Vaughn’s Amazon Journal
NOTE: This is a multi-media document. When you see the camera icon or video icon you can click on them to see pictures or video. I have done this so as to not bog down the internet connection for those of you still using dial up.
I have decided to write this journal in order to keep track of some of the more exciting events that transpired while The family and I were isolated back in the jungle">
Vaughn’s Amazon Journal
NOTE: This is a multi-media document. When you see the camera icon or video icon you can click on them to see pictures or video. I have done this so as to not bog down the internet connection for those of you still using dial up.
I have decided to write this journal in order to keep track of some of the more exciting events that transpired while The family and I were isolated back in the jungle, and in light of the fact that I was unable to send you my writings out for several reasons. First off, after leaving Boa Vista in February I very seldom returned to the computers natural environment, which is civilization. On the few hurried occasions that I did come out to the civilized world I did not have time, when the resourses where available, to send my writings off. Last year I was able to send some updates from the Amazon Mission via an Internet connection established through our satellite phone. This year, after days of trying, I was unsuccessful in getting this system to work. And so, I continued to write even though I was not able to send my writings out. The following lines are these writings in the order in which I wrote them. If I were to title this journal, it would have to be:
Many are the plans of a man’s heart but it is the Lord’s plan that will succeed (PROVERBS 19:21)
February, 15th 2006
The last newsletter I was able to send out I told of the great victory that we had, in that my permanent visa was approved. It was
only after a month of baking out in the scorching sun of Boa Vista that we saw this victory come to fruition. At long last we headed for the Amazon mission base in the Blue Ox (a name brother Bob Hawes gave to our Heinz 57 truck), loaded down with supplies and building materials to begin another year of hard work. Despite the fact that we had been ministering almost constantly with the youth out in Boa Vista; I felt, as I headed for the mission base, that we were finally starting this year’s mission work. It was a good feeling as we sped along at the Blue Ox’s top speed of 54 mph. We left at 5:00am, and 14 short hours later we arrived in Entre Rios. We were going to head straight to the river but a bad rain storm hit and we were forced to stay the night at brother Francisco’s house in Entre Rios. Brother Ciso told us that this was the first rain in a month, so I didn’t worry about it. The next day the sun was shining, so we waited for the road to dry up a little before we headed for the river. I would like to state here that I use the word ROAD here in the comedic sense, for only sick person with a demented sense of humor would seriously refer to it as a road. The “road” was in awful shape when I visited the mission base this last August as some of you saw in the pictures I took. Sometime later it actually got worse! It got to the point that nothing, not 4x4s or tractors could get through. Then the Russian Monster arrived! The Russian Monster, as I call it, is a giant dump truck like creature with 6-wheel drive, all of which are large tractor tires. It looks like it was designed to endure the harshest of Siberian winters. A local sawmill owner bought it to haul out hundreds of tons of woods to market every week. Now you take 500 inches of rain, some Amazon road clay and the Russian Monster and mix them all together and what you get is something that looks like a pigsty that two giant snakes slithered through. When the road is dry, you drive astraddle one of the deep grooves left by the Monster. When it is wet, you try to do the same but you bring along shovels, hoes and 10 or 15 guys to dig you out if you slide off into one of the Monster’s tracks.
