For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
2 Corinthians 4:5
—UPDATE— November 29, 2018
Where do I begin? If you have not read our latest update, you should click here.
The atmosphere in the village has been interesting over the last few months. If you have been keeping track, you know why. If not, I encourage you to go back and read our last few updates.
I admit, there have been some changes since March. I would expect for there to be a continued emotional rollercoaster as things calm down over the next 6 months.
It is difficult to describe to you everything that goes on in the mists of the people because of the cultural differences of which we are still learning, and probably will never fully grasp. Most of my explanations are just my opinions. There are facts, but the motives behind the facts are difficult to ascertain.
For the most part, these emotional rollercoasters are a result of political power struggles between Villages, and their own personal struggles with understanding the outside Brazilian culture which has been roaring into their lives like an out of control freight train over the last several years.
I do not think that most of them even understand or accept this as being an underlying issue, as they have never had any education in psychological cultural influences.
We are seeing tremendous Christian Spiritual growth in many of the people, along with the new sprouts of Christians in the second village. These new Christians are on fire for the Lord!
How did they hear about the Gospel? Well because of the great growth in the first village, several of the people wanted to start evangelizing the other villages where their family and friends are dying without knowing about the Salvation that Jesus has wrought.
So, we have great Spiritual growth in the majority of the people over the last few years.
What is the roller coaster then? Well, some of the older, first generation Christians, have been influenced into “Saving your Culture” mentality from anti Christian political groups.
It is important to conserve and save your cultural heritage which includes way of life, daily practices in herbal medicines, heart language, and general cultural family hierarchies. The problem with the “Save your Culture” teachings from the outside influences is that they are teaching that to save their culture, the people must learn Portuguese, come to the city for Conferences, receive welfare, and reject any Christian Biblical influence.
So, as the newer Christians are getting on fire for the Lord and evangelizing the neighboring villages, the older ones who are governing are telling them that they cannot and should not try to influence the other villages, and some have even gone to the lengths of going into the villages where others have evangelized and then spread rumors and lies in order to undermine the foundations that have been laid.
I find comfort in the scriptures. Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament had these same struggles with the early “First” converts from Judaism, who were following him around and trying to destroy the good foundations he was building in Christ Jesus. He spoke of these people in almost all of his letters and epistles. He warned us leaders to be alert, and aware of wolves in sheeps clothing, and of those who would rise up from right in our own mists and try to take control.
I am also comforted in the reports I hear from other Christian missionaries who are doing similar work. They tell me of similar struggles and trials.
I do not let these things get me down, but letting these things pass by, I focus upward and onward, towards the higher calling found in Christ Jesus, knowing that He has already won the world, and will be returning soon to redeem it.
I am not alone. We are not alone in these struggles. We just had to leave the comfort of the United States easy church lives to actually see them in real ministry. Beware, He said, for the Devil is like a roaring lion, seeking to devour, kill steal, and destroy.
The people are not even aware of the real issues, although I constantly warn them from the scriptures, and I continually guide them into the truth.
I love to see the glory of Jesus shining out of their eyes as the Holy Spirit is working in and through them. I also love to see Jesus over coming these struggles as satan tries to create turbulence in our mists.
Oscar is looking to head out of his own village and will probably be the first ever “missionary” from them.
Valdici could be the first ordained leader of a new church plant as he is the one who has consistently lifted the Gospel to Aldeia Nova.
Elsimara and Raimunda continue to seek new women to train and lift up for Children’s ministries and Women’s leadership. They will be the new Sunday School leaders as we grow in our Church practices.
Emerson, having accepted Christ last year, has been leading a small group of new believers up river from us, in a place that I have still not visited. I am trying to get him and Oscar to go there and start Church Services together. This would give Oscar even more experience for where he ends up going later on as a missionary/church planter.
We are looking for ways to reach the youth in the first village, which was almost completely lost in the year or two before Melissa and I started ministering among the people. The youth in the second village are all first generation believers and will grow up strong.
We are so grateful for the tremendous work of Judy and Cathie, the two Wycliff missionaries who gave their lives to the Apurina people, and made an alphabet along with all of the teaching materials to learn to read and write in what is now known as the Apurina language, translating all of the New Testament and some of the Old.
It is because of the work that the Holy Spirit did through these ladies that there is even a ministry to be done by us. May God get all the glory!
Please pray for the people here. The new church roof was mostly paid for by the tithes and offerings of the Apurina people. They are learning to take responsibility for their own ministry. Praise the Lord!
Please pray for the new Church construction in Aldeia Nova. The chief of that village told me on this last trip that they are receiving non-stop threats from others over their plans to build a church. Their boats are being sunk, motors and all, their fishing nets are being stolen, and the fish they do catch have been forcibly taken from them and thrown back into the water, dead.
The struggle is real here. Pray and trust, knowing that He is answering your prayers, and we are seeing the victory that is only found in Christ Jesus our Lord being wrought among the people here.
God bless you all,
Brad and Melissa and Family.
–OVERVIEW OF THIS MINISTRY–
We are working closely with the leadership to bring them into a deeper walk with the Lord through Personal Bible Devotions, Leadership Unity, and by teaching how to Pastor the flock of God.
We have three goals:
1) Leadership Training
2) Teach the Bible
3) Evangelism of the other Villages
We always pass by all the houses and families of the village, sharing our lives as they share their’s with us, encouraging, consoling, and continuing to build relationships.
Please pray for the Apurina people! There is an ongoing spiritual battle in their village right now.
Thank you for your prayers and support.
There is always a real danger of Malaria, Yellow Fever, snake bites, and other things.
—Background on this Ministry—
We minister to and with the Apurina people. We are following the work of two Wycliff missionaries, Judy and Cathy. They were ministering to the Apurina for 37 years.
This tribe is about 2 days travel by boat from Manaus.
Our goals are to continue to augment the lives of the believers in the Tribe while seeking the opportunity for the furtherance of the Gospel to those unreached in the neighboring villages, which are currently opening up through our evangelical boat trips. We are doing this by systematically teaching Through the Bible, teaching Old Testament history coupled with New Testament revelation and applying both to the lives of the people.
We are so grateful for the work of Judy and Cathy, who learned the heart language of the people, made an alphabet, and created teaching material for future missionaries, such as us!
Currently the Tribe does not have the whole Bible translated in their language. They have the total New Testament, the books of Genesis and Exodus, and part of the book of Psalms. As our relationship grows, and we learn the Apurina language, we will continue the translation of the Old Testament scriptures that Judy and Cathy started. In the meantime, we teach in Portuguese from the Apurina scriptures and have one of the leaders translate that into Apurina.
Please pray about joining us in this large work, which is the main focus of our ministry here in the Amazon Jungle.
Please pray for these people as the spiritual warfare is intense, unlike anything we have experienced in the U.S. The leaders who would like to have prayer are Makoaa, Domiguinho, Doval, Patricio, Pedro, Oscar, Analucia, Valdicis, Raimunda and Chico.