Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | May 18, 2017

Return to Pindobal

Amazonas, Brazil

The Apostle Paul’s second missionary journey was motivated, in part, by a desire to return to the people and places he had previously visited. Paul told Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are” (Acts 15:36). Therein lies the value of returning — affirming the value of others and looking after their spiritual welfare.

One of my hopes for this third trip to the Amazon was to return to Pindobal, a village where I previously had the privilege of seeing several young ladies come to faith in Christ. These young ladies had been thinking deeply about spiritual matters when I met them. They had questions about where they would spend eternity but had found no satisfactory answers.

One by one, they embraced faith in Christ and then asked to be baptized. They listened intently and took notes as we explained to them the importance of reading and studying the Bible. It was clearly evident that they were serious about their new faith in Christ. They were determined to become a band of sisters and agreed to meet regularly to study and pray together.

Leaving Pindobal was hard. As the village faded from sight, I wished we had set aside more time to spend there. I determined therefore, to make provision for follow-up by mature believers from Manaus. This in itself would be difficult because of the distance these mentors would have to navigate by river to the village. But, most important, I committed myself to pray for the girls and for their spiritual welfare.

And now, I have returned to the Amazon. I was thrilled when Pastor Eli, our Brazilian team leader, told me that we would travel close to Pindobal and agreed to take me there by motor-boat. I could hardly wait for the day to arrive.

On our return trip to Manaus, we stopped and ministered in a place just thirty-minutes down river from Pindobal. Armed with some discipleship training materials, we headed toward Pindobal late in the afternoon.

Our arrival was uneventful because no one was expecting us. So, we went ashore and headed for the home of the school teacher who had come to faith in Christ along with her sister and many of her students. What a sweet reunion it was.

The school teacher shared how she and each of the girls had stayed true to their commitment to Christ. She told us how reading the Bible had helped them stay strong through some tough days. They had not wavered in the commitment they had made months before when I was with them.

The teacher was happy to receive the new discipleship materials and promised that she and the girls would work through it together. And although our reunion was brief, it was powerful. I could see the gratitude in their faces and they could certainly see it in mine. This was the value of returning.

Pastor Eli and I headed back to meet the rest of our team, skimming along the surface of the waters in the dark under skies intermittently illuminated by a distant thunderstorm. I was so happy to have had this opportunity to return to Pindobal.

As the humid night air rushed past my face, my thoughts turned to the parables of the kingdom where Jesus likened the kingdom of God to a mustard seed, something that starts small and grows to become a large tree. I smiled. The kingdom of God has indeed come to Pindobal.


Responses

  1. Fantastic! I bet that was just the boost they needed to know that they are not forgotten as children of God!

    • Absolutely. So happy that I had the opportunity to return and to find them doing well.

  2. Goodness Omar, you are blessed man, and a blessing to so many. Hard to imagine the questions and difficulties these “new” Christians must face with no church, no pastor, no mentor, there to help them. I have often wondered how the first Christians managed to keep their faith after simply hearing one or two “sermons” from Paul, then he’s gone. The Holy Spirit is the only answer, with Paul and you to come back just when needed to bolster and reaffirm. And I note the distance, by river, from Manaus to Pindobal seems to be some 400 miles. “Remote” is an understatement. You were “Jesus with skin on” to those believers in Pindobal. You convict me to the core every time I think of you in such places, devoting your life to the faith instead of finances!!!

    • Thanks for your kind words, Rush. These kinds of initiatives are only possible because of the prayers and generosity of the people of Kingsland. So very grateful for a church that loves the nations. And I am also grateful for your friendship and encouragement.

  3. Wow! Great to see those ladies faces again. The ripples from this ministry keep touching lives. Thank you!

    • Thanks for being a part of the team that served in Pindobal. Very encouraged by the faithfulness of the girls.


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