Each time we visited a village, the local "Presidente" (or village chief) would greet us and then provide us with an escort to show us around the village. In the last village Jaquelene, or Lene, was appointed to give us the tour. As soon as I met her, I just felt a special connection. She is 15 and is able to travel by boat to the next village to continue her schooling. By this time we were nearing the end of the trip, and I had finally picked up some Portuguese. I was able to have a limited conversation with her, employing quite a lot of hand motions and pidgin English. She had a quiet, gentle spirit and sweet smile.
Something about her just really touched me and I began to pray for her. The Lord would bring her to mind throughout the day. I knew she wouldn't be able to attend any of our events because she was at school. But I prayed the Holy Spirit would use some means to reach her heart and that the Lord would pour out His salvation on her.
We were in the village for two days, and Lene came to mind over and over. She was able to attend our very last service. I sat on the bench behind her and prayed for her throughout the evening. At the end, one of our team members presented the gospel message and Pastor Jefferson explained how to be saved. He led a prayer of repentance and I saw Lene close her eyes and repeat the words. This truly touched me because one of the things I had observed about these people was they don't pray in the same manner as we do. None of them close their eyes (nothing wrong with this, just an observation) and they don't really seem to understand that prayer is something they can participate in. It's more like they're watching you and not really taking part in the prayer. So to see her actively participating was exciting!
After the prayer, Pastor Jefferson told the group that if any of them had prayed that prayer of repentance with sincerity and truly wanted to be saved, they would need to acknowledge this in the sight of others. He asked them to raise their hand if they were sincere in their decision. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Lene's hand go up. I can't begin to tell you how my heart overflowed with joy.
One of the things I specifically asked the Lord for during this trip was that He would allow me to see how He was using me. I asked Him to show me His purpose for me being there and to let me be aware of some of the fruit He would bring from my involvement. Some of you could consider this a selfish request, and perhaps it was, but I wanted the Lord to confirm that He had sent me for His purposes.
How sweet He is to me, to answer my prayer in this way! I may never see Lene on this earth again, but I know that a 15-year-old girl in a tiny village in the Amazon is eternally changed because a group of crazy Americans jumped off a boat and needed a tour guide through the jungle.