It’s here! We have been excitedly planning and awaiting our trip to the city of Santarém for several months. Santarém is another city in our state, the state of Pará. This city is located along the Amazon, as the crow flies about 430 miles away from our home in Belém. But of course crows can’t fly 430 miles, so to travel by car it would be closer to about 800 miles! It would take a very long time to drive those 800 miles, since a large portion of the trip is unpaved. Which means there are two practical ways to get from Belém to Santarém: by boat up the Amazon, or by plane. The cost is about the same for either. Our teammates were up for the adventure (truthfully, they had made the boat trip several times before), so they left on January 3 by boat to arrive in here in Santarém. It was a trip of three days up the river. We flew up on Sunday to join them. We will all take the boat back to Belém in a few weeks.
What are we doing in Santarém?!?! The interior of the state is rather isolated (for obvious reasons) from the eastern side of the state. This has resulted in a real lack of men trained for the ministry. Our purpose at the Bible College in Belém is to fulfill this lack through solid training. To an extent we can do this locally from our campus. But we hope to also help fill this lack through modular classes offered here in Santarém. During the school vacations we anticipate traveling here to Santarém to offer these modules to pastors or other church members interested in taking the classes to equip them to serve in their local churches. This is our first such trip.
During this trip we are offering three classes. Rubens is teaching homiletics, Emily and Sofia are teaching their women’s counseling class, and Brandon is teaching Pentateuch. We began classes on Monday, and so far everything is going well. We have 7 students between the three courses. Though we were hoping there would be a few more, we are pleased with this beginning. We will be here in the city teaching until February 1. We anticipate boarding a ship on the 2nd, and arriving back in Belém on the 4th. Please be praying for us in this trip.