Sunday, August 15, 2010
There are just some things I thought I would never do. But if you want to be a part of the culture, you just have to go for it. I have been embraced and taken in as a missionary here in Manaus. But now I am considered to be a Brazilian. I am now called, Tim Missionary to Amazonas Alligator Hunter. Let me tell you that I have never been so outside my comfort zone as I have here, but I am embracing all that God is doing spiritually and naturally. I have been stretched so much, to say the least.
As we set out to build a church in the interior ( jungle ), the excitement level was very high. I boarded the boat Missionary 1, with several other guys. Some where from my church here in Manaus, and some where natives to the interior. I soon came to the conclusion that I was the only person on this team that spoke English, and I am not totally confident in my Portuguese yet. So I thought this will be good, I will be forced even more to speak and learn the language ( No big deal ). I just so enjoy being with the people here, and I love every time we get a chance to go to the interior.
Well as the boat ride to the village went into the night, all the guys are joking and having fun communicating with me. I started to notice something. The guy next to me was starting to make a spear. Then he starts to act as though he is stabbing something and says "Jacaré", which means alligator. So I put two and two together and figured out that we are going alligator hunting. At first we did not even use the spear, they had me hang off the front of the boat and grab the alligators by their neck, as we slowly came up to them with a spot light on them. This was Okay, they were not very big and we just threw them back. Well we kept doing this as we slowly made our way into the interior, and were not far from the village. We came up to one alligator and I started to see that this one was a little too big for me to grab so I jumped back and said no! Well, they all began to laugh at me, and I realized I was the entertainment. So then it became time for the spear and they showed me how they hunt out on the Amazon River. This was going to be crazy I could tell. I never was much of a hunter at home, and now I was about to go alligator hunting with just a spear. Keep in mind the reason we went hunting was so we could eat while we stayed in the interior. So it is not just for fun, we needed some food. We went out with supplies but needed to catch some of our food.
Nothing could prepare me for the next gator we encountered. The spear has a rope tied to it, and the head of the spear sticks in the alligator when you stab it, and the stick falls off so you can pull the alligator in by the rope attached to the head of the spear. The water is very murky and it is hard to see in it. The next one I knew we had it on but I could not really see it. So I began to pull on the rope, and could not get anywhere. So I tied the rope to the boat, and we throttled it all the way up, and the boat did not move. I just thought that we were hooked on a tree that was submerged under water. Well it soon became apparent that we had an alligator when it started to pull back. We wrestled with it for a couple hours till we wore it out, and could pull it in. Well this is what we found an 11'10" alligator. Now this is the life cycle on the Amazon, everything is connected to the river from the water they drink and bath in, to the wildlife they eat. Not only was this a blessing to the village and surrounding villages to remove an alligator this size from the river, but we were able to give the gator to the village so they could use it for meat. We hear reports all the time of people falling out of a boat and into the river, and they are never seen again. It is just the harsh realities of the life here on the river.
Now on to the mission at hand. The main goal of this trip was to go work on a church we were building for a pastor in the interior. My home church here in Manaus ( Central Temple Church), has a true heart for missions and have become one the the leading churches in reaching the people of the Amazon for the Glory of the Lord. We call our missions here Project Macedonia, in context to Acts 16:9-10. We are now preparing to take 60 people from our church, and go dedicate this new church we are finishing construction on. We plan on arriving Saturday, August 21. It is amazing Central Temple raises money through selling dinners after church, extravagant offerings, and faithful tithing. The one problem we are dealing with is, so many people now want to go with us that we can't find a boat big enough to take everyone. We also have so many gifts such as clothes, childrens toys,and basic living necessities that if you can over bless someone, we may do that. Our goal is not to just build a church for the pastor but to overwhelm the congregation with love, and meeting their needs. We constantly follow up with villages we work in, so we are not just a one time blessing but one that continues to love. The living conditions are tough in the interior, I know, because I stayed in this village in a little shack that was the old church before we built this one. I worked, ate, and interacted with my fellow workers and the people in the village. It is one thing to come and give a bunch of stuff to help people, but to sit at the table and eat with them, and build relationships is a whole other experience. It was the most amazing encounter I have had here. You see, I can see the natural needs with my own eyes, but to interact and begin to see the spiritual needs is what really gets me. Then I begin hear what the Lord feels about them and what he wants to do, and then I can work better with partnering with the Lord and seeing Him touch their hearts, and begin to really minister to them.
Please pray for our travels to this village and the dedication of this new church. I am believing this church will be a megaphone of righteousness to the interior. Also pray that the word of the Lord will run swiftly from this church in reaching other villages. I am thankful for you and for you to so partner in the work of the Lord here in the Amazonas Region. I pray for an increase of blessing in your life and greater revelation in the knowledge of Christ Jesus. Just know that we are doing it, we are reaching the ends of the earth. Blessed be the name of the Lord from this day forth and forever more! Next Blog will include the activities of this church dedication, and I will better explain Project Macedonia. Thank you for your support and prayers. Just think greater things are yet to come! Hallelu-JAH!