Dear Family and Friends, First of all, we would like to let you know that we are doing well. We see many shocking news reports coming from Brazil about the Corona virus. The consequences of the rapidly spreading virus are big, also in the native tribes and the favelas. Many families had a hard time before the virus. They are dependent on daily jobs and payments, and so currently have no income. Unfortunately, most people live more with fear of poverty and hunger than the virus itself.
The plan was to be back in the indigenous village in early February. But, after some medical examinations that Lucas had done, we had to face the fact that Lucas needs to have surgery on his shoulder again. Two years ago Lucas also had an surgery on his shoulder, which lots of times dislocated. Now, two years later, Lucas still has severe shoulder pain daily. It turns out that his shoulder tendon is ruptured, which also is chronically inflamed (supraspinatus tendinopathy). Unfortunately, it appears that after his previous surgery, Lucas received incorrect guidance during his rehabilitation program in Porto Velho. Because of this we decided to, this time, do the surgery and the rehabilitation program in Rio de Janeiro. This so because we have access to reliable specialists here. Also to prevent Lucas from taking more unnecessary damage in his body. We thank God that the Cacique, the chief of the tribe, is full of understanding about this difficult decision.
And now, your missionary work?
We find it very difficult at the moment; Not to be able to return to the indigenous community. I, Christa, find this very difficult because I am aware of the fact that we live from sponsor money. Justifying that we cannot do the works that we have planned and shared. This brings considerable struggle to my thinking.
We received a surprising invitation if we are willing to help in the favela Borel. This is the place where both, Lucas and I, started in the mission field. Here we discovered ourselves and each other; In and with God. The exact date of Lucas his surgery, depends on the situation regarding the Corona virus. There is a date planned, but it is uncertain whether it can continue.
We experience this as a wonderful gift God is giving to us: That despite the situation, we may continue together with Him. “To get to know Him better, to make Him known!”
Corona in Brazil Currently, the virus is also spreading in Brazil. Providing actions were taken in time: everyone stays at home. Unfortunately, the president thinks defferently and we wait prayerfully what damage the virus will bring in Brazil. The majority of the Brazilian population is without income, which means no possibility to pay the monthly living costs. Many favelas and poorly neighbourhoods are without water for weeks, which means not being able to prevent the spreading of the infecting virus by hygienic measures.
We ask you to pray with us for the following points, among others: – The (temporary) relocation and conversion of the Amazon to the favela. – The surgery with the aim for a quick and good recovery of Lucas’s shoulder. – Our time as a family in the busy favela, that Saulo may continue to develop well, despite the new environment. – The Carona virus, worldwide, the loss, the fears, the mourning. But let us especially pray that many give (back) their lives to God our Lord!
What a hectic but beautiful year it has been. After the car accident we were confused for a moment, it seemed impossible to go back to the village. Every planned appointment went wrong for various reasons. We were encouraged by you! In a short time many hands were put together in prayer, projects and donations so that we could purchase a new car. After purchasing the car, there was an question whether Lucas would like to come and visit a tribe. It was nice that there was a distracting option and so Lucas brought a team (that works with oral Bible translation) to the tribe. How beautiful the discovery that this tribe has the same tribal language as the tribe where we previously went. How beautiful when something seems impossible, God shows another way !!
The tribe had shared the question with Lucas if there would be structural missionaries again. In the past, missionaries lived among them who learned the tribal language and translated the New Testament into writing for them. The Old Testament is not yet in the tribal language. Although they can speak the Portuguese language, the Portuguese Bible is too difficult to understand. Nor is it their native language and so the Bible stays far away. The question is whether we can help them explain the Bible. Since it is possible, even asked, to live (periodically) among them, it is also possible to learn the tribal language. They are very excited that we have a desire to learn their language and would like to help us with it! We are grateful that God let us walk step by step in His plan. Thankfully we are allowed to serve this indigenous population.
Once every two years there is a conference of the mission movement that we work with: JOCUM em família (YWAM in family). They were four days full of encouraging testimonies and sermons (or lessons). It has done us very well to be addressed in our hearts. To meet fellow missionaries from all over Brazil and to exchange experiences.
