changing lives - not only for today - but for tomorrow

Our Ministry

Posted on July 12, 2013

Amazon Relief brings aid and Christ’s love to "at risk" children and the poor who live in "The Green Hell"— an area near the equator, 1,200 miles up the Amazon River. The poverty in the region can hardly be described. Many children and families live in overcrowded shacks, built on stilts over perpetually fermenting sewage. There are no roads into these areas — only foot traffic over precarious docks. And then there’s the heat, the humidity, the disease, the lack of food.....

Jim Flickinger, the administrator of Amazon Relief, had this assessment following one of his many trips to help in the area:

"It’s hard to describe holding a 4-year old in your arms as she edges closer and closer to death from malnutrition."

"As I held the child, I looked around. The living conditions were typical: a one-room shack on stilts over sewage. No bathroom. No electricity. No plumbing. Temperatures of 95-120 degrees with 99% humidity and no air movement. And the smells — like living above an old-fashioned outhouse. Outside there were other children. They were friendly and seemed bright enough. But they, too, suffered from hunger and not knowing how to break out of this life of poverty. I worried about the 4-year old and her mother, and about the other children and their families. I worried about how easily despair can set in. They must wonder, is there a loving God? Does He really care? Does anyone on earth care?"

The Problems

One is tempted to think that people living in these areas are “dropouts.” This is far from true. These families have typically moved here from remote jungle and river communities. The parents come with hopes that their children will have an opportunity to get an education. They come, too, with hopes of finding employment. And though the parents are bright, industrious, and have skills needed for jungle living (hunting, fishing, and agricultural), they generally cannot read or do math. The result is that they have difficulty finding any employment; and if they do, it is very low-paying. Hence, the poverty. And although there is a public school system and the children are bright and eager to learn, they quickly drop out of school for two reasons. First, the children have difficulty with abstract concepts (alphabets and numbers) and their parents can give little or no help. Second, because of their poverty many families eat only sporadic, meager meals in the course of a week. Many of the children become malnourished and cannot concentrate at school. And instead of going to school they begin to sniff glue to kill hunger pains, or young girls slip into prostitution to survive.

Programs Changing Lives

We have all heard the expression "Rather than give someone a fish, it is better to teach the person how to fish." Amazon Relief is doing both -- it provides humanitarian aid, and it funds educational programs designed to break the cycle of poverty. A complete summary of the projects can be found by going to the "Programs" tab on this website.

And talk about success! We educate pre-schoolers -- and 100% of them are entering first grade at the normal age. We educate 7-14 year olds who have never before attended school -- and nearly all of them are progressing into traditional schools. We educate high schoolers -- and most of them are planning for careers or college education. We educate adults who have never been able to read and write -- and they are finding jobs and supporting their families.

Also, through the meal programs that exist at our schools, sniffing glue, prostitution, and malnutrition among our students is virtually eliminated. And the assistance that we are giving to the poor lets them know that they are loved and cared for -- by both us and their Savior.

At this point, after nearly two decades, we have students from our schools in all types of employment --- from secretaries, to teachers, to accountants. And the changed lives are not just those of the students. With their education and employment they can help their current and future families. It also has immediate and long-term benefits to the community, for our graduates remain in the area, giving back to others in need.


Ongoing Needs

Yet even with all this, a crisis remains. We need your prayers and your financial support. We have waiting lists at our schools --- children who want and need to come to school. To date we are only accommodating 15% of the children in the area. We need to hire more teachers and add on to our existing facilities. We also have opportunities to open additional schools, and opportunities to expand our adult education programs. And there are ongoing needs to supply food, medicine, clothing and shelter to the children and their families.


100% of Your Donation Goes to the Poor

Amazon Relief takes no money out of any donation for administrative costs, travel, mailings, or even the cost of this website (all these costs are paid by some "special angels" or from bank interest). Every dollar donated goes to those in need.

Can you make a difference? Absolutely! Since every dollar donated to Amazon Relief goes to the poor, your donation will help one person (or more) who would not otherwise be served. You can truly save someone from death, despair, and poverty. And when you do it, you have Christ's assurance that you are doing it for Him. Please help.