Florida team ministers in Brazilian Amazonia
May 21, 2018
By Rev. Armando Rodriguez | FLUMC
The area is remote, and only during the rainy season can a small vessel reach its communities. But the Methodist Church in Brazil, in partnership with international Methodist volunteers, manages to overcome many obstacles and visit the indigenous communities in the municipality of Autazas, Brazilian state of Amazon, with much needed medical help and other supplies. Using a Methodist-owned boat turned floating clinic, doctors, nurses and other helpers navigated tributaries to the Amazon River and offered health clinics to indigenous populations.
This last April 2–8, a team of seven from the Florida Conference had the privilege of participating in this recurrent mission. Icel Rodriguez organized a group comprised of two medical doctors, one dentist, and three other helpers who joined forces with their Brazilian counterparts. Two journalists from United Methodist Communications (UMCOM) also joined the team. After flying to the city of Manaus, the group navigated for 14 straight hours before arriving in the little community of Natal, first, and subsequently, Murutinga. During the next three days the doctors saw more than 330 patients, including near 20 who received dental care (extractions and fillings). Rarely do the local residents see any visitors. But our global Methodist connection continues to fulfill the great commission: going to all nations and making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
The following photos tell a brief story of this mission trip. For more information, or to offer your contribution, please contact Icel Rodriguez, director of Global Missions in the Florida Conference. We also pray for The United Methodist Church to continue ministering as a unified body with diversity of ideas and with a heart to serve our Lord in all places.
Click on a photo for a closer look.
01. Map showing the city of Manaus to the left, plus the three locations where we offered health clinics.
02. The Methodist boat can easily carry 21 persons, including 4 crews and 2 cooks. One cabin has been fitted as a dental office and another as a pharmacy.
03. Let us see some patients! Dr. Bruce McIntosh and Rev. Emily Everett (GBGM missionary) at the Community Center in Natal, near Autazes.
04. Tanya Hollady and Doris Huntoon get the vitals of all patients before they are seen by the doctors.
05. Dr. Barbara Williams from John Wesley UMC in Tallahassee is on the foreground organizing medications.
06. Dr. Dimas Hidalgo at work in the little but well-equipped dental office on the boat. Rev. Max Maia from the Methodist Church in Brazil translates and assists.
07. Some families were unable to come to us, so we went to them in a small boat. This visit to a family house gave us great joy (see next photos).
08. Dr. Beatriz Birchal from the Methodist church in Brazil unloads medications and supplies.
09. One by one, all family members turned out to be in good health. When they received the good news, they each began to praise God out loud and with raised hands (see next photo).
10. The final patient, head of this household, told us that he was the pastor of the community, and that we were an answer to their prayers. He began to preach from Isaiah 43:1-3: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you ... They live by this promise, since they live by the river!
11. UMCOM photographer Mike DuBose, beloved journalist in our connection.
12. Rev. Emily Everett plays with the children in Natal.
13. Children grow up emotionally healthy and in total communion with nature.
14. The cleanup troop, leaving no garbage behind. Nature must be protected!
15. GBGM missionary Teca Greathouse laughs with those to whom the Kingdom of God belongs. She organizes and leads these trips.
16. God showed His sign of eternal peace with humanity almost every day.
17. Nature treated us to spectacular views.
18. What a joy to serve the Lord in a multicultural, multinational team and under the cross and the flame!
19. Hispanic members of our team from left to right: Armando and Icel Rodriguez, Dr. Dimas Hidalgo (dentist) and Rev. Gustavo Vazquez, currently working as journalist with UMCOM.
20. Back in Manaus, on Sunday, April 8, we visited the Shade and Fresh Water children ministry, a nation-wide initiative of the Methodist Church in Brazil.
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