Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.
Greetings in Christ,
Well, another year has passed and we forge on into 2019 with great expectations of the wonderful, and marvelous plans of God. Who knows the plans He has for us?
I will praise him from the bottom of my heart:
“LORD, who can compare with you?
Who else rescues the weak and helpless from the strong?
Who else protects the poor and needy from those who want to rob them?”
Who can list the glorious miracles of the LORD?
Who can ever praise him half enough?
Surely we can not! We try on a bi-monthly basis to relate all that He has done here, using us, using you, administering His great power and glory amongst the Apurina people, but we are constantly searching for the right words to express all of this, knowing that we come up really short. Suffice it to say, We will praise Him all our days and trust that you too are catching a taste of what we are trying to relate.
2019 is looking very bright from our earthly perspective. Let’s start this update with another story from our trip into the village last week.
It was 1:30am as Brad arrived at the mouth of the Indian reserve, pitch black, the main river swollen from the raining season having arrived, large tree trunks ominously bobby through the strong currents fighting to get downriver, the steady beat of the large passenger boat which had transported him there was quickly buh,buh, buh, buh, buhhing off into the dark.
The mighty Purus river is not like any river we have in the U.S. It is massive, powerful and yet deceivingly calm on the surface. It is deep, averaging 140 ft, and wide, 5 minutes to cross at full speed in our boat. Of course the depth of the river just plays with your mind at 1:30 in the morning as you realize you are all alone in the middle of the jungle. To further add to the games that were being played in his head, as he entered the 15 mile long lake he was greeted by a very dense fog which brought visibility to 20 ft, slowing the boat to a speed just above idle, and navigation solely by his compass. Thank God for the Holy Spirit who helps in every hour of need.
Brad arrived at our jungle house at 3:00 am. Everyone in the village had been asleep, but when a boat arrives, the foreign noise from the motor is assured to be heard by most of the people, as normally they only hear the sounds of frogs, birds, monkeys, and other random animals. By 5:00 am he had carried everything up to the house and by 5:30 had taken a shower, cleaned one small part of the house, hung his hammock and mosquito net and was zonked out.
6:30 am…….people are milling around outside the house. knock, knock, knock…Pastor? You arrived? There are of course sacrifices that must be made in order to be part of great works of God.
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Matthew 16:24)
This trip only lasted 5 days in the villages, 8 days total with travel times. This short trip was planned though. The main goals of the trip were to: 1) remind the people that we would be back the first week of February with a group from California and 2) to visit a village upriver and negotiate the arrival of Oscar and Analucia, the first missionaries to be sent out from our ministry, preaching and teaching the Gospel, with plans to plant a church as the Lord blesses.
We accomplished both goals! This other village is quite a ways from the reserve where our house is. In fact, it is on another reserve, about 75 miles up river, and we get there in our ministry boat using a 40hp motor.
You may recall, Brad has been to this new village three other times, holding 2 Bible Conferences, evangelizing, teaching, and watching the Lord work His wonders. The first time he went there, the people had a small statue of a Catholic saint which they were offering sacrifices to. They accepted the Gospel on that first trip and destroyed the idol, requesting that we return and work with them, hungering for more of the life changing, powerful word of God.
We are not making this up, although in the U.S. it may sound like we are embellishing it. We are not. That had been 3 years ago. We are really excited that Oscar and Analucia have heard the call of God to return there and start a new work, for we ourselves cannot work in three villages at the same time, lacking manpower and resources. For this we look to the scriptures.
Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. (Luke 10:2)
Do you sense the call of God to enter into His harvest? Step out in faith and test the waters.
Even though Brad, Oscar and Analucia and a couple of others had gone up river to this new village, called Sao Gabriel, he still held 5 church services on the other 4 days of the trip, both in Vila Nova and Aldeia Nova.
Are you still reading? We have another story from this trip. Saturday night, on the full moon, when many of you in the U.S. saw a blood moon, the indians also saw a lunar eclipse.
Brad had been so tired from the travels that he had decided to use ear plugs and did not wake up when the people were knocking on his door to ask him what was happening with the moon.
In the morning, Domiginho came over and said, “Pastor, did you see the moon last night? It ran away and hid.” Brad answered, “No, I did not. I was sleeping with blocks in my ears. I am sorry I did not hear you call me.” Domiginho responded, “Is it true that people die when the moon hides?” Another asked, “Do we need to bang on things and make lots of noise to keep people from dying?”
Our hearts pour out for the people and some of their superstitions. We also realize most of us have weird little superstitious things that control our lives too, like step on a crack and break your mother’s back. Still to this day I step over cracks in the sidewalk, although I know it has no effect on my mother. Here, in the city of Manaus it is impossible to not step on cracks in the sidewalks.
We do our best to comfort the people in these things and took this opportunity to show on the chalkboard what happens when the sun, earth, and moon align in certain ways and to assure them that the eclipse itself can not harm them although at the end time the Bible does say that there will be a blood moon and many people will die under the wrath of God. This was not that blood moon though.
Continue to pray for all of the people in the villages, especially for our disciples, Valdici and Oscar and their families.
Please consider supporting us Become a Financial Partner as the ministry is expanding and with that expansion, God is providing the necessary support. Will you be a part of this expansion? Will you be a part of God’s provision?
Email us at email@example.com and give some encouragement, it is always welcome.
Brad will be in the U.S. sharing about the ministry and raising support next month, February 21 – April 25. Want to know where? Click Upcoming Events.
God bless you,
Brad and Melissa and Family
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