February and March were months of prayer for this next trip, leaving everything in God’s hands for guidance. And God provided, we returned to the Tsimane communities, but this time to Maniqui River with Doctor Romulo Rivero Urquiza as our guide.
On Sunday, April 08, 10:00 am we left Santa Cruz heading to San Borja, thanks to the Medical Aviation Service for facilitating the airplane to bring all the supplies and medicine. At 12:00 am we had already arrived at the airport in San Borja. While we were waiting for Franz and David, who came by land, we purchased our food and water for the trip and contacted the Doctor Urquiza. The road was in very bad condition, which delayed the boys’ arrival until 5:30 pm.
The idea was to begin the boat trip on the Maniqui River on Sunday, but because of Franz’s and David’s delay; we decided to sleep in Arenales (one hour from San Borja) where we were going to take the boat to Cosincho. Around 7:00 am on Monday 9, we had everything loaded on the boat and headed to Cosincho which was 8 hours up river.
A trip of 20 hours by bus we did in two hours by airplane.
Heading to Cosincho.
We walked 20 minutes until we reached the community.
The company of Dr. Romulo Urquiza was a blessing because it was opening doors of trust in each community, he brought Dr. Richard Apaza Poma, Blanca Luz Iriarte Puma as a nurse, and Alfredo Saravia Vie as a translator and nurse, they were specifically in charge of the care and vaccination of children under 5 years and pregnant women.
Dr. Romulo with Ruth (medical missionary), a translator and the patient. There are cases of Tuberculosis in this region and this lady was one of the cases. The doctor explains to the patient the steps to follow for to bring a sample of secretions.
Blanca the nurse is measuring a baby. It is customary in these Tsimane communities to paint the baby blue in the first week of life, they say that doing this scares the diseases. We saw 4 babies painted blue.
We arrived in Cosincho on Monday at 3:00 pm, the people in the community had been waiting since the morning, and because we didn’t arrive they returned to their homes. We decided to wait until the next morning to begin the medical care. In the morning so many people came for medical attention, we taught the 8 Laws of Health and gave dental attention.
Here is Franz (medical missionary) giving this woman tips for her health problems.
The children colored and the head of each family received a Bible and the book Steps of Christ.
On Tuesday we work until 4:00 pm and embarked again, going downstream in the direction to the next Community (Yaranda). We arrived at sunset; tired, ready to prepare a delicious dinner, set up our tents and take a refreshing shower with a bucket. On Wednesday we started working early and bright.
In this community, we worked from morning to afternoon. At 4:00 pm we left the community and headed to Port Yucumo, an hour’s drive. Since this community had electricity and there were only about 34 families we decided to give the attention at night, we finished at 9:00 pm. David and Liceth, the dentists had lots of work in this community, they saw 47 patients in just three hours. Early Thursday morning, we left Puerto Yucumo heading to the last community Caracara.
Caracara was also 15 minutes (on foot) from the river. It was made up of 40 families; again the dentists had a lot of work and they worked long into the afternoon. Our boatmen left for their homes since we had come to the end of our travel by river. In the distance we could see a storm approaching and this worried us because we were waiting for two taxis to pick us up before the rain began. Finally, the taxis arrived and an hour and 30 minutes later we arrived to San Borja (on very bumpy and damaged roads).
Everybody in the communities was very happy with the medical, dental attention and especially for the Bibles. Thanks to the community family lists, we could deliver the 240 Bibles to each family. Also, we gave to each Community leader the book “The Great Controversy”.
The Tsimane people have a Bible in their language, but it is not complete. In the Caracara the religious leader, who was very happy to receive a Bible. He said that a month before they had a Bible competition with other communities nearby. One of the questions was from Isaiah 60 but because their Tsimane Bible only has until Isaiah 52, they lost the competition. Now with this completed Bible they could study more.
As well as the Bible we gave him the book “The Great Controversy”. Which excitedly he was, then he said: “Please give me a Bible for my friend that lives in the community on the other side of the river who is the Religious leader of that community, he will come this afternoon. I want to give him the Bible and the other Bible too,” (he called the Great Controversy the other Bible) We pray for these two men that God through their study could bring salvation to their communities.
The Tsimane people live in very humble houses. The children are malnourished because of the poor variates of food. The only place to wash clothing and take a shower is in the river.
We brought a coloring sheets for children, the coloring sheets were all about the plan of salvation, from Christ birth to His death and His soon return. In the first community everything went very well, the children painted and at the end we collected all the color pencils. But this is not what happened in the second community. We put two tables for coloring, many children were very happy, but after an hour of coloring all children disappeared, along with all the colors, leaving the tables empties; nobody in the team saw when the children picked up and left, although they were sitting in front of us. We talked (though the translator) to the community leader explaining that we needed the colors for the next community. Thank God some children returned some colors, but most of them don’t and we left the community with a nearly empty bag.
These children colored the Second Coming of Jesus, they show their drawings with pride.
One of the men asked Miguel how to use the Bible, Miguel gave them a Bible study and finished with a prayer.
Every day, everybody wake up at 5:00 am to turn on the fire to prepare breakfast and lunch.
We returned to San Borja Tuesday night, as we suspected it rained all night. On Friday at two pm the airplane was supported to pick us up, but when we arrived at the airport the tower told us that the airport was closed, no airplanes could come in or out because the runway was too wet. Brandtley Greenlaw the pilot, was flying with missionaries to the orphanage “Familia Feliz” Rurrenabaque, that same morning and in the afternoon he was prepared to pick us up, (Rurrenabaque is 20 minutes by airplane from San Borja) but with the airport closed he need stay in Rurrenabaque until San Borja airport opens the runway again.
I was worried for our budget, but the airport workers kindly let us sleep at the airport. That night we had vespers, singing many songs and praising God for his blessings and protection during all trip. After that Rut went to ask the security man if she could use their Wifi, while they tried to get the code, he asked her what religion we were from. He said that he was religious before, but not anymore. After Rut said we were Seventh-day Adventist they began talking about the Sabbath, Ruth give him a Bible study about the Sabbath. They talked for a long time, then he asked for prayer for his one year old daughter with microcephaly.
At the end of the conversation, he said to Ruth ” I think that God delayed your trip home to stay here, and talk with me about the Bible”. And all the team agreed, that for some reason we were delayed. Sometimes God allows things to happen for a reason. We praise God for He can do all things much bigger and better than we think or understand.
From the left, Mirta, Miguel and Lara Farias, Franz Cruz, David Flores, Brandtley Greenlaw, Ruth Mendoza and Liceth Duran.
Our Mission was fulfilled, to visit these communities and bring them hope and joy with medical attention and the Bibles. Jesus is coming soon and the world needs to know it!
Thank God for his protection and guidance during all the trip. We appreciate all the hard work, the team puts forth and to the Medical Aviation Service for their unconditional support. A special thanks to all the people that support these medical mission trips; through financial support and prayers. We appreciate all your help! Thank you!
Please help us to continue praying for these 240 families that now have a Bible in Spanish; that the Holy Spirit can lead them to know the truth.
May God bless you!
Mirta & Miguel Farias