Praise the Lord we made it back to the edge of the river that day with out too much problem. It was good to see the mission base up ahead as we went down river in our dug out canoe. Our arrival was a joyous one. The spirit at the mission base was very high and I sensed that there had been some definite spiritual growth in the workers, especially Yamka. The joy was short lived though because I was immediately presented with the fact that there was no clean drinking water, because the well had caved in and dried up. This has been a problem ever since we first dug the well and we have had to dig it out several times since. But this has resulted in a large cavern at the bottom of the well that extends several feet beyond the edge of the well, making it very dangerous to enter the well for fear of a total collapse. The only thing to do was to put a concrete sleeve in the well to prevent it from further cave-ins. So the next day I headed back out to Entre Rios to buy boards and cement with which to build forms and pour concrete. The day started out beautiful and we made it to Entre Rios around 11:00am. We had started our journey back around 2:30pm when dark clouds appeared in the east. Before we had made it 2 miles out of town, torrential rains hit. Thinking it could not last very long I forged on ahead. The rain got worse. There were several bad mud holes behind me filling up with water and a lot more in front of me. I had 10 sacks of cement that stood a good chance of being ruined if I did not get them to a dry place even though they were under a tarp. I had 7 men, 1 woman 9 months pregnant and 2 small children in the back of the truck, all soaked to the bone and cold, with night closing in fast. " I have to forge on, I told myself."s Slipping and sliding, sometimes almost sideways to the road, I skillfully moved down the road trying not to slide off the edge. Then we came to a bad mud hole. I shifted into first and floored it. Tires spinning, engine screaming, rain coming down in torrents we slammed into the hole. The back tires slid off into the monster’s track. I cranked the wheel to the right trying desperately to keep the front tire on higher ground. The back tires throwing mud high into the air we were somehow still moving forward at an angle to the road and then suddenly the back tires caught a groove and whipped us around and before I knew what was happening we were headed in the opposite direction. I let off the gas and killed the engine, as all of my white knuckled passengers feebly climbed out the truck. "Well guys", I said, "this is where we spend the night". It was a dim prospect and I hated it, but what could I do? I had no shovels or hoes on the truck, only a rusty, dull machete. Then Yamka said, "I think we can get it out of here." "Well", I said, "We can certainly give a try, but we have to get the truck turned all the way around headed the right direction first." So that is what we did. I told the men to push side ways with all their strength on the right front of the truck while I spun the back tires and maybe we could spin the truck back around. We tried it and it was working until the truck was perpendicular to the road and then the spinning back tires caught some good ground and lurched the truck forward sending me hurtling toward a 10-foot drop off. I slammed on the brakes and bought the truck to a stop with the front of the truck already halfway into the trees. I feel there is no need to tell you what my state of mind was at this point. A little shaken would be an understatement.
We made it out of that mud hole and into another, and then another, until it became a blur of rain and mud and digging mud with our fingers and pointed sticks and spinning tires, screaming engines and passengers (and sometimes the driver). And then about 10:00pm that night it was all over and the Blue Ox limped to a stop at the edge of the river. Out of one 4 wheel drive Toyota Land Cruiser, one F-450 dually flatbed, one dump truck and a double dually posi-track logging truck, the blue ox was the only truck that made it through that day, all the rest spent the night stuck in mud holes or broke down. But the Blue Ox paid a high price, that would put her out of commission for the next two months. The clutch linkage had broken on the last mud hole.
The rain kept coming day after day non-stop. There was nothing to do but sit a wait. This was hard, especially for me, because after spending over a month in Boa Vista, I arrived at the mission base ready to go and determined to finish the Umana and build the clinic. As the rain continued to hinder all attempts at work, I began to become depressed. Many thoughts ran through my head. The road is cut, the truck broken, the river is at flood stage and the rain won’t stop. I felt paralyzed and useless. I wanted so much to start ministering down the vicinals (little dirt roads out into the jungle) this year to the pioneering Brazilian families. We had a big Christmas celebration planned and were expecting many people, both Indians and Brazilians, from all over to come and celebrate together as one body in Christ in the new Umana building. We had to cancel this because I had no way to get the people to the base without the truck and no food to feed them if they got there. A few people did still come and we had a good time. I was able to minister more personally to them because there were so few. We had a lot of games planned that we canceled but Yamka and me did do a skit where we pretended to be a couple of wild Indians come to visit. We followed the old cultural guide lines for the skit and it was a lot of fun and everybody had a lot of laughs. It was then, at my darkest hour, that the word of the Lord came to me and spoke to me softly, “Many are the plans of a mans heart, but is the Lords plan that will succeed." "Trust me”. You know, things get a lot easier when you let go and let God do His thing. Only then can you truly rest in that peace. Of course when God closes one door He opens another. One thing that I had wanted to do for a long time was to translate some of my favorite hymns into the Waiwai language. I wanted to do this not only because I like these songs, but also because song singing and writing them are very important in the Waiwai culture. The Waiwais are drawn to new hymns, going to great lengths to learn them, and I knew it would attract the Waiwais to the mission base where I could teach them not only songs, but the bible also. Everything has worked out like I thought it would and the new songs have drawn many new people to the mission base. I have translated 15 songs so far and hope to have translated 20 by the time I return to the US in May, so I can make some simple songbooks while I am there. I have translated all the songs into Portuguese as well and have arranged them so that they are sung together as one song, first in Waiwai and then in Portuguese. In this way the Waiwai singer can learn some Portuguese and visiting Brazilians in our church services can know what the song is saying.
