The breath-taking Amazon rainforest covers a third of the continent of South America. It is home to an estimated 400 indigenous tribes, each with their own culture, language and territory. “It’s a wild place,” warns Francois Rauch, Global Director for Church Planting, who was part of the Harvesters team that visited earlier this year.
So, how do we plant churches in such remote places?
Working with Local Partners
To best reach the hidden and lost people of the Amazon, Harvesters works alongside local pastors and missionaries.
One of our partners is Marcio Rempel from Missions from Heaven, who flies low along the mighty Amazon River network looking through the overgrown jungle for settlements. “There’s a village, there’s a village,” he says to himself, “no church there, no church there.” His ever-expanding knowledge of the area makes him a “crucial partner” for us explains Francois.
The tribes are wary of all outsiders, who each arrive for different reasons – varying from simply sharing the Gospel to creating drug-trafficking networks or exploiting their land. “If you’re not careful, they will shoot at you,” says Francois.
Therefore, any connection needs to be handled wisely and sensitively – and should be covered by prayer.
A Forgotten Missionary
In a hidden place along the Biá River lives a missionary. “Nobody knows who he is,” says Francois. “He’s not on the radar of anyone. His church has forgotten him. He’s just a missionary that’s out there – but he loves people.”
Upon finding him one day while scouting the terrain, Marcio offered the missionary some help with his work. He explained about Harvesters’ evangelism, discipleship and church planting strategies. The missionary was afraid, saying, “I’m not the man for this.”
“I don’t have the tools, I don’t have the influence, I don’t have a mentor. I have no one,” he said.
“However,” the missionary continued, “I have done a little on this part of the river with indigenous people. A small work in comparison. I haven’t done much but I’ve led people to Christ, and I’ve baptised 600 new believers.”
God is at Work
Six hundred precious new believers in the Amazon are ready to be discipled in their young faith… and this is the man Marcio found! God is evidently connecting people together and we praise Him!
From October, this community will form churches to disciple these believers.
“Harvesters Ministries dreams about planting a viable church in every community on the Amazon River system and eventually into the most remote places imaginable, and training a pastor for every new church,” shares Steven Loots, Harvesters’ founder and CEO.
“We just found this group of indigenous people who really needed a church and needed to be discipled,” says Francois. “So, if you’re discouraged, let me encourage you today – God is at work!”