Last friday morning, I loaded up the plane to maximum gross weight (construction manager, Joaquim and as much fuel as I could carry) and we headed out to check on various river works. Our plan was to stop at 5 different sites, the first being about an hour and half away. The farthest was 3 hours. Because of a strong headwind, we only had enough fuel to go to 4, but this 2 day trip would have taken almost a week for him if he would have gone by boat. It is more expensive by airplane, but as I told him, if they make a mistake during construction because you are not there to check in on them, that can be a lot more costly than the extra you are spending on transportation.
Here is a picture of our flight path, starting in Santarém. We landed at spots #1, 2, 3 and 5.
Many years ago ProjectAmaZon had a presence in the city of Porto de Moz (stop #2), but because of various reasons (including the difficulty of traveling) it had stopped. Two years ago, this pastor (picture below) moved there with his family and began spreading the Gospel. Now there are 84 family groups meeting on a weekly basis with about 500 people (including children). Praise the Lord for this incredible response to the Gospel. Additionally, there are many small river communities that are close to Porto de Moz and this will most likely be a hub for river works to spread out. It will not be the last time we fly there.
Airplane parked in Porto de Moz (above).
ProjectAmaZon has been working in the area around Santarém for many years. Here is a map of the river churches (each symbol represents a work–either a building or a group of believers worshiping and breaking bread together). This does not include the 4 places we visited because the map is too much of a close up view.