Wherever the River Runs
Author and musician Kelly Minter lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves the Lord passionately both across the U.S. and internationally in a variety of creative roles. Below is an excerpt from her book about missions on the Amazon River, titled “Wherever The River Runs; How a Forgotten People Renewed My Hope in the Gospel”.
After being invited on the Amazon, I began to have serious misgivings. I had run up against a wall of significant mental anguish—call it depression, anxiety, spiritual attack, or an unsettling cocktail of all three. The thought of being trapped on a boat while curlicuing through a jungle felt nauseating. Gearing up for something as imposing as the Amazon, when getting through an aisle at the grocery store was a real feat at the time, was no small undertaking.
I desperately asked God for a sign, some sort of word that I was absolutely supposed to go. When you’re mentally struggling and a week of mosquitoes and monkeys is on the docket, clarity is key. I’m not sure, but I think when people are looking for direction, most seek the psalms, maybe the proverb of the day, or one of Paul’s epistles. How I ended up in Judges for comfort and guidance testifies to the state I was in: “The LORD turned to him and said, ‘Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am Which Way to the Jungle? 23 I not sending you?’” (Judg. 6:14).
I understand these words were originally spoken to Gideon concerning Israel, but as the Holy Spirit often illuminates Scripture for our present circumstances, God had spoken to me as clearly as I know His voice. Even though I had very little strength, whatever stamina I had would be sufficient. I had my answer: go with what you’ve got, and God will supply the rest.
What I didn’t know at the time was that I would have another year to heal. My grandfather passed away on the eve of our trip, forcing me to pull out at the last minute. The unknown of the Amazon for which I’d been conditioning myself both physically and mentally, while fighting debilitating anxiety, would have to be put off until the following summer. I was both disappointed and relieved, but mostly relieved. I would have four more seasons for God to order my mind and settle what felt like Fourth of July sparklers crackling at the ends of every one my brain synapses.
So, by the time my feet hit the main market in Manaus the following year, where I witnessed fishmongers chopping off heads and wiping fish blood across their white shirts amid a cacophony of howling Portuguese, I was at peace. We didn’t spend a lot of time in downtown Manaus, not because I was on the brink of a panic attack, but because Manaus is also known as the Gateway to the Amazon, and through its gates I had come to pass. My life was about to change in ways only God could have planned. That small ministry in Brazil whose mission had been projected onto a screen a world away was about to captivate me, blow the lid off my tightly sealed Western-theology pot, and forever shape the way I spend money, value prayer, consider the poor, view modern-day miracles, and feel about acai berries. Ready or not, it was time to find out: Which way to the jungle?
Read the original excerpt here