Explore Church Travels to Brazil – Day 12, Part 2

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Explore Church in Missoula recently went on a mission trip to Brazil. Follow them on their journey as we post journal entries written by a member of their team. You can find previous entries at www.mtsbc.org.

Day 12, Part 2

Clapping is knocking, knocking is clapping, in a world with no doors. It was a surprising revelation but a sensible one, once I thought about it. Amanda and several members of our team spent the day assembling direct aid food bags for the neighborhood, with the assistance of local kids, and walked door to door around the neighborhood handing out two weeks’ worth of food. 

The drought in the Amazon has had an unimagined consequence. The longer the drought persists, the lower the level of the rivers get. The rivers are the highways and interstates of this community. 

As the river lowered, the barges that carry goods, groceries, and fuel, could no longer pass. As a result, the entire community began to be placed on rationed, fuel, water, and food. No barges could pass up the narrow, shallow river. All electricity is generated by gigantic diesel generators. Without fuel to run these generators, electricity was rationed. Without electricity, all air conditioning was shut down. It was only because several smaller barges were utilized to reach this community that we were allowed to come here at all. 

The lack of food was a direct result of the rationing of goods. Also, many tribal members and extended family got stuff in the main town and were unable to return upriver to their jungle communities and homes. People were stuck staying with their extended families. Houses built for 6 had 12 people in them. This catastrophe called for action, and the direct relief program stepped in and offered to purchase food. The only thing left to do was to portion and distribute it. Easier said than done. 

As mentioned in my last post, the local kids were a permanent fixture in the newly created, fenced play yard. Regardless of the work to be done, they were constantly under foot. Sacha and Amanda headed up portioning out the food stuffs and began to ask the kids to volunteer their help. The immediate and enthusiastic participation of the local kids was heartwarming. They wanted to be part of helping their community. They perfectly followed the example of the local missionaries and church planters by stepping in to portion out the food, locate families in need, and work as guides to take our team to the houses with the most members and kids in need. It was amazing to see their smiling faces as they truly enjoyed helping others. Their sense of pride in their work was palpable. 

After completing my construction work, I was able to go on the last food run of the day. Directly across the main street from the Buffalo House, next to the soccer fields, we clapped in front of the empty door opening. An impossibly small and hunched, ancient woman came to the door. Barely over 4 feet tall in her bent status, she informed us, through Amanda as our interpreter, that this was her great granddaughter’s house. As we watched, 5 living generations of one family emerged from the home. Great grandma, grandma, mother, daughter, and baby came to meet and greet us, along with the daughter’s husband. In all, more than 10 people were staying in this tiny home. The elderly women were unable to return to their village due to the impassible river and the need to access the local hospital. 

They originally thought we were selling the food bag and began to debate on the price of what it was worth, or what they were able to pay for it. With Amanda’s help, we convinced them it was free. They informed us that they had just run out of food in their home and didn’t know how they were going to get more. God knew. God knows how he will provide when all we can see is the lack thereof. It is always easier to believe when you are the one giving the food, rather than needing it. But seeing God provide for these people boosted my faith. It is something I will never forget. 

Check back tomorrow for the final day of this journey!

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