🎵Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
A tale of an incredible trip; 🎶
🎶 That started from a tropic port (Manus, Brazil)
Aboard a mighty ship (Amor) 🎵
Nineteen men and women left their homes in America with a God-called desire to minister to some wonderful people living in villages on the Amazon River. For me, it was an extremely rewarding trip, but a hard one as well.
It was hard physically. Sleeping on a hammock, on the third floor of an open-air ship, with no air-conditioning for nine straight days is not my idea of fun. The Amazon River is a mere 200 miles or so south of the Equator. The five villages we visited had no electricity, no grocery stores, no running water, no indoor plumbing, and no Diet Cokes. It was hot, humid, and often suffocating.
It was hard mentally. I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around the obvious inequality that exists in our world. It’s so hard for me to believe that people still live in such harsh conditions. And I realize that there are countless numbers of others whose living conditions are even more deplorable than those I saw on the Amazon.
It was hard spiritually. It is estimated that there are over 30,000 villages on The Amazon. We visited 5 of them. I realize that there are other Christian organizations that are working on The Amazon as well, but suffice it to say, there are thousands of villagers if not millions who have never heard a clear presentation of the Gospel.
It was hard emotionally. I purposefully choose not to pick up any of the hundreds of children. I know me. I am a very sentimental person, especially when it comes to children and I would want to bring every one of them home with me (now my wife would gladly accept one or two of them). The environment that these people live in brought me to tears several times. It’s something I will never be able to get out of my mind.
Yet, the trip was very rewarding as well:
- The Amazon River is absolutely beautiful and the stars at night were big and bright (perhaps even more so than in Texas)
- Villagers had access to medical and dental services through the assistance of doctors and nurses that traveled with us (the nearest medical facility is a 5 hour boat ride away)
- Villagers were provided with a nutritious meal
- The fellowship with the 18 other “missionaries” was wonderful and sweet
- ·And nothing, absolutely nothing, brings more joy to this old man than to stand in front of a group of people and present the Gospel and then watch the Holy Spirit move (God is so faithful!)
I certainly don’t have all the answers on how to best meet the needs of those living on the Amazon River but I know that there are several ways we can respond:
First of all, we can turn a deaf ear to the reality of life on the Amazon. It’s the easiest of all options.
Secondly, we can give to organizations that minister to the people who live in conditions just as this. There are groups of people all over the world who live in sub-par conditions and have never heard about the love of our Father. There are many organizations who are reaching out to these people groups with a heartfelt desire to meet their needs. My favorite one just happens to be AmazonVida.
Thirdly, you can go and love on these people personally. Missions is not something we have to do, it’s something we get to do out of love for our Father and all that He has done for us. However I should warn you that if you go, you may catch “the bug.” If you don’t know what I mean by that, go on a short term mission and you’ll soon discover its meaning.
Lastly, and most importantly, you can join me in prayer. Let’s face it, the inequality that exists in our world today can only be solved by our Creator who taught us to pray, “may Your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.”
Will you be an Advocate?
-Article written by Lee Barnard after a trip with Idlewild Baptist Church