“Já chegou?”, (“It’s here already?”) I asked, surprised that anything in Brasil would happen 20 minutes earlier than scheduled, and on a Saturday morning, of all days. Not a slam against this culture I love; that’s just the way things usually roll. In this case the bus had arrived early, so I hurried out with my suitcase to board. This was the second busload of 40-some people to leave from the mission house in the city.
After about 40 minutes we arrived at the dock where we transferred our luggage from the bus to a boat and then walked a plank to get on board. I rode up top, taking the opportunity to introduce myself and chat with Janelle and her 4 children. Her husband, Joel, is in charge of the mission’s aviation program. Our boat moved quickly through the murky Amazon River, passing smaller boats, fishermen with their nets, and huge tropical trees. The hot sun was tempered by a breeze.
After about 30 minutes, which passed quickly under the bright blue sky, we arrived at our final destination, a boarding school for missionary kids. They are on vacation right now, so the mission uses the campus to house all of us missionaries from Western Brasil for our annual field conference. We eat in the cafeteria, hold meetings in the chapel, sleep in the dorms and staff houses, and swim in the river. It’s a beautiful location for a wonderful week of being together. These days are filled with worship services, teaching sessions, assemblies and official business. Also moments in between for catching up, making new friends, hearing stories of what God is doing all around this half of the country, drinking coffee, playing games, and enjoying the beautiful Amazon River.