Bugs, Evangelism, and Unity

A unidentifiable creature jumped into Scott and Cynthia Miller’s small wooden boat as they made their way to a remote village in the dark of night along the Amazon River in Brazil.

Thankfully the creature was only a flying fish, yet at that point they were likely lost and actively dealing with the threat of Dracula ants, crocodiles, and giant mosquitos. This was not an journey for the faint of heart!

After losing their way for some time they finally pulled the boat over to the nearest dock and asked for directions. The small village on the edge of the Amazon turned out to be a divine appointment. They put on a program for all ages with songs, skits, testimonies and prayer ministry.

Also that evening they traveled to a remote village with homes flooded with up to 4 feet of water. They handed out bags of food and prayed for the sick and discouraged.

The Millers’ Colorado Springs church sent them and a team to Brazil; Scott is our Chief Operating Officer at David C Cook. This was their fourth joint outreach with Ray of Hope, a Brazilian ministry serving in the Amazon. As part of the mission trip, they reached out to the poorest and most forgotten people along the Amazon River and they brought along 3,000 copies of the Story of Jesus.

While Scott heard numerous stories about the impact of the Story of Jesus, a tool for evangelism that Cook provides to thousands of churches in 50 countries, he hadn’t seen the booklet in action until his trip to Brazil. He says:

I was amazed to see this depiction of the gospel quickly capture the attention of kids and adults alike. The impact was palpable.

They distributed the colorful presentation of the gospel to villagers, including a tribe of 1,500 strong, 10 hours away by boat. In this tribe called Mura, the men are largely absent, common in places with high rates of alcoholism and infidelity. The trash, cow pies, and broken down shacks added to the noticeable despair in this largely forgotten place.

For two days the team played sports with the kids, braided the girls’ hair, sang songs, performed skits, and fed everyone. In the evening they led a worship service and gave an altar call where many made a profession of faith.

They reinforced the message by passing out copies of the Portuguese version of the Story of Jesus. They watched as villagers carefully read through each page of the narrative of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

On this remote leg of the trip, the Millers ran into a couple of Baptist missionaries from America and gave them handfuls of the Story of Jesus for their travels to even more remote communities.

After leading a worship service in a village further downriver, the team met two older missionary women from the Gideons, who live in a hut on the edge of the settlement. The women shared their grief over teenagers in the tribe falling away from the faith. The Millers offered them 500 copies of the Story of Jesus. Gratitude over the Lord’s provision moved these women to tears.

The Millers know from trips in years past that evangelism followed by discipleship transforms a village. The men show up; the trash disappears; there’s less despair, more hope. This kind of change makes challenging physical conditions (i.e. bugs and blinding humidity) pale in comparison. On a side note: The Brazilian Christians intend to stay in touch with the remote Mura tribe. Pray their new faith would find deep soil.

A big priority at David C Cook is to bring churches and organizations together on the ground, to lift up the efforts of in-country organizations, and to form close partnerships with other ministries. We value unity not only because it’s effective – but because Jesus asks us to eagerly pursue it.

We join hands with in-country organizations on a number of levels, from translation of materials to production to training to distribution and follow up. In Brazil, we partner with four denominations including the Brazilian Baptist Convention and their 13,000 churches and congregations. They and others distributed 12.6 million copies of the Story of Jesus in Brazil last year – each booklet included information about how to connect with a specific local church.

Brazil is second to the U.S. in sending out foreign missionaries. Our ministry is working with the Brazilian Baptist Convention to equip their missionaries with this evangelistic tool as they fan out to all corners of the globe.

As a final word: The Millers made it back to Colorado safe and sound, filled with stories of God’s power, along with pictures (two seen here), and just a few bug bites. They watched God move in incredible ways, in the darkest places, as unity and love under-girded their ministry.

Thank you for believing in David C Cook – and may God bless you for your continued support!

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