The 2 Guanano pre-teen boys stepped off the transport plane that had brought them hours across the dense green jungle east to the steamy city. Mario and Isaías followed the nun in her white outfit to the waiting vehicle and began their adventure away from their jungle home. They were taken to an agricultural boarding school where they learned to grow and cultivate different cash crops the way white people do it. They spent four years there and then were sent back to their village to, hopefully, put to use what they had learned. This experience put them out of the tribal influence at the time of their development for forming cultural norms and beliefs. They adapted quickly back into the ways of the Guanano and learned what they were supposed to learn. But God only knows how He was preparing them for the future Guanano church.
Mario is now almost 30 years old. He has been helping translate selected Old Testament scriptures that go along with the Evangelistic Bible teaching. He has also been team-teaching unbelievers the Phase 1 lessons along with two of his brothers. It has been a tough road to follow as they have no church model other than ourselves and the church in the book of Acts.
Recently the Lord took Mario and his young wife, Nilsa, through a new situation. While waiting the birth of their second child Nilsa came down with malaria. She may have had other problems, since the baby was really low, but being 16 years old she went ahead with her active life style. She ended up having malaria 3 times and then got it again when the baby was a few days old. So she really had a time of it. Well, all this took its toll and the baby came 2 months early. Being a premie, she had trouble with breathing and then nursing, so they took her to the hospital. There they put her in an incubator and eventually the doctor decided to send the little one to the big city for tests. This was not a happy thought for either of the parents. That meant it was more serious than they thought, and they would have to be away from each other and their 2 year old son, Daniel. When the hospital’s social assistance person found out Nilsa was under age she said Mario had to go, too. He was holding down 2 jobs; the one co-translating along with the missionary would be secure, but the other one might be lost. On top of these heavy concerns was the fact that Nilsa’s parents, indians from the same jungle area as our Guanano friends, were putting pressure on the young couple to chant and do all the correct Indian rituals for the newborn to fend off the evil spirits. But Mario said firmly that they were going to pray and trust God for the baby’s health.
We are happy to say that the baby is 3 months old now and the hardest part of the ordeal seems to be over. The last week of their stay in the city they were able to go out to visit the missionaries at the MK school. This was a special treat to Mario, since, as he said, he had been hearing about this school for almost 20 years and he never dreamed he would ever get to visit. After being couped up in the city in a small non-private room with many other Indian patients for 3 months they were able to fish (they loved that) and had a lot of room and privacy in a guest apartment near the jungle. One bad thing that resulted is that Mario has to re-pay his employer for 1 month’s owed work that he lost due to getting baby Glenda medical treatment. But he does still have the job and the lesson he learned, he said, was that even when we go through hard times, God doesn’t leave us. He is there to help us through them.