Tag Archives: Porto Velho

Men’s Retreat in Porto Velho

The past week was an interesting week. I left last Saturday for a trip to Porto Velho, the capital of our state of Rondônia. It is quite a drive from our house considering the road conditions. The trip was about 450 miles one way. It took me around 10 hours to drive it.

On the way up, I stopped in Ouro Preto do Oeste the town in which we were previously working. It was about half way up and I was able to stay for the Sunday morning service and preach to the church people. Not only did Julie Kokenzie provide some great meals while I was there, but John also let me preach on Sunday morning. It was a huge blessing to see the church growing and to see the faithfulness of the people. We still have many friends there and enjoy every chance we get to see them.


Preaching in Ouro Preto
Church in Ouro Preto

Bro. Brian Lawson met me in Ouro Preto and kept me company for the remainder of my trip. We had a good time of fellowship riding together, and he had a chance to visit a few churches and meet many people.

Shortly after lunch on Sunday Bro. Brian and I headed out to Porto Velho. We arrived in time to freshen up before the service. Pastor Adonias invited me to preach on Sunday evening in church and also at the retreat they were having on Monday. We had about 50 men at the camp retreat. The morning service was great, but it was worth the drive just to sit and talk to some of the men from the church for a good part of the day. There were different activities during the day including a soccer tournament. By the end of the day we were very tired, yet refreshed by the fellowship.

By late in the afternoon, most of the men were heading home. One particular man, who is in politics, drove us around the neighborhood of the camp and told us the story of how God supplied the money for the church to have the camp. He was able to help make the access to the camp a bit easier and also helped get electricity out to the camp. This has raised the value of the property. Some neighbors who were selling their property for 20,000-30,000 are now trying to sell for 250,000. Though it might not quite be worth all of that, the church has a great camp and the property is worth much more than when they bought it less than two years ago.

We stayed out at the camp until Tuesday morning, then made our trip back home. I dropped Bro. Brian off in Ji-Paraná and arrived at home at nearly 9pm. It was a tiresome trip, but worth every bit of it to spend time with God’s people around the state. God is doing a great work here in the state of Rondônia. There is much going on for His glory. Please pray that more laborers would join the work force and more churches would be started throughout the state.

Update on Flooding

Several weeks ago, I wrote about flooding that is going on in our state. The flooding still continues and is causing more problems. Nearly 2,500 families in the capital city of Porto Velho have had to be relocated to schools and other places. The river has hit a record high. As imagined, this has made travel very difficult.

Next month I will traveling to Porto Velho. I will be catching a plane to Rio Branco. The stretch of highway between Porto Velho and Rio Branco is flooded for miles. This is the only access road from this part of the country. Below are some pictures that show what is going on. These pictures were taken around the 21st of February. The water has risen another 4 feet since then!

Please pray for the churches in Porto Velho! Though we are not aware of any directly in the flooded area, there are definitely families and lives affected by the problems caused from the flooding.

— Jeremy

Ponte que atravessa o Rio Madeira na BR-319, em Porto Velho

Distribuidora de botijões de gás foi tomada pela água do Rio Madeira

Botijões boiam em distribuidora de gás, após área ser tomada pela cheia do Rio Madeira

Casa foi tomada por água do rio na Comunidade São Sebastião

Casa tomada pela enchente em Porto Velho

Casas na Comunidade São Sebastião estão inundadas por conta da cheia do Rio Madeira

Comunidade São Sebastião foi tomada por água do Rio Madeira

Galpão da Feira do Cai N'água no Bairro Baixa União, tomado pela cheia do Rio Madeira

Moradores chegam de barco em suas casas no centro da capital

Comércios tomados pela enchente na Avenida Rogério Weber

Acesso ao Tribunal Regional Eleitoral tomado por água do rio

Moradores se arriscam ao atravessar rua tomada pela cheia do Rio Madeira

Pictures are links from THIS NEWS SITE

Preaching Conference

This past weekend we were invited to visit a church in Porto Velho, the capital of our state. The pastor, Pr. Adonias, invited me almost a year ago to preach a conference for them. The invitation was set for when the remodeling was finished. They were putting a new roof on the church building and he wanted to hold a conference shortly after they finished.

