at 1:30 in the morning as you realize you are all alone in the middle of the jungle.  To further add to the games that were being played in his head, as he entered the 15 mile long lake he was greeted by a very dense fog which brought visibility to 20 ft, slowing the boat to a speed just above idle, and navigation solely by his compass.  Thank God for the Holy Spirit who helps in every hour of need.

Brad arrived at our jungle house at 3:00 am.  Everyone in the village had been asleep, but when a boat arrives, the foreign noise from the motor is assured to be heard by most of the people, as normally they only hear the sounds of frogs, birds, monkeys, and other random animals.  By 5:00 am he had carried everything up to the house and by 5:30 had taken a shower, cleaned one small part of the house, hung his hammock and mosquito net and was zonked out.

6:30 am…….people are milling around outside the house.  knock, knock, knock…Pastor? You arrived?  There are of course sacrifices that must be made in order to be part of great works of God.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  (Matthew 16:24)

This trip only lasted 5 days in the villages, 8 days total with travel times.  This short trip was planned though.  The main goals of the trip were to: 1) remind the people that we would be back the first week of February with a group from California and 2) to visit a village upriver and negotiate the arrival of Oscar and Analucia, the first missionaries to be sent out from our ministry, preaching and teaching the Gospel, with plans to plant a church as the Lord blesses.

We accomplished both goals!  This other village is quite a ways from the reserve where our house is.  In fact, it is on another reserve, about 75 miles up river, and we get there in our ministry boat using a 40hp motor.

You may recall, Brad has been to this new village three other times, holding 2 Bible Conferences, evangelizing, teaching, and watching the Lord work His wonders.  The first time he went there, the people had a small statue of a Catholic saint which they were offering sacrifices to.  They accepted the Gospel on that first trip and destroyed the idol, requesting that we return and work with them, hungering for more of the life changing, powerful word of God.

We are not making this up, although in the U.S. it may sound like we are embellishing it.  We are not.  That had been 3 years ago.  We are really excited that Oscar and Analucia have heard the call of God to return there and start a new work, for we ourselves cannot work in three villages at the same time, lacking manpower and resources.  For this we look to the scriptures.

Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. (Luke 10:2)

Do you sense the call of God to enter into His harvest?  Step out in faith and test the waters.

Even though Brad, Oscar and Analucia and a couple of others had gone up river to this new village, called Sao Gabriel, he still held 5 church services on the other 4 days of the trip, both in Vila Nova and Aldeia Nova.

Want to know more about these things?  Follow the links above to the ministry pages or click Apurina  or Support Oscar and Analucia.

Are you still reading?  We have another story from this trip. Saturday night, on the full moon, when many of you in the U.S. saw a blood moon, the indians also saw a lunar eclipse.

Brad had been so tired from the travels that he had decided to use ear plugs and did not wake up when the people were knocking on his door to ask him what was happening with the moon.

In the morning, Domiginho came over and said, “Pastor, did you see the moon last night? It ran away and hid.”  Brad answered, “No, I did not.  I was sleeping with blocks in my ears. I am sorry I did not hear you call me.”  Domiginho responded, “Is it true that people die when the moon hides?” Another asked, “Do we need to bang on things and make lots of noise to keep people from dying?”

Our hearts pour out for the people and some of their superstitions.  We also realize most of us have weird little superstitious things that control our lives too, like step on a crack and break your mother’s back.  Still to this day I step over cracks in the sidewalk, although I know it has no effect on my mother. Here, in the city of Manaus it is impossible to not step on cracks in the sidewalks.

We do our best to comfort the people in these things and took this opportunity to show on the chalkboard what happens when the sun, earth, and moon align in certain ways and to assure them that the eclipse itself can not harm them although at the end time the Bible does say that there will be a blood moon and many people will die under the wrath of God. This was not that blood moon though.

Continue to pray for all of the people in the villages, especially for our disciples, Valdici and Oscar and their families.

Please consider supporting us Become a Financial Partner as the ministry is expanding and with that expansion, God is providing the necessary support.  Will you be a part of this expansion?  Will you be a part of God’s provision?

Email us at millerstobrazil@yahoo.com and give some encouragement, it is always welcome.

Brad will be in the U.S. sharing about the ministry and raising support next month, February 21 – April 25.  Want to know where?  Click Upcoming Events.

God bless you,
In Christ,

Brad and Melissa and Family

Keeping the Unity of The Spirit

Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:3

Greetings in Christ!  November 2018 Update

 

I, Brad, Just returned from the Interior again.  There are many great things happening with the Apurina people!  Enjoy the photos I have uploaded here.  We have videos too if you follow the links to our Blog. Enjoy and please email us with your encouragements and blessings! God bless you all!

You know, I have now made at least 30 trips into the same village, up the same river, and have navigated the last days worth of travel along that same river in our own ministry boat multiple times.  And yet, I was going into the village on November 7th, with the plan to arrive at the mouth of the reserve by 4:30pm, to meet both Valdici and Oscar there, who were going to help me push and pull the ministry boat up the creek to the village, pushing and pulling because we are at the lowest water levels of the year. As I was navigating the main river, I veered off into a shortcut that I had taken numerous times before, and I found it not to be a shortcut this time.  45 minutes later, being way back into the shortcut, I came upon a dry creek bed.  I had to turn around and head all the way back out to the main river, and then take the long way around.

