Why did you decide to write a book about your adventures?

Reaching out to the poor changed me, so I thought, ‘I want to tell this story.’ The book is really a memoir; it’s a story about what God is doing. Not just in the Amazonian jungle, but what he wants to do in our lives as a result of our reaching out and extending the love of Christ to others.

Are there any particular stories that touched you?

One day I was walking off the boat, and there was my guitar case. I felt the Lord say, ‘Bring your guitar.’ The thing is like a beast, it’s so heavy, and it’s so hot in the Amazon, and I’m like, ‘Lord, no, I don’t want to carry that thing up that hill; it’s hot!’ And I just felt like the Lord said, ‘No, you’re going to need your guitar.’

I walk into a hut and there’s a woman right about my age and her whole body is gnarled up with cerebral palsy, and she’s lying in a hammock, almost hitting the floor. It just took my breath away.

I started singing a song that I wrote out of the book of Lamentations and within about five seconds I burst into tears. But it wasn’t just sadness; it was also tears of, ‘I know that Clarinia’s body is going to be made whole. She knows Jesus and I know that one day she’s not going to look like that and she’s going to be free.’

They were tears of repentance too. I could sense my own selfishness…And then the privilege that God had invited me; he’s invited all of us into this work, and that was a joy.

Poor Clarinia was just looking at me, like, ‘Who is this person?’ But now Clarinia and I are friends…I never go to the Amazon without getting over to her hut.

What do you hope to achieve through the book?

My hope and prayer is that people will be stirred to action and that their eyes would be opened to the needs that are all around them. It’s not [just] about…going to the Amazon jungle.

For some people it might be going and visiting an orphanage in China or ministering in a school in Africa. Or probably more likely, and maybe more importantly, just opening your eyes up to what is right around you: your own neighbours, your own communities, those people you’re in contact with.

What I’m really praying is that people would open up their eyes and ask God, ‘Show me what need is around me right here today’, because there are people all around us [who are] desperate for love and encouragement, and for somebody to reach out to them.

Wherever the River Runs (David C Cook) is available now

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