Rescuing Churches for Christ

April 5, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Amazon Lifesavers Ministry

Saving for Eternity

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Rescuing Churches for Christ

Generated on April 5, 2012
From the Coari/Solimões River Base

“And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” Isaiah 35:10

The opportunities that God gives us to serve as medical missionaries in the Amazon are often met with many challenges, yet also many blessings.

We left the city of Coari heading for the community of Ipixuna/Arapari located on the Coari Lake, approximately 40 km from the main city. Aboard the Salva Vidas I, we crossed the black waters of the lake, but after much navigation were forced to decrease the velocity of our 114 hp engine after detecting several areas that were leaking diesel. Attempting to continue, despite the problem, we soon decided that due to the quantity of leakage we needed to turn off the engine and more thoroughly evaluate what was happening.

As the minutes passed our boat captains, mechanics, and volunteers aboard decided to attempt an engine repair right where we were and initiated the process of removing and replacing the screws, hoping to decrease the leakage. I prayed in silence knowing that our objective was to reach a village that had invited us to visit. All week long we had had no engine problems. “Why do problems have to appear just as we start out on a mission?” I wondered silently. Afterwards I prayed, asking God if He wanted us to return to Coari, but I sensed the Holy Spirit saying that I should be patient, and that things would work out. Then after an hour of repairs, the captain restarted the engine and we determined it was safe to continue our journey.

Resgatando-a-300x225.jpgJust as night fell we were able to find the entrance to the tributary that finally led us to the village of Ipixuna where ADRA had already been working a few days giving medical consults. As soon as we arrived we headed to shore to an evangelistic series being conducted by some of our volunteers. I immediately noticed a small group of participants sitting in the little wooden school, observing the meetings. One man in particular touched my heart. His name was Mr. Valdemar.

Resgatando-2-300x225.jpgAbout a year ago I was invited by a church member in Ariri (located in the Greater Coari Lake area) to visit this community of Ipixuna. Apparently there was a group of ex-adventists there. So we boarded a small support boat and went to visit this community.

Immediately upon our arrival we met a grey-haired man with a stern facial expression preparing to leave the community in his canoe. Mr. Mazinho who accompanied us knew this man and gently touched his arm asking for a moment of his time. With a look of discontent he turned his back to us and headed back to the community, leaving us to follow behind. In serious tones he murmured to Mr. Mazinho, “It would be good for you to come with your followers to remove your church from this community.” He was referring to an old Adventist church we had never heard of that had been abandoned for several years. The whole community was upset with Adventists because they felt they had been abandoned over time and left to their own demise.

Resgatando-3-300x225.jpgNot knowing how to respond, my heart rate accelerated and I broke out in a cold sweat. Then I prayed, “Lord, please help me get out of this embarrassing situation, for I want to represent Jesus. I feel that they don’t want us here right now, but I must remain calm to reestablish a connection with this village.” Then I felt the Holy Spirit’s peace fill me, and entering the house of one of the villagers, I began showing some medicines that I had brought for them. Then after a few minutes the ice broke when a lady shouted from a distance, “Doctor, do you by any chance have a hymnal I could have?” Suddenly I was filled with joy. I quickly responded, “Of course dear sister! I will ask someone to get it from the boat. I will also leave some books and Bibles for you.”

Resgatando-4-300x225.jpgAfter that, we visited the church that was completely decayed by weather and neglect. To be honest, I cried a lot at the sight: an Adventist church, in completely disarray. The Holy Spirit prompted us to make an appeal for the villagers to kneel before God and reestablish the altar of God in that community. Afterwards a villager told one of our volunteers that a few weeks before our visit she had prayed that God would bring someone from the Adventist Church to the village. Then she had a dream that God would send someone to visit the community. When she saw us she cried, thanking God for answering her prayer. After that visit we sent a group of volunteers from Loma Linda University to give medical and dental assistance to the village.

Resgatando-5-300x225.jpgA few months later we were contacted by the village asking for another visit. You can now understand my surprise at seeing Mr. Valdemar attending our meetings, for it was Mr. Valdemar himself that on our visit the previous year had rudely asked us to remove our church from the village. After the volunteer work and evangelism done there, Mr. Valdemar and his nieces asked us to reconstruct the Adventist church in their community.

Dear friends, it is amazing to see how the Holy Spirit works in these distant areas of the Amazon. Even when we are unable to reach all the needy areas, the Holy Spirit is working, touching the hearts, and in instances as these, renewing the desires of sincere brothers and sisters in Christ who have left the faith for whatever reason, to reestablish the altar of God in their community and homes.

We ask for sincere prayers for this community where we are initiating a rescue mission. We need prayers, resources and support to continue our visits and evangelism. We have the full conviction that God is in control and that many people will return to his fold, awaiting his soon return!!

“We are nearing the great and final conflict. Every advance move made now must be made with increasing effort; for Satan is working with all power to increase the difficulties in our way. He works with all deceivableness of unrighteousness to secure the souls of men. I am charged to say to ministers of the gospel and to our missionary physicians, Go forward. The work to be done calls for self-sacrifice at every step, but go forward.”–Letter 38, 1908.

By: Dr. Ricardo Faria

Solimões Base Coordinator

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