Not only did I use up all of the remaining daylight I had, arriving so late that Oscar and Valdici gave up on my arrival, returning to their village, but I used up all of my extra gasoline that was to be used to visit other villages on this trip.

I learned a valuable lesson.  In the Amazon “Rain” forest, shortcuts are not always shortcuts….

I spent the night out on the river, in a boat the Indians own and headed into the village early the next morning. Without a guide, navigating the lake at low water time is very difficult, as the lake is just pools of water with bushes, and shrubs and dirt sticking up like islands. This is why I needed Valdici and Oscar.

I ran aground several times and had to push myself off of the underwater mounds infested with crocodiles. The normal 25 minutes journey into the village ended up being 2 1/2 hrs, but I did arrive by 9 am Thursday morning.

Oscar and two youth heard me arriving, and came down to help carry my stuff up to our jungle house. This is good as during this low water time of the year the walk is 650 yards up a path through the jungle.  On the flip side, during high water times of March thru July, we park the boat 20 yards behind our own house.

For a good perspective on this, watch this video I uploaded:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-3stfMIb5s&t=30s

The upside to taking the shortcut that wasn’t a shortcut yesterday was that I did not have to carry the extra 15 gallons of Gasoline that I had brought in for our generator.

Oscar and Valdici and a few youths were the only males in the village when I arrived.  All others were down river at another reserve, one of which has invited us several times to bring the Gospel to them and teach them, but we have as yet to have the time or resources to go.

They were fishing for the great Pirarucu, or we call the Arapaima. There is one time a year that they are allowed to harvest this fish and sell it, and I arrived at the tail end of the season.  They harvested 192 Pirarucu, each one being 2-2.5 meters long and 180+ lbs.

We still had church services each night with women and children present, pretty much everyone else in the village, averaging 45 people for each service.

When the men returned late Sunday afternoon, we planned for replacing the church roof, starting the next day.

Patricio, Valdici, Oscar, Adalto, Jovani, and Edinaldo all helped, and we worked each day, except for Tuesday, and by Friday we had all of the new rafters up.  On the Tuesday we did not work on the church, we did take down three trees, one of which was a huge Amazonian Olive tree which was overhanging my house. It was in full bloom as it was full of fruit, and every night, between the hours of 11:30 to 2:30 am, birds, rats or some type of animal would be eating the fruit, dropping the hard pits onto the sheet metal of my house.  Oh, what a ruckus it was.  Not even headphones could keep me asleep.  I was so blessed when Danilson came on that day and cut the tree out.

Here is a link to a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YvKT1C0xLE

Okay, numbers…….

During the week of the church construction, I still had daily morning classes in our jungle house.  I had an average of 6 people studying Baptism.  We plan to have a baptism in February 2019.

The last week of my stay, after completing the church, we had daily morning classes with 7 people, studying Communion, and/or the importance of being united physically and spiritually.

We had nightly church services, with preaching and teachings, prayer services, children’s clubs, women’s meetings, and movies.

For each of the 3 Saturdays of this 3-week trip, a few of us went downstream to Aldeia Nova and held church services.  This was a very fruitful trip for the new Congregation of Aldeia Nova.  We will have a baptism there in July, 2019, and pretty much everyone in the congregation will be baptized, as they have all accepted Christ in the last year.

We marked out the land and discussed the logistics of building a church there.  Oh, what exciting times!

Animals

We found a poisonous caterpillar one day.  On another day, Valdici killed a very poisonous snake in front of my house while cutting the grass(Pit Viper).  I also came home to a very brightly colored frog(Poison Dart Frog) on my porch one day.  I did not touch it though, as I was not sure of Brightly Colored Forest Frogs.

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am very excited as I have returned to the city thinking about how much the Lord has done through us, through you guys, and as I consider what else He has planned for the coming years.

Our next trip is scheduled for January 15-23, 2019.  It will be a very short trip, and I Brad will be the only one going in.  I am only going in to remind the people of my return the first week of February 2019 with a group from California and to make a special trip to another Village and discuss a future church plant.

Other Big News

I will be coming to the U.S.  The trip is planned for Feb 21- Apr 25th.  I will start in Miami, with a rental car, drive up through Washington D.C., over to Kansas/Nebraska, then to Texas, and end in California.  If you are in any of these areas and would like me to come by, please let me know.

I will post a speaking schedule later on, once I have finalized the schedule with our supporting churches.

Prayer Requests

Please pray for the people, both in Vila Nova and Aldeia Nova.  Please pray for their influence in the surrounding villages, all of which are begging for us to come and bring the bible to them.

Pray for Valdici, Oscar, Guirlermi, Analucia, Elsimara, Emerson, Evandro, Lucia, Rosanilda, Vanilsa and Josevandro.

Pray for our Family.

Pray for the two groups coming down in 2019.

In Closing

We trust you are encouraged by this good report!  Of course all things are always working out for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purposes!  Romans 8:28

God bless you all,
Please contact us to come visit and experience the amazing work of God and the Amazon life firsthand.

In Christ,
Brad and Melissa and Family.

