Saturday, June 30, 2012

Day 2 at Maranhao and Paraiso

June 30, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

Today has been a most amazing day on the mighty Amazon River. The A Team from Eastwood Presbyterian Church of Montgomery, Alabama (with one transplant from Texas and one from Georgia) is happy to report that our deepest expectations were met today, and we are most thankful to God for the many blessings He has given us. The team is thriving under Jay Hinton's leadership. He makes each team member feel important, and he brings joy to the team. The team is very close and bonding is growing deeper each day. This blog is being written jointly by Sue, Emily, Sadler, and Walker Lee.

Today we visited two smaller villages, Maranhao and Paraiso. Maranhao is a very unique village that is in one of the most remote areas of the Lake Carara region. The houses are built on the side of a hill. This village has families that are mostly nonbelievers. Paraiso is one of the most beautiful villages. It is the one with the steep stairs that used to be green, but now they are pink. The view from the top of the hill is breathtaking. Paraiso now has a generator, so electric lights line the outdoor paths. Both villages have new municipal areas with school rooms and restrooms (that were locked). At both villages we had medical and dental teams, ladies minsitry, and VBS. At Maranhao 56 patients were seen in medical and 14 patients were seen in dental. At Paraiso 52 patients were seen in medical and 12 were seen in dental.

Walker Lee (8 years old) - Today I played soccer with some Brazilian boys. We were just playing for fun. I also went to VBS at both villages. I thought it was a lot of fun. I liked how the children made the craft that showed how Jesus is our bridge to God. The kids glued a red strip of paper on a piece of card stock that had each kid's name at one end and Deus (God) at the other end. The word pecado (sin) was under the bridge. They arched a red bridge over the pecado and wrote JESUS on the bridge. Then they decorated their papers with fun foam cross stickers.

Sadler - Today was a great day. My grand-father and I finished putting the last pieces of the baptismal font together. Also, we put placks on the rocking chairs and the font that dedicate these things from Eastwood to the Presbyterian Church of Sol Nascente where these things will be place. I've had a lot of fun working in the villages. Hopefully the next week will be eventful.

Sue and Emily - The following people worked in a morning VBS at Maranhao and an afternoon VBS at Paraiso: Sue, Chris (translator, guitar player and song leader), Jordan, Georgianna, Emily, Becky, Nathaniel, Jonathan, Eleanor, Sonja, and Walker Lee. At Maranhao we asked the children if they knew Jesus or if they knew anything about Him. Not one child knew anything at all about Him! So the team spent the entire time focusing on evangelism stories and activities. We used the Evangecube, the Wordless Book, and the illustration of how the blood of Christ covers our sins (white t shirt, red marker to write words for sins that the kids dictated to us, tulle or net to show how we try to cover our sin ourselves, and red cellophane that represents the blood. We also sang fun songs and had a Big Book story about miracles of Jesus. Most of the children were young (from about 3 - 12 years old). There were five older teenage boys standing outside the open window. They were very cool dudes. They seemed very curious. After a while we coaxed them into the room, and they participated in all that we were doing. When VBS was over, they stayed seated. They had questions. We invited Pastor Raimundo Jose Barbosa to come in to talk to the boys. The five boys accepted Christ as their Savior. They received new Bibles, This thrilled the team because they will be the future leaders of this village. At Paraiso we did much of the same activities. Dr. Jack brought toothbrushes and toothpaste for all the kids. We can hardly wait to do VBS at the rest of the villages!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Day 1 at Divino

We started the day at Divino, the weather is beautiful. The village is located on a hill. Dr. Twilley and Dr. Eli set up their dental station and saw patients all day. Not as busy as we would like to be but saw everybody that needed to be treated. The people were very receptive and appreciative of our services. The best part was that 5 people were saved when the Brazilian pastor, Pastor Rai, preached. This is significant because prior to this visit only one person had been saved. Dr. Jack worked on the font and put all four rocking chairs together. Sadler was very helpful and did lots of the work. The people in the village were very receptive and there were many many children. The medical team treated over fifty patients today. We had some rain off and on, the weather generally has been good. Our team is working real good together as well as our interpreters. So far the food has been great except for the fish heads. We are currently in construction of the baptismal to put in sol nacente. A highlight of the day for Sadler was the nail and hair clinic that we ran for the girls in the village. Finally, we handed out thirty-five family bags at our service tonight.

