In part 1, I can’t do everything, but I’ll do everything I can, I told you about our favorite charity organization to share our tithe with, Amazon Relief, and showed you a movie on the work they do to help the poor.
By the way, since his trip, David and his band, Water for the Thirsty, have done concerts to raise money for Amazon Relief, and if you’re local, he’ll be doing another one soon, possibly this summer?
I asked David a few questions about his trip…
- Tell us how you first met Jim Flickinger and what led to your trip to the Amazon?
Jim and Lois Flickinger were recipients of the Faith In Humanity Award through the Hugh Michael Behan Foundation. Michelle (my wife) and I were chairs for the event that recognized Jim and Lois. We met with them a couple of times and eventually had dinner with them learning more about Amazon Relief and the good that it had done in that region.
- Where exactly did you go in the Amazon and what was your main purpose for going there?
We flew into Manaus, Brazil and from there stayed with a host family on the outskirts of the town. Their home was very modest. There were three rooms with a bathroom and shower on the main floor and three bedrooms upstairs. This was home base for the nine days that I spent in Brazil. My purpose for going to the Amazon was to see the results of the funds that were given to specific organizations through Amazon Relief. Additionally I felt called by God to see how some people cope in different parts of the world with very minimal resources.
9 days. I visited schools, leper colonies, soup lines, a seminary and a church, all supported by Amazon Relief. We walked through areas considered undesirable, where people just built shacks out of whatever material they could find to create a space called “home”. We played with school children, spent time with lepers, walked among the poorest of the poor. I also brought my guitar and played music for school children and lepers.
- What was your most profound memory from your trip?
My most profound memory was the smiling faces on the children that I came across. They had literally nothing but the clothes on their backs, yet they had a smile on their face. They may not have known where they were going to get their next meal, yet they were happy nonetheless. A little boy road a bike with no tires, just the metal rims up and down the road. A very bumpy ride, but he did it with such zeal for the activity. A little girl held an empty plastic bottle in her hands – acting like the bottle was her baby doll. She cared for the bottle as though it was a real baby. I was amazed that even though people lived in the worst of conditions, they were clean and took pride in how they looked. If the school children had a uniform provided for them, they took great care of the items. They actually looked better than some school children I have seen in the United States. Finally, if you have not understood – the children, the children and the children were my most profound memory – they were so precious!
- What specifically is Amazon Relief able to do with donations?
Amazon Relief is providing food for the poor. Whether it be through soup kitchens or as part of the school day in the schools they support. They are providing financial support to many organizations, but with the idea to help them become sustainable. For example, funding was provided to a seminary to purchase baking equipment so that the seminarians can make bread, then sell it to sustain the ability to send the seminary students up and down the Amazon River to minister to communities on weekends. The money raised pays for the boat fare to get them to the remotest areas of the Amazon. Amazon Relief provides equipment to schools so that the school can teach high school students to be carpenters, welders, electricians, etc. They provide the funding for schools to operate in poor areas of the community. All students can go to public school, but you have to be at a specific proficiency level. The schools supported by Amazon Relief gives those that might not have the specific level of proficiency a chance to learn and then get into the public schools.
They also provide hope to people who are Children of God and deserve to have someone care and unconditionally love them just as they are.
Here are more photos from David’s trip: