The church was packed Sunday night. We are leaving at 4 a.m., in just a few hours. After we called the leaders forward and prayed for them and blessed them, Ivanildo and Monica called us forward and prayed for us. Then they gave an open mic. The service ran an hour overtime and there was no time for preaching. People kept on coming up, and crying and talking. As we looked out over the motley crowd of people unaccustomed to coming to church, we could see adults and children openly weeping. We have never experienced a service like this before.
It was especially emotional for our two oldest daughters, who don’t know when they will be coming back or what they will be getting into in the foreign land of Canada. It is emotional for all of us as we think of our family ministry team breaking up. And it is difficult to think of leaving. This has been a great 2 3/4 years in Maraba and God put a great love in our hearts for these people. For all this, we see God’s hand in allowing this church some time without us missionaries, to grow under Ivanildo and Monica’s leadership.
Over the past few weeks I have come to a better understanding of how Jesus was very good friends with the drunks, prostitutes and those type of people. Somehow God has given me favor. Several were at church this last Sunday night, and some came forward to bless us. “My life is not worth living. But now I am here. This is my second time. I am really liking this.” Several of the testimonies had to do with me being like a father, often to people I have hardly talked to. This seems to be a huge hurting place in many people’s lives.
We left our house at 4 a.m. because of the serious threat that MST protestors were going to close the highway again. We saw them milling around on the side of the highway and were glad to get safely over the bridge. About 30 hours later we arrived to a warm reception in Toronto.
May God continue to bless Ivanildo and Monica, Aline and Chelsea, and the growing church in Marabá. Please pray for them when you think of them.
Yahoo News says that Marabá is 104 degrees F today, but according to them, it feels like 133! It must be the relative humidity index. Deanna agrees that it is hot out.
That is 40 degrees C, but it feels like 53.
Francisco’s brother and best friend was shot a killed about a year ago. His other brother is in jail. A couple of weeks ago killers came for him. His family wanted to send him to another state to live with his relatives, but Clyde and Kelsie also offered to help. They live and work at church planting among the remote Brazilian river people for part of the year, and in a town along the Trans-Amazon for part of the year.
Clyde and Kelsie lived here in Marabá with us for a year, so many of the youth in our church remember them. Now they are sending photos of some of joys of remote, church-planting, missionary work. Last night they skyped our house. Many youth were here for a farewell bonfire for our girls. They all gathered around the computer and talked and joked for about 40 minutes!
The Lord is gathering more workers for His harvest. Francisco is out there training. The rest of the youth with they were with him.
We have our passports and my driver’s license and my bank debit card! All of these documents have been in process for a long time. My driver’s license was lost in the mail. I applied for the renewal in April. The internet at the Federal Police has been very intermittent, “our system is down again.” This week protestors are blocking the only bridge crossing the river on the Interstate Highway, right in the middle of town. It has been blocked for a couple of days now, but the protestors have been taking a break in the heat of the day, allowing people through in the afternoons. Key people responsible for our document processes at the bank, the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Federal Police have not been able to get to work. They live on the other side of Marabá. These offices are on our side of Marabá.
These documents all came through yesterday afternoon! Thank you Jesus, and thank you for all who were praying for us.
We still need to cross that bridge to get to the airport at 5 a.m. Monday morning.
NOTE: We are having a little trouble with unified prayer. Some people were praying we would not get our passports in time, hoping we would stay in Marabá a little longer. Even our girls wondered how they should pray. Like Olivia said, “I guess it’s good God doesn’t answer everyone’s prayers.”
Here is a Marabá news clip I got off the internet.
|Protestors Block the Highway in Marabá
Members of the Brazilian Landless Movement (MST) block the Trans-Amazonian Highway in Maraba, Para State, in northern Brazil, in demand of higher security and more support from the government towards rural workers, on June 16, 2011.
Marabá Highway Closed
We are very proud of Anni! Annika has completed K-12, totally by homeschool. We are very grateful to the BC government and the HCOS school program in Kelowna for their significant help. Anni is applying to go to the University of the Fraser Valley this Fall.
Last night was the first high school graduation ceremony I have ever attended. I don’t think I ever really realized until now what a milestone this is. Way to go Anni! That took a lot of self-discipline, good attitudes and hard work. And way to go Deanna!
Please pray for Fransisco Cordeiro. He is one of our best children’s workers and has a very sweet spirit. Before he became a Christian he walked a different path. The week-end the church group was in Altamira Iran came over to visit with me. “My friend was shot and killed this week-end. It happened just up the road here, where he lives. I tried to warn my friend to quit doing the things he was doing but he would not listen to me”. The killers are now looking for Fransisco. They came to his house twice. They came to our gate as Luana was coming in…“A guy with a black motorbike asked me if I knew you, and if you were here. He would not take his helmet off to talk to me. I told him you were not here and I didn’t know you.” Ivanildo got him a ticket on the 5:00 a.m. bus the next morning to go work with Clyde.
While at the conference in Altamira the guest speaker asked for testimonies. In this video clip Fransisco thanks “the pastors of the church in Marabá”. Of course he means everyone who is helping make this church plant possible through prayers and support donations. Thank you.
“If this house has an annointing for hospitality, Steve and Elba have sure kept up the tradition”. Deanna was telling me of all the activity in the house we sold the Dolans when we moved to Marabá. Sure enough, when I was there just now they had a “Pastor’s Fun Night”. One of the wives was quick to keep the rules of the evening when the conversation drifted to pastoral issues. Pastor’s get so busy solving problems that sometimes it is hard to lay it all down for awhile. We had a really nice evening.
Four pastoral couples came from the Altamira Vinha churches, including Clenildo and Angelita.
“My mom is sending me some Acari. I have such a longing to eat Acari again I phoned her, and she sent some up with the lineboat”. Nira, Elba’s twin sister, was telling me this story in the morning. Her mom lives about 20 hours away in a town along the Amazon River. That day the catfish arrived, and Nira boiled up a pot full and brought it over to the potluck supper. This prehistoric looking fish has a bony shell around it and a big head, which was where Nira started eating. It was finger licking good.
This reminds me of a conversation with a couple of engineers who are working with Richie for a few weeks in Porto de Moz. They were explaining a tour they took in Manaus of the rain forest. “…and then they served us some raw fish. Well, it wasn’t really raw. But it still looked like a fish when they were finished cooking it”.
While I was at the Bouthillier’s house in PDM Zecca came over. We spend well over an hour talking together about the good old days, when the mission had an airplane, and we used to get together monthly, with the pastors from all over the Xingu Region. Since then we have grown and things have changed, but it is satisfying to remember how far the Lord has brought us, and the good times along the way.
|Rick, Zecca, Richie
Later, at the dock, I met Gerson, one of the the first pastors from the region. Gerson had fallen way from the Lord for many year, about ten, but just a few weeks ago Richie told me he had come to the church and got right with God.
|Gerson and Richie
I went to the land office in the morning on mission business. Then Deanna took me to the airport. After a one hour flight I arrived in Altamira where I spent the afternoon. (This is the same stretch that just took the bus 26 hours of tough travelling). Steve drove me to Vitoria at 5:00, where I got on a fast boat with twin 150 horse outboard motors. Two hours and twenty minutes later I arrived in Porto de Moz, where I spent the evening with Richie and Christie. A year ago there were no flights or fast boats on these routes.
I was really impressed with how well everything is going in Porto de Moz. May God continue to pour out his blessings. I had the best time with Richie and Christie, and met several old friends.