Fire on Board!!!

July 19, 2010 at 8:33 am

Only one short day had passed from the time the Luzeiro Amazonia 3 set sail from Manaus on her maiden voyage up the great Amazon River, the Rio Solimoes. With many miles of jungle already behind them, the 3 person boat crew knew they had two more days of travel before arriving in Coari. However, things were not looking up. So little time had passed and now the boat was only creeping along, with barely enough speed to push forward through the strong current of the Amazon. What was that funny noise coming from the transmission?

In God’s grace, He allowed the transmission to go out just as the Luzeiro Amazonia 3 rounded a corner in the river, arriving to a rather large community. Certainly the boat crew would be able to find help here. Satur called me later in Manaus to tell me that they had a local mechanic on board who apparently would be able to fix the transmission enough that it could make it the rest of the trip. The bad news- we needed to replace the transmission!

The sun was just beginning to set on the second day of being in port. The mechanic was just finishing the last bit of work. The boat could set sail first thing in the morning. Cleber watched patiently as the mechanic finished soldering the last piece into place. Suddenly the unexpected happened- a spark jumped off and caught fire in the bilge of the boat, right next to the diesel tank, the motor, and the generator. As the mechanic had been working the last two days he had spilled quite a bit of motor and transmission oil. When the spark hit it, the boat was lit up. Immediately the mechanic threw down his tools and rushed out of the boat. Cleber stood staring in shock…..”Fire, Fire, Satur come quick.” Without another hesitation he began to get buckets of water from the river to try to put out the fire in the bilge. The boat was tied at dock between several other boats, and all Cleber could imagine was the explosion that would soon take place, burning down our boat and many others.

He suddenly saw the fire extinguisher in the bilge, right between the fire and the diesel tank. With a quick prayer he jumped down into the bilge to grab the fire extinguisher. With the extinguisher in his hands, he turned to face the fire, which had now formed a wall around him leaving no way out. He felt that this was probably the end. Then suddenly Cleber heard, non-audibly, the voice of the Holy Spirit walking him through the procedure of using the extinguisher…. Pull the pin, aim the nozzle, and squeeze. Though in his fear he could not logically reason, he followed the Holy Spirit’s leading and soon had the fire completely extinguished. Isaiah 43 tells us: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you: I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned. Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43: 1-3

The boat was not damaged in the fire. The fire was put out just in time to spare the whole boat, and the only damage: the oil was all cleaned up out of the bilge! The boat was then able to continue on its journey up the Amazon for its first mission. Dr. Ricardo shared with me the many villages that were visited which have no Adventist presence at all. The most memorable was a small village that was totally Catholic. Shortly before this trip, the leader of the Catholic church, through the program’s presence and medical care, had taken Bible studies and become a baptized SDA. She was excited to have our boat arrive with all the volunteers. However the community said NO! They did not want these Adventists coming into their Catholic community. It was already beginning to crumble with the loss of the church leader. One man in particular threatened the whole village if the group were to come. However the medical needs were so great that the people, risking the threat of their fellow villager, finally invited the group to come.

The awaited day arrived with two of our boats, the Luzeiro 1 and the Luzeiro 3 and one other boat, all arriving with some 60 volunteers, including students from Loma Linda University and from the Adventist University in South Brazil (UNASP). The villagers all lined up and began to be attended….. in no other place than inside the Catholic church itself! The one man waited quietly and only watched. Our volunteers kindly treated each sick and suffering person. As the day began to wind to an end, all the volunteers joined the local villagers in joint activities. The one resistant man blended into the crowd and seemed to slowly be caught up with the events of the day. Dr. Ricardo spoke with him personally and told him that whatever he may need in the realm of health care, we were there to help. With many patients helped and many lives impacted, the three boats left that day, once again seeing how the medical work takes down the barriers to sharing God’s love. Please continue to pray for this village, for more opportunities to go back and begin Bible work in this totally closed area.

God’s provisions for the Luzeiro Amazonia 3

Lina and I just finished our 7 week visit to the USA, with several campmeeting and church speaking appointments and the General Conference session. We were the guest speakers for the Carolina Conference Campmeeting in Lake Junaluska, NC. Each night for a week we shared stories and pictures of our mission work in Brazil. On the last Sabbath of the campmeeting, the conference took up an offering to help with the purchase of a new transmission for the Luzeiro Amazonia 3. The project received a total of $13,000 towards the purchase of a new transmission and motor for the Luzeiro Amazonia 3. Praise the Lord!! He comes through always at the right time. With this money we are hoping to upgrade to a larger engine that will enable us to carry groups more efficiently, and to install a new transmission!

General Conference news:

We also enjoyed God’s blessing at the General Conference Session where we had a booth for the Luzeiro Amazonia Project. We were joined by 3 other board members from Brazil who came to help with the booth and several of our volunteers based in the USA as well. It was a busy and very productive week and a half as we shared with many thousands of people the blessing the Lord is pouring out on His work in the Amazon.

One other special event that took place during the GC session was the official vote approving our project as a new member of OCI, Outpost Centers International. OCI is a highly respected organization that networks SDA supporting ministries together from all over the world to connect in fellowship and activities to better support our church. We are thrilled for this new opportunity and we pray that each day we become better prepared to work for our Savior.

Please continue to pray for this project as we move forward daily seeking God’s blessing and guidance. Our biggest goal is to use medical work to open the door for evangelism. We also thank each one of you who has sacrificially given financially to this program to enable us to carry God’s love into the dark and un-entered Amazon region.

Future Events

Ilton and Lea DeSouza will be representing Luzeiro Amazonia with a booth at the ASI convention in Orlando, Florida in August. If you are in the area please stop by and see the booth and meet our newest volunteers. They will be joining us soon as full time volunteers.

God Bless,

Brad Mills

Program Coordinator


Entry filed under: July 2010. Tags: .

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