Just got back from the river on Thursday night. We loaded 3000 bricks onto the boat, unloaded, and hauled them up a steep incline to the construction site. We also did the same with cement bags and water for the concrete, and ceiling tiles. Very intense labor. We spent a whole day just tossing bricks (two at a time) from one person to another from the boat to shore in the blazing sun. Thankfully, we were in the water which kept us cool (somewhat). The village we were at is called Sauauma, on the Topajos River. The next days were spent digging dirt and moving it to the floor of the church and leveling it while we go. We got a lot done, praise the Lord. However, most importantly, we encouraged the Christians there to put work into their own church. The village seemed kind of dead when we first got there. The community is made up of one couple and their 12 children and their spouses and children. This is a typical village. All relatives. After we began the work though, it started to come alive. We held two services for the children (which meant also the mothers) and we had two evening services. Joanne, Sarah (a lady from the US), and I visited the main woman (the mother of the 12 children) who's leg is very infected. She has been laying in a rete (hammock) for quite awhile. We gave her some ointment and explained the importance of keeping it clean and moving her legs and feet to prevent stiffness. We then prayed for her. While we were praying a monkey (which was roaming about the house) came over and held my hand. It was definitely a great experience!
This village is in one of the most gorgeous places I have ever seen. White beaches for miles with the finest sand. The sunrises are pale pink to fire fushia. The nights are completely black except for the light of the moon and the white of the sand. The sky is so clear that you can see the Milky Way fully. We bathed in the river about three times a day; morning, after lunch, and night. One new thing I have eaten is turtle. It is pretty good. Tastes like rubbery, fishy, chicken. It was sort of sad to see the turtle die though.
Abby (my roommate) and her team left today :( sad. However, I'm so thankful for God's providence to have her in my life. She is a wonderful woman on fire for God and missions, but realizes that her place is at home with her husband, following where God is calling him (which is actually where God is calling her too). We had many great discussions and we experienced much together. Our God is so good! ("All the time") <--- this is one of our favorite sayings. :)
God is good. May we always be reminded of our total depravity and need of a savior. What amazing grace is this: that Jesus would lay down his life for a wretch. Thank the Lord, for He is worthy! Glory to His Name! As my stay in Brazil gets closer to the end, I pray God will use this to impact the rest of my life. I know it will, because it already has. He has given me a vision for my future and a love for His children worldwide. One thing I have been praying for is that God would give me the same burden He has for his lost sheep, and the same compassion and mercy He shows to us all the time. May we continue to let God transform our thinking and renew our minds for His glory.
Peace and joy be with you all! God willing, I plan on seeing you all in the near future.