CBM AMAZONIA Amazon Medical Boat Trip – CBM TRIP – AUGUST 23 – Sept 2, 2017
Travel is always interesting. It is either extremely easy or disastrously complicated. We got the easy one today. Smooth sailing from the road trip to Charlotte through Miami to Manaus. CBM picked us up got us on the boat and off we went. Prayer is key for these trips. Not only for the blessings you have been given but for those that we are about to serve. The excitement of serving was there. We met the other three who were going to serve with the Belmont crew in the Miami airport. Our final flight was light on passengers so we spread out and got ready to go. Earl and San met us at the Manus airport and took us over to the boat. We got some duties out of the way during the bus ride to prepare us for week. We were served a meal and ate upstairs and just took lots of pictures as we left Manaus. Many of us went to bed shortly after the large bridge.
Training the body has some value. But being godly has value in every way. It promises help for the life you are now living and the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:8 NIRV)
The morning has been a great experience getting to know others and hearing each other’s stories. As an american, it is hard to imagine places where there is no convenient place to buy wants and needs. As you pass by Brazilians who are rowing or riding a boat with a small motor just to get the bare necessities for life, you stop and think what you could do without. The ride out to the villages gives you time to reflect on the work you are embarking on. The sites and sounds are not like any experience I have had. From learning the very basics of a different language to seeing pink dolphins jumping in the river, this first day is an experience in itself. As we stop in São Sebastião do Uatumã for a few minutes, we saw kids playing and having a good time. Sites like these makes you realize that we all have the same basic needs of life. I look forward to the next week of providing basic medical services to those who have no access.
“It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?”
Galatians 5:13-15 MSG
As I was waking up, the boat cranked which meant it was first light. Today we are traveling 4 hours to our first village. That engine crank gave me the excuse to get up and watch the sun rise. God’s beauty shows all around. Often times we do not take a few minutes to stop and enjoy what he has created for us. His most precious gift of love is the reason we are on this trip. We are here to share the love of Christ that was shown to us. People are people no matter where you go. As part of our week, we were able to blessing two new buildings and the church families. This was followed by the baptism of 7 people at . The baptism of the 93 year old man just proves you are never too old to accept the love of Christ. It was sent from heaven by God to us all. Our second stop of the day brought more people to the boat especially children. You lose track of a count quickly but it all seems to flow in some organized fashion.
It is hard to hear stories of a 15 year old girl scared that she does not know what to with her 8 month old baby but that is just one story of many here. Many times we try to place other people in our box of ideas but different places live very differently. We are here as the Love of Christ and we are taking this opportunity to show each one that comes through any service on the boat that God is Love
‘Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If any of you hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with you. And you will eat with me. (Revelation 3:20 NIRV)
When you get a different perspective from even something as small as a song you know sung in a different language it can provide a view of faith that changes you. Many of life circumstances are given to you and can’t change but how you respond and use what is given to you is what matter. Choices of life can be hard, decisions can affect so many people around you. Each person around the world makes these choices. Our work today has shown God’s love to others,
There are many times it is hurry up and wait but the process is what makes everything run efficiently. From check in through the process of the pharmacy, Each job is important to the service. It is the same way in each part of our lives. Many times we try to rush the process only to find missed opportunities.
Today was eye opening and heart breaking. One of the small villages had approximately 40 kids. It was tough because this village had very little of anything especially food. It is hard knowing you only have so much of anything to give. Rob told stories of only just treating the dental issue and not having time to do routine dental work. The fears these villages have are not any different from what we see as in America. We all have fears and the realization that God is there no matter our fear.
We rejoiced in the baptism of 7 people tonight and the dedication of a new church building
“The three most important things to have are faith, hope and love. But the greatest of them is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13 NIRV
Treatment today was steady and a mix of all ages. It is amazing to see different walks of life no matter where you are in the world. You see so many that realize you are here to show God’s love to them all no matter their circumstance. They are thankful for what little feel we have to give. We were able to experience a full service and partake in communion with our 80 Brazilian brothers and sisters in Christ. We now know many of the words to the songs or we hum in Portuguese the one we can’t quite say really well.
Serving others changes you. It brings out the best in you and helps you find places in your life where you may need help. Those places are where God wants to be to replace all of your fears and failures. No one is great at everything so learning where to let God in make you grow personally and with God.
Today was a special day. The dentist on board and 3 others were baptized into Christ today. We all rejoiced and welcomed them into the family of God.
“Dear children, don’t just talk about love. Put your love into action. Then it will truly be love.”
1 John 3:18 NIRV
I am up early today. The sunrises are amazing. Each new day brings unforeseen opportunities. Today we are going to treat in the morning and visit another village and the local vocational school that is in the same area. Each day no matter your job, you are important to each person who comes through the boat. You are a representative of Christ.
Lack of communication has become weird and normal. You can’t check on a loved one, find out the news or what happened in the latest sporting event. We fill that time with stories of the patients we saw that day. From the sad heart breaking stories to the stories of an inquisitive young lady who learned English word quickly. Each day brings new stories but also similar stories of people in need of the basics.
We finished up in the same village as yesterday. We had a lot of dental this morning. Went traveled a small way to another village only to find no one around. It is election time and everyone is required to vote. Many villagers have to travel more than 4 hours or more by boat to another village just to cast their ballot. With no one around we traveled up river a couple of hours. We found a beach and stopped for the night. We took a swim in the Amazon and some of us got out onto the beach. Rare cell service this far out got us all in touch with loved ones to let them know we were all ok and of the work we were doing.
“Give praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He is the Father who gives tender love. All comfort comes from him. He comforts us in all our troubles. Now we can comfort others when they are in trouble. We ourselves have received comfort from God.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIRV
We don’t do it because we know them, we do it because we know Christ. This came from our devotional time this morning. It seems fitting this trip. We ride into these villages that the boat will not be able to get back to soon due to the fall of the Amazon and the rivers that attach. This is a 6 month cycle of the rise and fall of the river. It is currently down 8 – 10 feet from its highest point just 6 weeks ago.
Today we are in a remote village. There is a small amount of people in this village. It is mainly a “commuter” school. Kids boat in from other villages. Even reaching these small amount of people while the boat can still maneuver back this far is rewarding to us all. We do get more time to soak in what we are doing. Our final village of the day was small.
In total we were able to see a total of 377 medical patients this week. We also had 86 dental checks and 154 dental procedures. We provided 52 pairs of glasses and 8 massages for sore backs and shoulders. At times if seems like a lot and other times like you didn’t do enough. Having been able to serve on this missions trip has been rewarding and refilling
The Lord himself will go ahead of you. He will be with you. He will never leave you. He’ll never desert you. So don’t be afraid. Don’t lose hope.” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIRV)
Today after a short devotion time we got right towork at the mission in São Sebastião do Uatumã. We had people helping out with work at the greenhouse. They helped build a raised bed, clear rows and move dirt. Others painted the ministry training center walls and floors. The final group help finalize a fence project. We didn’t serve medical patients today, we served the workers in the field today. They will come back to a freshly painted center and more vegetables. Each missions trip I have been on has helped me grow as a christian.
Each of the verses I have provided were not preplanned. These have been my daily verse from the Bible app on my phone. God works in mysterious ways to provide guidance on the days you need it. Each verse seemed fitting for each day we were on this trip
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your Spirit – CBM Missions Team August 23 – Sept 1, 2017
1 There is a time for everything. There’s a time for everything that is done on earth. (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIRV)