Goodbye to Atibaia

Well, we have finished our time in Brazil and are waiting at the São Paulo airport for our long flight home. What can I say about our short stay here? It was wonderful, special, full of camaraderie, learning and drawing closer to our Maker.

These missionaries that we served all have difficult lives along the Amazon river. All but a couple live and work in small remote villages only accessible by boat (some as much as 32 hour long boat rides) or by small plane. Their lives are not for the faint at heart. One young mother told of finding a huge snake in her home while her husband was away for two days at another village and she and her two little ones were alone. In a panic, she grabbed a machete and cut the snake to pieces. Another told of her husband being kidnapped once by a taxi driver and how he had to jump from the moving car to escape. A few months later they confronted burglars in their home in the playroom beside their sleeping children. The burglars pulled a gun on them but they were able to escape – they moved shortly after that! The children talk of giant spiders and snakes as everyday occurrences. As I said, not for the faint at heart. But they endure it all for the sake of the Gospel. They have such joy in their hearts! They do not see their difficult existence, long periods of time away from family as a sacrifice. They see it as an opportunity, a call to be obeyed. And obey they do.

Our objective was to disciple the children, but in many ways they discipled us! I worked with several of these children 2 1/2 years ago. They were just babes then. But now the are servants of their Savior. They constantly impressed us with their knowledge and understanding. One young boy, Jacob, said the sweetest prayers each day in our prayer times. I knew from his words that he had listened to the lesson, understood and had already begun to internalize the message. I see ministry if some sort in his future!

Our morning worship times with the entire group were so moving! To be able to sing God’s praises and pray alongside these warriors for Jesus is beyond discription. I really cannot put into words how our hearts soared as we worshiped together. I can only pray the God was as moved as we were.

We took a break yesterday afternoon for a ropes course with zip line. I declined to participate until I watched all my kids coming down the zip line having the time of their lives and asking if they could go again. Well….. not to be outdone, I had to give it a go. It was so much fun! Not saying I’ll ever do it again, not saying I won’t, but at least I can check it off my bucket list. Katie did it as well. Though she did say once was enough. Julie said she was very content to film us.

It was bitter sweet parting today. I always hate goodbyes. But we pray God will let us return again, to pick up where we left off. Being a missionary is a calling that too few heed. The need is great, the harvest is ripe. These families truly follow Isaiah 6:8 “Then I heard  the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? And I said, Here am l. send me!” And so they go, and so we must support and pray and encourage them as we can!

God is great! God bless! Jo

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