It was the second day of our trip. We were visiting the remote Inanu community in the Lago Grande do Curaui region of the Amazon River – a very isolated part of the world.
As we prayed for the Inanu people, asking the power of the Gospel to transform their lives, I added a prayer for Jancis.
'Soften her heart Lord,' I pleaded in Portuguese. 'She really needs You.'
Jancis wasn't one of the Inanu people. She was part of 'Amizade' – a Brazilian/American organisation that provides cross-cultural medical training for final year students. Jancis, along with 7 other American medics, was travelling by boat with our team and a handful of Christian volunteer doctors, dentists and evangelists.
Having lived in Brazil for a year on a Rotary Exchange, I had returned to visit the Brazilian family I'd stayed with over 30 years ago – a wonderful opportunity to reconnect.
But I couldn't pass up the chance to see the work of MAF's Brazillian affiliate Asas de Socorro (Wings of Help) while I was there. So I joined the team in the northern city of Santarem, travelling by boat along the long Amazon River to reach the isolated Inanu community. I had become part of the evangelism team.
Spreading the Gospel
Together with the other missionaries, I left the boat each morning, going door-to-door and meeting people. Everyone welcomed us so warmly, inviting us into their homes to sit and listen to the story of God's love.
As we shared the Gospel message, people responded – many received Jesus on the spot.
If I'm honest, I couldn't believe it could all happen so quickly. It would never be as easy as this in Australia. Western culture puts up so many barriers to faith. People need a lot of time to break down their defences, deal with doubt and debate the intellectual issues before taking the leap of faith.
Yet these people accepted the Good News of Jesus and His promise of eternal life so freely.
It was exciting but tiring work. Returning to the boat the second afternoon, I collapsed exhausted at the dining room table. It just so happened that Jancis was sitting right near me – and before I knew it, I was sharing God's love with her too!
As we talked, I learned how she was brought up a Catholic but was never certain about her salvation. So I shared the simple Gospel message with Jancis, just as I had with the Inanu people. As I came to the end, I asked if she wanted to accept Jesus.
Immediately, Jancis said yes.
Was I staggered? Yes. But to be brutally honest, I'd never expected to be doing anything more than sowing seeds with the American medics on our boat
Jancis was one of 28 people that week who received salvation and forgiveness that week.
Whether we're a fisherman from a remote Brazillian village or a nursing student from an American University, we all need to be forgiven, accepted and loved. The assurance of eternal life through Jesus is a message for everyone – no matter our story or status.
Through my visit to Brazil, God showed me that my only respnsibiliy is to share His love with others. It's His job to do the rest.
And in case it wasn't already clear, He showed me that nothing – absolutely nothing is impossible for Him.