There are times in our lives that we are presented with opportunities to be a part of something greater than ourselves. A time to serve others, put our comforts on the back burner and truly see the blessings that God provides to those around us.
In September, myself and 12 others flew into Manaus, Brazil to then spend a week on a boat traveling down the Amazon River to four different villages: Barreira, Amandio, São José and Itapeaçu. The ways that we were able to serve the people in these villages was by providing “basic” needs that we take for granted daily.
We joined up with an amazing Brazilian team on the boat. The teams consisted of: medical, dental, optometry, VBS and construction (painting during this trip). The medical team treated 233 people; dental team 45 people with 238 procedures, 260 glasses were given out; 55 donation bags of clothing were given; 184 children attended VBS; two homes painted and one vocational school painted.
My role during the trip was to help with VBS and document the trip through photography. The VBS team does an incredible job with the children. Their energy is never ending! It was wonderful to be a part of witnessing to the children and seeing them light up when they got their memory verse right or the correct order of what God accomplished in the first seven days.
Photographing the trip was an interesting perspective as I was able to be an outsider watching the work of everyone on the different teams. Seeing the smiles of the families, of the children, as they waited in line on the boat to see the doctors or the dentist will never be forgotten. These weren’t smiles that we see here of just a smile and a thank you, these were smiles of deep gratitude.
The villages we visited all varied in size and structure but had one thing in common. Thankfulness…the gratitude for the service provided no matter how large or small. These people have so much less than what we are accustomed to but what is incredibly moving is how happy they are. It truly puts life in perspective of needs vs. wants.
It pointed me to scripture we all have heard but, in my case, never really took to heart. Luke 12:22-34 when Jesus is telling the disciples to trust in God and not worry about their needs. God will provide. And you can see that regardless of the location of these villages, God is providing…in these remote locations on the Amazon.
I pray that there will always be people who are willing to put themselves aside, take an adventure and trust God so others may be served and provided for in this world.