presents The Boy from Brooklyn series
(a true story)
Lesson 5: From Brooklyn Streets to the Amazon Jungle
Several years passed by since our last story (Lesson 4). God was leading Johnny far from the streets of Brooklyn. In fact, nobody called him Johnny any more. All his friends called him John.
One day he met a young lady from the prairies of Canada. Marion’s life had been very different from John’s. He had lived in a huge city. She had lived on a quiet country farm. He had gone to some big schools. She had attended a two-room school house.
Winters were very cold in the part of Canada where Marion lived. Snow covered the ground for about half the year. Marion’s Dad had built a covered sled. It was pulled by two horses and had a little stove inside. This is how Marion and her sister went to school in the winter. As the horses pulled the sled, Marion’s Dad would chop wood to put in the little stove and the girls would memorize Bible verses for Sunday School. They were warm inside the covered sled even when the wind was blowing.
When Marion was seven years old she knew that she had sinned and needed Jesus as her Savior. She trusted Jesus who had died for her. When she was about twelve years old she knew that God wanted her to be a missionary in another country. A missionary is someone who tells others about Jesus. All Christians should share Jesus with others. We can tell our family and our friends at school that Jesus loves them and died for them.
John and Marion were married and eventually had four children.
In 1975 the family left their home and went to Colombia, South America as missionaries. They loved the beautiful country and people. They had many wonderful experiences as they told people about Jesus.
But there was one special event that happened to John which we want to tell you about. The missionaries knew that living out in the jungle were a group of people who did not have houses or cars. The people knew how to make a fire by rubbing two sticks together. They hiked through the trees without getting lost and they knew how to find their food in their jungle home. They loved to eat roasted monkey meat and palm fruit.
They had no schools or stores or churches, but saddest of all, they had never heard about Jesus. So the missionaries decided they would go and find these people who wandered in the jungle.
One day John and his four other missionary partners stood quiet and still on the shore of a small lake in the Amazon jungle. They watched as several short stocky men emerged from the trees. Their dark skins glistened with paint. Each one carried a six-foot blow gun with poison darts. Some of them carried spears.
Slowly they approached the five missionaries. Their words spilled out in a language the five men had never heard. It was a language that no one else knew either. It had never been written down.
“What were they saying?” the five missionaries wondered.
The missionaries held up their hands to show that they had no weapons. They said in English, “We are your friends. We will not hurt you. We want to tell you something.”
Of course, the natives did not understand. But they laid down their blow guns and spears. They came closer. They picked up the missionaries and carried them as if they were playing a game. They were showing the missionaries how strong they were! They were having fun! John picked up one of the spears. He tried to balance the dull end on the tip of his nose. The natives laughed!
But then something happened. Suddenly, the natives weren’t smiling any more. They backed up slowly and picked up their blow guns and darts. The missionaries did not know why things had changed, but they hurried to the shore of the lake. They dived into the water and swam to a canoe they had tied to a fallen tree that was in the lake.
Quickly they rowed the canoe to their little house built out in the middle of the lake. As they rowed, poison darts flew all around them. One of the missionaries was hit in the neck. He had a headache that night. The natives slipped back into the jungle as quietly as they had come. It would be a few days later before they appeared again.
John and his partners had to return to their normal missionary work, but they had opened the way for others to enter the jungle and learn the native language.
Why were they trying to make friends with these native people? They wanted to tell them that God loves them and sent His Son to die for them. They wanted them to know that their sins could be forgiven. The missionaries wanted this tribe to know Jesus.
God has a plan for your life just as He had for Johnny’s. He wants you to know Him and live for Him. Who knows where He will lead you? Maybe you will be a doctor or a nurse, a scientist or a farmer, a teacher or a policeman.
Or maybe He will ask you to go to another country to bring the good news of the Gospel to a people group who have never heard about Jesus. Wherever He leads you, you can share God’s Word and live to please Him. And right now you can be sharing Jesus with your friends.
John and his family spent many years in Colombia. As this story is being written, John and Marion are working with UB David and I’ll B Jonathan in El Paso, Texas. Their children all grew up in Colombia, came home to USA, took missionary training, were married and all became missionaries, too. John and Marion now have 10 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren (with more on the way). They are very thankful to the Lord for all of God’s blessings.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)