Central Brazil Ministries
August 6-17, 2019 Trip
Day 1 August 7, 2019
We flew into Manaus, arriving near 1:40 am. After taking a bus to the boat in the dockyard we sorted our luggage: medications, and donated toiletries going in the base of the boat, while personal luggage was taken to the rooms. We were assigned rooms and roommates and shortly after arriving, we all went to bed, excited, and exhausted at the same time.
The group for this mission trip has come from several states to work together on the boat. The group consists of an experienced group of four people from near Cincinnati, my group of five people from Seymour, Tennessee, husband and wife physicians and their 2 sons from Oregon and a couple from Kansas City. We are also joined by the crew and Earl and Ruth Anne Haubner , founders of Central Brazil Ministries (CBM). We are strangers at this point, but I suspect we will know each other very well before the end of the trip.
Today we spent some time organizing the medications and other donations. After lunch we had a meeting where Earl told us what we could expect for the week and where we are going geophraphically. He discussed the mission of Central Brazil Ministry, which is to bring Jesus to the people. Their focus is on Christ, life and health. Helping people meet physical needs regularly facilitates a relationship to introduce them to Christ. After that meeting, I suspect the rest of the day, will be spent in the hammocks and on the deck taking in the beauty of the Amazon and God’s creation. May God bless this trip and the Brazilian people that we are serving here in Amazonas.
Day 2 August 8, 2019
Tom gave the devotion today. It was a special one that was inspired by the last trip he took on the CBM boat 4 years ago when he had a serious injury to his knee. The point of his devotion was to live and act as scripture says to by loving and serving. How you love and serve is important. He was grateful for the love and care he received from the crew when he was laid up in his room with an injury that made him completely rely on others. It was a heartfelt story of appreciation and dedication to serving God through others. Tom’s granddaughter was in attendance and there were more than a few tear streaked cheeks.
Today was the first day we saw patients. We stopped at two villages. The first one was a good warm up with fewer patients. We quickly got into a groove. I was a part of medical triage, greeting the families and starting the triage process. I checked the blood pressure of the adults while my coworkers checked the children’s height and weight. Some of the services that are provided in addition to medical care are dental cleanings, teeth extraction, massage and eye exams. The people in the village were very appreciative of our care. They are beautiful people with gorgeous smiles.
Day 3, August 9, 2019
After breakfast, we had a heartfelt devotion by one of the crew members. He spoke about how many years ago when he accepted the job on the boat; he didn’t realize it was a mission boat. Ruth Anne and Earls words `fell in the right place` and with time he had accepted Christ into his heart.
Today I assisted the dental technician. She cleaned children and adults teeth and pulled a tooth. After lunch, I mentioned to Earl that I could cut hair. A few hours later the crew was setting me up a table and extension cord. At first no one wanted to take a chance on me cutting their hair, however, Tom offered to be the guinea pig. Before I finished his hair I had several men and boys waiting to get cuts. I actually missed the church service because they kept coming after the clinic was closed. I was slow but I really enjoyed it! I did 9 haircuts, many fathers and sons together.
Today I had a goal to learn two phrases and use them. One being, `Como vai?` (How are you?) and the other being ` Deus te abençoe` (God bless you.). Dear Lord, prepare our hearts to break for your people in Brazil and all over the world this week. I pray for the people along the Amazon that their quality of life improves as does their relationship with you Lord. Pour your blessings onto them, Lord. Amen.
P.S. The temperature was a 110 degrees in the shade according to Bob.
Day 4 August 10, 2019
Today we moved a bit further down the river to a new village that CBM has never visited before. We had a church service in the evening. We docked the boat right in a pasture with pigs and chickens and walked through them to get to the church. Many of the communities have a church with their village. A village consisted of some small homes, a church and possibly an open air shelter. They are made mostly out of wood, very simply, all are raised on stilts. Many homes and buildings in the village have pastel paint on them or on the lower 2 feet, very similar to what we see near the coast. The people wade in the river to bathe before their `medico` visits so we will see this happening when we dock in a new community. Many come to the boat in very nice clothing and sometimes with cologne. Just like in the U. S., some of the kids are wearing designer clothing, while others are wearing play clothes.
Even though I am a trained RN, my most valuable skill this week is cutting hair! Thanks, Mom—all those years watching you cut hair has really paid off. Yesterday, I asked Earl to drum up some business for me. Today, I had about 10 people watching me and waiting in line most of the time. Some of them may have just been socializing but I did 16 haircuts today! Today I won the trust of the women; yesterday was only men and boys, today I saw many women and girls too.
Dear Lord, Thank you so much for the pleasure and joy we receive by serving your people. Please give us your strength and energy to continue serving the people on the Amazon River this week.
Day 5 August 11, 2019
Today is the Lord’s Day, Sunday, August 11. Carol Sue reminded us about how to live with the attitude of Jesus Christ. Philippians 2: 5-11 was her scripture reference. Phil 2:5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Earl encouraged us to memorize this passage.
