Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Amazon Experience

It is hard to know where to start describing my trip. It was incredible and once again a HUGE thank you to everyone who helped send me. The experience of spending a week on the Amazon, (which side note is not like any river you've ever seen. Most of the trip we could see both sides, but it is gigantic and more like being on a extremely large lake that goes on forever) on an open air boat sleeping in a hammock was one of the coolest things I've ever done.
The sunrises and sunsets were incredible and the stars at night had more depth than I can adequately describe. Several mornings there was a Sea World like show of dolphins (I know, who knew there were dolphins in the Amazon...?) jumping all around the boat. The coolest of which were the pink dolphins - yes Mary Kay pink!!
One night we got to go on an alligator hunt. We went in small groups on a little boat it was pretty intense. We spotted a few on my trip but they were too big to bring back, below is the catch from the second groups outing. I won't go into too much detail about the bugs which unlike many of the students thankfully didn't think I was the sweetest treat. But, about dusk they came out like gangbusters and laughed at anything less than the strongest deet spray available.
Each day we visited a different village and set up multiple ministries including, dental (we had two Brazilian dentists on the trip that pulled and checked teeth all week), medical (two Brazilian doctors handed out much needed medication), eyeglasses, women's ministry (we painted nails, cut and styled hair and shared our stories of grace), VBS (I helped coordinate this, but our students and translator did all the hard work) and soccer. These ministries would go on simultaneously then in the evening we would have a service and hand out the family packs with clothing and supplies to each family in the village.
When VBS wasn't going on I got to love on babies, help with the women's ministry and/or whatever else was going on and visit with the villagers. I did give a few haircuts so if anyone needs a trim give me a call :) The below picture is of a little boy who had just received his first Bible. The culture tends to be very works based so we focused a lot of attention on the free gift of God's grace. The highlight of my trip was praying with a women to accept Jesus as her savior!!!! She believed in God and Jesus, but she had never accepted him as her savior so I asked her what she was waiting for? She said nothing and I got to lead her in a prayer of salvation.
One of the most challenging parts of the trip was the language barrier. We had a team of great translators on the boat, without whom the trip would not have been possible. But not being able to have small talk or encourage the kids was a challenge. It taught me once again that that the word of the Lord does not return void and God was bigger than the language barrier.
The students did an amazing job serving and in addition to all of the above highlights I loved the time with my girls, Melissa and all the Watermark students.
As I reflect on the week I am overwhelmed with God's goodness. That he would stir my heart for this trip, use me in all my uselessness, provide every need necessary to go, pluck me out of my routine and comforts and show Himself to me through His word, His people and His provision. During the week we studied Romans 12, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." What a mighty God we serve!!!
All my pictures are on snapfish below:


shannonmichaelis said...

I am ironically listening to David Crowder's One Great Love song while watching your slideshow of pix. Really makes me want to go love on some needy children. I'm serious. I was stirred by those pictures, wanting to show compassion to others. Wish I could have done what you did. Miss you and so glad we could be a part of your trip. Shannon

Kylie said...

Oh it looks awesome! I am so glad you had such a great trip. Ronny is in Guatemala right now and I was just thinking of his team and how God not only uses them and changes people through them, but more than anything God changes your life, the volunteers life, forever! What a great thing for all of us! I can't imagine the planning, training and leadership it took to pull off a trip like this!
I learned about pink river dolphins on Go Diego Go. Not joking. I thought they were made up after an episode of Diego so I googled them and learned all about them. That's when I decided Diego was good for Hudson to watch! :)

Self Family said...

LOVE the pics...and sounds like a fun, and hard working trip!! So glad you were able to serve in that way and get time with Becca and Meredith. priceless for sure.

Melissa said...

Sweet recount of the trip friend... I mean for real, I miss seeing you everyday, what a blessing that was.
Reminds me that I need to see you more often here in big D!! :) Love you! Mel

Melissa said...
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