Thursday, February 10, 2011

Manaus, Amazonia





A month ago today we were finishing packing our bags to leave Rio de Janeiro and arrive in the Brazilian state of Amazonia. As we flew over this region there was a huge sea of jungle, litrally for miles upon miles. Brazil is seriously larger than what I imagined, its huge. Hours later we arrive in Manaus, the capital of Amazonia. This city is basically an island in the middle of jungle of sea. There are is no infrastructure that connects this city to the rest of the country. You can only come here by boat or plane. If you take a bus from any city in Brazilian you will eventually have to get on a boat and ride the river for hours to arrive here. As Pastor Manuel told us the first day we were here, "No one comes to Manaus by mistake." It's just not possible.

When we arrived I was excited. I am still beyond excited to be here. To be a part of what God is already doing in this region. The Church of the Nazarene has been in this region for the past 10 years, so the work here is fairly new. Missionaries, Rev. Manuel & Lidia Lima have been faithfully serving here for the last half of that time. There vision and passion for this region is contagious. There is only one Church of the Nazarene in the city of Manaus. Their hopes and desires are to focus on disciplieship this year and begin home small groups throughout the city that will potentially transform into churches.

Their passion and vision for the river communities is as vital as the ministry in the city of Manaus. Pastor Manuel told us that before we begin ministering in this region we have to come to understand the context and realities of the people their. We have been learning that the river communities are generations of migrant workers from the Northeast. Many of these migrant workers were promised food, water, housing and a good stipend. Only to result in forced labor, they basically were slaves.

This last week Scott & I spent four days in a town called Nova Airão, a small town of 14,000 people acroos the Black River. Then we traveled to two river communities; one of them called Santa Isabel. At Santa Isabel the Church of the Nazarene will be buiding a water well here in the next month. Later we visited some families, prayed for the sick and later that evening share a meal and encouraging word with the professor and leader from the community.

The population of river communities runs from 50-100 people.
They are warm and simple people.
They people that are like you and me; hungry and thristy to know God.
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A little from: Niópolis, Rio

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My heart continues to beat intensely for Rio. It was here that we had the opportunity to participate in ministering with what the church was already doing among the favelas in Rio. Favelas, are what Brazilians call the slum communities within their city hills. Working alongside teens and adults that we passionate about this ministry really marked and stretched me. I can still remember and hear the prayers of some of the teens as we walked and stopped at homes to pray with families and give them food basket for a month; their prayers of hope, healing and transformation for them and their children.

Um Pouco de: Campinas, São Paulo

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São Paulo: During our time in Campinas, São Paulo we stayed at Brazil Nazarene University Campus. These people were more than our community and friends, they became family. What great memories and things we learned with them those first months!

i L0VE... being Trilingual?

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Feeling a little bit more fluent in Portuguese as the weeks go by. Couldn't help but take this picture, because I absolutely love all these languages!

Here we go!

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Scott & I also have been working alongside Igor. Igor is from Rio, but after spending a couple of months here and then going back home his heart kept calling him back to Amazonia. Now, he lives here and is passionately ministering along with Pastors Manuel & Lidia Lima in the river communities.