Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
Brad and Melissa and Family.