(The River Christian Church, Fort Wayne, IN and Staunton Christian Church, Brazil, IN)
Our day started off slow for everyone to adjust. After lunch, we began unpacking all the meds the team brought. We received a surprise visit from the coast guard. Around 13:30 we stalked and organized the meds in the pharmacy with Danie, and packed gift bags. We talked about the importance of vitamins and the difference in the overall wellness of the villagers and pregnancy just from the simple vitamins this mission has been providing. Then we packed bags of medications to hand out at the pharmacy. After all the preparation work was done we took a break to wind down before dinner. To finish up our night Jordan and Megan got schooled on how to tie and hang hammocks, followed up by an explanation and distribution of our jobs for the next day. Also big shout out to Tina for making the dishwashing schedule.
This morning we worshiped in English and Portuguese. We learned some Portuguese words some specific to our job area for the day. We followed that up with just watching the wild life and vegetation around us as we continued to our fist village. When we arrived we received our matching shirts and made sure everything was set up. We began welcomed the people around 11am. The kids were so excited to receive a pair of sunglasses; even some of the adults loved them as well. Some of the volunteers were very heart broken listening to the children crying when they came to the dentist. In the end everything was fine and it is always in the patients’ best interest. We took a break for lunch at 12:30. We ate the best flan ever, and then continued treating patients until about 1800. We ate dinner and were all exhausted, most went straight to bed to recoup for round two tomorrow. We get to stay here and the next two villages will come to us. We can´t wait for more excitement tomorrow.
The day started as usual with breakfast, worship, and devotionals. More of the crew was able to join us today for worship, which was nice. Michael told us that the villagers had made coffee, hot chocolate, and snack area for us to show their gratitude. Unfortunately, it was raining pretty hard so we had to wait for the rain to ease up a little bit before we could leave the area we were meeting in. We took this opportunity to have Jordan and Rachel to lead us in some impromptu worship. It was beautiful praising with the rain fall and scenery behind us, which was our focus in this morning’s devotion. We were told to use our ear today to listen for Gods influence, finally the rain let up and we were able to walk through the village. The villagers were very gracious and welcoming. We were able to treat everyone from the neighboring villages and the all the reaming people from this village. Jordan went with Mara to pick fruit in the village while Rachel got JR and a few others (workers and volunteers alike) to play uno together. God blessed us with a beautiful rainbow to end our day
As we departed from the village this morning we did our daily devotions and talked about using our mouths to speak the words of God. We talked about lifting each other up and speaking encouragement. We ended our time together with great worship songs; we then had a short time to prepare for the next stop. It was heart wrenching to see children with disabilities that did not have access to the proper medical care that we take advantage of on a daily basis without even realizing. Things, such as vitamins, muscle rub, vicks, tums, cough drops, Tylenol, and ibuprofen are some examples of things that they do not have access to. A lot of the members talked about how thankful and happy the children and villagers were. We were done seeing patients by 1500 and traveled onto our next location. We closed our day by praying and taking communion. Although when our circle time was officially over we spent the rest of our time passing the guitar between our group members and the Brazilians while singing worship songs in both languages.
This morning our devotions focused on our hands and how they can be a tool from God, which was a very fitting focus through our day. The day seemed to have started off normal. Although, we ended up having people come from three different villages so things escalated quickly. More and more people began to show up. One thing that was amazing to see was the villagers of Divino Do Aduaca let the villager who had traveled go first so that they could make it home before dark. The compassion of that act is not something we see in our communities back home. We took a break for lunch, and then returned to see patients at 1400. When we returned the amount of people waiting had grown exponentially. So many people needed dental work, that one of the crew members, JR, started helping with cleanings. Unfortunately, the state of most of their teeth required extractions, leading the dental to work late into the night. It was a great day, we finished everyone that needed to be seen. We were able to play with children in the waiting area, while showing love and making connections to the people we interacted with regardless of the language barrier. We recapped our day as a group, one of the crew members said as someone from one of these villages, she knows the importance, gratitude and impact we and this mission have on these villagers. Hebrews 13: 20 -21, ``God equips those he calls. `` This reminded us of a quote by Rick Yancy, that says, `` God does not call the equip, he equips the called.`` There were things that happened which we were able to accomplish only with the grace and power of God.
Today was our last day of devotionals together and our last day treating patients. We began our journey to the next village during this time. When we arrived we noticed from then on out this village seemed to be over flowing with joy. Children were out playing in the water together, they were also very eager to interact with all of us. They enjoyed taking pictures with us and would laugh we they were able to see their picture our on phone. The children loved seeking our attention and they loved climbing the ropes we had anchored to use as tight ropes. Surprisingly out of all the villages this one seemed to be the happiest yet they had the hardest time acquiring basic living essentials. Through all the amazing interactions we had we left with a heavy heart and many prayers to send up for the wonderful people of this village.
A few of us started our day by getting up early to see the sun rise. It was beautiful to just take a moment and admire Gods creation. The rest of the day was spent relaxing as we traveled to San Sebastian. It was a great time to just reflect on previous days. We decided to end our day with another impromptu worship session that included our group as well as some of the crew. We alternated between English and Portuguese singing whatever song came to mind. It was at that time we had felt led to pray over our new friend the Dentist and even though there was that language barrier, the Holy Spirit moved through us and the love we all felt was powerful.
Today we all got up and meet in front of the boat for a group pictures. We then walked into town of San Sebastian to see the green house they had built. We learned that they sell the produce to the schools and factories that provide lunches for the children and workers. When we returned we received the chance to jump in and swim by the boat. It was very refreshing and a lot of laughs were had. As we were finishing up dinner we drove through a storm which caused the boat to rock. During this time we came together in the dining area to get out of the rain. It was nice to see everyone reaching out to make sure we were all ok. It all came to a close in a very intense game of cards, luckily enough it ended in more laughter.
Today was the last day of our trip. The first thing we saw today was the meeting of the waters where the Amazon and the Black River meet. It was pretty amazing seeing how the two bodies of water are two different colors and don´t mix! After that we finished making our way to the Indian Village. We had so much fun, Brazilians and the missionaries both. We learned a bit about their culture and history, we danced with them in a traditional dance, they painted our faces for us with the paints they make, AND we got to hold animals such as sloths, an anaconda, a crocodile, a Macaw, and a monkey! After eating lunch we headed to Manaus. There we got to look through the market for trinkets and souvenirs. We ended our day by docking and grilling out with the crew singing worship songs and eating together. It was bitter sweet because even though we are missing our families, we have made such deep and loving connections with the people we have been working beside. We have shared stories of our families and life. It´s hard knowing this is the last time we will be together like this. We are all beyond grateful for the time and experiences we have had. This mission does amazing work and we can´t wait for our next trip.