Our time there was very enjoyable. It is always a pleasure to have fellowship with Brazilian pastors. We stayed with him and his wife. They have three grown children all of which are very active in the church. They were very kind to us and to our children. Praise the Lord for faithful preachers like Pr. Adonias. He has been the pastor of this church for nearly 30 years.

Preaching Conference

I had the opportunity to preach on Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday morning, and Sunday evening. Saturday night was the night more people showed up. I was told there were around 300 people in the service that evening. There were chairs in all the aisles and the pews were very full. We put so many people in our own pew that we had to kick 4-5 people out.

A couple of the people that have attended our Bible studies in Ouro Preto moved to Porto Velho in the last 6 months. It was a great joy to see them come on Saturday night also and listen to the preaching of the Word of God. We continue to pray for them and communicate with them even though they are living nearly 200 miles away now. God is still at work in their lives.

One of the exciting things about this church was the effort they put into the music. Many churches have special music and presentations, but few put much work into it. These people are working hard to honor the Lord with their music. The pastor’s son is the one who leads the choir, plays the piano, and orchestrates all the special music in the church. He has little formal training, but enjoys serving the Lord in this way.

You can find more pictures of our trip by clicking HERE.

While we were in Porto Velho we had the opportunity to meet Bro. Henry Mantonya and his wife. We also met his daughter and son-in-law, Steve and Robin Campbell. They are missionaries to an Indian tribe here in Brazil. We were able to spend a few hours talking to them and learning what God is doing in their lives and in the lives of those in the tribe they are working with.

On the physical side of things, we are thankful to be home safely. The trip was somewhat exhausting. Though the roads are much better now than the last time we drove them, it is still a dangerous drive. Jonathan and Judson were a little sick during the trip, but seem to be doing a bit better now. We were also glad to arrive home this time and find things just as we left them. Due to a recent break-in, and non-functional electric fence, we had home on the back of our minds during the entire trip.

Thank you for always praying for us!

— Jeremy

Update on 2010 Trip to Porto Velho

I have been wanting to post something about this for a long time, but only now was I able to get the picture.

Pastor Antonio Marques


This is a picture of a Brazilian pastor, Antônio Marques and his wife Maria. Brother Antônio Marques and his wife hosted me during my very quick survey trip to Porto Velho in 2010. They were a very big blessing to me during the trip. She cooked meals and they prepared a place for me to sleep at the church.

Brother Antônio took me around the city and showed me just about everything I wanted to see. He drove me by most of the good churches in town. He also took me downtown and to the riverfront.

The only issue in all of this is that he is over 70 years old and I was riding on the back of his motorcycle! After two days on the back of the motorcycle, he did give me a few scares, but nothing terrible. His motorcycle had a little problem changing gears and kept kicking, so I was holding on and very alert.

The very day we moved our family up to this area, I was informed that he was in the hospital. He had fallen out of a hammock and hit his head. This lead to some exams which showed he had a large brain tumor. A few days later they operated on the tumor. Initially he was told that the entire tumor was removed, but since then he has been told otherwise.

He lost all his vision in his left eye and about 80% of the vision in his right eye. He was unable to read his Bible, prepare sermons, or pastor his church. Soon after the surgery he resigned his church.

Last week, there was a preachers meeting in Itapuã at Bro. Brewer’s church. When I arrived, I found out Bro. Antônio Marques was going to be preaching at the meeting. I was surprised that he could preach, but at the same time encouraged that his health was improving.

After the meeting I took advantage of the opportunity to get this picture taken. I also had the opportunity to finally introduce them to my family.

