Into the Amazon: Sharing the Gospel with the Paumaris people

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Join Josue & Debora as they journey through the Amazon basin to share the Gospel with many villages.

It is with joy and gratefulness to all the brothers and sisters that we’ve come to share with you what God made for the Paumari people. This is our third trip to the Paumaris from the Lower Purus. One with many challenges and unexpected episodes on the road, but also one where the hands of God were always present and where everything occurred exactly according to His will. We traveled with a Recreio (a ferry that serves as the main type of transport between cities in the Amazon) from Manaus to Foz Tapauá, the city closest to the river where the Paumaris live, and from there we took a motorboat to their community.

Upon getting off the ferry at around 10 pm and with the motorboat loaded with fuel and luggage, the engine broke. We had made repairs in preparation for the voyage so what happened was just unforeseen. But we know all things conspire in favour of those who love Him.

In the midst of the river’s darkness, we saw a flashlight that guided us from a distance, drawing us to a riverside community where we discovered, upon arrival, that it was being handled by a 10-year-old boy who happened to have lost sleep and got on top of a boat to play with his flashlight. We saw God’s effort in providing this boy to help us find a place to spend the night. The sadness of seeing our motorboat engine broken almost made us abandon our trip, but in our hearts, we knew God was in control of everything, after all, He allowed us to get this far and He wouldn’t leave us now.

By the next morning, we discovered the problem: dirty fuel was caught in the engine’s carburettor and therefore prevented it from working properly. With the issue behind us, we carried on to the final destination.

Capanã Village

We were welcomed by the Paumari community, in the Tapauá river, with great delight. The Paumaris are hospitable people. They first had access to the gospel more than twenty years ago, but after the first few missionaries left this region there was never a constant presence, albeit for brief church visits and missionary agencies.

The seeds that were sown back then remain today. There is a small church in the Capanã village that has requested the training of church workers, so as to strengthen it and expand the gospel. But these communities are remote from one another and gasoline is pretty expensive. That makes it harder for such expansion to take place in other areas.

Açaí Village

Travelling up the river Tapauá towards the Cunuia river we arrived at its last community, the Açaí village. It was where we spent the most amount of time, sharing the Lord’s words. There is a great deficiency in education. Also, lack of health assistance and absence of the word of God. It was a very special moment in our lives, a privilege to talk about Jesus in that community. For many, especially the children, the Bible stories and knowing that Jesus came to earth to save us was something new.

Almost every afternoon Débora rounded up the children to tell Bible stories, and their professor gave her a great opportunity to teach religion to the teenagers. At night we would hold open prayer services for the community but not everybody participated in them. Still, we did have informal moments where we talked about God and their doubts regarding religious issues. Since the Paumari language has given way to Portuguese there was nobody to teach the children Paumari, so we prayed together for the conservation of their culture.

Prayer at the  Boca Village

In this village, there is a small group of Christians where we did prayer and discussed the necessities of the church. Only a few of them are literate and that made it hard for us to read the Word of God and interpret the scriptures, and they also needed a school to train church workers. The lack of resources limits them to a moment of prayer, in their weekly meetings. To help them overcome such difficulties, we left them with an audio book of the Bible so that they have the opportunity to listen to it in every meeting.

Crispin Village

After the Boca Village, we went up the Purus region to where I was raised in the Crispin village. We had a time of sharing the word of God, me with the adults and Débora with the children. It was a time to cheer up the church and strengthen our faith in knowing that the Paumari church is doing well. I was also able to see my relatives since we stayed there for seven days.

End of the trip

In total, we spent 30 days in the lower and mid regions of the Purus. We couldn’t visit every community because we didn’t have a guide with us. We weren’t familiar with this region’s river and that proved a challenge along the way. It’s pretty remote and easy to get lost in it. For this reason, we could only stay in three Paumari communities. We also went to Porto Velho for a week after we left the Tapauá, taking part in church implementation courses. It was a time of learning in which God spoke to our hearts about the development of the ministry and new working methods. A time of communion and renewal.

A very precious week for us. We want to thank each and every one of you who took some of your time to pray and contribute to the ministry that God trusted our hearts in. We poured ourselves towards the Paumari community of the Tapauá and Purus rivers.

Josue & Debora

National Workers – Brazil

PS: Our motorboat remains where the indigenous communities live to facilitate our next voyages.