LeEster & the Broken Boat
Every time I am on the Amazon River it is easy to worship the Majesty of our Lord, seeing the stars in the sky, the beautiful river, the beasts of the earth; however, it is more difficult for me to comprehend how this Majestic God knows and loves each of us by name and that He even cares for those who literally live at the ends of the earth. God used a man named LeEster and his family to show me this part of His character, the God who sees.
We had completed our final day of ministry in the remote village of New Canaan. This village is at the end of the Mamaru River, and it feels like the end of the world. We had said our good-byes andloaded the Amor Esperança to travel to another village that afternoon. However, shifting into forward gear, the captain realized something was amiss. The boat could only go backwards and we had to be pulled back into New Canaan. As soon as we had tied up to begin the repair, a small dugout with a tiny two-stroke engine pulled up next to our boat. It was LeEster and his family with his very sick six-month old baby girl who was in immediate need of the medical staff and medicine we had onboard. At that point, it was so evident to all of us that the boat had broken down so our team would be able to care for him and his family. We all exclaimed, “Yay God, what a miracle!”
As the medical team cared for his family, including his baby and son, brother-in-law, sister, and their two sick kids, we were able to learn more about LeEster. The year before, an Amazon Outreach team had met LeEster and his family. Since then he had been attending an ongoing river Bible study through the First Baptist Church of Parintins. Over the past year he had grown in his knowledge and love of the Savior.
LeEster had heard the Americans were coming back to the area, so he arranged to be picked up by a family down the river who owned a small houseboat. They waited all day but no one came to pick them up. With his baby severely ill with a staph infection and his other children sick as well, he loaded up his family in their small dugout canoe for a long ride to the only medical help he could get. On his two hour journey he passed many of those returning from New Canaan who told LeEster the Americans had already left, there was no reason to continue his trip and it would be foolish to waste his time and fuel expense to go to New Canaan. But LeEster stopped his canoe and prayed, asking and believing God would delay our boat so his family could get the medical help they needed. He prayed God answered his prayer by breaking the boat.
After two hours of providing needed medical care and carefully explaining the recommended follow-up care instructions, we were able to share a puppet-show and spend time in prayer with LeEster and his family. As they started their journey home, we were informed that the boat was repaired and we were able to continue on to Porta Betel. Later we were to find out that a simple piece of wood had broken, disabling the boat’s forward gear, and required nails to be fixed. Our boat crew could not find a single nail on our boat, but a villager living in New Canaan just happened to have nails! This in itself was a miracle!
We also learned that LeEster’s brother-in-law was a new believer. LeEster was able to say to his brother, “If you weren’t sure that God could do miracles before, you should know now, because you have just seen one!”
What an experience we were able to share in the miracles God provided us that day! There is not one person who witnessed this miracle whose faith did not grow that day.
Because Jesus lives in us, he can unleash his power through us. Remember when he spoke to the waves and quieted the storm? Remember when he said we could move mountains if we only ask? LeEster was bold enough to not only ask God but to believe he would do what he promised. I want to remember to have that kind of boldness and that kind of faith, the faith of LeEster.
LeEster taught me God hears and answers prayers, even radical prayers like a boat breaking down. I also learned God loved LeEster so much that he put together a team six months prior to go on a mission trip, help them raise a team of supporters for funds and prayer, allow them to travel half way around the world by plane, and then another twenty hours by boat to get to the remote village of New Canaan, all so God could show his love to LeEster and his family.