Mar 28, 2012 | Written by Betty Best
“It’s like they’ve all taken on a whole new identity!!” The words danced in my ears. PAZ church planter Jorge had phoned from across the river, his voice bubbling with the good news.
Though his evangelistic cell group in Mulata had for months been meeting regularly, and the members would sing the praise songs and listen attentively to the Gospel, none had made a decision to give their lives to Jesus. It stunned us, on our visit last week to his cell, that all nine of them prayed the sinner’s prayer after hearing yet another telling of the Gospel, this time from two Gringo ladies—Seacoast team member Amie and me, using the Evangecube to illustrate. I had been suspicious because ALL of them raised their hands and prayed. Were they just trying to please the Gringo missionary?? Did they understand the commitment to Jesus as Lord of their lives? Were they really ready to give up their old lives and renounce their sin? Would they truly be born again? I hated the thought of them being “inoculated” against the Gospel, thinking they’d met Jesus when they hadn’t.
But God does amazing things, doesn’t He? This seed is particularly exciting, as it’s the first cell group of believers in Mulata, a community of about 2,000 people. May the Lord help them each to grow and become strong, and plant many other seeds among their neighbors and family.
They are in good hands with Jorge, who makes the 2-hour trek from his home in Monte Alegre to lead the cell group every week. He is truly a gentle and loving soul, totally committed to serving the flock with which God’s entrusted him.
Jorge is also helping restore the PAZ church in the community of Estrada D, about an hour and a half by washboard dirt road from Mulata. That’s where the Seacoast team’s main construction and evangelism efforts were focused last week. Estrada D ( or, “Highway D,” so-named because the dirt road that encircles it forms the shape of a D), must resemble the Garden of Eden, with dense jungle and fields of baby palms nestled in the sunlight among rolling hills. Its 200 or so inhabitants have felt abandoned—by fallen church leadership and politicians alike. The visit from Seacoast’s team was hugely blessed in Estrada D as well. Believers were encouraged, walls of mistrust were broken down between the community and the PAZ church, and the Gospel was clearly preached, with ten people making commitments to Jesus in door-to-door evangelism.
Seacoast Church, from Charleston, SC, has sent six teams here to PAZ, but several members said this trip was their best ever. Why? It’s clearly because they bathed the whole trip in prayer before they came, and prayer was a central focus throughout. The half-finished building became a temple of the Lord when the team joined with workers from the community and beyond, in concerted prayer, dedicating bricks and cement and sand to our transformational God. What a mighty God we serve! The hills rang out as you could see this place being a lighthouse for all around.
We thank God for His great mercy in using us to His service. Thank you for partnering with us, and for your faithful prayers on behalf of the precious people of the Amazon!