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Brazil: Amazonian disciples

Imagine the scene: you have been a missionary in a river community in the middle of the Amazonian jungle for nearly ten years, and, among other things, have spent over four years teaching the children from Genesis to Revelation.

Jason Murfitt

Figure Image
The Murfitt family and furry friends!

But now some of the children are entering adolescence and you have decided to begin a Friday evening club to take the older ones ever deeper into the Word. As your wife busily prepares the after-meeting meal, you silently rehearse your notes – an introduction to the Sermon on the Mount. Expectations are running high as the veranda begins to fill up with excited teenagers, all arriving by canoe in the half-light. You thought eight to ten might attend… but in no time 25 have arrived!

The clock strikes 19:00. It’s time to begin. All eyes are on you. But you are distracted by something that just twitched in your peripheral view: there is a tarantula the size of your hand on the wooden ceiling above the unsuspecting young people.

Multiple choice

Do you: a) Pretend not to notice and carry on, thinking that if the worst happens and it drops down it is likely to fall on the only remaining vacant chair? b) Tell folk that there is a tarantula above their heads, so that if it does fall down they are less likely to scream and run riot? Or c) Tell everyone in a calm voice to not make any sudden movements – while you arm yourself with an aerosol can and a lighter to flame-throw the distraction out of the way?

We went with option ‘c’ – and used the opportunity to teach that sin and Satan lurk in the shadows and seek to distract you from learning from God’s Word and that God will judge all things with fire and finality one day.

And so our Clubizão (big persons’ Bible club) got off to a memorable start this summer. Although we have had some behaviour issues to resolve, amazingly 20+ young people continue to attend, with Bibles in hand, every week. And our little persons’ Saturday morning Bible club, Clubizinho, continues with a strange problem: the older ones won’t stop coming! So we have made those who are 13+ ajudantes (helpers), as we return to Genesis once more, using the Bible’s heroes and villains to help lay a firm foundation of gospel truth in this tropical corner of the Lord’s vineyard.

Jason and his wife Andrea are missionaries serving in Brazil, affiliated with both Grace Baptist Mission and Unevangelised Fields Mission. They are based in a river community 70 miles west of Manaus, involved in leadership training, evangelism and youth work, as well as supporting a church in an indigenous tribe. They have one daughter, Lucy (11), who is both home-schooled and studies in Portuguese in the town.