Thank you to our friends at Creative Impact Ministries for telling our story. We feel so honoured and privileged have received this gift. At first we were a bit skeptical and nervous to have someone come and film us. One thought was, What sort of story are they going to tell? Not only did they film and produce our video, but they encouraged us greatly. The movie was made as a tool to share with friends and supporters to bring awareness to the work we do here in the Amazon. Creative Impact Ministries never set out to win any awards, yet after being entered in the International Christian Film Festival, the film took top place for mission awareness and runner up for best original score. Thanks CIM! If you have not yet seen the film click on this link. https://vimeo.com/284596268
At the end of June we had the privilege of attending the national northern conference for our group of churches. It was attended by approximately 400 leaders, mostly from the Amazon Basin. It was an honour to have Ramon, from our church, as long as his brothers on the worship team. He has worked hard for many years training up musicians and worship leaders. The keynote speaker was Rich Nathan from the Columbus Vineyard. Over the course of three days Rich spoke about what it means to have a healthy growing church, and shared several tips and insights from his many years pastoring. In all, there were ten of us attending from Portel. Our family made the 18 hour boat ride to Belem and flew and hour to Altamira, since I had board meetings as well. Our other leaders travelled 3 days each way by boat to get there. We were all greatly encouraged, and the travel was well worth it to worship, learn and spend time together with our church family.
In August we held our first annual youth conference. Our youth group, as well as many visitors, attended. It has been excited to see how God is transforming the lives of youth in our neighbourhood. Many of the youth come from broken homes. The area where the church is situated has a reputation for being a rough area. It was squatted around 8 years ago and now houses thousands of people. Last week the police were shooting inside the church property. The neighbour boys, whom we know very well, were running from the police. Frustrated that it is difficult to send youth under 18 to prison, the police often try to shoot and kill them. Since we have been here, several youth have died is this manner. Please pray for the youth of our community!
At the beginning of August I officiated the wedding of Cliçiara and Beto. It was exciting to see them take steps to get married and invite Jesus to be part of their lives as a couple. Those who want to get married must go through a Justice of the Peace. For a lot of people, it is costly, so they just don’t bother. Beto and Cliciara not only were married legally, but also in the church. We believe that a marriage is made complete when we invite God to be part of it. It serves as a powerful example, not only in the church, but also in the community of the power of God to bless and transform families.
We had the privilege of baptizing 4 youth and an adult woman in August. As people come to Christ, we encourage them to be baptized, to become part of our small group ministry and become discipled. Our hope is that each person can be trained up to utilize the specific gifting that God has given them. Being that the river is located right behind the church, we don’t have to go very far to find a place to do the baptisms. During our previous baptism service, I had waded into the water and was waiting for one of the new converts to come to me in the water. While I was waiting a fish bit me on my calf. It didn’t draw blood, but after all these years of swimming and fishing in the river it still made me jump. We are grateful to what the Lord has been doing in and through our youth in Portel.
After a month working on the boat, it was ready to receive the dental team, Projecto Sorriso, or in English, Project Smile. Dentists from locations all over Brazil, as well as several volunteers, transformed the bottom of the mission boat into a floating dental clinic. In total there were 30 volunteers! Over the course of 10 days, 481 people were treated for a total of 1531 dental procedures. 61 dentures were made and fitted, 341 children received fluoride and 850 dental hygiene kits were given out. In one day alone, they extracted 103 teeth (or at least shards, most of the teeth were rotted beyond recognition)! During the trip one family gave their hearts to the Lord! Thanks to everyone who participated to make this mission a success.
Since our last report, we have installed 180 Bio-Sand Filters. The change in the quality of the river water from rainy season to dry season is particularly drastic. One family who received a filter, reported that their children were vomiting on a daily basis prior to receiving the filter. Families express their gratitude and often ask questions like, “Who is doing this?” “Why are you doing this?” This opens many opportunities to share the love of Christ, while at the same time bringing health and showing mercy and compassion to those whom are suffering. Thank you so much for your prayers and financial contributions that make this project happen.
Thank you so much so partnering with us. We could never do what we do without you. We are humbled by you kindness and generosity and pray that God blesses you richly. As you know we are a faith based ministry and I would be lying if I said that we never worry. The thing is that God’s faithfulness continues even when our faith is found lacking. We cherish your prayers and love hearing from you.
Blessings in Jesus,
Richie & Christie Bouthillier