February 9, 2018
Pastor Ezi and Zico (our missions coordinator) went with me to the upper Juruá River a couple of weeks ago. We spent 8 days visiting seven works and as many of our missionaries. We traveled over 600 miles on two rivers. The names of the places and people probably won’t mean anything to you, so I will skip right to the highlights. All of our missionaries reported and showed us first hand some good solid growth at each congregation.
At Foz do Breu (Mouth of the Breu River) on the Peruvian border we were pleased to find out that a few of the families who had left the village have now come back. Attendance has come back up. Our missionary there, José Costa, has gotten the congregation into a steady rhythm of mission trips. They have 3 teams that alternate visits to 3 villages downstream from them. Just last month 4 more were saved at Pedra Pintada. We had great services with good crowds. On Sunday morning I baptized 8.
On our visit to Tipisca, Peru we got to see José Maia’s excitement at making the first breakthroughs. Besides the Peruvians in the town there are 5 other ethnic groups and languages. Everyone is dirt poor. All there is to do is drink, drugs and prostitution. The children in the town have been the open door to the gospel. José and Silvânia have been working with about 40 children every day, sometimes all day and into the night. It was fun to watch Silvânia playing soccer with the kids at the end of the day behind the church building. Now some adults are coming around. Some of the kids are already saved and 2 adults, also.
As I have reported before the doors have finally opened up for us to reach the Hunikuim people on the Breu River. This tribe is called Kaxinauá (bat people) by most folks. They, however, call themselves Hunikuim which means the “original People” Their language is called Hanchakuim or language of THE people. We visited the São José village over 50Km up river from the Juruá, inland and east. This section had to be navigated by canoe.
The visit there was just crazy from start to finish. We were informed ahead of time to not take anything out of the canoe, because the Indians wanted to carry everything for us. The whole village was gathered at the river. They were dancing and shouting to welcome us. The men had their headdresses and paint on. The women were painted and dressed in long colorful skirts and blouses. The women had long decorated paddles that they were smacking together, too. I was the first one to set foot on land. When I reached the top of the bank 2 of the girls grabbed each of my hands while wielding those paddles and led me to their great house. I had no idea what was going on or what might happen. The village all came into the great house to welcome us and explain the local “telephone” system. They have these horns made of bamboo, armadillo tails and bees wax. They have different calls for meal time and meeting time. The Hunikuim love to eat and meet. Seems they are born “almost Baptists”!
The food, by the way, was pretty good. The hunting party came in with some monkeys, so that is what we had for the first dinner. I got a piece of neck, which was tough, but tasty. Most Baptist preachers should be able to see the hidden significance of that.
At the first service, more surprises. During the song service, in their language and to their kind of music, a group of the women and girls came into the great house and began to dance. They started out a kind of line dance, which morphed into a circle after several minutes. Then suddenly one of them reached out and pulled me into the circle. This may be a step too far, but try to imagine me trying to follow their steps and swinging arms while going around in circles. Well with that last sentence I probably lost all of my support! The headline, “missionary caught on camera dancing with a bunch of women, none of whom are his wife.” Well when the song mercifully ended, most of the congregation had been dragged into the circle.
After that I preached about the lost sheep in Luke 15. The chief’s brother interpreted for me. A few of those present had already been saved. Cosma and her brother Bibiano had been won through José Maia’s ministry. The chief and his brother had also been saved later. There were 6 other professions of faith. After the next service, the following morning, I baptized 8 of them.
There are 5 villages of Hunikuim on the Breu River. The head chief over all of them is called Zeca. He is not saved, but came around to tell me that the whole tribe has approved our presence in their villages to preach the gospel. What a turnaround. Just a few short years ago a judge ordered us out. Now the people have invited us back in. Their rule supersedes Brazilian court rulings. The same is happening in other tribes all around us and doors continue to open. Invitations are coming in from all around. This is exciting stuff. Please pray for us as we try to keep pushing the gospel to the most remote places on earth.
They have invited me to come back in March when they plan to gather the other villages for a 3 day meeting. Now here is where you come in with more than your prayers. This last trip cost me over $600.00 just in gasoline. I had to buy an extra 4 gallons of fuel at one of the villages. That was at $10.00 per gallon. Please keep me supplied with fuel and equipment. As long as my health permits I want to continue to reach as many people as possible, no matter how far or difficult it may be.
Thanks for all of your prayers and support. God bless you as much as He has us.
Mike and Beverly Creiglow
Caixa Postal 24
Cruzeiro do Sul, Acre, Brazil 69980
mdcreig [at] hotmail.com