After this we continued on our journey by car to Rio de Janeiro, to spend the holidays in Lucas’ parental home. Vovô (grandfather), vovó (grandmother) and tio (uncle) are very happy to see Saulo (and us of course) again. We are very happy to be able to recharge after this hectic year. We enjoy a moment of peace and family love that we need. At the end of January we can even enjoy a meeting with opa (grandfather), oma (grandmother) and oome (uncle) Reinder from the Netherlands!
It is planned to be back in Porto Velho at the beginning of February. After a short preparation we would like to continue to the village, but this depends on the amount of rain when this is exactly possible.
We want to thank you all for all your support in encouragement, prayers and finances! Thank you for not being on our own, but having a wonderful team around us who wants to share the gospel with all nations!
We wish you a happy New Year and all the blessings for a prosperous 2020!
Lots of love from the three of us, Lucas, Christa and Saulo
After two years of absence, it was good to be able to visit the rivercommunities on the Purus River, to encourage one another and to praise God together. We have also had a great and instructive time in the tribe, made nice encounters and memories!
Do you think we’ved made it, to buy our new car???
“Really really cool, by the way, that the fundraising is going so well. Also a bit of confirmation that people support your work ..” was a message that I received from a friend. Indeed indescribably beautiful to experience your support so overwhelmingly! From our home front, both in Rio de Janeiro and in the Netherlands, we were supported: full of love, delicious brigadeiros and pastels ( out of reliable sources) were made, sold and purchased! Children who raised money by doing chores. By many supported by your prayers and donations we kept on receiving. Within two months the we already received € 12.100,00!! We need to confess that we thought it would be impossible to bring in the money in two months. The opposite has been proven to us. We are surprised and grateful for your loving support and encouragement! Saulo even received a new and safe carseat: all the way from out of New York!
This time, i would like to give thanks, thank you all that you are praying for us! The work we do is a heavy battle, which is impossible to do without prayer! We felt carried and protected during our travel to the tribe;
On our way going towards the tribe (20 kilometers from the tribe) a part of our car broke, with the result that all controle of the car was lost. The car flew of the road, the car rolled over more times and stopped on its side in a farmers land, some meters next to the road. All shaking and shocked, but completely unharmed we climbed out of the car.
We are looking back to an intense, busy but a beautiful time in the Netherlands. A time in which we were able to witness about what God did and does through us in Brazil. Also, we fully enjoyed from the moments we had with our family and friends. It was nice and good to be together again. Of course we also could show our son Saulo to them! Saulo even get to know his Dutch great grandmas We are very thankful for the relations that are made stronger and for the new relationships we could build.
Besides all this meetings we could enjoy and rest a week of vacation, surrounded by the beautiful farmer nature in Friesland.
As always is the time too short and the moments are too less. But we are very grateful for the memories that we where able to make with you! We felt very ourselves welcome and carried; Thank you all so much!
After our travel back to Brazil, we first stayed one week in different YWAM based in Rio de Janeiro; where Lucas and I worked before. It was good to see everybody again, and it encouraged us to see and hear what the staff is working on and with. After this short week we continued our travel to the city we live in; Porto Velho.
Here has, after our absence of three months, our house became dirty. The past three months it was the raining season here, and most of the houses here in the Brazilian Amazon have just like our house no windows of glass but just mosquito nets.
So the first week back we needed especially to make our house dust, sand and spider free!
During our absence was the engine of our 4×4 unfortunately floated with water, because of the heavy rain; this should be filled with oil. The rain water was easy to take out, but as you can imagine there was rust everywhere. To repare it the costs would be around R$ 3000,00 (this is outbound €650,00). We were really happy hat Antonio, the man with who we will go to the tribe, could repare the car for us.
Faster then we expected, we had a conversation with the family of Antonio. Last week they went to the tribe to observe the situation. They also introduced us. This coming week, as it is in the LORD his will, we will go together with them to the tribe. We will bring our hammocks, and we will see how all will go. The goal is to meet one another.
Saulo is doing very well, he is continuing in his rhythm and a happy boy that plays a lot. Also he is training loudly his vocal cords!