The unseasonable rains continued through December, January, and half way through February, and then they finally stopped. Although we had been trying to get as much as done as possible in the rain, we were finally able to make up some ground when it stopped, getting a retaining wall built around the edge of the Umana and starting to fill it with dirt. The work was going great and we were making great head way and then it happened! It was lunchtime and we were resting from carrying tons of dirt to the Umana. As is our custom after working hard and sweating we all jumped in the river for a cool refreshing swim. The water level had dropped considerably and I could see that the rock wall had been damaged that Bob and I had built last year to direct and increase the water velocity to the mini- hydro generator system that we depend on for electricity. The wall is built out of large rocks ranging from 100 to 300 pounds and is about 150 feet long in a V-shape with the generator placed right at the point of the V. Heaping up giant boulders is considered fun and relaxing to us because you get to do it in the water where you don’t sweat, other wise it would be considered back breaking labor! Anyway, there I was, with Yamka and Ephraim, having a grand time lifting rocks when I noticed a hole about the size of a man’s fist in the wall. Well, I’ll just dive down and find a rock to plug that hole, I thought to myself. I was down stream from Yamka and Ephraim in about 3 feet of water. I dove down in the narrow channel and was searching the bottom for the rock I wanted when I noticed a shadow come over me. I thought it might be Yamka with a 200-pound rock so I hastily looked up. For a split second I thought I saw a long brown stick about 6 inches in diameter floating down stream. Then I realized what it actually was, a full-grown electric eel, and it was only an inch from the top of my head. In the micro-second that this all took place in, I realized 3 things. I realized that because I was in the narrow channel there was no way of escape, that a shock from this size of an electric eel could potentially knock me out cold in which case I would most likely drown, that in such confined quarters the eel would probably deliver several shocks in rapid succession if I did not get out of the water. There was only one thing to do, jump for all I was worth, screaming as loud as I could in the hope that my head would make it out of the water enough for someone to hear me. As soon as my brain said, JUMP! A bolt of thunder went off in my head and it felt as though someone had hit me on the top of the head with a large sledgehammer. Everything is a haze after that but I remember being launched from the water as if rocket propelled and landing on some rocks about 4 feet away with my face down in the water. Ephraim who saw me come out of the water said I came completely out, including my feet. I was still conscious and tried to get up but my body did not respond. Then I noticed excruciating pain coming from my left shoulder, it felt as if my arm had been torn off. I had let out an ear-shattering scream when I came out of the water that brought everyone at the mission base running. Yamka was swimming to me as fast as he could while I struggled with all my might just to lift my face out of the water to breathe. When he got to me I told him I could not move and that my arm was broken. He reached under me with both arms and turned me over and then drug me to a flat rock. It took me over a half an hour to be able to stand up again. As soon as I was strong enough I thanked the Lord for saving my life and walked back into the water in the exact same place where I had been shocked. I know what some of you are thinking; that was a really dumb thing to do! Logically speaking you would be absolutely right. But there is something you must understand about this mission here in the Amazon. We have to face potentially life threatening danger everyday from multiple sources. In order for me to accomplish anything here, fear cannot have a home in my heart. Fear is like a seed, if you let it take root, it will only grow until you are completely incapacitated. I have swum freely in the Amazon for over 12 years and this was the first time something like this had happened. The chances of it happening again in the same spot are unlikely and to not go back into the water would have been to give fear a place in my heart. To say I did not feel afraid upon entering the water would be a lie, but it was my faith in the Lord and not my courage that got me through it. All in all, it was a mind numbing shocking experience…..get it! Okay, so I’m not the world’s greatest humorist!
