A Night Trip Down the Amazon

May 11, 2008 at 2:17 pm

The moon light penetrated the cloudy sky, dancing over the dark waters of the Rio Negro.  The shore line silhouette exposed the jungle on both sides of us, though no jungle noises could be heard over the loud roaring of the outboard engine.  We sat huddled together, clinging to our lifejackets as we quickly steered through the dark night.  Thoughts of what might be swimming below us sent chills down my spine.  Destination: Costa de Catalao, a village not far from the large city of Manaus.  It was Friday evening and myself, along with one doctor, one dental student, and 3 Bible workers were on our way to hold a clinic and Bible school for the villagers there.  The boat driver had no light on the boat and drove along with confidence from his many trips down this river.  Occasionally we could see tree tops right beside us in the water, we were driving over what should be land.  This is the rainy season in Brazil and the Amazon’s edges can overflow the land, rising 10-15 meters above it’s dry level.

            Upon arriving safely to the village, we sat up our makeshift clinic and began attending the sick.  Complaints varied from high blood pressure to amebic infections.  Some came to represent their sick friends, who couldn’t get out of bed.  Dr. Ricardo and I attended patients for nearly 3 hours that evening while the others set up and did a Bible class for the adults and children as they waited to be seen.  At the end of the evening, we prayed with all present and encouraged them to continue studying God’ word. 

            This village currently has very few Christians but many people are studying with enthusiasm the truths being presented.  They are reading all books provided and asking for more studies.  A team is going out to this village once per week to offer continuity of care and further Bible studies.  Please pray for the people here.  Pray that they will receive salvation before it is too late.  Indeed, Christ is soon returning.

            As you have guessed, we are back in Brazil.  We flew back in the country last Thursday morning.  What a joy it is to be back in Brazil.  We stayed in the USA about 3 weeks where I worked a few days in the ER, we visited family, and applied for our long term visas for Brazil.  Our stay in the USA involved us traveling to Miami where we had to meet with the Brazilian Consulate to apply for our volunteer visas.  The first day we arrived the lady informed us she needed one more document.  That afternoon we called Betsy Burgdorff, administrative secretary for GMI, and she overnighted it to us.  The next day we were back at the Consulate, this time with approval of our documents!  At this point we are in a waiting game.  We have to wait for 1-6 months for the government’s approval.  Please pray for God’s timing to be done and for approval for our visas.

            Concerning the catamaran, the boat has been securely left in a quiet lagoon in Grenada, being watched by a company that does boat guardian services.  They will access the boat several times per month to air it out, check batteries, turn on the engines, and check the bilges for water.  We prayed so earnestly for weeks about where to leave the boat and finally made a decision to leave it with this specific company, though we knew nothing about them.  We asked the Lord to close the door if it were a wrong decision or give us peace to move forward.  The day we got up to move the boat a British man living in Grenada with his yacht called me to tell me of the dangerous places in the water so I could avoid them on my trip.  He then mentioned the company that we had chosen to go with, and recommended us giving them a call.  He said the company had been there a long time and was well known in the area.  That gave us the exact peace we needed to continue moving forward!  Please pray for God’s protection over his boat in Grenada.

            At this point, being back in Brazil, we will continue working on the import process of the boat.  We still have to get the government’s permission before the boat can enter the country.  ASVAM, the local non-profit organization that we are working through, has already applied for their CNAS, a document they must have to help us import the boat.  PLEASE pray for God’s timing to be done on this document’s approval and on our being able to bring the boat in the country soon.  Once the boat has arrived, we will be able to travel much further distances and reach the harder to reach villages.

            And for those of you who have heard the rumor, it is true, Lina is pregnant.  She is about 22.5 weeks.  We have had an ultrasound and confirmed (as much as that is possible) that we are having another boy!  We are very excited.  We plan to have the baby here in Brazil.  ASVAM is helping us get set up with an Adventist OB/GYN here to deliver the baby.  We have not decided the name yet, though Joel or Luke our on our list of options.  If you have any suggestions send an email.  Please keep Lina’s health, the baby’s health, and the delivery in your prayers.

            Until the boat arrives, we will continue to take trips on rented boats with the local doctors we are working with.  We are planning on visiting a town called Coari later this month and staying for a couple of weeks there to deliver health care and God’s love. 

Please keep us in your prayers.

God Bless,

Brad, Lina and Levi Mills


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Entry filed under: May 2008.

April Update A Patient Saved and a Church Converted

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