Ever since she was a little girl, Samantha loved to listen to the exciting stories about Leo and Jessie Halliwell, the first medical workers on the Luzeiro mission boat in her home country of Brazil. Fascinated, she imagined what it might be like to be a missionary nurse along the Amazon River. Little did she know, she would eventually find out!
Soon after her graduation, Samantha was invited to serve as a volunteer missionary for a year in northern Brazil. What an opportunity! But could she afford it?
“Jesus,” she prayed, “if you want me to go, please open all the doors for me. If you want me to go to the Amazon, I will go.”
After her prayer, doors began opening quickly. “I was given money for the tickets, and people gave me everything I needed,” she said. “I knew that Jesus had a plan for me.”
Samantha could hardly believe it when she learned about her first job placement. She would live in a small village along the Amazon River, and she would be the Luzeiro nurse!
Every week Samantha goes on the mission boat, stopping at many villages along the Amazon River. Most of the time she is the only medical person available to offer health care to thousands of people.
Whether on the Luzeiro or in the village clinic, Samantha often faces emergencies where she knows only God can help.
Early one evening, Samantha watched from the village clinic as a small boat headed to shore. As soon as the boat arrived, a man jumped out, holding his hand in bloodied bandages.
“What happened?” she asked the man.
“I was using a grinder, when my hand got caught in the blades,” he replied. Samantha and her assistant, Gloria, carefully cleaned the hand, applied antibiotic ointment, and rewrapped it tightly in clean bandages. As they prayed with the man, they knew that he needed a higher level of care than they were able to provide and asked God for help.
A few minutes later, a man and a woman showed up at the clinic with their ten-year-old son. The boy had been bitten on the foot by a venomous pit viper—one of the most poisonous snakes of the Amazon.
“How long ago was he bitten?” Samantha asked.
“About five hours ago,” came the reply.
Samantha was shocked. According to all the medical literature, the boy should have been dead long before now. Quickly she provided emergency care, doing all she could to stop the spread of the poison.
The parents had tried to treat the boy themselves, but as he grew weaker, they decided to bring him to the clinic.
Samantha knew that the boy and the man with the injured hand needed to be taken to the nearest hospital—an eight-hour trip using a regular boat or a two-hour trip using ADRA’s* fast boat—the Jessie Halliwell.
While the fast boat was clearly the best option, it also took the most fuel and would completely drain the clinic’s reserve for the month. Knowing that two lives were in jeopardy, the decision was made to use the fuel and trust in God for protection.
It was dark and rainy by the time Samantha and her patients climbed into the boat for a fast two-hour ride to the nearest hospital. Samantha did her best to care for her charges and continued to pray that God would intervene. At last the little group arrived at their destination.
Samantha didn’t see the man after that eventful journey, but she knows that the boy fully recovered. She knows that emergency attendance was crucial for their lives.
Looking back to that day, Samantha says, “Jesus is awesome! He put His hand on the situation and saved two lives. I am so grateful that Jesus can use me to help others.”
* Adventist Development and Relief Agency
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