Here we are! Barry’s in the middle in the back, I’m beside him and Austin on the other side. Then starting on the left we have Michael who will be 13 in December. He’s from Germany, his parents are with New Tribes. Then the Korean twins, Joshua and Caleb. Their parents pastor a church in São Paulo. Yeah, they come quite a ways just to go to school! They are 12 ½ and just learning English, so they are struggling in their school work. But they are very bright and will get it before long. Next are our two 13 year old girls. Michaela’s parents work in Manaus with Brazilian Christians. They are from Indiana. Allysa’s, (said “A-lee-sa”) parents are with Wycliffe down in Porto Velho. They were the middle dorm parents here last year. (Another comment on dorm parents later.) Then in the front we have Sheldon who just turned 9 and is in 3rd grade. His parents work in the tribe down in Acre and are with New Tribes Mission. On the right is Michael – yes, another one – who is 11 ½. His parents work in Manaus and in a town a little north planting churches among the Brazilians. They are from Canada. One interesting factoid about our group is that 7 out of 10 of us are the “baby of the family”. Oh, dear.
When we came here from up river the end of July, Barry unknowingly brought malaria. As we were getting our apartment fixed up and getting settled he was feeling terrible, but it wasn’t the classic symptoms he had other times. So, when he finally got tested and it came back positive for vivax malaria he took the medicine, which is given free here. However that posed a threat for all of us living in the same mosquito neighborhood. So we all had to get tested, too. Thankfully no one else showed up with it. But then, his symptoms came back! We think it just resurged and was not fully eradicated, so he went on a harsher treatment the second time – which is not an enjoyable experience. Consequently all the kids in the dorm had to get tested as well. Not only once, but three times. Oh, dear. The malaria guys were being careful and we appreciate that, but it was kind of traumatic for our little charges.
This is the soccer field and the long building you see is our dorm. How do you like our “Jungle snow”? This is the kapok fluff from the large tree which is to the left of where this picture was taken. The river is beyond the dorm and parallel to it. The yellow building on the right is the grade school. You can also see a staff house and part of the dining hall which is right next to us.
With our back to the dorm, now, here we see Austin and Barry taking the boat to the river. You can see the jungle encroaching on the unused staff houses in the back. (Don’t believe the guys who say the rain forest is being destroyed – with all the rain we get, it always comes back. As thick as ever.) The field is a little brown because we are in the dry season. In our houses only small parts have ceilings and it has gotten up to 98+ degrees at Barry’s desk here. It is now 124 out in the sun at noon. The mangos are coming into season. Papayas go year round depending on the tree. The amaryllis which were gotten right from the jungle brighten the dry season with their brilliant orange flower. The Brazil nut trees lose their huge leaves making a big job for the kids on work day. The river is going down and the rocks at the bend in the river make swim time oh so much fun.
But, speaking of the unused staff houses, this school could use more personnel. As beautiful and great an environment as it is, each year it is a struggle to fill the necessary positions. Often they have to double up and be overloaded in order to meet the kids’ needs. Dorm parenting, for instance, should be filled by people whom God has led and prepared for such a ministry. Has God been speaking to your heart about ministering to missionary kids?
We are here in response to a need, both in our son’s life, whom we are helping through his senior year, and for the dorm. We are taking time away from ministry with the Guanano Indians in order to fill these needs. Our coworkers are feeling the load, but with Indian coworkers, as well, God is cultivating His church. Those of you reading this who have followed the Guanano work and are part of the team know that there are lots of good things going on these days. Your prayers have strengthened Guanano believers to obey and grow spiritually. Your support has gotten the missionaries to where they need to be. Also being here at the school, Barry has had opportunities to encourage other missionaries as the Church Planting Consultant. We find opportunities for ministering wherever God has us, for sure. And God always provides what is needed for the situation.
One last plug for anyone interested in working with young people at an MK school like this- These kids come from all different backgrounds and styles of living. Whatever skills or experience you have can be used of God as you put yourself into His hands to be His instrument. Every year the needs are different and the mix of personalities is unique. Who can say what God wants to do through you and in you?