“The Bible was not given for our information but for our transformation.”D.L. Moody
At the beginning of the work, years ago, the journey to the outreach at Merixiu* was in a small boat, and lasted 20 to 30 days, pushing slowly upriver from the big city of Manaus, finally ending at the head of a tiny tributary in a beautiful, remote valley. With other similar outreaches in the region, Asas de Socorro set up a base in the city of Boa Vista, the city closest to this region “as the crow flies”. So instead of having to follow the river’s winding path, demanding weeks of unpredictable and risky travel, Asas offered to meet the transportation needs of these workers with their small aircraft. The first workers to make it interior to this village partnered with the local indigenous people, and after two years they had cut a small airfield out of the jungle. Now, instead of nearly a month of travel the workers make that trip in just a little over two hours! But why do they want to make this trip? The answer goes back a few years…
“He [God] will turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.” Malachi 4:6
1st century A.D.:
“Christianity has contributed to a spiritualization of marriage and family life, to a deepening of the relations between marriage partners and between parents and children. During the first decades of the church, congregational meetings took place in the homes of Christian families. The family, indeed, became the archetype of the church.” 1
By the 14th century:
“Opening up before the Christian people was the path to a radical new conception of marriage: one founded on mutual attraction, on love. Inexorably, the rights of the individual were coming to trump those of family. The church (was determined) to place married couples at the heart of a properly Christian society.” 2
Today, 21st century, in the Amazon rainforest:
Recently one of the more veteran workers in Merixiu* was asked the following question: Now that the Gospel has come to this village, what impact do you see the Good News make in the lives of indigenous believers? He shared the following:
“What we see is the same transformation we see when someone comes to know the Lord in the cities; those who believe experience great joy, and an immense desire to learn from God’s Word, and this is really noticeable in a new believer’s life. Naturally, difficulties and struggles come and go, just like they do for everyone, even for those who live in the cities.”
“There’s another effect we see the Good News have on the people, in relation to their family, which is quite overwhelming for us to see. For example, the head of a family becomes noticeably more responsible towards his family, working much more in his gardens, producing more than before, and beyond that, he is even more conscientious about hunting and fishing. In general, the youth and adults who aren’t believers are quite involved with their jungle hallucinogens, which of course erodes their interest in gardening, hunting, and fishing, which are their normal responsibilities. The families suffer. We see that happen in the cities as well, when someone stops drinking and begins to care for their family in a better way. In general, believers here are the best hunters, too, and are also the ones who produce more in their gardens, and head out more often to fish to provide for their families. That all makes a huge difference in the family relationships as well. Speaking of families, the believers are more affectionate with their kids, which results in healthier children, both physically and emotionally, and the youth are better prepared to meet the inevitable collision with the outside world.”
“Another aspect where we see the Gospel bring about change is in the people’s general cleanliness. When a clan has more believers everything is cleaner, from their personal hygiene to even less litter in the village common areas. That, too, we see clearly in their lives.”
The Gospel transforms lives. But it takes all of us working together to get the Gospel to these hard-to-reach areas. “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring good news of good things!” Romans 10:14-15 And Asas de Socorro gives wings to those feet. By helping out with our Fuel Fund you can be a part of the Transformation that is happening in the lives of these people, helping get the Good News to these remote villages.
- from “Dominion”, by Tom Holland, pgs 283,284.
*Names changed for privacy. Interview excerpt used with permission.