Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.
Greetings in Christ,
Josiah and I made the trek into the jungle, this time after many months of being isolated in the city on account of the COV-19 pandemic. I was a little nervous, as I spoke of in our last update, because it had been 6 months since my last trip in there, and the prior 3 trips in January, March and July of 2020 were each 1 week trips. Click here: updates to read about why they were short trips.
I was concerned that since a year had passed without having our School of Ministry classes in the Jungle, perhaps some of the people would be worn out a little, causing the ministries to suffer. I now remember a saying from an American Cereal advertisement, “Silly Rabbit, Trix are for Kid’s” and I think of God telling me, “Oh my silly servant, the work is of Me, not of you.”
Upon arrival, we were elated to find that the work among the various villages had continued with strength! The leaders we have trained are even stronger now: walking on their own, keeping up the weekly services in the 2 Churches we have, holding weekly services in a third village which I had started in July of 2020, Oscar and Analucia planting the other Church in Sao Sabastiao, and they continue to make trips to 7 other villages, making disciples and teaching the Bible. WOW.
In this photo, Valdeci gives an account of his trips to these other villages and the response of the people there.
So, we arrived semi-close to our Jungle house at 2:30 pm. We still had about 120 yards up hill to walk in order to get to our house. I always appreciate the help of the male youth when I arrive on account of their strength and the weight of our tubs and gasoline bottles. But on this day, there were no men or youth available, all having gone into the city or down to another village for a celebration.
Analia (70 yrs old) came down to greet us, along with 10 or so girls between the ages of 4-12. She saw our predicament and asked, “Do you need some help?” I thanked her and said we would have to do it ourselves on account of the weight of the items.
I grabbed a heavy tub and Josiah grabbed a 14 gallon gasoline bottle and we huffed and puffed our way up to the house, one of many journeys. When I got there, one of the 12 year old girls came running up behind me with a 5 gallon bottle of gasoline on her shoulder. She set it down and ran back down for another. Then another little girl came with another, and another little girl with some other stuff. I was almost in cardiac arrest just from the one tub, but my heart filled with joy to see the love of these little ones and to realize the little girls here are not the same as those in the city.
In this photo, Josiah is singing with some of the girls that helped us carry our supplies up to the house.
Good news from the Village: Although everyone has had COV-19, no one has died from it. This was not only the News of Vila Nova, but also from the other 5 Villages I met with on this trip.
One of the side effects of the villagers being isolated in the jungle for 3 months last year is that no one was going into the city and no one from the city was coming out to the village. How does this affect the people you ask? Well without the visits from the city folks, the village women all seem to have become pregnant and were having babies during the time while I was there.
I counted 6 new babies in January 2021. What a joy.
To the Numbers. In the 20 days that Josiah and I were there, we held 6 School of Ministry classes, 19 Church services in 4 different villages, 3 kids clubs, and 3 Youth Services.
It was to my great pleasure that I found out over Christmas time that Armando, Mario and Agnaldo all started leading services to help out Valdeci and Domiginho. Agnaldo accepted the Lord last year. This is good news as these are all young men, in their prime, still in contact with many of the youth in the villages. We believe this will help call more youth into the services, and thus lead to more commitments to the Lord.
Also, we found out that Guerlermi had taken up the lead role as Youth Minister. If you remember, 3 or 4 years ago, we asked for prayers for more youth to come to know Christ. Since that time we have seen a steady growth in youth, between the ages of 10-25, trusting the Lord as their Savior and King.
There was some bad news on this trip. We made a special surprise visit to Sao Sebastiao in order to visit Oscar and Analucia and to evaluate the ministry there. We arrived on the first Monday of the trip at around 12:00 pm and were met with no one coming out to see us. I knew immediately that something was amiss. We walked the 200 yards through the jungle into the village; Josiah, Guerlermi, Raimunda and myself.
When we broke through the clearing we found out that the people had just returned from their cemetery where they buried their chief, Apurinario, who died during the night.
They will now choose a new chief from among the men, and depending on who is chosen, the work of Oscar and Analucia may be changed. Check out their work here: Oscar and Ana.
Please keep praying for the work that is going on in the Jungle among the Apurina people. We are experiencing an expansion right now and are not sure on how to keep up. We believe it is time for either a bigger boat, as I spoke of 2 years ago, and/or for more helpers, called by God, to come and become part of our team.
If you sense a calling to come, please contact us at: email@example.com. Perhaps you can come for 1 -6 months, or for long term. Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Luke 10:2
We definitely see a large white harvest field and are doing our best to raise up leaders/laborers for the Lord. We believe that the Lord is calling more to come from a greater distance though. Could it be you?
Our next trip is planned for March 2-25th. I will return with Josiah, and Melissa and our other children will meet us there on the 18th to pass the last part of the trip with the people. Please Click here: Prayer Request and pray with us over the next few months.
Do you wonder if your support is necessary? It is. You too, can be a financial partner with this amazing work of God. Please click here: “Become a Financial Partner” and help us as we faithfully minister in the Amazon Jungle.
God bless you all in Christ,
Brad and Melissa Miller and family