Hello and welcome to the first web blog!
Thankyou particulary to Pete Gilmore and Kristen Toohey for making this possible.
I'm well and preparing for the long boat ride up the Amazon River to Manaus and Boa Vista. It will take about 5 to 6 days on the boat non-stop so I'm preparing for a lot of prayer, reading and of course singing (amazing how I never tire of U2). I've made it to Santarem from Maraba over 5 days through the Amazon Basin. It has been very distressing seeing the distruction of the jungle - I travelled 600kms through the Amazon basin before I even saw any... It has been very sad seeing smoldering piles of timber. On the flip side, I have been blessed incredibly in my travels and am tired just thinking of the past 5 days! I've discovered the best way across the amazon goes someting like this;
From Maraba, 5km on a motorbike with a Military Officer, then 50km in a minivan bus for free (organised by the military officer - he had a gun, the driver wasn't going to argue...), 3km on foot, 20km in a Cattle Truck, 0km at the Cattle Truck drivers local bar with his workmen for 30min while they talk about how Panthers attack you and kill you, 5km on foot (through Panther territory, praying your heart out), 15km in the back of a ute, sleep the night in your hammock in a solitary farm house at the bottom of a valley with no road in or out, 100km in a Petrol Tanker at sunrise, 300km in a bus (which will get bogged a number of times and you'll have to push), sleep the night in a hotel, 4km on foot in the wrong direction courtesy of locals advise..., 3km on foot in the right direction, 1km in the back of a Ute, 2km in a Horse Truck, 30km in the back of a ute with two chatty boys, 50km in a combi van with 12 other people (!!), attend a 63rd birthday party and then sleep at the Padre's house, 7km on foot, 40km on the back of an empty Semi Trailer (you'll have to apologise to your mother for doing something this silly...), 50m on foot, 5km on a motorbike with a farmer, 3km on foot, 45km in a Ute with a travelling lotto salesmen, attend an Assembly of God service and invite the congregation to pray for unity, sleep the night at an english speaking member of that church who owns his own sawmill and a spectacularly designed house next door, 200km with his mate in a 2wd ute through the Amazon jungle along a bush track that resembles pretty much anything other than a road, arrive in Santarem, Thank God for an incredible trip and go to sleep.
Ok, you get all that? Of course, you could take the 20hr bus ride, but where's the fun in that. I'm very gald to be here. The 200km trip through the jungle was insane. Very slippery, wet, overgrown and overflowing with wildlife. The dirver of the ute managed to do a full 180 degree spin on the clay track that was no more than 4m wide and no part of the ute touched the vegetation. I was thoughrouly impressed! I have met two young guys from Poland here in Santarem and we went to mass together and had a meal and drink afterwards. Very nice to spend some 'down time' with them.
I begin walking again from Boa Vista in northern Brazil in about 10 days time. Please remember to pray for the unity of Christians and please keep me in your prayers also!