Our canoe was scheduled to leave at 1 am in the morning. We were on our way to Barreirinha for our monthly shopping trip and to take care of some outstanding bank and internet issues. The boat was roofed and relatively spacious. Due to the river being so low at that time of year, we had about a 500m walk to get to it. Even though the boat was a decent size, it was a tight fit, because various people from the village were also going with us. Upon entering the boat, I turned on my flashlight and was startled by the sight of a baby curled up, sleeping on a blanket that was spread out on the floor. It must have been about 2 months old. It’s mother was right beside it.
With a bit of a struggle we were able to stow away our luggage and I was able to hang up my hammock. The boat really had space for only 2 hammocks, so I was one of the privileged ones to get a space.
We prayed and got on our way. I tried to sleep, but my lifejacket bothered me a bit. I was half asleep when I heard the captain say: ‘Storm ahead. We will pull up over there.’ He only noticed the rain when it was already close by and we were able to feel some drops of rain that were blown on by the wind. We were able to pull up next to a little island and then the storm hit us. Gale force winds, thunder and water, lots of water. Edivaldo, our captain, wanted to park our boat behind some dense trees, so we went back into the rain to try and re-park the boat. I looked at him and shivered because he was completely soaked.
At that time, the little baby was already on it’s mother’s lap and we all were huddling together in a corner of the boat where the canvas could protect us from the rain. With one hand I held onto a piece of the canvas, and tried to hold on to my hammock to prevent it from getting wet. All the other kids who were sleeping before, had woken up.
It seemed like the rain was not going to stop anytime soon. At that point I thought about how good God had been with us. He delivered us from serious danger, because if we had left earlier, we would have been on a big lake where the shore is far away, with no place to find shelter. So I felt like praising Him and started singing a song by Pedro Valença called ‘Not today’. It has a section that says: “Today I will not ask you to take away the clouds and to bring the sun; if this is Your will, let it rain, pour Your blessings on us ” My husband joined me enthusiastically, and so we sang another song, and yet another. While we were singing, we noticed that the people on the boat calmed down and the atmosphere of unrest seemed to disappear into thin air. The only thing that could be heard at that moment was God talking to us through nature and the praise that was dedicated to him.
It was an indescribable atmosphere. If we could have seen through the eyes of the angels, we might have been able to see a bright spot on that place of the planet. A little boat, a fragile vessel in the middle of a storm, trapped on a slope in the far corners of the Amazon, praising the Lord. And the best of all, some of the people that were with us, were not Christians. It was a unique opportunity to evangelise them, even if our initial intention only was to direct our words to God.
Nearly an hour had passed and we had not lost our gusto, but we were getting sleepy. Our voices, now softer, were accompanied by the rhythm of the rain, which was but a drizzle at this point.
I fastened my hammock again, everyone settled into their seats and the journey continued. When I woke up we were almost at the end of the lake and had arrived at our destination safely.
“In the time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee. In God I will praise His word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me?’ Psalm 56:3-4