Just in case you are wondering, my arm was not broken. Actually, we still don’t know what happened to it, but we suspect that I might have dislocated it and I might have torn my rotator-cuff muscle. Believe it or not I still did a little more work on the dam even though my left shoulder was in severe pain. This was actual dumb of me I admit, but I can be stubborn on rare occasions (some disagree about the rarity of my stubbornness, but hey! what do they know?). Anyway, to make a long story short, I slipped and stuck my right thumb into the spinning propellers (1500 RPM) of the hydro generators. At first, I thought I had lost the end of my thumb right behind the thumbnail, but on close examination, after screaming under the water for several minutes (I was already feeling dumb and didn’t want anybody else to know it), my thumb was still there. At this point I decided that I had had enough fun in the water for one day and called it quits, but not because of the pain mind you. Later on that night I developed a high fever, which I logically attributed to having my brain fried earlier that day. But I had another problem. My thumb was hurting and throbbing, due to the fact that blood was oozing out somewhere underneath the thumb nail slowly ripping my thumb nail off by means of internal pressure. I knew I had to release the pressure if wanted the pain the go away. But how to do that? Going ahead and finishing the job by taking the nail off didn’t seem like a feasible solution, but drilling a hole in the thumbnail did. But how to drill a hole in something that hurts so bad that even thinking about touching it hurts. I remembered that someone had told me that heating up a needle red-hot and melting a hole works well, so I decided to try it. Of course the object is to melt the hole through the thumbnail and no deeper. Considering that the space between the thumbnail and the tender flesh is about 1 thousandth of an inch, this would require great skill and dexterity to accomplish. Something that a man with 103-degree fever, using an arm that was most likely dislocated earlier that day should be perfectly apt to do. You know, it is amazing at how fast a red-hot needle cools down. After about 20 tries where the needle cooled down before making it through the nail, my thumbnail was dotted all over with little black dots. The question that loomed in my mind, was how to know when the needle was through the thumbnail. I resolved that if I saw the needle sticking out the bottom of my finger, I would know that I had gone too deep. Fortunately that did not happened and I hit the right depth and was immediately rewarded with relief in the form of blood spewing forth from my finger as if from a tiny oil well. That ordeal over I was free to sit back and concentrated on my fever which held on like a bull dog all night and most of the next day. I continued to have fever off and on for five days and then on the morning of the fifth day the chills came. Up until the chills came I was content to think that the fever was an effect of the ordeal with the electric eel, but once the chills came I knew what was wrong. I had Malaria! I was confident of this because, Asatdo, my father-in-law, had come down with Malaria two days before. There was only one question that I had. How to get out to get help? There are very few things in this world that can compare to a severe case of Malaria. Your body shakes violently out of control and you feel as if you are freezing to death even though you are running a very high fever. I spent five hours straight in this condition, after which the chills subsided and I was physically exhausted. Unfortunately, there was only one way for me to get help and that was to try to drive the truck to Entre Rios. The road was starting to dry out but still had a lot of mud and holes, and the truck that had suffered a broken clutch linkage on the way in two months earlier had just been jimmy rigged by a local mechanic to maybe make it to Entre Rios. But it had not been tested. Dripping with sweat from exhaustion and still running I high fever, I climbed into the cab. With all the men from the mission base in the back to help us dig out if we got stuck and with Irene and the boys in the front, I turned the key and the Blue Ox roared to life. I closed my eyes and said in a whisper, "Lord…. Give me the strength to drive this truck out of here." He did give me the strength even though we got stuck four times. Praise His Holy Name!!!! Not only did He give me the strength but also he gave the truck the strength in a sense. When I left the edge of the river I felt the truck pulling hard to the left and asked someone to look and see if the tire was flat. Yamka looked and said it looked fine. I was too weak to get out and look so I just asked the Lord to help the truck to get us out. It is 18 kilometers from the river to Entre Rios, all very rough road. When we got to Entre Rios I stopped by the tire repair shop and asked them to air the tire up. They said it was only a little low and topped it off. I drove the 1-kilometer to Francisco’s house and parked the truck and got out. Irene got out and walked by the front tire. She called to me and said, “Vaughn come here, the tire is leaking.” There was a loud hissing sound coming from the tire and I could feel the air rushing out. In less then a minute the tire was completely flat. The next day after taking my first Malaria treatment, I was feeling better and was able to take the flat tire off the truck and brother Cico took the tire into town on the motorcycle to have it repaired. The inner tube had two 3 inches long gashes in it that could not be repaired. Now you sit back and think about what I just told you and see if you don’t get all shakey. No matter which way you cut it the Lord had to have aired that tire up at the edge the river and kept it aired up until we were at our destination. We serve a powerful God my friends. A powerful God!
