Minister at the Helm

"The Luzeiro! The Luzeiro!" someone yells. Soon dozens of little bare-tummied children come running down to the water's edge, as the Luzeiro IV arrives for another visit to Curupira. . .

-Captain o the Luzeiro IV and a district pastor in the Central Amazon Mission at the time this article was written

"The Luzeiro! The Luzeiro!" someone yells. Soon dozens of little bare-tummied children come running down to the water's edge, as the Luzeiro IV arrives for another visit to Curupira.

After making our lines secure and turning off our big Lister diesel engine, I make my way up the bank to visit Brother Andrade, the head elder of the little Adventist group. After exchanging greetings, I am told that Brother Freire's wife is quite sick. Up in their jungle home, which is supported by stilts, Mrs. Freire has been in her hammock for three weeks.

Members and friends upriver do not know the launch has arrived, so our boatboy helps put our Johnson outboard on the skiff, and off we go to invite the neighbors. At seven-thirty that evening the chapel is almost full, and happy voices sing to the sounds of my accordion.

The first part of the program is a surprise, especially for the children. Out of a paper bag comes a big set of teeth and a bright red toothbrush. Most of the adults are practically toothless, but the children have teeth needing the best of care. On other occasions we talk about the effects of smoking, misuse of our digestive systems, how germs work, why we should care for our bodies. After the health talk come pictures depicting the second coming of Christ.

At eight o'clock the next morning the bow of the boat is loaded with people waiting their turn to be treated. One by one they come down the stairs to have teeth extracted or get medicines for eye infections, diarrhea, intestinal parasites, a skin disease, or somesuch. At noon there is still a long line, so after a break the work goes on. Thus goes a typical day onboard a Luzeiro.

After forty years of struggles and victories, hardships and successes, our little missionary fleet has had some losses. Altogether six Luzeiros have been built for medical-missionary work. Of these, only two remain to serve the Brazilian Amazon Basin, plus one which was bought and adapted for our work.

The Luzeiro V  is based in Manaus and works westward on the Solimoes and Jurua rivers. The Luzeiro VI , based in Belem, serves the Amazon delta area. And the Luzeiro IV, which replaced the original one, piles the eastern part of the State of Amazonas.

This renovated Luzeiro IV is our home and clinic. It is a wooden launch sixty feet long and has a fourteen-foot beam. On the upper deck we have the pilot house, my little office, and our living quarters. Below are fuel room, clinic, and engine room.

The district assigned to the Luzeiro IV is vast. A round trip of one thousand  two hundred miles means hundreds of hours of traveling  at an average of ten knots. There are thirty-five locations eagerly awaiting the arrival of the launch, one a church of 120 members and others just a few homes on the riverbank. Because of the
great distances and the ever growing number of groups, our visits must be brief. This makes it difficult to do as much health and spiritual education as we would like. As we journey along these watery highways, we often wonder how the three angels' messages will ever reach all the palmbranch houses perched on these shore lines.

Only the Lord can truly judge the extent of the good accomplished by this type of program. Many chapels today stand as fruits of the labors of Elder Leo Halliwell and others who have followed in his wake. Some of the seeds planted by our dedicated pioneer are just now bearing fruits. Numerous hearts once hostile to the gospel have been reached through our medical-missionary work and many friends have been made.

Even though it is impossible for us to meet the physical needs, or spiritual needs, of such a large area, we feel the Lord has richly blessed our efforts. Last year (1972) the Lord added 112 souls to His church in this district, and that has been the average for the past five years. We are counting on an even larger harvest this coming year.

Right now is our golden opportunity to work in this area. The doors are wide open and many are eager to study the Bible. Our prayer is that with each bottle of medicine given, with each tooth pulled, with each health lecture presented, and with each evangelistic sermon preached, our Lord's coming will be a little closer. The final results are in His hands.


Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus
-Captain o the Luzeiro IV and a district pastor in the Central Amazon Mission at the time this article was written

January 1974

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

True Reformation

The topic assigned to me is "True Reformation." I should like to deal with it in the setting of four basic questions. . .

He Spoke Without Knowing

PETER was a minister called of God. He walked by the side of Christ. He shared the Saviour's miracles. He was even chosen to witness His trans figuration. Yet "he spoke without knowing what he was saying" (Luke 9:33, N.E.B.).*

Unfolding the Mysteries of Daniel the Prophet

RECENTLY the theme of the apocalyptic has been the subject matter of cataract and learned articles and books. While is was long fashionable to deny that Christ could ever have been the teacher of apocalyptic themes, the wheel of scholarly research has now turned full circle and on every hand theologians confess what there forebears denied--namely that Jesus believed in the apocalyptic images of Daniel and drew heavily upon them in proclaiming His own message. . .

Overcoming Poor Articulation

DID YOU ever hear someone speak who sounded as though he were trying to talk through a mouthful of pebbles? Wasn't clear, was it? Either he couldn't articulate well or he didn't. When there is a serious speech impediment affecting the speech mechanism the problem is serious indeed there may be no easy solution. But often muffled, mumbled, or sloppy speech may be the result of faulty speech habits. . .

The Excavations at Biblical Heshbon 1973

ANDREWS UNIVERSITY sponsored the third season of excavations at Tell Hesban in Jordan from June 20 to August 15, 1973, with a staff of 57 and about 120 local workmen. The American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR), which has done more for the progress of Biblical archeology than any other institution, and Calvin Theological Seminary, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, provided both financial support and key staff members. . .

Music--How It Affects The Whole Man (Part 3--Influence on the Mind)

BECAUSE the mind can subconsciously be affected by music, we can easily recognize its potential for controlling the mind. Gitler observed what psychologists have shown through investigation, that rhythm is a prime factor. . .

Needed--More "Ad Hoc" Sermons

Some sermons should never be preached. Most of these can be categorized under the following Latin titles. . .

An Exhortation To Exhorters

AN ANONYMOUS homiletical manuscript of the thirteenth century, produced at Bruges, offers a seven-point comparison between the preacher and a rooster. . .

Ministry to the Depressed (Part 2)

DEPRESSION is a malady that pervades the entire being of its victims. It operates on three important levels, the physical, the psychological, and the spiritual. . .

The Need of Medical Missionaries

THE Lord's people are to be as true as steel to principle. He has pointed out the work devolving on every church member. He declares that the church members are faithfully to do their duty to those within their own borders. They are generously to support their own poor. They are to engage in systematic missionary work, teaching their children to keep the way of the Lord, and to do judgment and justice. . .

Calorie Countdown

NOTHING seems to catch the attention and interest of an audience attending a health lecture more effectively than does a good demonstration. To be a truly good demonstration it must be simple to understand, easy to use, and clearly visible to the audience. Such demonstrations are priceless and are as keenly cherished by the health educator as is a favorite recipe by a chef. . .

Teaching Johnny and Mary

WE MOTHERS know that our children are priceless, that they are individuals, that they have only a few years for preparing their new lives to take their places in the world about them. . .

The Minister's Day

IN A REAL SENSE the minister is his own boss, especially in terms of the way his daily schedule is constructed and executed. This is a sacred trust. The servant of the Lord tells us: "The minister who has a due appreciation of service, regards himself as God's minuteman. . .

"This One Thing I Do"

I have often asked myself that question: "Why was I ordained anyway—to shake hands with people or to get them into the boat?" There are many things we can do to keep more than busy in our work, but there is one thing we're appointed to do. . .

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - Southern Adv Univ 180x150 - Animated

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - NAD Stewardship (160x600)