Personally I, Christa, notice that it is hard to get to used again to the Portugese language. After being a long time in the Netherlands, and now at home talking Dutch with Saulo, it is hard to be busy all the time with three languages. Lucas speaks Portugese with Saulo, br I will continue to speak Dutch with só that he learns this language also. Besides this, it is common for Lucas and me to communicate together in English.
Will you pray with us?
for a blessing on our preparations (practically and mentally) for our first visit in the tribe;
for the difficulties in getting used to the use of more languages.
And giving thanks to God for
the safety during the travels we have made;
that Saulo is adapting so fast and that he is a lovely, happy and healthy boy.
In the mean time, i completed the school of diagnose and treatment for malaria. With the completing of this school in YWAM, i am able to work accompanied. Now we received an special occasion as students: we could make a test in the central laboratory of the Brazilian public healthcare. This test existed out of a theoretical part (in Portugese) and a practical part, in which we could show or prove that we were well trained to diagnose and treat malaria independently. Now i can inform you with great joy that i passed for the test and received my certificate ‘microscopist malaria’. Which means that i may legally independently help people where ever i am in this area. All thank and glory towards God! Now this school is finished, i work in the mornings in the laboratory of the YWAM base. In this laboratory come persons from nearby river communities to let themselves test if they have malaria. This month we have a large number of visitors on the base: from out of five different Indian ethnic groups, some members of the tribes are participating in a program to learn how to translate the Bible to their own language. In their language is not yet a Bible available. For this group of people, students and teachers, needs to be cooked daily meals. This means that we as staff of the base, serve in the hours we are able to help.
The oral Bibleschool
On the planning was, that Lucas would do the Oral Bible school as a student. Now there is just a small modification. The leaders of the school invited Lucas to help as a staff member of the school; to help in giving classes as well as walking with the students. He is very enthusiastic to again working the whole day with the Bible, to study and to explain it. There are two men (father and son) from a indian tribe and a woman from another tribe who are participating in the school. Portugese is not their first language, which makes it sometimes a bigger challenge to explain the Bible in such a way all do understand. This gives Lucas the opportunity to learn a lot about the oral part. In their culture men achieves something by the repeating of storytelling or to experiencing or seeing of it. This makes that the school has very creative and practical lectures, like for example building the tabernacle and experience together a moment of sacrificing how it is described in the Bible. In this was all could understand what the Bible tells us. They arrived now in the New Testament, which the men can already read along and study in their own language!
We are grateful dat Lucas approved for his drivers license in one time. Also we like to share with you, that we have a car, a strong old dark blue pick up. An missionary who lives here on the base, was selling his car. After an open conversation about our finances, which amount we already had saved, this married couple was happy to sell the car to us. In this way they could help other missionaries and be a blessing for us. The price of the car was BR$ 18.000,00 (€ 4500,00) and we payed them already BR$ 8.000,00 (€ 2000,00). Among friends we made an agreement to pay the resting amount of money BR$ 10.000,00 (€ 2500,00) monthly. We can pay off monthly what we can miss. The prizes of cars are high here in Brazil, this car we bought is a cheap car also in maintenance. Because of that the roads her in the amazon area mostly exist out of clay, is a high car necessary: in the raining season is it impossible to drive with a city car. We are very thankful and happy we can move ourselves outside of the base independently, without worries, save and cheap. From the first day, Lucas was able to help a lot in the base with the car and his drivers license. From picking up the donations of vegetables and fruits to pick up the teachers from the Bible translating program, whom arrived on the airport.
Beside that the car is such a big help for the base, is it also a big blessing for us as a family: after a period of six months on the outlying base in the nature, Lucas and me had a lovely night out: we ate a nice pizza in the city. Together we could visit a nice service in a church and we could visit our doctor, for the check up of the growth and health of our baby. The gynecologist (who also will lead the delivery) told us with a big smile that we may praise God for this healthy pregnancy. We are in expectation of an healthy growing boy, our son. In the mean time we are already over the half of the pregnancy, and he let me enjoy of the stretch exercises he is practicing inside my belly. Full of wonder we are enjoying this miraculous proces of the growth of our son.