I know that it seems, like I have spent a lot of time on the suffering that we have been through down here. But it is very important for you to understand that even though we have been through tremendous suffering since I last wrote to you, that each one of these sufferings were a battle that we came out of victoriously and you were there with us through your prayers. Even before the last wave of attacks hit, Mom reported multiple people calling her saying that the Lord had laid us heavy on their hearts. Even the day I first had fever a brother in the Lord called mom and dad and asked what was wrong with me, for the Lord had showed him that I had Malaria. You cannot imagine how comforting it was for me to hear this even while I was going through tremendous suffering at the time. We all say with our mouths that we know the Lord is with us, but for you to have confirmation from 4 thousand miles away that God is 100% aware of your situation and is ordering his servants to pray for you before you even know you need prayer. Whoa MAN! Now that’s comforting! You might be saying, wait a minute; you still suffered tremendously even though you had people praying. I say to you, how much worse would it have been if you had not been praying for me! To know that God is personally aware of your situation and that nothing you are going through is hidden from His sight is the best feeling you will ever have regardless you what your situation is. But to fully grasp the magnitude of it you must first place your complete faith in Him and accept His will, whatever it is.
It is impossible to recount every thing that happens here at the mission base, because so many things happen everyday. Even as I am writing this, brother Yamka is sitting here waiting to ask me a question about a scripture he read. If everything goes as it usually does, as soon as I begin teaching him, everyone at the mission base both workers and visitors will start to trickle in until they are all here and I will go for hours. Then just about the time I am about to collapse, someone will ask if I can show a bible film and then everybody will join in the pleading until I give in. So, I'll put on a film and I will finally get to bed around 1:00 or 2:00am. This is just the normal daily routine. But what I want to talk about is our youth meetings. The Waiwai nation for the most part considers itself to be Christian and presents itself this way to most outsiders. This may sound a little harsh, but the truth is that they as a nation are about as Christian a whitewashed whorehouse. There are a few that have a basic idea of true Christianity, but the rest are only Christian in the Catholic sense, in that they were born into the Waiwai tribe therefore they are a Christian. At the present, adultery and fornication are so common place that it is considered to be expected rather discouraged. If a man and a woman were alone at any point in time it is considered to be undeniable proof that they committed adultery, and in most case this is accurate. Most of the adults spend most of the time talking and joking about who committed adultery with whom right in front children. So the children grow up thinking that this is what is normal and expected. So you can imagine the rate of premarital sex, it’s around 99%. It is very hard to believe a teenager that says they haven’t had sex because lying is considered less of a sin then fornication. We recently hired a 12 year old maid to help Irene wash clothes because Irene’s back was hurting terribly. The girl confessed to Irene that she had slept with a married man. When Irene asked her if she knew what she did was wrong her excuse was, “Well, I liked him before he was married”. One Sunday I preached on Revelations 22:15; where it says that adulterers, whoremongers, liars and sorcerers will not get into heaven. Afterwards I was surprised to learn that not a single person there had ever heard that scripture despite the bible having been translated into the Waiwai language over 30 years ago. This has happened on multiple occasions and has drawn me to come to the conclusion that most of the Waiwais were never taught that being a Christian is supposed to impact their lives in any other way then that they have to go to church on Sunday. The good thing is that I have received a warm hungry response from the youth I have talked to, which has led me to start having regular youth meetings in which I deal intensely with the issue of fornication, pornography, drugs etc. Most of the youth receive these teachings with joy and ask why they have never heard these things before. Irene is a major part of this ministry to the youth as they look to her as a living example that Waiwai's can go against the flow. As well as ministering with the young girls, Irene also makes clothes for them and for the many children that visit the mission base that have almost no clothes. I can only pray that the seeds that are being planted in their young hearts take root and can turn the tide that is sweeping the Waiwai nation before it is too late. My people perish for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6) is an understatement when it comes to the Waiwai nation. I do not know the exact route to take to combat this problem other then to deal with each case as it comes to me. They are sinners that think, and have been told, that they are Christians. If you tell them they are not Christian they get very offended and reject everything you say after that. The way I deal with them is, as if the are Christian that have no idea what it means to be a Christian, in the hope that at some point a light will turn on like it did with Yamka and they can truly get saved.
