So I just got back from spending 8 days with 20 of our college students on a boat on the Amazon/Rio Negro. It was an absolutely amazing week. I blogged a couple of months back about our Spring Break mission trip to Brazil.
Our church within the last year or so has partnered with Manaus Presbyterian Church in Manaus, Brazil in the Amazonas state. They have a boat ministry that goes up and down the Amazon River ministering to the local villages along the river. Our college group sent two teams this month. We sent a team of 10 students in early March, primarily from LMU. And then I took a team of 20 students primarily from UCLA and LMU.
It was the largest group they have ever had on the boat. 46 of us total for one week on a boat. That 46 included our team of 20, plus me, and then cooks, a captain, translators, pastors, etc. We spent the week traveling and living on the boat as we stopped and spent each day in a different village meeting the different needs of the community (i.e. medical and dental work; VBS; evangelism; playing soccer, etc.) and then we would end our day in the village by doing a worship service that involved doing music (the Americans and Brazilians together), a sermon, and then usually a couple of testimonies by our students. I had the privilege of preaching in a Brazilian church on Wednesday night which was a great joy.
I hope to blog more about this later. But I think our team (or at least I did), learned a lot about what it meant to be the body of Christ….what it meant to function together….46 of us on a boat all week, working together to bring glory to God and to minister to each other as well as those in the villages.
It was a hard week as it was the longest my wife and I have been apart since we have been married (8 days) and it was even harder since she is 6 months pregnant. Nothing like being out on the Amazon with no communication for 8 days. So even though I loved the trip it was great to come home as well.
It’s late and I’m still recovering from the trip. But let me just say that I absolutely love working with college students. They are an amazing bunch of people and I love sharing life with them. And living on a boat with my students for that amount of time in such small quarters really allowed us to share life in a great way….we had great conversations….wrestled with calling and vocation….discussed what missions are all about and what we thought they should and shouldn’t be….witnessed students take big risks and step out in faith….watched students share their testimonies for the first time….laughed and played and cried together….and on and on and on.
It was such a blessing….stay tuned for more.