Guest blogger- Matt’s sister, Faith

(this took place my first week i was here, just wanted to write about it so i have documentation of my first true amazonian experience. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Last time dad was down, he met a fantastic young man Lucas, his wife Ruthie and their adorable little girl. A few months ago, Lucas started visiting a small community outside of Santarem about once a week. Many people have come to know the Lord through him visiting and sharing the Gospel, so hallelujah for new brothers and sisters in the Lord! Dad wanted to spend some time with Lucas and so it seemed like a perfect idea for us to load up and make a trip to visit this community and make some new friends!
Dad, Matt, Luke, myself, and Lucas and his little family, loaded up in his boat, (which seemed to have some engine trouble, gulp) and set off for the 3 hour trip! It was my first time on the Amazon, and after hearing so many stories, I felt like I was watching the midnight premiere of a long-awaited film…

Matt, on the other hand, chose to take advantage of the pretty, purple hammock..
Since it hasn’t rained for a few months, the river has gone way down. Instead of floating right up to where we were headed, we had to ‘dock’ a few miles away and call for someone to come get us. Twenty minutes later (they said seven…but as I keep getting told, time is kind of irrelevant sometimes ๐Ÿ™‚ ) our ‘taxi’ comes and we load up! Pretty tentatively…there was a leak or two, so we had to position our behinds just right to ensure no sinking and also for all of us to fit.
The one thing i thought i was going to miss about home was being cozy…i shouldn’t have been worried… i got the ‘รงozy’ feeling on the canoe.





It was beautiful going to the community…this little canoe-boat thing zipped along so peacefully, gracefully dodging the extra-dry areas and making ripples in the otherwise completely still water.

We arrived in the backyard of the boat-drivers house (I imagine he pays extra for such convenience!) and met his 23 chickens and kind wife. They were so eager to show us their home, so we hung around for a bit, enjoying the fast-coming sunset and letting Lucas do his thing of catching up and encouraging. The next half hour-40 minutes we made our way to a few more houses, meeting more smiling, welcoming faces. They abolutely love Lucas. Such a testimony of how showing interest in people leads to concern for their souls, which leads to life-long (eternity-long) friendship and love.

We brought along little picture books with about 15 Bible stories written in Portuguese, so Lucas got to hand a few out. It made me smile–I’ve been reading from story books five times that size since before I can remember, and this is probably their first one. When they read some of those stories for the first time, I’m happy they’ll have a little picture book to help imagine how big Goliath really was ๐Ÿ™‚

Our last stop was the community building that is being used for weekly worship gatherings. Our new boat-driver-friend (pictured below) was the first one to get saved in the area, and also a well-respected leader in the community. This means that he gets to more-easily use the community building for Jesus-related activities! Yay!


The sun was leaving the horizon, so it was our turn to leave as well. We said our good-byes and made our way back on the winding path. It was so quiet, calm, peaceful. Seeing how little these people had, yet how much they had in Christ, filled my soul and heart up to the brim.

On our way back, i got to help Ruthie prepare a boat-dinner…we had rice, of course, but we spiced it up with throwing hot dogs, chicken, raisins, peppers, apples (and numerous other ingredients that i can’t remember) in…as we were cutting and mixing, my taste buds definitely weren’t watering, but it was surprisingly good! I even had seconds.

As the darkness came, the boat spotlight came out, and Luke had fun shining that all over the water ( and on every single boat we passed by, waking all the sleepy fisherman) When he wasn’t helping Lucas drive the boat, he was translating for me and Ruthie, who climbed out on the front of the boat to star-gaze and feel the breeze. To get to the front, you had to inch your way up on a two-inch ledge, with a death grip on a teeny metal bar above your head, which was the only thing keeping you from the piranhas below…it was one of those things where you kinda say you’re a little bit nervous maybe, but on the inside you are actually FREAKING OUT. I survived going out, and the real test came when Lucas had us barrel in as fast as we could, because we were passing the river police. My insides were screaming a little less, so i guess that’s good).

We arrived safely back home (although dad had a bit of trouble getting out of the boat….splash, splash) with full bellies and happy hearts. On this thanksgiving day, i am truly thankful.


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