Earl spoke on the realness of demonism in the world. The predominant religion is Catholicism but it is mixed with Spiritism. He made a good point about how you can’t take an American religion and make it work in another country. The Word remains the same but that application of The Word changes because the culture changes. The Word never changes. He reports that demonism was more popular in the past however “Christianism” has spread more in the area since then. He tells a story of a woman who was possessed and caused a ruckus in the church services to the point that other families quit attending because they did not want their children to be exposed to that. One day she came and said that she wanted help and didn’t want to live like that anymore. The missionaries had 6 groups of 2 people spending 2 hours shifts with her all day, then had her sleep in the church while a woman sat with her. They spent their time in prayer and fasting for her. After six weeks, she was baptized and free from the evil spirit.
I am concerned for our culture because we are creeping into beliefs that Satan is not real and the Hell does not exist. We are in a time of relativity where there is no good or bad, or right or wrong. Our culture thinks that we are free to express ourselves in whatever way pleases us without consequence. We need to be careful not be become complacent in this belief because this is where Satan can easily enter our life. He is busy at work now convincing us that we are justified in our sin. Dear Lord, please reveal my sin to me. Please convict me and make it evident to me where I fail you. I want to have an attitude more like you Lord.
After seeing the patients, we had a beautiful church service with the village. We hung out with them, painting nails, playing soccer and just visiting. The timing was perfect for it to be a celebration of the Lord’s Day. After a few hours visiting and playing we met for worship and communion. It was such a sweet time to commune with the Brazilians and Earl and Ruth Anne. Earl reminded us that we probably would not have communion together again like this until we are in heaven.
Day 6 August 12, 2019
Today we are in a new village. I was cutting hair and we had the usual services, medical care, dental care and cleanings and massage. I cut hair for several boys, a few men and women and a girl. My first customer was trying to talk to me when I brought him around the corner to talk to Earl. Then he sat on the stool and burst into tears! Needless to say, he didn’t get his haircut. The only girl I saw was so disappointed in her cut, but I think her mom made her get a cut. She still has long hair—I should remember the up and down emotions of a girl and her hair! I had several boys hanging out on the boat where I was cutting hair. They were full of giggles at times, sometimes, I’m sure at my expense but I couldn’t help to laugh with them. The last man whose hair I cut had waited a long time. I had used the clippers around the sides then right as I was going to cut the top, I dropped the scissors in the water! One of the docs had packed some scissors for cutting sutures but they did not cut his hair--it was too fine! The water was about 5 feet deep. One of the giggling boys dove right in and swam down many times to find the scissors with no luck. Then Daniel, the Missionary, got in the water, (in his nice clothes!) At that time the boy came up with the scissors in his hand! We all cheered and the hair client was probably relieved as well!
Dear Lord, bless this village. Let their trust be gained by Earl and the crew. Let them see your love through us. Let a lasting relationship be formed that will bring people to you Lord.
After we saw the patients, we had a short church service under a tree. As we were saying our goodbyes, the children kept coming onto the boat. We just kept giving hugs. I think they warmed up to us.
Day 7 August 13, 2019
Today was bittersweet because we visited our last village. We stopped at one family’s home and people in the area came by boat. Last night we bought fish from the man who just came in from fishing. He cleaned the fish on the dock beside our boat and when he quickly dipped the cleaned fish in to the water the piranha were flipping and chomping for it! Santana purchased the fish skin for the scales to make jewelry. The cooks made stew from fish heads and they all ate with the family who let us dock at their house. They took our trash from the boat which was starting to stack up. The following day, we cared their family in the clinic. People were working and relying on each other just like God instructs us to do.
Day 8 August 14, 2019
Last night we started to head back to São Sebastião. We visited The Mission House where a missionary stays and where there are many projects in the works ranging from a greenhouse, fruit and berry trees, a garden full of veggies to sell, and chickens and quails (laying eggs to sell). They also host missionaries for teaching and discipleship several times a year, to send them out to create better disciples and more disciples within their own churches. Another project in construction down the river is a factory to make and sell juice grown from the graviola orchard that was planted 4 years ago. Production should start next year.
Today I spent the morning cutting hair for the crew and a few volunteers. I have really felt honored to serve on the boat with the crew. The doctors treated some of the crew and some were sent back with medicines. I hope the crew was as blessed by us as I was by them. Dear Lord, please bless CBM and the work that they do. Bless the crew on the boat and let them come to know you and the freedom you offer.
Day 9, August 14, 2019
Medical Thoughts A
Time spent amongst the lovely people in the villages of Amazonia has reminded us that God has created in each of us an internal ability to heal many physical ailments without the assistance of modern day medicine. However, there is no doubt that the medication and loving care delivered on this CBM trip were able to provide relief to the many people suffering from either acute physical ailments or suffering under the heavy burden of chronic illness. The multitude of infants and young children seen on the boat brought joy to all of our hearts and the pain and suffering of a woman experiencing multiple back to back seizures humbly reminded us that we are not ultimately in control. The impact that CBM has on the day to day health of villagers in the Amazon can only be compared to the even greater impact that it has on their souls. God bless.
We have seen almost 500 people in six days in seven villages. I hope that our patient’s lives have been impacted as much as mine has, not only in physical health, but in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Dear Lord, please refresh the missionaries and let people be obedient to your calling to support the mission field, whether financially or in service. Lord, please bless the people of Brazil, especially in the areas of poverty. Let their health improve and let them be open to accepting you, Christ Jesus.
Projeto Amazonas: Cristo, Vida e Saúde