The Millers to Brazil – October Update

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:58

Greetings in Christ!

Brad and Melissa here, letting you know all that the Lord has been doing in and through us over the last 6 weeks.

We were all in the Indian village from September 11th until October 3rd.  It was a very prosperous trip!  Highlights are the growth of the Vila Nova Church, plans for a new Church construction in Aldeia Nova, and the Children’s ministries!

Vila Nova:  This is where our jungle house is and also where the original Church is located.  Church growth continues there, as the children’s group is continually growing along with the youth group.  Our children’s group, made up of 5-13 yr olds, makes up about half the normal congregation on Sunday services.

We also built new tables for our morning Bible Comprehension Leadership classes.  We had a normal sized table, 3′ x 7′ which sat 5 men, with 3 women sitting on a bench without a table.  We built three new “classroom” tables and can now seat 10 people.  It filled up the first day, and thus we will consider enlarging our teaching room in the future.

Quite the problem to have, don’t you think?

 

Aldeia Nova:  After hitting a bump in the road on our last trip in August, we were unsure of what was going to transpire on this trip.  We are happy to inform you that we are back on track, tears having fallen from our faces (both the people and ours), traded out for joy and hope!

We will return to Baptism classes on our next trip in November, and set a date for those who want to be baptized, possibly in February?  We plan to mark out the property and start clearing the land for the Church construction, hopefully, to be completed in July 2019.

 

 

Please pray for Chief Evandro and his family, and the continued growth of the congregation there.

 Children’s Ministries:  The Children’s Ministry, which consists of Kid’s Club, Children’s Choir, and Sunday School, continue to grow.  The Sunday school is starting in Aldeia Nova, while we have Kid’s Club in Vila Nova.

We plan to break the Worship Service up to have both a service and a Sunday school in Aldeia Nova, where Melissa and Raimunda and Elsimara can start both women’s and children’s programs there.

 

We trust you are encouraged by this good report!  Of course, all things are always working out for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purposes!  Romans 8:28

Check this link for more current info on the last trip:  https://millerstobrazil.com/ministries/apurina-tribe/

Please continue to pray with us for everyone in the villages.  Here are some specific prayer items:

  1. Brad’s next trip, November 6-28th.
  2. The Leadership.  Vila Nova: Oscar, Valdicir, Guerlermi, Pedro and Domiginho and their families. Aldeia Nova: Evandro, Emerson, Jailson, Josevandro, Cirinei, Renneson, Bida and their families.
  3. Our family.  Brad and Melissa, our eldest son and family in the U.S. Brad Jr and Ashley, Andrea, Josiah, Veronica and Benjamin, along with Naice, who lives with us in Manaus.
  4. The Holidays and our plans for the coming year.

Possible 2019 plans: a) SGWM team in February, b) Brad going to the U.S. in Feb-Apr, c) CC Cumberland team in July, d) renting of boats for the teams, e) training involved and f) preparations for all trips.

God bless you all,
Please contact us to come visit and experience the amazing work of God and the Amazon life firsthand.

In Christ,
Brad and Melissa and Family.

 

 

 

 

 

Miller Family Update September 2018

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
Colossians 1:21

Greetings in Christ!!!!!

We have been here in Brazil for just over 7 years now.  And the Lord has been doing some amazing things in our mists.  We hope you have followed along and are rejoicing with us for all of His goodness towards us, towards you and towards the people, we minister to.

So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
Romans12:5

When we arrived in Brazil in 2011, knowing that God had called us, we were excited to go into the jungle and encounter all that the Lord had ordained for us to do..

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10

What a wonderful 7 years it has been.  We look forward to the future and what He still has for us to walk in.  There have been relatively few low points, and those mostly surround our ignorance of customs between our differing cultures.

On our last trip, July 17th through August 8th, we did encounter a difficult situation.  One of our leaders from the village church, through fear, had gone into the neighboring village where we are planting a church and convinced the chief that we should not have a house there.

Even while writing this, I know it sounds silly, but it was a serious thing.

I was in the village alone, Melissa and our children were continuing their home school routines before traveling to meet me in the latter part of the trip.  But upon encountering this situation, I was really missing her comfort and consolations.

We are still not sure what happened exactly, but it really hampered some relationships and has caused us to slow down and even back up a little. With prayer, we are sure all will work out fine.

We find comfort in the scriptures.  Paul the Apostle wrote, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” II Corinthians 12:9  Jesus also said, “In the world, ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.

The rest of the trip was AWESOME!

 

Our morning classes in Vila Nova (the main village) are continuing to grow, the people are seeking the Lord, studying His word, and trying to do what is right.  The classes are going so well that we will expand the teaching area in our jungle house and build classroom style tables to accommodate more people.

We had a great turnout in the nightly church services too.

I knew that Melissa would be coming up river on the 25th, so Valdici, Raimunda and myself traveled downriver in our ministry boat 3 hrs and visited 2 other communities.  We ended up holding church services in both communities, receiving the open door to return anytime, with the invite to come and work there.  Perhaps God will call one of our disciples to head back in the future and start a new work?  Let’s pray for this.

