COVID-19 has touched every part of the world, including our little corner in the Amazon. In mid-March when businesses and schools were closed and people here in Humaita were encouraged to stay at home, Frank, ASL’s Brazilian supervisor, and his family made the decision to go visit the other ASL missionary families on the river. At that time, small river communities were still open to visitors. What was intended to be a one week trip turned into a six week adventure with many new souls welcomed into the Kingdom of God and many side trips made to encourage believers.
A problem with a fuel pump on Frank’s speedboat kept his family in Auxiliadora a week longer than planned with Jadilson’s family (another of the ASL missionaries). While there, they spent quality time with many that have already made the decision to follow Jesus in that area. Also, contacts were made in two new communities nearby, Moreira and Nazare do Retiro.
In Moreira a couple made the decison to follow Christ, the husband is the vice president of that community. They have started a cell group there with another couple, so there are now 4 people following the Lord there.
Several people repeated the prayer in Nazare do Retiro; however, because of the pandemic they are not able to return to that community right now.
Santa Catarina is a community that already had believers because missionaries from other churches had visited there in the past. However, river travel can sometimes be too costly for city churches to support, and when there is no money available, missionaries are unable to continue providing supervision to the community. When ASL first entered this community, they had been without direction and leadership for about 6 years. Cell groups (small groups) are a new concept to them so they have asked for help and direction from us, and are currently receiving training and teaching on leadership and quiet time alone with God. There are approximately 20 people that have given their hearts and lives to Jesus there.
Prainha is another community that already has a spiritual presence, but lacks leadership and direction. Frank has visited several times and was able to make another visit there last week. The contact there is a couple named Dayane and Lucio.
Frank’s family spent a weekend in Santa Civita near the beginning of the trip and held a service that drew a couple, Clenilson and Jeicione, to start following Jesus as well.
People from the community of Floresta visited a cell group in Santa Civita and accepted Christ there and there are now 7 people participating in the cell group in Floresta.
The final 4 weeks of their trip, Frank’s family was based in Manicore, where ASL missionaries Fernando and Joao Paulo live. They were able to rent a small semi-furnished apartment near the other families during that month, a great encouragement to Fernando and Joao Paulo’s wives and kids. Before moving to the Madeira River region, these families all lived near each other but now are separated by hours–so their visit was like having close friends come for an extended visit!
Near Manicore they revisited communities where they have been many times before and have established small groups there–Mocambo, Independencia and the Manicorezinho River.
Frank also met an older man, Lucimar, who lives in Capana Grande, and he invited them to come visit and share the gospel with his large family. Another open door and opportunity in another community where God can work!
During this time, the men were able to make these visits in the smaller speedboats of the other missionaries–Frank’s fuel pump had to be sent all the way to southern Brazil to be fixed! The presence of the new coronovirus in Brazil did nothing to speed up the process!
After several weeks, the fuel pump finally arrived in Humaita again after being fixed and Matt was able to take it by plane to Manicore–but they wouldn’t let him leave the airport so Frank had to re-install it on the speedboat himself. Laranjeiras is a community closer to Humaita that they also visited on their way to Manicore. Dinamar is the president of that community and him and 5 members of his family have accepted Jesus as Savior.