-Dr. Jack and Dr. Dog

We have been on this trip for 3 days and we are just beginning to get used to sleeping in the hammoks and eating beans/ rice three times a day...The theme of our trip has been sacrifice...Sacrifice of comfort, AC, family, money, etc. But, it is all worth it when compared to the riches of Christ and seeing God glorified in these villages. One of the highlights of this trip for me is seeing familiar faces in familiar villages and knowing that they are hearing the same and True gospel year in/year out. May God be glorified by Eastwood's dedication to and pursuit of this area of the Amazon river! May all of us in the body of Eastwood revel in the fact that we will someday spend eternity with our Brazilian brothers and sisters that we as a church have supported all of these years!

In closing, I would be remiss to not take a moment and thank my incredible, talented, beautiful, faithful wife for HER sacrifice for the men/ women/ children on Brazil. If it was not for her and many other wives and husbands through the years, we (the team here) would not be able to do this. I can rest at night knowing that my family is okay because my best friend is taking care of them; looking to Christ for guidance, provision and wisdom. I DO miss my kids; I DO miss my wife; I do miss my dogs...But, I know that they believe as strongly as I do that this is where I should be right now and that daddy is praying for them as strongly as they are praying for him.

- Chris Duggar

Monday, June 25, 2012

Day 5th at Nossa Sra de Fatima II

Hello everyone!

I would like to start off by saying how blessed we have been because everyone is healthy and well! Our trip has been going great these past couple of days and I would also like to thank you for all of your prayers. Saturday morning we woke up and did our usual morning devotional and we went to the village around the First Baptist Church of Janauaca. The Lord worked through us in men's and women's ministry, VBS, eyeglasses, medical help, and soccer games. Our translators have done an incredible job helping us speak to the people in the village and the Lord has did incredible work touching peoples' lives on Saturday. A couple of the men on our team took some of the men and boys from the village over to the opposite side of the river to play soccer. It was such a blessing to see the men and children both light up when they got the opportunity to play. Mary Beth has been doing a great job as our VBS leader, and on Saturday led around 21 children in songs, stories, and crafts. That night we attended Philadelphia Baptist Church again and we celebrated the 1st birthday of a baby boy named Allyson. His mother came up and spoke about how he was born with tumors on his brain that were inoperable, and the doctor did not think he would make it to his frist birthday. Due to nothing but the abundant grace and love of God, we had the opportunity to celebrate his birthday with him and his mother. On Sunday morning we arrived at the Assembly of God church and helped the people with the same things that we had on Saturday. We got to meet the pastor of the church and speak with the people, which was an incredible experience. That night we attended the church where Andrew delievered the message to the people. He did a great job in his sermon and the pastor was very thankful to have him there. Today we are visiting a village that is very different than the ones before. Its name is Nossa Senhora De Fatima II and it is in the middle of the jungle. We have previously used the churches as the make-shift pharmacy/room for eye glasses, but this village does not have a church so someone offered up their house for us to use. The VBS is being held in the middle of the trees on a tarp. Though this is different than what we have experienced before, we have grown to appreciate the circumstances in which God has put us in today. The men women and children are mostly unbelievers and we are so thankful to get an opportunity to witness to them. We just had lunch and right now is our one hour break until we head back into the village to continue our work. I hope that you will continue to pray for us as we are going alligator hunting tonight! We are taking a small boat out, but the men are pretty excited about getting the chance to wrestle and alligator...

Thank you again for all your prayers and I will update you on our journey tomorrow!

God bless!