Well, I have to go now and answer Yamka’s question. I want to thank you all for your prayers. Please continue to pray for me as I am still suffering in my left shoulder. All work has stopped on the Umana for the time being because of illness and injury. Asatdo and myself are still recovering our strength from our bought with malaria, leaving Yamka the only healthy worker.
Addition on 04/13/06
As I sit and type these lines I am running a fever because I once again have come down with malaria. It has been almost 2 months since I last had malaria and this case is most likely a recurrence of my previous infection due to over working and physical exhaustion. I know better then to work too much after a malaria infection, but the physical and spiritual demands on my person have been so great since I last wrote to you, that I would have had to turn many people away if I were to rest adequately, and you all know how hard it is for me to say no to spiritually hungry souls. This is just another attack of Satan trying to stop us from taking advantage of a great victory that we have just won. To understand what I am talking about I must go back a little.
First off, I must explain that the Waiwai nation is divided up into three main groups that live on reservations named after the primary river that runs through each reservation. These three reservations are; Mapuera, Anaua, and Jatapu. Both the Jatapu and Anaua reservations lie in the State of Roraima and I have been working primarily with the Jatapu area Waiwais. Until recently both the Anaua and Jatapu reservations have had chiefs of which both are brothers and both of which are under the control of FUNAI and the Catholic church. These men have fought me tooth and toenail since I first arrived, filing multiple false charges against me with the authorities, threatening me, forbidding any Waiwai to have contact with me, and denying me entry onto both reservations. Last year, Yakuta, (Elkas brother) who lives on the very edge of the Anaua reservation asked me to come and get him and bring him over to the Jatapu reservation to fish for a few days. This I did without hesitation for Yakuta is the single most respected person in the Waiwai nation and I wanted this time with him to talk over the spiritual depravation that is over taking the Waiwai nation. When it was found out that I had entered the Anaua reservation to get Yakuta it was like a bomb went off. The chief of Anaua threatened me, filed charges against me and viciously attacked Yakuta verbally, both publicly and personally, for letting me on the reservation. Yakuta being very wise, calmly answered these attacks by saying that if he was not welcome on the Anaua reservation anymore that he would be glad to leave. This caused an outrage amongst all the people on the Anaua reservation who consider it to be an honor to have Yakuta live in their midst. This led to a vote being cast in which a new chief was chosen. This new chief at first seemed to be of the same mind set as the other but over the last year has made some changes, one of which was to forbid entry to the reservation to the Catholic priest who is the behind all the resistance and attacks that have been coming from the two brothers that are under his control. This priest immediately tried to retaliate by spending three weeks gathering signatures on a false document charging me with illegal gold mining in order to discourage the federal police from granting me my permanent visa. We all know that this attempt failed ,PTL!
