Our time in Brazil has come to an end. In just a few hours we will head out to the airport to begin our long journey home. We are all very eager to get back and see our families after this 18-day trip. Brazil is an amazing and multifaceted country with enormous diversity and a range of hurdles when it comes to Church planting. In the midst of this monumental task, the Miller’s have been called to a church planting ministry amongst the Apurinã people who reside deep in the interior of the Amazon Jungle.
We arrived in Manaus on Tuesday, February 5th. After spending a day in the city getting organized and prepared for our week in the jungle, we headed out on a two-hour bus ride followed by a 10-11 hour speed boat ride up the river and into the heart of the Amazon jungle. This is my second time in the Amazon. Twenty years ago, on a senior mission trip, I was in the jungles of Equador. It was there that God confirmed my calling to full-time ministry and missions. Over the past twenty years, I have never looked back nor have I regretted stepping out in faith and obedience to God’s call on my life. Being back in the jungle twenty years later was a thrill. Words cannot describe, nor do pictures tell the full story of how breathtaking and incredibly beautiful it is. Also, as I sat on the end of our boat in the middle of a seven-mile-wide river, with impenetrable jungle on either side, I was taken back by the immensity of this land. People say that when you see the Grand Canyon, it doesn’t disappoint. I imagine that is the same when you see the vastness of this place.
After we arrived in the Apurinã village and unpacked, we headed house to house to great each of the 50 (ish) families in the village. They are such a beautiful and precious people. However, they live in the middle of an extremely difficult and hostile place. The jungle is oppressive on many levels. The heat and humidity alone are enough to drive anyone to their breaking point. Pile on the millions of bugs that want a drink of your blood, the poisonous snakes and spiders, and the cultural and language gulf that lies between the American missionary and the Apurinã people, the task becomes unmanageable. However, the Miller’s have counted the cost, learned the language, and have made the village their home away from home. It was a privilege seeing their family adapt right into the village life and to see their deep love for the people and the people’s love for them. God is truly using them to further the Gospel amongst these people.
In the main Apurinã village, there is a church plant already established and a solid leadership getting raised up. God has even raised up a few Apurinã missionaries that they will be sending out to establish Bible teaching churches in other Apurinã villages. During our time in the village, we were able to hose nightly Bible studies where most of the village showed up hungry for the Word of God. It is clear that God is doing some radical things amongst these people and has a vast ministry call on their lives to reach farther into the jungle.
I could go on and on with all kinds of incredible stories, but I will end it here. I want to thank you all for your prayers and faithful support over the years which has set me free in my calling to minister to missionaries, to help lead the charge, and to facilitate church planting all over the world. As I head home from this trip, I am overwhelmed at all that the Lord has allowed me to be involved in and I am looking forward to heading to the Middle East in two months on a church planting vision tour amongst the Muslim world. Stay tuned!
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