Mike is traveling with a team this week to the interior of Maranhao. Many of you have been praying for him so I wanted to update you on the little I've heard. He has been able to call us a couple of times and report in. The team is building a medical clinic and they've been getting a lot accomplished. Mike will be traveling with a national tomorrow on the river by canoe in order to get to 8 of the people groups that we will be working with. He is really excited to get to know and start a friendship with folks we thought we would have to wait another year to meet.
As I talked with Mike today for a few moments, I heard giggling in the background. He explained that there were local children playing next to him and as he was talking he laughed and said that one of the 3 year-olds was about six inches from his white face and looking at him quite curiously. I hate that I am not there to see all that God is doing but so thankful that He is working through each of the men on the team. I know Mike will be able to share so much more when he returns so I'll leave it at that.
Back here in the city, we are having our own adventures. I conjured up the nerve to take the boys to the beach on Saturday. I say this because it is quite an ordeal to get to the more secluded/quiet area we like to go. It's worth it once there but you have to drive through the traffic of the city in our big ol' truck and then once you make it out to "no man's land" you have to kick the truck into 4-wheel drive and trudge over the sand dunes. I was very proud of myself for even having the nerve to pull off such a feat. As I sat there and watched the kids play, I began to finally feel like I was capable of making it here for a few days without ol' Mike. The kids are all fed, safe and in one piece and here we are in this beautiful setting.
This feeling was very fleeting because only a few moments later I opened up the cooler I had packed and handed a piece of watermelon to Jayden. We sat there and enjoyed our "melancia" as they call it here. Jayden ran off, WATERMELON IN HAND, to play with JohnMark and Jackson who were a bit further down the beach. After a few minutes, I started noticing something buzzing around me. I looked up and there were, seriously, around 50-100 bees/wasps/flying insects with BIG stingers all over me. I had already put the watermelon back in the cooler so I decided to walk really SLOWLY down to the ocean and prayed they would not follow me. Unfortunately, they continued with their awful aggression towards me and whatever ill-willed thing they felt I had done. I tried not to freak out which was honestly REALLY hard not to do. I submerged myself under the water completely but every time I'd look up there would only be more and they were relentless.
THEN IT HIT ME! Jayden had walked off with the watermelon in his hand and at that point, watermelon seemed to be the only culprit! I began to lose it. I tried to stay calm and walk through the water towards the end of the beach where they were playing. I felt at least then I'd be able to yell at him to throw the watermelon down and get in the water. After finally making it to them, feeling pretty awful at that point because part of me was thinking that I was just taking all the bees to them! But I had to get to Jayden. After several moments of screaming at them they finally realized what was going on and all 3 boys got in the water a bit terrified. I honestly cannot explain in words how truly scared we all were. The bees literally were drowning in the waves next to us.
Eventually, my EXTREMELY brave 13 year-old told me he was gonna head to the car with everything because he felt like there were more on me and they weren't after him. He told the younger two boys that he would get them a beach towel and they could cover their heads and run to the car while he was grabbing everything up. He also left me a towel and told me to run for it as well. THANK GOD for JohnMark and his calmness because I was not doing a very good job of being calm. As I got out of the water, I put the towel over my head. I didn't dare look up but from the shadow on the sand, there appeared to be more than a dozen flying around. I ran, threw up, ran, threw up some more, and then jumped in the car. (Pretty sure I got sick from swallowing all the salt water!) UGh!!!
I share all this because we were in awe as we drove home. We killed the few that had made it into the car on me but none of us were feeling any burning sensations from stings. We made it home in one piece. It wasn't until about 30 HOURS later that we began to notice our marks and whelps beginning to show up and burn a bit. I've never seen anything like it. Nothing for almost a day and a half and then all of a sudden we began having painful red spots on our ears, shoulders, and backs. SO COMPLETELY STRANGE! We have found out since that many people here have died from bee swarm attacks so all four of us feel completely thankful that nothing worse happened. Our sores are getting better today and we've decided that we're gonna wait and let Mike get home before we make any more adventurous excursions!!