BOAZ — Their aim is to build a church and mission house at a tiny village along South America’s Amazon River as part of Amazon Hope–Manaus’s nonprofit interdenominational evangelical effort led by Ty Harris, of Sardis City, an educator, along with his wife, Hope, a school principal, and a board of directors.
A group of 26 volunteer missionaries left Birmingham via Miami for Manaus, Brazil, in early October to meet with a group of 11 seminarians from Manaus’s Radical Seminary. Their goal: construction of two buildings at the remote village of Axnie on the Amazon River where they are at work, building the church and mission house. The American group is led by Zack Goforth, associate pastor of Sardis Baptist Church, who is also an associate of Amazon Hope. The other North American mission volunteers, both male and female, are members of Walker Baptist Association, a fellowship of 65 Southern Baptist churches.
Amazon Hope-Manaus is an evangelical effort to take the Gospel to villages, along with hygiene, dental and eye care provided by volunteer medical personnel. Amazon Hope is funded solely through Boaz’s Amazon Hope Thrift Store, along with donations from various churches.
The mission volunteers’ base of operations is a 84-foot river ship aboard which they live as they accomplish their work. The Alabama group will return Oct. 12.
Harris explained, “Using as their base of operations the Paul Marin, our river ship, they use low-tech, jungle-style building materials: meaning they utilize native materials immediately available at hand because transporting bricks, mortar and other usual building materials, like we use here in the states, is prohibitively expensive. Besides, the natives are well accustomed to local construction methods and both buildings will be in keeping with what they know in their remote area.
“Once built, the new mission will be led by a pastoral graduate of Manaus’s Radical Seminary, aided by Amazon Hope-Manaus. That pastor will continue to work with our year-long missionary efforts through the use of our river ship to bring Christianity, and education along with some medical help to these illiterate natives scraping a livelihood from the jungle along with limited trading,” said Harris.
Harris further explained, “All of these river people are illiterate. They live in unbelievable poverty. Our efforts are approved by various Brazilian governments, and we’ve had on-going missions there since 2017.” That year, Harris and his wife, witnessed the needs of Amazon River natives and immediately launched their river-based evangelical efforts.
Amazon Hope’s river ship takes evangelical volunteer missionaries to upriver settlements, “Where most of whom,” said Harris, “have never seen a white person. They eek out subsistence level living without medical help, or any prospects of modern education” adding, “And, they have never heard of Jesus!”
Boaz/Manaus based Amazon Hope has no connection with a like-named group far upriver, operating out of Iquitos, Peru. That group is supported by Scotland’s The Vine Trust.
Amazon Hope is a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose major support comes from various churches with its major funder, Boaz’s largest nonprofit thrift store, Amazon Hope Thrift Store, located in the same shopping center as Harbor Freight along U.S. 431 at 107 Broadwell Rd. Harris noted, “Buyers at our thrift store can take their purchases prices off their taxes, as they are helping us with our Amazon River missions.”
Harris is currently accepting applications for people interested in the next missionary boat trip in January. For more information, visit www.Amazonhope.org.