Their first assignment was in the District of Amazonia Brazil for almost ten years where Manuel’s assignment was to supervise the opening of new districts in that area. The indigenous people are difficult to reach for the Lord. They belong to a multitude of different ethnic groups with their own languages, cultures and distinct territories. Most practice some form of animism. This belief system sees the rainforest as the home of spiritual life, with every flower, plant and animal containing its own spirits. For example, the Yanomani tribe of southern Venezuela and northern Brazil perform rituals using hallucinogenic drugs prepared from the bark of the virola tree to see the spirits. Shamans use the power of the spirits to heal members of the tribe and to call for harm to befall enemies. Yet many people came to Christ and many churches were formed during their Amazonian ministry years.
Lydia’s compassionate ministry in the Amazon was with the indigenous people as well as the many immigrants that come primarily from Venezuela & Haiti to escape the poverty and political situation. The Brazilian Nazarene churches planted during their ministry in the Amazon currently offer Portuguese language classes to the immigrants and serve over 500 free meals a day.
Lydia shared a story of one Venezuelan immigrant to Brazil who because of poverty and hunger, as with many immigrants was into human trafficking. This man was heavily involved in drug trafficking as well as seducing men and women for a prostitution ring. One day, on the street he heard a man’s testimony about Jesus. He received Christ and began attending church and witnessing to people in the prostitution ring. Twenty five of the men and women accepted Christ as a result of his changed life. But the pastor of that church was afraid and asked him not to bring them to his church. He began to pray about what to do. He came in contact with Antonio, a man who attended one of the Nazarene churches who told him “my pastor will welcome you”.
The man traveled to the Nazarene church 36 hours from his home to find Manuel Lima. He told Manuel “Antonio told me you were going to take care of me.” For years they discipled him and helped him grow spiritually. And, today he is a pastor.
Lydia said they begin each day always asking God to help them be very sensitive to the needs of others. She shared many stories of how God works in their lives. She told how the big churches always want to help the little churches. When they receive an offering they say, God who do you want to help today? Recently the need was in the state of MACAPA. The electrical power plant exploded in Amapa, a small town. They were without power for 10 days & there was no hospital to care for the injured. God always shows us where the need is greatest.
After the hurricane in 2020 Manuel took $10,000 to churches in Venezuela. He was able to find a hotel but the accommodations were not good. There wasn’t even any soap to bathe or wash his hands. It was a dangerous trip but God was with him and the churches were grateful for the financial assistance.
We send a powerful message to our LINKS missionaries that even though they are out of sight; they are not out of mind or out of our prayers. Lydia and Manuel will be encouraged knowing (LCF) people care and pray for them regularly. Visit their Facebook page for ministry & personal updates; learn about their travels and current prayer requests.