As we left to return up river again, we encountered the “BIG” boat, in which Melissa, Josiah, Veronica and Benjamin were in.  They were very excited to see us pull up, and quickly packed their things and promptly left with us to arrive in the village 7 hours earlier than they had planned.  This is because the ministry boat travels so much faster than the passenger boat they were on.  3 hours back up the river and we arrived at our jungle house just before dark.  I had already prepared the mosquito nets and hammocks for their arrival.

The fishing was tremendous on this trip.  I know I don’t usually share a fishing report with everyone.  But, with the water on it’s way down now, and the fish all coming back into the lakes and rivers, Josiah, Benjamin and I caught Peacock Bass every evening before Church services.

And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. 
John 21:6

We believe the harvest is upon us here.  We believe that with the harvest, there will be an expansion of ministry. Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. John 4:35

Please pray for Oscar and Analucia.  They, with their 4 children, are praying about moving up river to start a church plant at a village we have been to 3 other times over the past few years.

Please pray for Guirlermi and Elsamara.  They, with their 2 little ones are praying about moving down river and starting a church plant where Guirlermi grew up.

Please pray for Valdici.  He continues to preach the word in Aldeia Nova (the 2nd village spoken of above).  He believes God is moving him in the same direction as Oscar and Guirlermi.

Please pray for Emerson and Marissa.  They are from Aldeia Nova and have been up river preaching and spreading the gospel to family and friends.  Pray that they would grow in grace and truth, and receive all that the Lord has for them.

Please pray for both villages, Vila Nova and Aldeia Nova, along with the villages and communities we are outreaching to.

Please pray for our continued trips in and out of the jungle.  We are almost dividing our time in half right now between there and the city.  We would like to spend more time in the jungle, visiting and supporting those villages we are reaching out to.

God bless you all in Christ Jesus,
May He make His face to shine upon you,
Brad and Melissa, Josiah, Veronica, and Benjamin.

 

Brazil Update June 16, 2018

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
(Php 3:13-14)

Greetings in Christ!!!!!

Our family has returned from the village once again, with another amazing trip behind us, we look forward to the things the Lord has prepared for us, knowing that He is faithful and just, having done such marvelous things in and through us in the past. We know that the plans He yet has for us are for good and will exceed anything we can imagine or think up. That is a hard thing for us to comprehend as He has been sooooooo good to us up until now.

We arrived at the mouth of the reserve at 11 pm, leaving behind the big boat and it’s melodious buh, buh, buh of the engine which you grow accustomed to after listening to it for 37 hrs straight, we pressed on into the darkness with a little lantern lighting the way before our speedboat. The rivers have crested and the waters are now receding in the Amazon Basin, but having just started lowering, there are no difficulties navigating the waters all the way to our jungle house, and we arrived there at slightly past midnight.

We were there for 22 days, ministering, fellowshipping, teaching, learning, doing our best to be one with the people, and being fully away of the vast differences in our cultures, we meet on the common ground of the Gospel of Christ, and build upon that.

The love that has been flowing out of some of our disciples is very humbling. Valdicis, who is the deacon in Vila Nova and also travels every week to Aldeia Nova to preach and teach, met us as we pulled up to our house. He wanted to bless us by meeting us and helping us carry our stuff up to the house.

You see, in the middle of the jungle, they are able to hear all the way out to the main river, 40 kilometers away, and can hear us coming in our speedboat. You can’t do that in Los Angeles, although if you have lived there long enough, you grow accustomed to the constant hum of the freeways all hours of the night and probably have trouble sleeping were it to stop. Here in the Jungle, we wake up to the sound of a boat even at long distances.

This is the first time any of the people have met us in the middle of the night to help, waiting up for us, and it caused me to break and shed a few tears, although they were hidden from others by the darkness of night.

We are now fully working in two villages, pastoring both the Church in Vila Nova where our Jungle House is and the Church plant in Aldeia Nova where we plan to build a 2nd house and Church building in the coming year.

On this trip, we divided our time equally between the two villages, but since we only have the one house, we made daily trips to Aldeia Nova while we were working there, returning nightly to conduct services in Vila Nova.

Melissa led all of the women’s meetings and studies in both villages, along with the weekly kid’s club in Vila Nova. She returned one day after the women’s group in tears, those of joy, sharing with me how the women said they had been praying for her non-stop every day. The thought of all of the people praying for her and us, from Los Angeles to Maryland, and Nebraska to Texas, Scotland to India, and even to the deep recesses of the Amazon Jungle was overwhelming.

Know this, your prayers have not been in vain as the people here are showing forth the fruits of love, joy, peace, along with the righteousness that follows evangelism, teaching, and discipling. And your prayers for us have filled us with wisdom and discernment, and unattainable knowledge at the most precise times to correctly handle difficult situations. Thank you, and don’t give up the good fight!

We hung a swing up in front of the house from the big mango tree and watched as the children played on it every day. We believe that they had never had a swing before, as they seemed to not understand how it worked until we showed them. We did have one accident with it as a little girl decided to walk under it and got hit above her eye, causing a small cut. Socorro! Socorro! Socorro! Oh, sorry, that means HELP!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melissa rushed to the scene and lifted the little girl to our kitchen table where she performed intricate triage and emergency room services, using steri-strips to patch her up again. Everyone stopped playing and were peering in from every window of our house to see what it was that Melissa was doing.

