Butterflies in the Stomach

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Evaldo Almeida is a national worker with the Evangelical Mission for Assistance to Fishermen (EMAF). Along with other leaders like Evaldo, EMAF is preparing to serve the Portuguese communities along the Purus River in the Amazon Basin. As they begin their journey, Evaldo shares the excitement the team feels as they ready themselves to share the World of Life in new communities.

This is the way the people in the villages say what we call “ice in the stomach”. EMAF is entering “unknown” waters – the Rio Purus – the fourth largest river in Brazil, with more than 1200 unreached communities by the Gospel.

It is amazing to see the hand of God pointing, and also “pushing” us in the direction that we should follow. We have been in this region recently, for a meeting of encouragement and evaluation of plans with a team of missionaries that is already installed, and surprisingly, adapted to the local culture.  

We arrived at Lábrea in July to initiate the EMAF AM ministry on the Purus and, for the first time in the history of the Mission, we have an administrative counsel formed by evangelical leaders who know well the reality of the needs of the people. My feeling in the meeting with this group of brothers was that we came to integrate with a team that was already formed. The powerful Hand of God is preparing the land so that the seed can be sown and beautiful fruit gathered.

These brothers shared that they have prayed for years that the Lord would send workers to the region. One of the members of the council was Secretary of Education in the municipality, and had visited all the communities along the Purus and had concrete data of the need for the Gospel for the riverside folk. One church whose pastor is the leader of the council affirmed partnership with EMAF and will send a local missionary to a region where we plan to establish an advanced base.

We also visited a community of the Purus and perceived clearly the clamor of the people. We left there dreaming of a church planted there, with souls that would render themselves to the Lord.

“Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people. And He said, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.” Exodus 33:13-15

In truth, the “butterflies in the stomach”, are not so much because of the unknown, because this truly stimulates us, but yes, because of the known Plan of God to reach these people through our lives.  For this reason, we ask you to come with us. We need an army of intercessors, volunteers in the fields, supporters, faithful soldiers who have the courage to accomplish the “go” that the Glory of God may shine in Purus.

We go through daily battles, but we can say that until now the Lord has supported us. We have much joy in taking part in this ministry and have you as partners on the journey, sharing the “butterflies in the stomach”. When I was touched by the Word to undertake this ministry among the fishermen, I understood clearly that this Word should be faithfully preached through my life, with attitudes that work together with the Word of Life, even in the midst of battles and privations.

In the new book that I began to read, “Ashamed of the Gospel”, John  MacArthur, brings out the aspect that we should never “adulterate our preaching under the penalty of being false teachers and that the living and pure Word certainly will bring us pain and battles, but above all the true hope is that we should be found faithful to His call.” That the ministry can be, at the same time, efficient and without problems, it’s a lie. We encounter difficulties, if we preach the unadulterated Word. And, when adversity comes, we have two choices: To remain firm and endure the difficulties, or to compromise oneself. The faithful minister remains on the side of truth. There is no way you can do this and escape suffering.  “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” (2 Tm 3.12). Therefore, faithfulness and suffering walk together, bring to mind what gives you hope – the Word of Truth practiced in your life reaching those who are around you.

With open arms among the fishermen and the riverside folk.