Rivers of Blessing

The M.S. Arrington River Boat of the BMA in South America

The First Arrington

The First Arrington

By Buddy Johnson

There is bad news and good news concerning the Arrington riverboat in South America. The bad news is that its hull rotted and the motor ruined. During the past ten years, the Arrington has made many trips up and down the Mamoré River in Bolivia. From the Chapare River at the southernmost point to Guayara-Merin at the northernmost point there are many river villages that have been contacted as a direct result of the ministry of the Arrington.            Through the years, many medical teams, flood relief teams, and evangelical teams have traveled the hundreds of miles up and down the Mamoré. Pastor and boat Capitan David Flores reports that there are believers in 37 different villages who are direct results of the ministry of the Arrington. Along the river, several church houses have been built and the pastors of these churches have been trained as part of the Arrington ministry. Our River Bible Institute in Belencito has been built, commissioned, and is being used to train young men to evangelize up and down the Mamoré River.

 

Motor before repair without the radiator

Motor before repair without the radiator

Sadly, this entire ministry came to a splashy halt as the Arrington motor became useless, and the boat slowly filled with river water. After much prayer and discussion, we decided to sell the boat and purchase one or two smaller boats with which we could continue the ministry. In order to sell the boat, much needed repairs had to be made. The boat was lifted out of the water with hydraulic jacks and placed on stumps of large trees that had been cut for this purpose. More than fifty 2x12x20 hardwood boards were cut from jungle trees with chain saws by our brethren in Belencito. The rotting hull was repaired and coated anew with tar to make it floatable once again. While this was happening, the crew repainted the boat inside and out. Also, plans were being made to replace or rebuild the straight six-cylinder Volvo diesel motor.

The problem with the motor is this: The cooling system had been taking in water from the river, and over the years the algae and minerals in the river water corroded and destroyed the cylinder walls of the motor. We decided to rebuild the motor and install a radiator for the cooling system. The drive shaft, U-bolts, etc. were all rusted and in need of replacement. However, before all this work began, David received an invitation from people who lived along another huge river, the Intenis, which intersects the Mamoré and comes from deep within Brazil. As he made contact with several new villages along the Intenis, God began to refresh his vision for the Arrington River Boat.

New motor with radiator and barrel (Pastor David Flores)

New motor with radiator and barrel (Pastor David Flores)

Instead of selling the boat, we decided to repair and renovate it and begin a completely new era in Brazil. Several of our men along the river are bilingual and speak both Spanish and Portuguese. They, along with David, have made contact with several villages in Brazil and already have several believers along the new river. In early July, I visited the boat to accompany David and the crew on the “maiden voyage” of the newly repaired boat. On the trip, we found that the radiator was too small to continually cool the motor, and the air flow was not sufficient to cool the water as it circulated through the radiator. David and his mechanical abilities solved the problem by circulating the water with a lot of coolant through a barrel filled with clean water. After a few adjustments, the motor was tuned up, smoothed out, and fully functional.

Here is the good news. Many new churches are being started in the northwestern waterways of Brazil. A new era of ministry is now being realized, and soon the Brazilian Association will have a ministry begun by Bolivian missionaries. God is exciting many people with his vision for the villagers along the Intenis River in Brazil.

Here is our dilemma! The funds which were available for the ministry of the Arrington have been depleted! The necessary repairs cost almost $12,000.00. As the ministry continues along the rivers of Brazil, we desperately need to replace these funds and spend our time and efforts evangelizing the river people in Brazil. Our plans are to invite the leaders of BMA Brazil to help with this ministry as funds become available. As you read this article and view these photos, will you pray for the future of this worthy ministry? Will you consider a gracious one-time or monthly offering to help us reach this new area with the gospel? May God receive all the glory and may we rejoice in his blessings.

3 replies
  1. John Henry Flores
    John Henry Flores says:

    What a wonderful ministry. The work of God through Rivers of blessing has been great among those that usually are forgotten and have not easy access to the gospel. So glad for the eternal perspective and wisdom that the BMA Missions has to continue this work not ahead in Brazil. May God continue using this boat the those that serve in it to bring many sons (and daughters) to glory.

    Reply
  2. Mark Best
    Mark Best says:

    How exciting! I would love some day to ride down the river and be a part of this Work. I had an opportunity to volunteer many years ago with the Holcombe family in southern Mexico. Those experiences changed the direction of my life and later, impacted the lives of my children. Although I spent many years with a sister M organization, I appreciate and applaud the incredible service and impact of BMA M’s in Latin America and around the world. My family and I are lifting you and the boat up to the Father. I am passing this story on to a colleague co-worker here whose father was a BMA shepherd in Texas for many years (mostly the Amarillo area).

    Sharing His Light,
    Mark Best
    Taiyuan, Shanxi
    CHINA

    Reply

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