Can you imagine not having a hospital nearby and never having taken people there with cuts that could require stitches? Well, they got to see what happens behind those sliding hospital doors on this trip as that brave young girl laid on our table and allowed Melissa the opportunity to minister to her.

Has God prepared us to minister here in the Jungle? Yes, He has!

We have several projects that were started on this trip. In order to keep this update short, I will ask you to click on the following links to read more. https://millerstobrazil.com/ministries/apurina-tribe/ or here https://millerstobrazil.com/

Would you consider helping us as we minister the Word of Truth to the people here, Preaching, teaching, and making disciples?

Did you know that one hour a month of your work, could actually be done for helping spread the good news to the uttermost parts of the earth, multiplying the rewards that will be waiting for you as you enter into glory? One hour a month, work with the intention of knowing that hour is given to God and to His Kingdom, and donate those resources to help us here. That is 1 out of 160. Too much? Click here to help:

God bless you all in Christ Jesus.

May He make His face to shine upon you,

Brad and Melissa, Josiah, Veronica, and Benjamin.

Reality of Missions

John 5:39
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life;
and they are they which testify of me.
(Jesus of Nazareth)

Greetings in Christ,

In our last update, we had written, “Coming back from the U.S. …knowing that we are returning to what we were created to do…” and yet at the same time, suffering from “…the sense of separation we go through “…leaving family and friends behind…”

This is the reality of missions in a foreign land.  Wanting to return to the field, not wanting to leave our own culture, family, and friends….

And when we arrived in Manaus, on March 5th, Brad started making preparations again and headed back to the Indian Village.  Wanting to return to “that which we were created to do”  ministering in and among the Apurina people.

That trip lasted from March 27th until April 19th, 23 days.

Upon arriving, I, Brad, was told that Emerson, had been visiting all of the houses in his village on a weekly basis and reading/teaching the bible to them along with traveling many hours upriver to visit his in-laws to share about Jesus.  He told me, “They will die without Jesus if I don’t tell them.”

Does good news get any better than this?

I had arrived with our ministry boat completely loaded down with extra diesel and gasoline, as we had planned to take a trip 14 hrs upstream to the 3rd village, where we had done two other outreaches/bible conferences in the last 2 years, successfully sharing the Gospel and winning the chief to the Lord 3 years ago.

I was by myself on this trip because after returning from the U.S., the whole family was not able to make the transition back to Brazil smoothly, having our routines all mixed up.  We made the decision for me to go alone and for Melissa and the children to return to a good homeschool schedule.  Please pray with us for our daily routines to return to normal.

For anyone who thinks moving your entire family to the Jungle is easy, let us tell you it isn’t, and that…..The Struggle Is Real!

But, with the struggles, comes the joy of living in the Lord’s will, which makes it all worthwhile.  Now, let’s get on to the reasons why we are so encouraged to make these sacrifices, which are required for us to live and minister in a foreign land.

I, Brad, arrived in the village on the 29th of March, which was a Thursday.  As I was heading into the Jungle, I learned that the big boat which takes us upriver was no longer making weekly trips.  They only go up every 2 weeks now, which causes my minimal trip to be shortened by 1 day, and a normal trip to be extended by 6.  On this trip, I had brought enough provisions for 2 weeks, but would now be staying 3.

Talking with the Chief in village #1, we decided to immediately head up to the 3rd village, and have a 2-day conference there, making plans for a family from the 1st village to come as missionaries, and to talk about planting a church.  We spent 4 days on this trip, 1 day to travel upriver and 1 day to travel down.  We had 8 classes in which I taught over Matthew 5-7, the sermon on the mount, “How we should walk as Christians.”

The people there are anxiously waiting for us to start a church, wanting to learn more about God, Jesus, and the Word.  We are waiting upon the Lord to guide and direct us in this manner.

Returning to the 1st village, I set up the next 2 weeks to be divided between Villages 1 and 2, having leadership/comprehension classes in both, and also evening services every night of the week.

We will have Baptisms in the 2nd village on our next trip.  We believe there will be 7-10 baptized.

Is that Good News?  This is what gets us excited!

You know what else get’s us excited?  Poisonous snakes!  I killed two jungle snakes on this trip, one a very poisonous one, and the other, well, hey, it’s a snake!  Valdicis was trimming our coconut tree in front of our house, up on an 8 foot ladder, when suddenly, right in front of his face, out comes this Amazonian pit viper, one of the most dangerous snakes in the jungle, which a bite from one of these can lead to death in 15 minutes.  He quickly swung his machete and hit the snake mid-body and it fell to the ground where I took a picture of it before lobbing off its head with my machete.

YIKES!

Back to ministry…..wait, snakes and dangers are always a part of ministry for us.  But, let’s return to the regularly scheduled programming.

We have discerned to spend more time in the villages, less time in the city, focusing on ordaining leadership and Pastors for each church, hopefully within the next 2 years.  This means we now get to watch how God will raise the needed resources to increase our time in the interior.

By the numbers…..I, Brad, was in the villages 21 days on this trip.  Besides traveling between 3 different villages, we held 19 Church services, 20 Bible study classes, 6 children’s services and 3 women’s studies, for a total of 48 meetings.  In village #1, our leadership studies averaged 7 people, church services 40 people, children’s services 70, and in village #2, our leadership classes averaged 15 people, and church services 25.

