In a story that began in 1931, Seventh-day Adventist missionaries Leo and Jessie Halliwell, with their mission boat the Luzeiro I, brought hope and a healthier life to thousands of people living in the riverside communities of the long and mighty Amazon River.
In July 2021, a group of Adventist leaders and modern missionaries celebrated the 90th anniversary of the trailblazing initiative. The event brought together volunteers participating in the Luzeiro missions and regional church leaders who traveled to the Northwest Missions Institute (NMI), near the Brazilian city of Manaus. There, mission boats are furnished and volunteers are trained to work in the mission field.
For Jadson Alves, current commander of Luzeiro XXX, being part of the celebration was a privilege. “As we celebrate, we must also remember that Jesus has not come back yet, and that we need to keep working for Him,” he emphasized.
Currently, two Luzeiro mission launches carry out the mission work in the Amazon. Both are heirs of a long tradition of similar boats across the region. Luzeiro XXVI and Luzeiro XXX run along the Negro and Solimões rivers.
Among the many missionaries and volunteers who have dedicated their lives to this ministry, there is an unquenchable passion for serving and helping others. “I feel that this is really my mission in life, because we are Christians, and this is the mission of all Christians,” Jhon dos Santos, a missionary nurse, said.
According to leaders and organizers, the celebration, which was broadcast live, shared the story of mission boats in the region so more people can be acquainted with it. It also sought to encourage even more Adventist members to volunteer in mission initiatives across the Amazon. “This project continues to reach hundreds of communities with no Adventist presence, and it drives us to keep preaching until we reach the last person [with the gospel message],” Sérgio Alan, president of the Northwest Brazilian Union of the Adventist Church, said.
The late July ceremony was also a moment of gratitude to all the pioneers who dedicated, and still dedicate, their lives to being a light of hope in the territory of the Amazon region. All of them, past and present, are serving with the same goal, NMI director Ronivon Santos noted.
“Luzeiro is working to hasten the return of Jesus,” he said.