The 10th Annual Jungle Pastors’ Conference
Last month a team from the US flew to Brazil to join our Justice & Mercy Amazon staff on the ground. Together they welcomed 57 pastors at the 10th annual Jungle Pastors’ Conference. Each day, our team sat and listened to story after story from pastors who are the first Gospel-witness in some of the most remote tribal areas of the Amazon Rainforest. God is reaching the ends of the Earth through these faithful men and women and it is a blessing to serve alongside them.
Nic Allen, Nashville Campus Pastor for Rolling Hills Community Church, was one of the leaders who traveled from the US for the conference. Below Nic shares about his time at the Jungle Pastors Conference.
The Spirit is Alive in the Jungle
It was two years too long between Jungle Pastors Conferences for me. I literally could not wait to get back there, but waiting is exactly what I’d continue to do, even as the plane departed Nashville. A far more detailed read, much less the cursory glance I gave it, couldn’t have prepared me for the rigor of the new travel schedule. Three planes, two hotels, and one boat ride later, we arrived. The time between my front door and a boat dock in Manaus has more than quadrupled since the pandemic [and likely countless other contributing factors] eliminated our direct Miami-Manaus flight. One step off of the boat and onto the newly poured concrete steps at Terra de Paz, however, I was met with a relished sense of just what that place is…peace.
I say, “yes,” to the opportunity to attend and serve and teach each time I’m asked. What happens, however, is always quite the opposite. I end up learning far more than I could ever contribute. This year was certainly no exception and the evening worship gatherings proved to be the most inspiring of my pastors conference tenure. Watching men and women who lost loved ones over the last two years levy more faith than I can imagine in praise is genuinely the most spirit filled experience of my believing life. Hearing Pastor Fernando Facioli challenge and encourage the men and women, soaking in every translated word we were given, I was there to serve but simultaneously being so generously blessed.
“The question is not how much of the Holy Spirit you have, but how much does the Holy Spirit have of you,” he shared.
That was the powerful reminder I needed. That message made exchanging the creature comforts of home for my week in a hammock more than just worth it. Having spent the afternoons interviewing pastors who literally lived, ate and cared for their families according to the very power and presence of God, I was quickly reminded how complicated I make things. While we go to empower jungle pastors with strategy, training, and tools, I quickly noticed just how much they are already employing the greatest resource any of us have, the Holy Spirit. I certainly want more of that, but as Fernando declared, it’s never how much of the Spirit I have, but how much of me have I surrendered.
The Spirit, like the water, is on the move all along the Amazon. The Gospel is being carried by the most humble, most faithful servant leaders who have fully surrendered their hearts and minds to be fully inhabited by Him. They long for encouragement as much as education and these opportunities to go and serve them provide the sweetest, symbiotic transactions. We all leave better and fuller, less like ourselves, more like each other and more in love with Jesus.
-Nic Allen, Nashville Campus Pastor, Rolling Hills Community Church
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