Want to know about this ministry?  Go to millerstobrazil.com and click on the ministries tab, Apurina.

Please pray for the following things:
1)  An unspoken development in the ministry.  (oh, the suspense)
2)  The people in Village #1 to come together in the Lord, and be renewed and awakened
3)  Our leaders from Village #1
4)  Our search for church leaders in Village #2
5)  Village #3 and the future work there?
6)  The other villages unspoken of, who are requesting we bring the Word to them
7)  Our own family, those here in Brazil and in the U.S.

Please email or call us anytime.  You can find the contact info at the bottom of any page on our website:  millerstobrazil.com

God bless you all!
Brad and Melissa, Josiah, Veronica, and Benjamin

Brazil Update: March 2018

“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee,
but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.”

Micah 6:8

Greetings in Christ,

Coming back from the U.S. is always exciting, filled with great encouragement, more focused in vision, restocked with some of the simpler pleasures in life, and knowing that we are returning to what we were created to do.  At the same time, perhaps less spoken of, is the sense of separation we go through, leaving family and friends behind, leaving the ease of North American life, the simplicity of buying anything your heart desires or the confidence of being able to fix something that is broken in the house without having to ‘MacGyver” it.

Here we are, back in-country for a week. We returned March 5th and now are working our way back into a routine with home schooling, repairing the things that somehow break even when we were not here, and preparing for our next trip into the village which will be next week, Lord willing.

We went to Church last night and reconnected with our other group of friends and family, (the first being in the U.S.) and yet, oddly, we sense a separation between us.  This “sense” exists, whether those friends and family are here or in the U.S.  So, we rely on the truth of God’s Word, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ”. 2 Cor. 5:20 Ambassadors…….”people who are residents in a foreign land, people who try to be part of that foreign culture but are actually never integrated fully into it…they are representatives of and spokesman for the country they are from.”(my personal definition) This is how we felt before coming to a foreign land.  And in reality, how we feel being here now.

We pray continually for the peace that passes all understanding (Phil 4:7), discernment (1Co2:14), the love of Christ to pour out of us (Eph 3:19) and mercy and grace to be the things which shine forth. (Micah 6:8)

Next week, after arriving in the village, I, Brad, plan to take a trip on the Indian boat for 14 hrs further up river and do another Bible Conference in a village we have previously visited two other times, and where we are hoping to possibly start a church plant later this year.  Melissa will stay in village #1, with plans to do Women’s training in both villages #1 and #2, #2 being where we are planting a church and have new believers.

When I return from up river, we will start Baptism classes in village #2 and continue with leadership training in both 1 and 2.

Please pray for this trip.  Please pray for the people whom we are ministering to.  Pray for strong leaders to be developed, a good children’s ministry to start in village #2, and for someone to be called to go up to village #3 to start a church plant.  Also pray for the other villages downstream, those who have been asking for us to bring the Word of God to them. Also pray for Linelma, who is staying in the mission base while we are gone.

We will be travelling from March 20-April 6th.

God bless you all!
Brad and Melissa, Josiah, Veronica and Benjamin

A Journey in the Amazon!

Philippians 3:14, Ephesians 2:10

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

 

Greetings in Christ,

The family just returned from another amazing trip to the village. But first, we have a story to tell.

You see, we actually got lost this time.

You have heard me tell the story before, arriving at 1:30am in the middle of the Jungle, pitch black, crocodile eyes everywhere, and not a light of any kind anywhere in sight. We pack into our 7 meter boat with all of our supplies and leave the bigger boat, weighted down from all of the food baskets we are bringing into the people for Christmas, the water pushing and spraying out in front of us as the nose of the boat is deep in the water, as well as all the way to the back of the boat, which has the water passing by just under the rails by the motor. We creep away and watch the big boat disappear into the night.

But on this night, something else happened. It is also raining hard and we cannot see the edges of the shore unless we are right next to it, but the shores are not visible now, the water levels have risen again, and only the tree branches hanging out make up the shore, the trunks completely under water.

We have about 25 kilometers to go like this. There are also other trees and brush sticking up out of the water. It should be about an hour at this slow speed, that is, if we were traveling by day. But then, 1 1/2 hrs go by and we start to realize that something is not right. 2 hrs pass and we realized that somehow, in the darkness of it all, raining too, that we got turned around on the big lake, and we ended up going in circles, arriving at the mouth of the lake again.

That is when the excitement starts to flow out, and dread and the realization of just how tired you are enters in. Benjamin and Veronica are sleeping while the rain is still falling and hitting them, all of us getting soaked.

Then a miracle happened. I turned on my iPhone to check the time, (no, that wasn’t the miracle) and Melissa says, “Does Google maps work?” Of course it does not work, there is not a cell tower in sight for miles and miles and miles, plus I have tried it on countless other occasions, and it never works out here in the jungle. She said, “Try it anyway.” Guess what? It worked. It led us across the lake, well the GPS part of it did, through the various trees and brush sticking up, pelted by rain in our faces, to the mouth of the small creek at the other end of the lake. We now know exactly where we are and the path is very easy to follow. Then…….google maps quit working and did not work again until we left the village 2 weeks later arriving closer to the city. Praise the Lord.

