Reaching the Satare

January 31, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Quick Update

  • Indigenous Indian villages pleading for the return of the Luzeiro Program
  • Mayors promising full support for the program to enter their district
  • Import license granted for the catamaran
  • Money still remaining to be paid on land
  • Southern Adventist University School of Nursing coming end of February 

 Full Story

            I just returned from a very exciting trip down the Amazon River to a small town called Barreirinha, located between a small dirty river called the Rio Ramos and a very large river that penetrates into the heart of the country called the Rio Andira.  The local district pastor invited us to come and meet with him, requesting that we bring a boat and start work in that region of the Amazon.  I was able to attend my first campmeeting, sleeping in a tent on the banks of the Amazon.  It was the first campmeeting for the AAMAR conference in 2009.  People came from all over in boats.  Most people slept in hammocks tied up under a big tent or slept in hammocks on their boats.  Over 1,500 people attended the campmeeting and 60 people were baptized.  Sharing the news of the Luzeiro program’s rebirth brought so much joy to these people.   One by one family after family came and spoke with me sharing the stories of their memories of the Luzeiro program.  The Luzeiro 9, one of the boats that made up the fleet, was actually at the campmeeting, having been sold off after the program closed.  The boat is in very poor condition, but still traveling the vast waterways of the Amazon.  This region is one of the areas where Leo and Jessie Halliwell, the original founders of the Luzeiro program in 1931, entered and started the Adventist work.  The program is a cherished and well known program by all in this area.  Village leaders and pastors all came and spoke with me, asking if we would bring the boats back to their region. 

The day after the campmeeting ended, the district pastor and I loaded up in his small, voadeira, a small 10 foot aluminum boat with a 15 HP outboard engine, and traveled over 3 hours into the interior of the Rio Andira.  As we passed the village Guaranatuba, the pastor informed me that from here on out it is all indigenous villages called the Satere people.  We passed a small village called Ponta Alegre where I saw a broken down church that Leo Halliwell had helped build.  The pastor told me that at one point the church had 170 members, though currently it is down to the teens.  We finally stopped in a small village called Araticum.  This completely Indian village is 100% Adventist as a direct result of the medical missionary work of the Luzeiro program.  Here I met with a 97 year old lady who told me that she was baptized by Pr. Leo decades ago.  They told us of the great need for medical care, and explained that the farther we go down the river the less access the Indians have with the outside world and the greater the need. 

The following day we scheduled an appointment with the mayor of Barreirinha, who just started his term in January.  Mesias, the first ever Satere mayor of this area, was born in the small village of Araticum to a very faithful Adventist family, though currently he is not involved in the church.  He enthusiastically listened as we shared with him the plans to restart the Luzeiro program.  He discussed more in detail the lack of access to medical care that his people face, and promised support with both diesel and medicines if we would bring the program back to his area.  He also informed us that he would personally provide the materials to rebuild the fallen down church in Ponta Alegre.  Praise God, He is surely opening up the right doors at the right time!

Boat Import License Granted

            About two weeks ago we finally got the call.  The import attorney that is helping us with the catamaran said the Receita Federal had issued the okay to import the boat.  We are so thrilled we can hardly believe it.  We are now doing the last step in the process, registering the boat with the Brazilian marines.  The boat should be cleared to enter the country very shortly.  At this point we are still waiting to see what the final amount to pay will be. 

 Money Owed on Land

            As we left the United States to return to Brazil the first week of January we were so encouraged to see God’s continual providence and paying for the land.  The final payment due-date of $200,000 reais had come and gone with no sign of money.  On our knees we prayed and asked the Lord why this was happening and what we should do about it.  We read many wonderful promises and encouragements from the Holy Spirit through Sister White. 

“But we must show a firm, undeviating trust in God. Often He delays to answer us in order to try our faith or test the genuineness of our desire. Having asked according to His word, we should believe His promise and press our petitions with a determination that will not be denied.”  Christ’s Object lessons pg 145

“But many have not a living faith. This is why they do not see more of the power of God. Their weakness is the result of their unbelief. They have more faith in their own working than in the working of God for them. They take themselves into their own keeping. They plan and devise, but pray little, and have little real trust in God. They think they have faith, but it is only the impulse of the moment. Failing to realize their own need, or God’s willingness to give, they do not persevere in keeping their requests before the Lord.”  COL pg.145

            “Our prayers are to be as earnest and persistent as was the petition of the needy friend who asked for the loaves at midnight. The more earnestly and steadfastly we ask, the closer will be our spiritual union with Christ. We shall receive increased blessings because we have increased faith.”  COL pg. 146

“There is no danger that the Lord will neglect the prayers of His people. The danger is that in temptation and trial they will become discouraged, and fail to persevere in prayer.” COL pg. 175

I called the seller the last week of December to tell him we would be back in the country the 8th of January and could meet then.  He explained his immediate need for $50,000 reais to pay for the rest of his construction contract.  I didn’t have the money.  We got down on our knees and prayed, asking the Lord for wisdom.  Certainly the Lord’s delaying would not cause this man to loose his contract.  I called a friend in Brazil to see if they had the money to loan us to make an immediate payment to the man, they did.  The next day the seller received a check for $50,000 reais, leaving only $150,000 left to pay.  But now I had to pay him and my friend.  Once again, Lina and I continued in prayer, bringing the need before the Lord and asking for His solution.

            The end of December donation report brought tears to our eyes.  The total donations we received in December was just short of the $23,000 dollars needed to pay our friend back for the money she loaned.  Never do we receive that much money in a month!  We praised God, who is obviously still at the helm of this project, He who does not forget His children or their needs to move forward in His work.  Thank you all so much who made that possible in the month of December.

            With nearly $73,000 dollars (150,000 reais) left to pay off the land completely, we invite you all to persist in prayer with us.  Daily we are praying and asking the Lord that His will be done, and in His time.  We who can’t see the end from the beginning must move forward by faith, believing in His promises and remembering what Sister White says, “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.”  Clearly the Lord has been leading us all along, and now we WILL NOT give in to doubt and mistrust.  Please pray with us. 

Southern Adventist University School of Nursing

            The School of Nursing will be joining us for their spring break trip from Feb 28 till March 9.  Along with them we have a couple flying in from Australia to help with that trip.  We will be renting a boat and traveling to the indigenous areas that I just finished visiting.  We will be doing five days of medical work and evangelism.  Please pray for this trip, for safety and God’s spirit to work before hand to prepare the people.  The local district pastor will then use the opportunity to continue there, doing a full evangelistic series after the medical work is completed.

God Bless,

Brad Mills – Program Director

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Entry filed under: January 2009.

God Grows Money Final Land Payment Made

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