We are happy we could buy our retour tickets to the Netherlands. From the 15th of december 2018 – 5th of march 2019 we will stay in the Netherlands, as the Lord will. Here we will spend time to visit my family, church and the YWAM base in Holland. We will travel by Rio de Janeiro, because it is impossible to have a direct flight from Porto Velho towards Holland. This means we can also spend some time with Lucas his family, church and the YWAM base in Rio, of which we are still staff members. We hope and pray that this time will be a blessed and good time to be in personal contact with our family and friends and to be able and share about our past works and plans here in the Amazon.
Our kitchen that was almost falling apart is now a hygienic place to prepare our meals. The walls that where full of mold have now a fresh layer of protecting painting. And the pale and worn wall is transformed into a fresh red wall. It Is a big difference, how it looks but also it feels healthy now. We have a lovely little house in where we can study, relaxing and where we can be a family.
When Lucas finished the painting of the last wall, he said laughing to me: ‘So, can you now be pregnant, in a clean and new house?’ After an unexpected nausea, we decided to do a test. After the two minutes, that felt like hours, waiting I said shy to Lucas: ‘You’ll become daddy.’ There was no word that came over our lips. Grateful and happy we were hugging each other with sometimes a tear: we will become mommy & daddy!
Gratefulness towards God for this miracle. Thinking back to three years ago, when the doctor told me I would not have baby’s in a natural way. Before our wedding, I shared this with Lucas and he asked me if I believed in our big God, who did already many miracles in my life. “Yes” was my answer. Lucas responded: ‘If you want to become a mother, why you do not share this with God, and believe then that He really can and want to do a miracle.’ And now, again, God let me/us enjoy of His miraculous goodness. We could see our baby on the ultrasound: 13 weeks old and the baby already has all the little fingers and toes. Also, the brain, kidneys and the heart are growing good! Amazed we were looking too the screen, that showed us a healthy moving baby in my belly.
Back to school
I was nervous for the very first day of school, studying in a new language. I am happy that our class is a small group of three students. Because of this there is a calm atmosphere in the classroom, which helps me to concentrate better. I need to admit that on Friday afternoon my head is exploding, after a week of lectures in Portuguese, but I am thankful and happy that I can participate in this school. Unless it is hard, I enjoy the lectures. The first week, the lectures where focused on the Biblical view on healthcare and how to applicate this in different cultures (worldview and spiritually). The second week we had lectures about the blood cells and their characters inside our body, followed with the cycle of the development of the malaria parasite in our blood. To learn the blood cells well, we directly went into practical lectures with the microscope. We need to draw on a paper which cells we see and put the right name with each cell. This are like small tests that train us to recognize the cells in different shapes. Because of this we can later clearly see the difference (and not make mistakes) what is the malaria parasite and what are the blood cells. I need to admit, I discovered a passion. I always had a weak for healthcare, but to now being able to study blood: WAOUWW! It is so amazing how God created this, how blood transfers everything our body needs and fight for our health. I have words too short to describe how especially beautiful it is to be able to participate in this school. Discover more Gods greatness, and later I may help people with their health.
Update health Lucas
Lucas did start to help with the maintenance team on the base. This team exists out of men that live here on the base and restore and maintain everything on the base. But also think about making the roads free of plants and trees that are growing over the roads, with a cleaver. Lucas had a heavy pain in his shoulder on which he had the surgery. He went to the doctor for a check-up and it appears he has an inflammation. This means he needs more time to really recover: thirty days of rest. Also, Lucas had an internal examination for the inflammation he has in his intestines, unfortunately without a result. Probably it is the Crohn’s disease, based on the symptoms but for this more exams will follow. Now there is a temporary treatment plan that will take away the severe symptoms. After one week Lucas will reflect again with the doctor.
In the mean while Lucas passed for the theoretical part of his driver’s license, and he started with the practical lectures. We hope that it is soon possible to have our own car to move around (supermarket and doctor visits). Here in the Amazon are bad roads outside of the cities. The roads exist out of red clay ground, with mostly deep pits. An average city car is easy damaged. Surely after some tropical rain, of lots of cars the motor of the car is broken. Because of this, here do not drive taxi’s (or Ubers) to and from the base, because of the bad roads. It is a dangerous and long distance to do on a bicycle: an hour biking on a deserted road through the nature. Many people get robbed already on this road. On this moment, there is one driver that wants to come to the base with his car, to pick the people up or bring them home. But unfortunately, he calculates almost the double price what makes the costs extremely high. Because we will work in and around the Amazon area, we know we will face this situation with the difficult roads all the time again. Therefore, we are looking and thinking for a good and wise solution for this situation, not only for now but also for our future.