We talked for a little while and here is what he said, “During your visit with us, I was already having symptoms of a brain tumor, but I did not know what it was. They have just told me that the tumor was not completely removed. They also told me that it is a malignant tumor. I have regained about 60% of my vision in my right eye, but I am worried because the tumor is right behind my good eye. I am still afraid I will loose all of my sight.”

This pastor has been faithfully serving the Lord for nearly 40 years here in the state of Rondônia. He has started several churches and has sacrificed all of this world’s good for serving the Lord.

Please pray for him and for his wife. They are precious people and have very little of this world’s good. They are subject to the social health care system and make less than enough to pay for his medications. However, the Lord is using him to encourage other pastors to remain faithful in the work of the Lord.

— Jeremy

Giant Crater

There are reasons to doubt that Brazil is a first world country. These doubts come to mind when you travel off the beaten path. We are now in a state that is little heard of by the rest of the country unless something big happens and hits the national news. Here is an example…

Since our arrival less than three weeks ago, a huge crater developed on the only road that takes you north and south through the state. This is not only an interstate highway, but it allows access from Brazil to Bolivia, Peru, Columbia and Venezuela. The washout has created some problems with these countries due to a large number of imports and exports.

There was one way around the mess through several neighborhoods. Because of the heavy truck traffic, these neighborly people are protesting. All their roads have been destroyed. Their electricity has been affected also. In protesting, they completely blocked access to the capital city of Porto Velho. Not even pedestrians were allowed to pass. The military police were negotiating in order to gain access for emergency vehicles to pass through.

Click HERE to see an areal view of the crater.

Here are a few links to more pictures of the mess…

You can also see a few more pictures of what this has done to the only bypass through local neighborhoods.

This is about 70 miles north of where we are and is blocking our access to the city. We were able to get in on Monday, but have decided to try and wait a few weeks until we go again.

— Jeremy

Only in Brazil

It never ceases to amaze me how God is in control of every single aspect of our lives. We do not understand His ways, His motives, His thoughts, or His methods of getting things done. We always look at life from a selfish perspective. However, God is always looking from a heavenly perspective.

Here is our situation. Because these kind of things do not normally happen in this way I thought it would be interesting for many of you to read this and better understand our lives as missionaries.

Here is the situation with our move to Porto Velho…

1. About a week ago we purchased tickets for flying to Porto Velho tomorrow morning. We were not sure when our moving truck was going to show up and so we had to wait until then to purchase tickets. We were told that the truck would arrive on Wednesday. Having complete peace about the situation, we went ahead and purchased the tickets.

2. The truck we are getting is not a normal truck for a move. It is a meat truck. What does that mean? That means we decided to get an air conditioned truck for our move! The inside will probably be a little different than the regular truck you might expect. So we will be sending a different herd on this truck. We will be sending a herd of boxes and furniture on this ride! The reason we chose this ride is because it is nearly $5000.00 cheaper than any other moving truck we could find.

3. The truck was supposed to be here yesterday. It is already getting late in the day and we still have no word on the truck. It wouldn’t be a very bad situation if we were not leaving at 7:30am tomorrow. Other than the truck not being available yet, there are restrictions on trucks and when they can be on certain streets. Remember we are in Brazil. To get to the house we are loading from, the truck will probably need to wait until late in the evening. The roads that block the entrance cannot be accessed by trucks between 5am and 9pm.

4. We have not yet sold our car. We are planning to take it on the truck with us. The problem is that we are not sure that it will fit on the truck with all of our belongings. We have a 40′ truck coming. However, we have our move, the Kokenzies’ belongings and a few other things for another missionary up in the area. The other issue is, “How do you load a car into the back of a meat truck?” My first thought would be to back it up to a dock, right? Well, I have not to this moment been able to find a dock. So, my next thought was we get it onto a hydraulic lift at a mechanic shop or something like that. Being in São Paulo, there are not many truck stops around. The closest ones I can find are not anywhere within reasonable range. So we have finally found a solution that will work. I will call a tow truck to lift my car. Then I will drive the car off the back of the tow truck and onto the meat truck!!!