30 more minutes and we arrived at our jungle house, it was 4am.

I ask you, what are you willing to do to bring the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth? If not this, are you willing to at least support those who are? Praise the Lord for calling people to work in his vineyard! Some plant, some water, but the Lord reaps the harvest. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Eph 2:10

What can a person say? We are but sinners, saved by grace, but who can fail when the Lord is on their side? This trip was AWESOME!

We had 5 people ask us to help them receive Jesus as their Savior this trip, the church plant in Aldeia Nova is growing under the faithful work of Valdicis, the deacon in the church of Vila Nova where our jungle house is, we had unprecedented numbers in church attendance at all services, 18 services in 14 days, 8 leadership classes, 2 women’s meetings, and 2 kid’s clubs.

The food baskets you provided were given out. We miscalculated by 2, but that was okay. We gave out 24 in Vila Nova and 6 in Aldeia Nova.

We had a very special Christmas evening service, in which we had invited the 3 villages close to us to come, and there were some people from another village farther out which came also! This is BIG news, as one of those three villages has an Assembly of God church, and us being more Baptist, there has always been a wall between the two villages, as far as Spiritual fellowship goes. We have been working on tearing this wall down over the last year though, teaching our disciples to show the love of God, and not debate over the traditions of men.

The village farther out, Aldeia “Anonymous”, asked us to come and preach the Gospel to them. A few of the people had received Christ through Judy and Cathie, the missionaries before us 10 years ago, and were faithfully waiting for someone to return and continue working with them. I was able to talk with the Chief of the village and confirm that no one else is working there, or trying to enter. Will you pray with us about this new village? We lack the resources for gasoline to go there on a regular basis, and we lack the manpower from our village right now to continue the work while we are in the city, but we are completely of willing heart, mind, and soul.

Melissa and I have felt a great burden upon our hearts for the people of Aldeia Nova. We need to spend more time there, building foundations for the women and children, along with the future leadership in the Church. One of the problems? Time. Another? The women there cannot read or write. Please pray with us that God will give us a solid plan of action to lift this burden we have and accomplish what we believe is His will for all involved.

Good news! Oscar and Analucia, Oscar being the one who has been leading the church in Vila Nova for the last two years, is feeling called to go upstream and plant a church in the village we evangelized two years ago and returned in June 2017 to do a Bible Conference. Please pray that God would give clarity in this to him and Analucia.

Valdicis feels called also to preach. I see a great gift in him of evangelism, and I see him growing in the area of preaching and teaching. It could be that God is calling him to a Pastoral position in the future in some new village. Please pray for him.

Please pray for Guerlermi and Elsimara. We baptized them in July. I see great things in him for the future. I believe with Oscar and Valdicis possibly leaving as missionaries in the coming year, that Guerlermi may be the one who takes the reigns.

Please pray for the men, women, and children in Aldeia Nova. We believe they will become an evangelical hub for the other areas in the future.

Please pray for Aldeia (Anonymous) who are calling us to come and preach the Gospel to them. Pray for discernment, wisdom, manpower, and resources.

!OTHER THINGS! Are you still with us?

Melissa is organizing a big outreach for January 27th. It will be held at a smaller congregation here in town, Congregacao Ebenezar. They are a daughter church from our Baptist church we attend. We will have Doctors, Dentist, Barbers, Cosmetologist, masseuses, and more. Our main goal is to preach and teach the Gospel while edifying the people in the Spirit and in Physical well being. We are expecting several hundred people to show up.

We are coming to the U.S.!

On January 30th, we fly out to Washington D.C. to relax and refresh with Calvary Chapel Cumberland, Maryland. We will be there for 5 weeks. If you are in the area, come visit us, or if you would like to schedule us to speak with your church, small group, or youth group, contact us at millerstobrazil@yahoo.com.

As always pray for the people we minister to, pray for our family, and pray about coming to visit us.

God bless you all,

Thank you for your prayers,

Brad and Melissa, Josiah, Veronica, and Benjamin.

Christmas in the Summer!

Merry Christmas from the depths of the Amazon Jungle!

 

It may be winter there in the U.S., but it is Summer here, and very warm!  Nonetheless, we still celebrate Christmas with the love and Cheer we always do, but with just a little sweat mixed in!

 

We decided to open Christmas presents on the 16th of December this year because we will not be in the city over the holidays. You can see pictures of our Christmas here: https://www.facebook.com/millers.brazil

 

This is a quick update as we leave tomorrow morning, the whole family, going once again deeper into the jungle, away from Cell phone towers, Electrical lines, all roads, dirt and asphalt, street lights, Christmas lights, and all modern conveniences.

 

We will spend Christmas and New Year with the people in the village. We are also taking in food baskets that you all supported and bought, enough to hand out to each family in two villages. We have 30 altogether.

 

We leave on the 19th of December and will return on the 6th of January.

 

Please pray for the people and for the blessing of the Lord! We will continue our focused teachings on Christ, what it means to be a Christian, and what our part or role in the plan of God is.

 

Look for pictures and videos upon our return.