We would love if you would pray along with us, for the following points:
The health of our growing baby.
Patience and wisdom for Christa to continue this study.
The health of Lucas, that the doctors may find a right and healthy treatment.
A good and wise solution to being able to move outside the base.
“The new year we will kickoff with cleaning and recovering”, was what we had planned for the month January. We had in our minds that we would recover and clean the building of the base JOCUM Carioca.
Lucas his shoulder came out of place repeatedly for several years, and because of this he had a constant pain. Almost daily we had doctors appointments, what became a bit expensive with all the bus tickets. We knew it was the best thing to leave the base and to stay in the house of Lucas his parents. This is close by the doctors clinic. It is a miracle that we could visit a doctor who wanted to do a surgery so fast. After the obligated five days of rest, we could travel on the evening of day five towards Porto Velho. This was particularly because of we already booked a flight for a miraculous cheap price. How everything fitted so perfectly like a puzzle, it could not be anything else than Gods planning and guidance!
It was nice that during the proces of the doctors appointments and the surgery we could stay in the house of Lucas his parents. It was a blessed time, as well for us as for Lucas his parents. Lucas works in missions for a couple of years already, but he always stayed in the favela’s of Rio de Janeiro. For his parents it was always possible to visit him by bus or by car. Now we moved to Porto Velho, it is like he’d left the country. From the big city Rio de Janeiro to the green amazon area. To visit is not that easy anymore because of it is a 4,5 hours during travel by plane. So it was a beautiful gift that his parents in this tensioned time could be caring parents.
I was nervous for the travel by plane: because Lucas had just done the surgery on his shoulder. His arm in a sling, because he absolutely can’t use his shoulder for three weeks. Airports and planes are always full of people that do not pay attention whom always seem to be in a hurry, my head was full with accidents that could happen. Lucas, on the other hand, was very calm, “we will just as last persons leave and enter the airplane and nothing can happen”. As calm as he said this, so smooth went the travel. Without any problems we arrived around midnight in Porto Velho, where someone from the base would pick us up. There was nobody to pick us up and Lucas said: “prepare yourself and your heart that there is a change we will spend the night here on the airport”. In one of the halls for departures we made a space for us. It looked comfortable and cozy: in-between our luggage and some chairs we rolled out our sleeping bags with in there our own soft pillows. Early in the morning we woke up by a phone call from the base leader: she was concerned because of the unbelievable situation that we were still on the airport. Her husband came directly to the airport to pick us up.
The first evening we had the weekly service. Beautiful to hear different testimonies from out of different tribes. They visit the base to translate the Bible into their own dialect. The next morning after breakfast, we walked with many into the nature on the base. We arrived by a beautiful small star shaped lake, the water looked like a mirror and was surrounded by fresh different tones of green . In Portuguese and own dialect was a Bible reading about the baptism of Jesus. After this we were witnessing the baptism in the lake of three persons from a tribe. A woman voice praised God, followed by the voice of children, they song in their own dialect. It was so simple, pure and beautiful.
Temporarily we stayed in the “hotel” of the base. Somehow this was nice; to start in the same room as where we stayed two months ago, during our travel to Labrea. The base offered us a small wooden house where in we can stay. Again God has blessed us richly by giving us a home, a place where we can be a family and where we can study. The house is a little old was for a period it was empty, for this we will spend our free hours in-between to paint and recover the house. This week will start the Portuguese course: a daily three hours study during the afternoon. The mornings I will help in the kitchen. Women in the kitchen: where else are more conversations? Now i will work and learn at the same time. Lucas is asked to help a boy, whom is from a tribe, to help him with his schoolwork. Because of Lucas almost completed his study to become a math teacher, he can be a big blessing for this boy to help him with his schoolwork as well that he has a manly company in his life. Both of us are very enthusiastic how we can use our hobby’s and quality’s and grow in it, here in our new home.