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago Yakuta once again asked me to come and get him. This time I took the film equipment along to show bible films. Yamka and I arrived just at dark as I had planned and gathered just the people the who live close to Yakuta’s house along the little dirt road that leads to the main village. Every thing went great. We sang the new songs I translated into Waiwai and showed two films; Genesis and Paul the Emissary. The new chief’s wife and the old chief’s brother (a different one from the chief over Jatapu) were" there. Another man was there named Ramen who is the second chief over Anaua. All these people said they were very blessed by the films and insisted that I come show them to the main village. I answered and said that the chief has not invited me yet, and Ramen stood and said, I am second chief and I am inviting you. This statement was seconded by all present. We finished up about 1:00am. Yakuta said we could sleep in a little vacant house just down the road from his. We were in high spirits as we fell asleep in our hammocks. We were sound asleep around 4:30am when we heard a loud bang at the door followed by loud unfriendly voice asking who we were and why were in this house. Still drowsy I answered that Yakuta said we could sleep there. The angry voice asked us who authorized us to enter the reservation. By this time Yamka had made it out of his hammock and to the front door and he told the man that we were there to pick up Yakuta and that he had authorized us to be there. The man violently said, I am going to call the police right now and have you arrested. With that he abruptly left. Who was that man?" I asked Yamka. "It was the old chief," Yamka answered. My first impression was to get off the reservation as soon as possible to avoid any confusion, but a calm came over me and I tried to go back to sleep. But Yamka could not go back to sleep and so we got up and went to Yakuta’s house. We did everything according to our original plan and left Yakuta’s house around 8:00am. We found out later that the old chief had gone to all the Waiwais along the road asking them to help him get out to Baliza so he call the police on us, and was turned away by all, even his own brother. When he asked his brother for a ride saying that he had an emergencyand needed a ride out to Baliza; his brother responded, “why don’t ask Vaughn for a ride he’s headed that way”. The removed chief just hung his head and walked out. The next day I received a phone call from the new chief (Fanahrluy) apologizing for what happened and asking to meet with me personally. Two days later I met with Fanahrluy who invited me to come to Anaua and show bible films. Last Sunday Fanahrluy called a meeting of all the Waiwais on the Anaua reservation and asked them if they wanted me to come there and minister to them. The answer was a resounding YES from all present. The only person not present was the deposed chief who refused to attend the meeting and who has lost the respect of his whole tribe. The name of a certain biblical character named Haman comes to mind when I think about this man. The rejection he planned for me has become his own.
Now I really hope you can see the awesome hand of the Lord through out this whole thing. How the Lord has burst wide open a stronghold of one my worst adversaries. But now, here comes some more good stuff. You ready? Okay, most of you know that the brother of the old chief of Anaua is, Aka, who is the chief of the Jatapu reservation. Most you also know that because of Aka’s unceasing battle against me that most of the Jatapu Waiwais have abandoned their main village and started new ones just to get away from him. Well, tomorrow marks the beginning of one of the Waiwais annual celebrations, Pasqua. It starts on Friday on goes through Sunday. It is a celebration celebrating the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. Traditionally all the Waiwais would travel to their main village to celebrate, but this year, one by one, the village chiefs came to me and asked me if they could come to the Amazon Mission to celebrate. I wasn’t sure if they would actually come so I sent Yamka and Asatdo down to the villages to confirm and supply them with gasoline for their motors if they needed it. As I have been writing this letter I heard the loud boom of a fogete (firecracker) off in the distance, which is the signal, that Asatdo and Yamka have returned. I must now gather my strength and meet them at the rivers edge and see what the response was from the village chiefs. Hold on for just for a little bit until I get back…………. They are all coming! God blessed Yamka and Asatdo with three tapirs on the return trip to the base, which has given us several hundred pounds of meat to feed the people over the next three days. Wow! How things have changed. PTL!!
Now, I think you understand what I meant at the beginning of this letter when I said that this malaria I have is just an attack of Satan trying to stop what is about to happen.
I hope you are grasping the magnitude of what is about to happen. This joining of the two Waiwai reservation to celebrate at the Amazon Mission base will cause a reverberation through out the entire Waiwai nation, the largest portion of which live in the State of Para. I anticipate a domino effect will happen resulting in invitations to come and minister in all the villages in the Waiwai nation. What a day that will be!
Well, once again I must bring my letter to you to a close with a feeling that I have left so much out. It is more then just feeling, it is the truth. I have just touched on the high lights and have left out so much. So many times I have made the decision to keep a daily diary so I could record all the miracles that happen every day only to find that I don’t have the time because of the demands on my time. Maybe someday? Of course no letter would be complete without me recognizing what a major part all of you have played in all of these things through your prayers and support. It is so comforting to hear from mom and dad how much all of you care about the work here in the Amazon.