 

P.S.  It is not too late to be a part of the blessing of God for this Christmas season upon the people where we minister! Yes, we already bought the food baskets, but there are still great financial costs involved with ministering back in the jungle and every dime counts. Join us today by clicking on the link “Become a Financial Partner” to start getting connected with people halfway around the world, producing heavenly fruit that rust and corrosion will not touch.

 

God bless you all!
Brad and Melissa Miller and Family

Brazil Update November 2017

 

Ezekiel 37:5 Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live

 

Greetings in Christ, Brazil Update November 2017,

 

I arrived at 1:30 am, middle of the Amazon Jungle, in our ministry boat, pitch black, tree stumps sticking up out of the creek, crocodile eyes all around me, and I knew, if not for the Lord sending, how would they ever hear?

 

Rom 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent?

 

That’s how it is here, when we visit the Indians during dry season. We always arrive at the entrance to the reservation in the middle of the night. The problems are many, as listed above, plus mosquitos, piranha, and another 20 miles to go, navigating this little crocodile infested creek.

 

With certainty, it is much easier to arrive during the rainy season, but ministry cannot stop just because the rain does.

 

I (Brad) just returned from a 3-week trip. Things are going great there! The people are continually growing and are now evangelizing other villages.

 

Follow this link to read more and see photos and videos from the trip: https://millerstobrazil.com/ministries/apurina-tribe/

 

We had daily Bible classes in our jungle house from 8-11 each morning, Mon-Fri, and nightly Church services, teaching Genesis and/or teaching from one of the morning lessons. We have a group of 7 that faithfully come to morning classes and we averaged 40 in the nightly services. We also had a movie night where we showed “The Passion of Christ” dubbed in Portuguese. It was too long for one night, so we watch half on one Saturday and the other half a week later.

 

We are also starting church services in a new village.

 

The chief in this new village is on fire for the Lord. He was especially excited about how he has seen God working in their lives since our last visit in July, when he and his sons accepted Christ as their Savior and the Word of God as their life manual.

 

It is a real blessing to see the fruit of not only our labors in the last year (as we were visiting them every two months) but also the labors of Judy and Cathy, the two missionaries who labored here before us.

 

This chief and the people in his village had left our village several years ago because we were “Christians”, but now, he has returned, in Spirit, being reconciled to God through Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Valdicis, one of our disciples, made a commitment to return to this new village. He will continue to go there on Tuesdays to ensure that the work does not stop while Melissa and I are in the city in between trips.

 

We have also been invited to another village, about 2 hrs. away, to bring the Word. I was asked by a young Christian man who was visiting our village. His name is Isaias. He says that he has a small group of men who meet with him in his hut and study the word in Portuguese. I asked him if there was any other missionaries or Pastors visiting them, and he said, “No.” On our next visit we will head down there and see what God wants to do.

 

That next trip will be in December and we will stay through the new year, Lord willing, celebrating Christmas with the people.

 

Please pray for the people there. Oscar and Analucia, Domiginho and Sandra, Makao and Cosma, Pedro and Eliete, Guerlermi and Elsimara, Evandro and Vanilda.

 

CITY MINISTRY:

 

Melissa is organizing a big medical outreach here in Manaus for the last Saturday of January. She is working with our local church and plans to hold the outreach at a sister church in a poor area of town. We will involve evangelists, doctors, dentists, a pharmacy, and others.

 

Please pray for this outreach. We hope to see 200 people show up, mostly mothers and children.

 

JARDIM TROPICAL:

 

Sometimes, we have set-backs in ministry. We don’t like to talk about these, but I feel it is important.

 

The work in Jardim Tropical went in an unfortunate direction in early August. While we were in the village for most of July and then in Fortaleza (a coastal City), the second week of August, the leadership in the church of Jardim Tropical decided to change the form of ministry they had and they named the Church, Pentecostal Church of the Living Lamb. They started focusing on healing ministry and prosperity teaching. It is amazing how much can change in just a few weeks.

 

Immediately the church split in half and they lost 45 people. In the last two months, the leadership have crumbled, most having left. Those who were leaving were coming to me complaining.

 

If you remember, upon returning from the U.S. in May 2016, we started working closely with Artur and Merinete as he was preaching the Word to a faithful 7, two nights a week. The congregation quickly grew to 20, we started leadership/discipleship classes in our house for the leadership they would need, and by December, we started raising money to build a Church for them, so they would not have to stand in the mud. We opened the church the first of July 2017 with 120 people in attendance, and it continued to have 70-100 each week.

 

Returning to now, they are in shambles.

 

I talked with Artur, the man we have been supporting and working with for the last 2 years, and we decided it was better if Melissa and I did not come around for a while. We did not want to divide the people into those who follow Brad and those who follow Artur. We are still working with Leandro and Roberta though, whom we have weekly contact with here at our mission base.

 

We hope to have reconciliation there soon, and for Artur to either return to sound biblical doctrine or turn the work over to us. We appreciate your prayers in this matter.

 

Please pray for the people there, specifically for Artur and Merinete, Leandro and Roberta, Sergio, and Samuel. We hope to start working there again in the future.

 

Ezekiel 37:7-8, 10 I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. So, I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived

 

God bless you and keep you!

 

In Christ,

Brad and Melissa and family