Story from the Amazon

Back in February a group of us from Birmingham went to visit some of our family in the Amazon. We spent time in Leticia, Columbia and Benjamin Constant, Brazil. One of our main objectives in going was to serve and encourage the local believers in those cities. There is so much poverty and oppression in these areas. If you do not own your own business you basically are a slave to the military or another business owner. Life is not so easy as it is here in the states. The freedom there is not the same as the “freedom” we have here. Long hours of very hard work for very little pay seems to be the normal way of life where we visited. We spent a significant amount of time with three guys named Boboco (21), Pepeco (19), and Carara (16). Boboco and Pepeco are blood brothers and they have brought Carara in as their own. We sat in a restaurant and waited for our pizza to be ready. They asked us many questions and we each shared stories of what Jesus had done for us. We asked them the question, “How do you follow Jesus and make disciples in your culture?” Boboco and Pepeco spoke up. They don’t have an earthly father who has shown them an example of deep love and commitment to his family. He has not walked in the ways of Jesus. That’s what makes the answer that these brothers gave us such a big deal. They gave an answer that was not revealed by flesh, but by the Spirit of Jesus. They said that they were to set a new example of loving everyone as their own. They were going to show the young men and old men alike how to respect, honor and love women. They were going to make it a point to be committed, loving husbands that would cherish their wives and children. They were going to start a cultural shift. Where rape and drug addiction are rampant, they would remain pure, not giving in. They see a higher way. The way of Jesus is love. They will not be entangled by the cares of this world. They are going to give their lives away to those Jesus puts in their paths. They invite those who have nothing into the family and proclaim the good news of the King who will return for his people. One statement made was “Following Jesus in our culture is taking the outcast into your family and loving them as your own.” They are doing this very thing and they are impacting lives in their city. We are so thankful for these brothers. Here is a list of names we received this past week. These are names of boys who seem to be more intrigued by the Kingdom. They are the ones spending more time with Boboco and Pepeco, who are using soccer and BMX riding as a means to bring the Kingdom in that area. Pray for these brothers: Isaias, Layno, Cleudoney, Italo.