5. Because of our move we decided that we would go to church on Wednesday evening if the truck did not come. We usually go to church on Thursday evening. We decided to go to a church that we have been to several times before. The pastor is a friend of mine and when we prayed together during the service, he asked me to give a testimony about our move to Porto Velho. There were probably about 20 people there including my family and my parents. One of the 20 was a young man who was just visiting the church. He had been doing some business in the area and when church time came he decided to make a visit. After church, the young man came to me and explained that his father was a missionary in Porto Velho for 8-10 years. He explained how he had grown up in that town and remembered many things from his youth there. His father worked with the missionary who will be picking us up at the airport. What a blessing! Looking back, we can see how God orchestrated all of this.

With all of these things in play, what will be the result? Will our truck come today? Will we be forced to load the truck all night before leaving at 7:30 in the morning? Will the car fit on the truck? Will we need to leave anything behind? Will the Lord come back before morning?

With many questions on our mind, we are looking to the Lord and encouraged about all of it. We have placed our confidence in the promises of God and we KNOW that He is in control of all of it. I will post next week on the outcome of all of these things. Hopefully I will be able to get some pictures of this truck and move.

“Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.”

Proverbs 16:3

— Jeremy

My First Impression of Porto Velho

My trip to Porto Velho was not long and I do not have many pictures to show for it. After the first few hours, my camera quit working. So all I have are a few pictures taken from the back seat of a motorcycle.

The trip in itself was very profitable. I learned much about the people, the situation of churches there, I checked on prices of vehicles, housing, and food expenses.

A pastor named Antônio Marques hosted me for the day and a half I was there. He and his wife live on very little. I believe he is over 70 years old and his wife is about the same age. She is an Indian by birth, but has no ties back in the tribes. They have a small house which is quite old. He was given a motorcycle from a church member which is his main mode of transportation.

Here are some pictures of the city for you to see…

The Basic Look

Porto Velho 2010

This gives you the view of what the typical neighborhood is like. There are houses lining the streets on both sides. The nicer houses our painted while most along the outskirts of the city are just bricks and mortar.

The Dirt Streets

Porto Velho 2010

Along the main roads you will find asphalt, but most of the side roads are still dirt.

Basic Housing Along the Outskirts of Town

Porto Velho 2010

This is a view of the housing along the outskirts of the city off of the main roads. Lots of dirt, chickens, and even sewer running through the streets. Porto Velho really is behind the times on development.

My View of Porto Velho

Porto Velho 2010

This is the view I had of all of Porto Velho. As I looked around, I saw a motorcycle helmet which obscured some of the view.

One of the Nicer Roads in Town

Porto Velho 2010

This was one of the nicer roads on the outskirts of town. It took you towards the center of town.

Main Roads – Much Construction

Porto Velho 2010

On this picture you can notice that there are not many markings on the roads. No painted lines, no lanes, no stop signs, etc. On the left you will notice a bridge or overpass being built. They are in the middle of building six major overpasses around town which will greatly improve travel from Porto Velho to other places. One of these bridges will replace the fairy which presently connects two sections of a major international highway.

Small Shops All Over Town

Porto Velho 2010

All over town you will find little stores. After driving around for about six hours I saw very few chain stores. Most were just little shops run by the locals.

Motorcycle Parking

Porto Velho 2010

As you can see, there are motorcycles everywhere. As a matter of fact, most taxis are motorcycles in Porto Velho and all of that region of Brazil.

Typical Means of Family Transportation

Porto Velho 2010

Another typical means of family transportation is the bicycle. Mothers ride with their very small babies in their arms and as you can see here, the bicycles are equipped with several seats.

Nicer House – Closed Condominiums

Porto Velho 2010

Of course, if you are willing to pay the price, you can get nicer housing with more security. These areas are very expensive to live in, yet they provide the security many people want in a city that is known for not being the safest place.