Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Softening our hearts

Dear Friends,

We hope you are well and enjoying each day to the fullest.

We were really blessed over the past few weeks by a wonderful team of medical students who came down from South Carolina to run free health clinics and share the love of Jesus.

I (Don), along with some other PAZ missionaries and health staff, accompanied the team during their first week here, running clinics in the small river town of “Prainha,” (“prahEENya”--means “little beach”). The town sits on the north side of the Amazon River, about 14 hours downriver from us.

We saw over 600 patients during the week, predominantly women and children! God used the experience to break my heart anew, seeing the physical suffering and spiritual emptiness of so many people up close and personal. The world works day-in and day-out to harden our hearts and make us cold to those around us who are in need. But the Lord, by His Holy Spirit, strives to keep us tender-hearted and vulnerable.

Working alongside each of the medical students, I got to translate for about 120 Brazilians who visited the clinic over the six days we were there. (The PAZ missionaries rotated in our translation assignments.) In the picture I'm working with Ian as he helps a family with their health needs.

It just breaks your heart to see these anemic, pot-bellied kids infected with worms and skin rashes, to meet 45-year-old women who look 70 because they’ve been laboring alongside their husbands in the jungle cutting trees and hauling hardwood planks, to meet patient after patient who have treatable conditions – like high blood pressure and diabetes – but can’t afford to buy the medicine.

The team went on to attend patients in five other communities, attending a total of over a thousand patients! Please pray for these Brazilians who live out in the middle of nowhere. Pray both for their spiritual and physical condition. Please pray also for these visiting medical students as they return home to a hectic schedule and their residency assignments.

We’ve also been blessed this past month by a visit from Carolina, who works with Samaritan’s Purse Canada in support of Project AmaZon’s water filter project. As you probably know, PAZ uses the water filters as a means not only to save lives, but also to open doors for the Gospel and church planting. To date, we have placed more 8,000 of these filters in homes and schools across the Amazon Basin.

Last but not least, we were delighted to have our good friends, Vu and Sheryl Nuygen, a beautiful and gifted couple, visiting us from Chicago. They were here with their young daughter, Lan, to see if the Lord is leading them to join the mission full time. (We pray so! We need ‘em!!) Thank you for your prayers for them, especially for discernment and provision!

Please continue to pray for us as a mission to grow in the Lord and to always be attentive to His voice and calling. It’s easy to fall into the busyness of the mission, and we need to actively be seeking Him.

Pray also that He would fill us afresh every day with His Holy Spirit and break our hearts anew for the Brazilians that He places before us. They are the very reason that we are here!

May the Lord bless you and fill you with His joy, discernment, vision,
and triumph as you serve Him and His Kingdom!

In His service,

Don Best

Project AmaZon
Santarém, Brazil