Our group, consisting of individuals from Southwest Christian Church, Summit Christian Church, and Lakeview Christian Church, initially planned for a trip with Central Brazil Mission in 2020. Due to the COVID pandemic and resulting restrictions, the trip was postponed until April 2023. We began meeting to organize, fundraise, and collect medications in mid-2022. The individuals and supporters began praying diligently for the trip and for those who would be impacted by this CBM trip.
April 12, 2023—Our group of twelve individuals met at the Cleveland Airport at 1130. We checked and weighed 24 fifty pound bags full of medications and supplies for the people of Brazil. Our TSA check went smoothly. Our flight from Cleveland to Chicago went well.. We left Chicago for Fort Lauderdale on time. There were brief mentions of storms in Southern Florida, but our pilot expected the weather to clear by the time we were scheduled to land. As the trip continued, however, it became clear that there was unprecedented flooding in Fort Lauderdale. This flooding led to our plane landing in Tampa and the closing of Fort Lauderdale Airport. After several conversations with our travel agent and Michael Haubner, we decided to rent three large vehicles and an Airbnb for the night. Michael was stranded in Fort Lauderdale for the night. We enjoyed visiting as a team and all slept well that evening.
April 13, 2023—Our flight was changed to Orlando Airport and our team as well as Michael Haubner headed to Orlando. We checked in with Azul Airlines and had some difficulty with paperwork. Fortunately, all thirteen members made it to the gate on time for a smooth flight to Manuas, Brazil. Upon landing, eleven of our thirteen members successfully cleared customs. Michael and Ryan were detained for questioning and examination of baggage. This process took well over an hour. After many prayers, they were successfully released with all nine of the bags they were carrying. We headed to the CBM boat at at 0130. Our awesome crew had a meal waiting for us. We were certainly thankful for God`s protection and provision during this challenging beginning to our mission trip!
April 14, 2023—We slept in a bit after our late night and enjoyed breakfast together. Storms occurred for a couple of hours while we rested. We spent several hours stocking the pharmacy on the boat and sorting medications. We enjoyed getting to know each other and our crew. Our meals and afternoon snacks were delicious. Our boat docked in a small tributary of the Amazon near the village we will serve tomorrow. The day ended with an energetic game of Uno.
April 15, 2023—Our group slept well with a background of Amazon creatures serenading us. Our boat made an interesting journey through several Amazon tributaries before arriving in Sao Pedro. Many of us watched from the deck and were rewarded with views of pink dolphins, gracas (white birds with long legs), exotic deep blue birds, and other flora and fauna. Following breakfast, we met on the upper deck for devotions, a lesson in Portuguese, and singing. We reviewed our assignments for the day. At 0930 we opened the doors to the boat and began seeing our first patients. A boat of older individuals came from the small town of Mocumbo to be evaluated. We treated many families with various medical conditions and all patients were provided with pinworm treatment. Children were entertained with inflatable character headbands and bracelets. We finished treating patients at 1900. Above all, the love of Jesus was shared with all we served.
April 16, 2023—We traveled a short distance on the boat to the village of Santo Antonio. We had a full day of seeing patients from 9am-7pm. Highlights of the day included when our dentist replaced two bottom teeth of a fifteen year old girl who had been without them since early childhood. She endured bullying and refused to smile due to these missing teeth. Tears were shared by the patient, her family, and the team when the procedure was completed. All were thrilled! One woman had a large skin tag just lateral to her eye that was beginning to impact her peripheral vision. Our team worked together to successfully remove the skin tag. We went to church together in Mocumbo where we worshiped with Pastor Daniel and his church family. We shared communion as a team in the evening.
April 17, 2023—We awakened to a rainy morning. After breakfast we had devotions together and sang several songs. We enjoyed Danielle leading us in the song Oceans in both English and Portuguese. We started seeing patients a little after 0900. A few of us took a walk through the village of Mocumbo during our lunch break. We enjoyed treating several memorable patients, including one little girl with a deformed leg who had such a positive attitude and smile on her face that we were all blessed. We treated one young man with abrasions on his leg and hip following an accident. He was grateful for effective wound care. We finished seeing patients at 1630. Our boat left Mocumbo and traveled a short distance to the village of Sao Tome. We saw one last patient for the day when the president of the village requested to speak with Michael. He shared that a man in his village had stroke-like symptoms two days prior and requested an evaluation. We brought him onto the boat just before dinner and evaluated his symptoms.
April 18, 2023—Our morning began with a delicious breakfast in the village of Sao Tome hosted by the individuals we would later serve on the boat. We feasted on Brazilian nuts, homemade sweet breads, fresh juice, fresh fruits, and other treats. We took a group photo and prepared to see our first patients. We saw many babies and pregnant women during the day. It rained during much of our clinic. We said goodbye to Dr. Leticia and Dr. Naiyara. We enjoyed seeing the joy on the face of patients as they were treated with effective prescription reading glasses.
April 19, 2023—Many of us awakened early to enjoy the journey from Sao Tome to Sao Remanso. Our talented boat captains guided our boat through several narrow channels. We saw numerous pink dolphins, parakeets, and even a monkey in the nearby trees. We began seeing patients after our morning devotions. There were several large families that we were able to treat. We finished seeing patients at 1230 and left shortly after lunch to head to Sao Sebastian. We were treated to a beautiful day. We napped in hedgies, read books, and enjoyed the gorgeous scenery. After a six hour journey, we arrived in Sao Sebastian. Several members of the team took a brief walk through town before turning in for the night.
April 20, 2023—We began our day with a walk through Sao Sebastian. We visited the CBM greenhouse and property and the home of Santana. Our tour of the property was enjoyed by all. We feasted on fresh juice and delicious homemade pastries prepared by Santana. Several members of our team purchased jewelry and other handmade goods to take back home. On our walk back to the boat, we were met by a friend of CBM who offered to give us a tour of the newly remodeled hospital. The hospital staff encouraged CBM to bring back a group of surgeons to operate in the future. We said goodbye to Danielle in Sao Sebastian and departed on our journey to Manuas. Another gorgeous day of traveling allowed sightings of pink dolphins and interesting rainforest trees. Team members rested in hedgies, played cards, read books, and visited. Our cooking team spoiled us with homemade pineapple upside down cake made with pineapples harvested that morning. In the evening, strong winds and nearby storms made our journey a bit choppier that typical, but we knew we were in good hands with our experienced boat captain.
April 21, 2023—We awakened early to rainy weather. As a team, we were still able to enjoy the Meeting of the Waters between the Amazon River and Rio Negro. Our first stop was a small market that also had a walkway into the Amazon rainforest. We saw interesting plants and heard nearby monkeys. Next, we stopped in an Indian village where we were greeted by sloths, parrots, snakes, monkeys, and caimans. We all had a blast holding many of the creatures. We learned how traditional farinha is prepared and tasted traditional Indian teas. Our group participated in a traditional Indian ritual festival with dancing and different instruments. Some of us even joined the performers in their final dance! The boat took us to the downtown market in Manaus where we shopped for gifts and souvenirs. We walked together to a market where we purchased sweets and coffee. Our final destination was the CBM dock where we swam, took boat rides to nearby interesting homes, and had a delicious cookout together. We shared our most memorable moments of the trip and our appreciation for an incredible experience with the boat staff. In all, we served 523 medical patients and 95 dental patients. We are thankful for the opportunity to join God as he continues to work in Brazil through CBM!
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