In only three days, the team visited six small villages on the Uniní River. That's a lot of times the gear was loaded on and off the Caravan. The villages were just a few houses each, and the team stayed only a half day in each one. Time was made for evangelism and personal contact with the people, and lives were changed for all eternity.
Dr. Marco Manzano (right foreground) has given up his private practice in Anápolis, Brazil, to move with his family to Manaus and serve there as a missionary with Asas de Socorro. He coordinates the missions and also travels with the team as a missionary dentist. The other dentist seen here is Dr. Joel, who always comes on missions with his guitar. Missionary pilot Wilson Kannenberg (center) takes on the ground job of registering patients and keeping dental records of teeth pulled and treated for each patient.
Missionary pilot Darrel Carver, also chief dental tool scrubber, enjoys some grandfatherly moments with the children of a dental patient to quell the crying and tears. For the fifteen or so of our supporters who have the 2002 calendar we made up, the little girl on the left, Cristiana, is the poster child of November, and big sister to brother Yuliane, on the right.
Dr. Marco Manzano in action.
By late afternoon, Dr. Marco needed more light. He strapped a flashlight on his head and kept working.
Doctora Aldeleine checks a patient's blood pressure.
Child care by a serene big sister while they wait for treatment.
The dentist, Joel, artfully plays harmonica and guitar simultaneously. His jovial nature makes him a favorite of the children, who sing choruses to his music, as he teaches them Bible verses in song.
The team of missionaries get daily inspiration for their work in the uplifting and encouraging morning devotionals.
Mothers wait for treatment with their young daughters, while a clowning tame parrot accepts food and affection from anyone.
Children are sliding down the red mud into the water. On top of one of the boats, older boys jump into the water. One has just splashed down, and another is about to take the plunge.
Food, dishes, clothes, and people are washed in the same water. In this village there is no privy.
Darrel and others were afflicted by some intestinal parasite. The team takes its own water filter, but eats food provided by the villages they serve.
Short, rotund Pastor João José, shown below with the Bible in hand, had a most remarkable experience one night of the mission. Visualize this: the exhausted team is sleeping in hammocks, outside in the open air. Just past midnight, Pastor João José awakens from the sensation of liquid running down his leg. He discovers a vampire bat hovering over the foot, lapping up his blood released by a bite on his toes. The bat's saliva causes blood to flow freely, as it flaps in place like a grotesque humming bird to lap up blood with its tongue.
Pastor João José yelps and jerks back his foot, frightening the bat away, and waking up the whole team. It takes an hour and a half for Dra. Aldeleine to control the bleeding and for everyone to get back into their hammocks.
Needless to say, on the next night, the entire team adorns their hammocks with mosquito netting!
In good natured joking in the morning, the pastoral victim jovially concedes that the vampire bat couldn't have bitten him on the neck, because he doesn't have one!
Never forget that the first priority of Asa de Socorro is the salvation of souls. Every mission to heal bodies carries out the example of Jesus, who healed to show that God cares for and loves all people. Pastor João José preaches and Joel plays the guitar for services. The woman above, unselfconsiously nursing her child, responds by accepting that love for herself.
One of the six villages, Terra Nova, received the clinic team for the first time. A worship service is held outdoors. Without the benefit of stained glass windows and soft organ music, an altar call is made and eighteen people indicate to Pastor João José and Pastor Wilson Kannenberg that they are accepting Jesus as Lord. A total of twenty-two people made that committment during the entire mission. And that, for us, is what it is all about.