Creekside Christian Church – Amazonia Trip – April, 2018
BY SUSAN ALDRIDGE and CCC Team
CCC Team Members – Pete Peters (PP), Lee Blanton(LB), Mike Hansen (MH), Laurie Iliff (LI) , Amy Macey (AM), Margaret Campbell (MC), Carter Cockerham (CC), Jim McGhee (JM), Susan Aldridge (SA), Marlo Moseley (MM) – our Virtuous Leader
PP - “we are traveling on a boat that is 105 x 30 feet. The massiveness of the river all of the activity. The people own their watercraft…big people, little people, children going to school…people going to market to sell their wares/crops” The boat team is so coordinated. There is so much contentment at this first village. The second village worked together in a coordinated effort. This village had a water system in place. The Brazilian people are such pretty people.
LI – It feels like a pregnancy.. planning gives birth to a purposeful event. “How will you use me, Lord? “ The only thing different in this work.Was a different language, so there was difficult understanding. I was shocked at the things that the US patients have in common with the Brazilian patients… all kids love stickers. All adults show contentment. Confident in what they have. Who they are. We were in their element. It didn’t feel like we were in a foreign land. I saw horrible living conditions and they come with a glad-you-are-here way of thinking. The people did not know they had a horrible living condition. Example: a roof does the job of the roof. There wasn’t any, “shall we get a tile roof, a black roof, or a brown roof”. These people wanted you to be part of their lives and they wanted to show you their village… they knew we would be impressed. The Brazilian villages had an attitude of ``whatever it takes to get the job done… WE WILL DO IT!``
LB – I am so pleased at the unity of the team. This boat was less primitive of a boat. First contact – I didn’t know what to expect. Crystal and I planned on going on a trip like this. When Paul Halstead and Marlo asked do you want to go I knew it was something I wanted to do. I went to another country and the differences were notable. The Brazilian people love life. They appreciate what they receive and are openly receptive. They weren`t thinking..”you are giving and lording this over us``. Having a pastor on deck and involved with the community made quite a difference. I have enjoyed watching the team interacting with the village folks.
MH – This is my second trip. Marlo was amazing at organizing the trip. Everything seemed to flow smoothly. It’s good to be back, as I missed the experience. This time I understand my job here. I AM THE GREETER. You welcome the incoming village folks and ask them to remove their shoes. I was quoted as saying, “Welcome to our boat - sandals, please remove your feet”. I loved giving the children high-fives and fist-bumps. I enjoy my siestas in the Redes (blanket hammocks); I would recommend checking your tie knots.. As my Rede dropped to the ground, with me in it! And now.. to the second day.. I was standing on a log next to the river, the log began to roll toward the water. The next thing I know, I have 1 foot on the log and the other foot on the shore… doing the Chinese splits. Yes, I went into the river. Praise God, there were no alligators. The children thought it was so funny.. yes, I think I would do it, again.
AM – This is my first trip. I was stopped at the airport, and the TSA officials searched my luggage, extensively, but when I went through customs, it was no problem! I noticed how poor the people are; yet happy. My job is to test eyes, giveaway glasses and give massages. I was sad when I saw the teenage girls, as I have one myself at home. I couldn’t help but think that I would be a grand-mother by now.. maybe, even a great grand-mother.. and I am young. It was a pleasure giving massages to the women, as “this may be the only loving touch these women have had in a long time”
SM—The wrestling between adjusting to the boat environment and what I leave behind at home never bothers me from a ``comfort`` point of view. I am always burdened with the notion that I could have brought more medicine. That I wish I knew more, asking myself if I am providing the best care for these people. There are so many more relational moments that are to connect with, in such a short period of time. ``God Bless You,`` in poorly enunciated Portuguese as patients leave the room seems lacking.
Then I focus on who is really at work here. It is God. With deeds and faith as small as mustard seeds it is amazing at what has already been done in His name in the Amazon. I will never know the next chapter in most of the lives I encountered. However, as I reflect upon the change God has done in my personal life I can only imagine the potential. This is my 14th trip with CBM. It makes me a more compassionate provider.
MM – This is my third trip. I had such peace in the planning of this trip. I gave it to God, as I prayed for months over the organization and team members for months. I prayed for over-flowing bags and God gave us over a half-a-ton of supplies to take to the Brazilian people. Our first day was so busy, but the team kept going until the last person was given medical attention. I can definitely thank the Lord for this team! When someone is trying to find their purpose.. their passion.. I can say that, “I FOUND MY HEART”. I am my happiest when I am loving people who aren’t like me.. just looking around and seeing what people’s needs are and minister to them”. I know my love and understanding of this ministry is progressively being revealed by God. PRAISE GOD FOR HIS MANY BLESSINGS.
SA – This is my first trip. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had the privilege of working with the boat dentist. Here I am behind a mask, goggles and gown. I found myself falling in love with these beautiful people, who were so gracious and thankful for whatever we could provide them. One afternoon, we saw 30 people who needed dentistry services… I knew dentists in the past, which could provide service to 8 patients and they were tired by the end of the day. God is good! I have been blessed by the boat crew, my CCC team members and the most wonderful Brazilian people.
CC – This being my first trip- I had no expectations. All events would go according to God´s plan. I did not however would expect this trip to open my eyes to the kingdom of God such as this. I had the job of entertaining the children of the village, which was rather a gift than a chore. The first village I went to had one dirt road next to the river with the men on the shore line washing bags of potatoes in the river. It was a very different job from retail or a convenience occupation that I am used to. Then the houses, these homes were put on stilts because the water would rise from the river, besides that- they were tattered and weary. Eroded away from the amazon and time, these buildings had little to nothing about them. The children acted as if Disney World came to them on a boat. You would have never have seen me as happy as they were to go to the Doctor´s office. After playing soccer with them and giving them the ball, they gave me the sweetest and ripest fruit of the village. I never imagined that kind of reaction! I gave them a small gift- and they gave back the best they had. I realized then- when I am entrusted with the small and do my best- God gives me his all. When I go home I will do more with what I am given. When I come back I will do more with what I am given.