The Church here has been a United Church of God from the very start when English-speaking brethren came down from Guyana and told their friends about their beliefs. One of the first believers who came from British Guyana was a man by the name of Fransisco who had several children and formed the nucleus of the church here.
This area of Maloca de Moscou is an Indian reservation. The Indians are referred to as Amerindians to distinguish them from Indians from India. Various tribes live on reservations which are large plots of land that the Brazilian government has allocated to the Amerindians for building homes and raising crops.
Such is the case for the brethren of the Maloca de Moscou congregation who are of the Wapixane tribe. This Brazilian state of Roraima is home to 17 tribes. The local tribal government is a like a community council.
The landscape is savannah north of the Amazon jungle. There is quite a bit of difference between the terrain of the Amazon one hour flight south and the savannah of Boa Vista the reservation.
The church and LifeNets has helped these people considerably with water, cattle, agricultural support, education and more. People are engaged in growing bananas and cassava. They take their produce to market in Boa Vista which is 75 kilometers away. Because the people are Amerindian, they also receive government subsidies.
They now have an elder Arlindo da Lima Filho to lead and care for them as well as two deacons Geraldo de Souza who has been with this group from the start as well as Benedito. LifeNets attempted to help this group with cattle going back to about 2002, but it didn’t work out then.
We set out for Maloca de Moscou at 7:45 am for the one and a half ride of 75 km, the last being on very bad road. The temperature today rose to 100 degrees F and high humidity. The sun is equatorial as the sun rose quickly from the horizon to being right over your head like a big heat lamp. With us is Iracema and her daughter Sara. They stayed in Boa Vista last night. Iracema had reason to be here in Boa Vista because her daughter-in-law is having a baby and there are complications. She rides into town on her husband’s motorcycle. You see 2 people on motorcycles all the time. Looks dangerous to me on these roads. So, to make things easier, she came back in our more comfortable car. No seat in transit goes to waste. Her 11-year-old daughter Sara was also with us. A delightful little girl.
As we drive onto the Malaca – which means “tribal regional” (and de Moscou is the name) So Malaca de Moscou means tribal region of Moscou.
We note a power line along the road. One wire! It’s high voltage using the actual ground for the ground. It comes from Venezuela and is very unreliable as the country of Venezuela is very unstable. Our community in de Moscou taps in from this line to provide power for the church hall and kitchen.
Out here there is NO mobile cell phone service or Internet. I can’t even text back to the home once leaving the environs of Boa Vista and the 75 km ride out to brethren.
We arrived about 9:30 am just before 10 am services. We were warmly greeted by the people.
Services started promptly at 10. Jorge did some announcements and introduced me as the first speaker. I spoke about how there’s one thing that we can give God that He doesn’t already have. That’s our heart, our love from our free will. The power went out during my sermon. No worries. Men sprang into action and fired up the nearby diesel generator in a protective structure outside the camp. All was well in minutes as I continued to talk. Then Jorge gave the second sermon about what it means to be holy.
Afterwards we talked about two hours and really got acquainted with a lot of the people. Some speak English because of the influence of people who had come over from Guyana. Otherwise, the language is Portuguese or local Wapixane.
Tomorrow we’ll walk over more of this terrain, but today it was totally with the people and I loved it.
Then Jorge did a Bible Study about the fruits of the Holy Spirit in Galatians. He had a chalkboard presentation and I felt that followed along “ok” with no knowledge of Portuguese.
Then more talking….going toward sunset and we had to get out of here so that we weren’t on the bad road after sundown. There are so many obstacles and dangers that you want to be in total daylight when driving this road.
Again, no seat is wasted. Three people came back to Boa Vista with us. One is a lady who is getting married tomorrow. Her name is Brenalda and Jorge will do the wedding. When outside ministers and visitors make their visits to this remote area, much has to be done because it will be dry spell now until the next visit several months hence.
The adventure continues.