Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Village #2 - Monkeys and Bats

Judging from the title, this day was interesting. Sleep last night was shorter than normal. I still havent gotten used to this hammock yet and im pretty sure I heeled Richard in the head last night trying to get comfortable. I wont say anything unless he says something, ha. I got up before the sun did this morning. There is really no observance of the sunrise back home. By the time I see it come up, Im either driving down 35 headed to work or it hides behind our neighbors house. To see it break the sky for the first time in awhile gets you thinking why havent I watched this more than what I have. Of all things that are going to take place for sure, its the sun setting and rising and I dont watch it. Sad. Welp, there is a morning pick up you right? Im in mens ministry again today. I am pumped about what God has in store for us today. Yesterday gave me a good idea on just caring for people. I got to watch VBS with the kids and the medical team work and I consider the first village kind of a breaking in.
So we exit the boat to see all of the village men standing there, waiting. Normally, we arent the first ones off of the boat. Its the crew member who ties the line to the shore so the boat doesnt float away. Then its the Brazlian Pastor, who's main ministry is the Amazon river and I believe his church is in Manaus. He is a very polite man, who honestly looks like the Dos XX commercial guy, the most interesting man in the world. Very laid back personality as do all of the Brazilains. They dont have a time frame on anything. They dont have a schedule they are ruled by. If it gets done great, if not, great. So seeing the "eh" face from him all of the time, is pretty funny. So he gets off the boat and meets with the village leader to let them know who we are and what we are doing there. They were very welcoming. There was no need for us to split up into groups now because all of the men were there. Well the ones that werent on the river, working or visiting the nearby city. Rick, Jeremy and myself took the village leader, along with his brother aside and began sharing the word while the others grouped up behind us with our men. We learned that the village leader is not a Christian but his brother was. His brother had been through a difficult divorce and stated that Jesus guided him through that. He was also fundamentally sound. The village leader, did not know how to read nor wasnt a believer so we began to encourage his brother to teach him and the village the gospel. I wanted to chime in. I wanted to say something. Rick looked at me and said "Chris, would you go over Romans Road with him"?........... Uhhh.......... Thankfully Jeremy stepped in and saved my butt. Not that I wasnt familiar with Romans Road but I wasnt fluent with it nor comfortable. And I choked. Initially, I was more upset that I let Rick down but later I began to understand the Holy Spirit's nudging. I didnt let the Holy Spirit work. Lesson learned. Im in observation mode at this point and I began to look around. I see Christian men sharing the gospel. I watch as men share their faith and arent being either lazy, passive or both. Its was humbling to watch and I wasnt around that environment growing up. I do know strong Christian men, individually. But to see a group of men, working through the holy spirit, proclaiming Christ in a region of the world that they could be killed for doing it gives you a sense of understanding what Paul says in Philippians 1:21 "to live is Christ, to die is gain." (Brazil is a Christian region but surrounding countries arent) I honestly was in a moment of awe. This is how its supposed to be. This is what men do. Its not about making money and conquering the world. Its not about being the best at some sport or pride and respect is all you have. Its about leading, providing and protecting. Its about searching for truth and when God reveals it to you, with a transformed heart that only Christ can give, you stand up for it.

I took two pictures of what I saw when that thought hit me. Well to say the least, this is one of the moments ill take with me forever from this trip. We ended the meeting with prayer and thanks to God for the grace and mercy he shows everyday to us and for continued encouragment for this village and its leaders. Like I said before, just planting seeds. They wanted to show us their generator that was broken and as it stays broken, they dont get power to the village. Bob looked through it and as they did that, a couple of us snuck off for a journey into the jungle. Henrique, a translator, caught us and we tricked him into coming with us. We didnt make it to far into it cause it started to get a little dense. On our way back, we found the others playing with two wild monkeys that live in the village. I told alot of people before I left home that I would bring back a monkey and here was my chance. We lured it down with life savers and it ended up in Nicole's arms. he made its way to Jeremy and then over to me. I stuck my hand out to hold it and it grabbed my trigger finger.....oh no. Its gonna bite off my shooting finger and im gonna have learn how to shoot left handed! Why I thought of that first, I dont know. He was merciful as I stayed in fear and crwaled through my lap and onto the ground. I stayed froze for a couple of seconds and was thankful that ended well. Its funny, down here dogs are considered pests. Well I guess thats not funny but odd. They treat the dogs poorly and monkeys get to eat in the living room with the family.
We had lunch and had prasie and worship with the village. They thanked God for us and our visit with medical aid and spiritual aid. We thanked God for their open minds and hearts. Then we played soccer. Im losing weight with this soccer ritual. We lost all games again but they were good sports about it and took it easy on us. I loved the end of soccer games, not only cause im exhausted but we come together as a family, tired and thirsty and we pray to God thanking him for our time together and the fellowship we had. When you are tired, you see the imperfections in the human body and soul. Knee hurts from last years mud run (thanks Bruno), thirsty beyond all get out, its hot, and we are all tired. And we thank God for it. Its then to where we all share the same reality, whether you are from Brazil or America. That one day we will together with one language in new bodies, doing the same thing we did today, praising the fathers name.
We boarded the boat for the evening and Jansen pulled out the Bom Bom sling shot and we shot Bom Bom Bombs to them. Pretty funny watching them scatter after the bombs. Picture a homerun at the Ballpark in Arlington in center field and watch as people fly to get it, thats what it looked like. Hopefully this video of it works...

