Amazon August 1 – 11, 2018
Day 1 – August 1
After little sleep we embarked on our journey at 3:00 a.m. After arriving at the airport, everyone got through check-in and security and we were on our way. The sunrise above the clouds was beautiful and some even saw a rainbow in the huge puffy clouds. After finding our luggage, a couple men brought large carts for all 26 suitcases and took us directly to check-in for our international flight. A wonderful woman took care of our group and even got us a personal security officer to escort us directly through the security check point. All went smooth except for Janet and her knee replacement. She was searched for the second time today. It was finally time for food. After lunch we had a 5-hour wait for our 5-hour flight to Manaus. We were excited to meet the other team members and get acquainted before boarding. We arrived in Manaus around 11:00 p.m. After only one snag of mistaken identity with a suitcase, we boarded the bus for a short ride to the boat. Suitcases were sorted and a pleasant meal of rice, pasta, beef, and salad was graciously put before us. Exhaustion finally overtook us at 1:30 a.m. and we went to bed for a short’s nigh rest before our first village visit in the morning.
Day 2 – August 2
We were called to breakfast at 7:00 a.m. and given our assignments. After getting set up we enjoyed the rest of the journey to the village sitting on the top deck feeling the lovely breeze on our faces. Once we arrived, villagers boarded and were greeted by Ron, John, Michael, and Mark. Vickie took their blood pressure; Peggy weighed and measured; and Tamala wrote down the information before visiting “Dr.” Lana with Earl interpreting; the dentist, Michelle with the help of Merle; or Jeanie with the help of Diandra who cleaned their teeth. If massages or glasses were ordered, patients went to see Shay and me. After seeing the doctor, they received worm medicine, sunglasses, toothbrush with toothpaste, and a gift bag from Inez, Janet, and Villie. If they were prescribed medicine, they were off to see Ruth Anne and Judson. After lunch we took a bit of rest and soon families began to arrive. Shallyn had her hands full playing with the kids. Before we disembarked, our men found themselves bringing balls out to play with the kids leaving the balls behind for the villagers to enjoy. We left to cruise back down the river again enjoying the natural breeze. After dinner Earl showed us a map of the river and where we would be serving the rest of the week.
Day 3 – August 3
Breakfast at 7 gave us energy for the day. We began with devotions with the crew as well as an English/Portuguese lesson with singing. John, Mark, Michael, and Ron got off at São Sebastião to work on the chicken “palace” coop. The remainder of the team separated medicines into small bags to be given out during the following days in the villages. After lunch the work was done for the day so we enjoyed the ride on the river again. When we arrived at the village, we were invited to go into the village to play soccer with some boys and take pictures with some girls. The children were happy and didn’t argue during the game. We noticed the village had a satellite dish and a pay phone and of course red ants. Dinner was served and a few of us played cards before going to bed.
Day 4 – August 4
The morning began with breakfast and devotions up top. Learning songs in Portuguese is not easy, but fun. We were able to ask for phrases specific for our stations. By 9:00 the flow of villagers began. It was a busy morning until lunch. After a siesta we all hiked up to the church for a time of singing and fellowship. Shallyn was chosen to introduce herself and she said her name was what Earl has been calling her all week, “Shamui.” What a blessing to see the youngest of our group stand strong. Gifts were passed out and we headed back for a few dentist and doctor visits before heading across the river to the next villages. We saw many large families, several babies, and a pregnant 13-year old with the 15-year old father. At the next village we had just seen a few fresh water dolphins when the children saw us coming and ran to meet the boat. We went out to play and started braiding hair. We soon had to retreat to the boat because hoards of mosquitoes descended on the village. We remained indoors eating dinner and playing cards.
Day 5 – August 5
During this morning’s devotions we each read a verse of Psalm 40 and told what it meant to us. The clinic began and was busy all morning. After lunch we relaxed and rested before beginning again. Around 4:00 we went to the empty Roman Catholic Church for a meeting and time of singing. Jeanie was asked to introduce herself and did a wonderful job. We came back on the boat and before the attack of the mosquitoes, we all met on the top deck for a worship time where we all partook of the Lord’s Supper. What a moving service with thoughts from God’s Word about Jesus giving up heaven for us. It was illustrated by comparing Jesus to a bird that by nature could fly but chooses to only walk. Philippians 2:5ff says that Jesus came to this earth and chose to be grounded, accepting the limitations of being human, including death on a cross. We also enjoyed beautiful singing. We retired in our rooms to escape the insects until dinner.
Day 6 – August 6
This morning’s devotion time after breakfast included much singing and a Portuguese lesson and review. Shay then led in a devotion about how even Paul had struggled with being sure of himself when sharing the Word of God as demonstrated in Ephesians 6: 19, 20. We should not be ashamed of our fears but overcome them with help from the Lord. He does not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power. With that power we finished the village we left off the previous night. After lunch we traveled to the farthest village in that river and worked with villagers living nearby. After we finished we set sail back up the river and across the Amazon to the village home of one of the crew for a fresh water supply. Later we relaxed and enjoyed the fellowship of other team members.
Day 7 – August 7
Today was a busy day. Breakfast and devotions were held where we got fresh water. The preacher, Diandra’s father, and his wife joined us before we departed. After devotions we set said for the remaining villages in the river we had come from the night before. We arrived and began treating individuals from one village around 10:00 and continued until lunch. After a short break and travel, we began treating at another village and worked until almost 6:00. Many of us were very tired but felt the work worthwhile. After clean-up we enjoyed freshly made bread and apple bananas and then we set sail for São Sebastião a day early. Earl plans for us to work in the greenhouse tomorrow. Dinner was delicious as always and we arrived at São Sebastião a bit before 9:00 p.m. The long day took its toll and we tried to sleep amid the lights and music from the streets next to us.
Day 8 – August 8
After breakfast we met for devotions. We then took Moto taxis out to work in the greenhouse and to reunite with the other team members who had been staying at the mission house and working on the chicken “palace.” They were working on the foundation and had made tremendous strides. At the greenhouse some women filled old soda bottles to be used for boarders for the rows inside the greenhouse. Others worked the dirt up around plants and pulled weed when needed. Others raked and carried hoed grass to a compost pile. We came back for lunch and a bit of rest before heading back. The men who worked on the chicken “palace” had a dedication to the work complete with a special sign naming it indeed the Chicken Palace. They arrived back at the boat just in time for dinner. We relaxed for the rest of the evening and got caught up.
Day 9 – August 9
Today we had a devotion time with Sanderley giving a testimony about how God will provide for your family while you are away. God delayed a team’s flight for him to come home just in time to receive call from his mother who was extremely ill. He was able to get her to the hospital to save her life. During this trip she had some tests that revealed that she needed heart surgery right away. She came through after her heart stopped during surgery and is recovering well now. We must continue to pray for our own families as well as the new additions we have made to our family on this trip. We then had the honor of thanking the crew and those who worked at the mission house with gifts from home. What a blessing to us they have been. I pray we were a blessing to them as well.