We soon found out that we are getting to go see the well that you all donated for. We learned that it took about 18 hours for the two man digging team to dig it and lay concrete down. It was about thirty minutes away. Cameron is a 12 year old boy who raised 2300 dollars alone for this well. Each well cost 5000 dollars and throughout the whole fundraising process, we didnt think we were going to raise enough. Its amazing to see how God works. The very last meeting before we left, he handed Rick an envelope with 2300 dollars. When I was twelve, it was progress if I didnt pick my nose let alone fundraise any money. I hope I get to be a witness to what God will do with that young mans life, incredible. We get there and there was a small number of people standing by it. The concrete had still not yet set and we had to be careful not to touch it. I had to talk myself out of writing in it. Its fresh concrete!....for those who watch the Office. Anyways, Rick shared the gospel as a group and thanked God for the water well, but also quoted John 4 and 7 that Jesus is the living water. Cameron led us in prayer and we all drank from the well. To think that before, these people were forced to drink river water. Its no wonder why they stay in constant sickness and disease. We are blessed as a nation to have what we have at the touch of a hand. Its our call to be stewards of what we are given so to fundraise to build a well with fresh water makes complete sense.
Later that night, after another amazing worship session we came to share time. I shared with the group that its amazing to see men, though god's grace, stand up for their faith and its amazing how god changes hearts. It got emotional for the first time here for me and I have never been that way. You arent supposed to right? Men are supposed to be hardcore and no emotions...well I did do some pushups afterwards. All throughout my growing up, its been portrayed that men dont. Its a sign of weakness. That love is for women. How ignorant is that? Imagine a hero. One who took a bullet for another or pulled someone out of a fire but lost his life in the end. One who gives himself so another could live. One who died on a cross. What greater love is that? We see it in movies all the time. Good movies too, not just cheesy Dear John movies. Its something that I have thought about for years. Thats love. Now imagine doing that for someone who hates you? Dying for someone who doesnt even care. I know Im not man enough to do that. Think about it.
Ok off of my tangent. We ended the evening almost being eaten by the creature of the night. Talking with Hollie and Jarrod we see the caped crusader flying next to our boat. Its a huge bat, I mean as big as a small human, flying (ok it was a little bat but it was a demon bat). It taunted us for a while until it made its move, straight for my face! I first, saved Hollie's life by jumping in front of it a throwing a right cross at its head, dazing it. She made it out alive. It then went after a fleet of babies to where I jumped on its back and stabbed it through the neck with a dagger ending its rule of the darkness...........Well it kinda went down that way. Hollie is pretty sure that as it came at my face, i pushed her into it as I screamed like a 7 year old girl running away. I kinda remember that but where did the dagger come from that was in my hand. Who do you believe??
I know this, I definately do not want to be anywhere else right now than here. Thank you to all who donated for me to be here. God has done wonders on my heart and mind being here. Thank you.....


  1. You are so funny! I am enjoying reading all you have posted. It is amazing to read your thoughts and what God has given you. I am so excited for you and your relationship with Jesus. You have grown so much in the Lord. I am moved by your words. Thanks, for sharing your experiences. You all are in my prayers. I love you.
    Aunt Pam

  2. Thank you so much for the post card. I am so happy I can see your pictures and learn about your trip. I really appreciate you taking the time to share with us. It is just amazing to read about what is going on in your heart and what God is teaching you there. I know this trip has changed you and I am excited to see what God has for you next. You all are in my prayers. Love your Aunt Pam