Special Report: Missions
Sharing Jesus in the Amazon Jungle: Josie Rogers
IMAGINE HAVING four children and not being able to tell any of them about the Jesus you serve. Deep in the Amazon jungle, this was the stark reality for one woman. We'll call her Anna.
A member of the Tikuna tribe, an indigenous people, Anna had been born again when missionaries came to her village. But when she married, her husband forbade her to practice Christianity or tell their children about it.
Instead, their children would be raised the Tikuna way. They'd serve several different gods and worship creation, rather than the Creator. Anna's husband, the village chief, was also heavily involved in witchcraft, casting spells and calling on demonic spirits. And he expected his children to do the same.
What this father didn't count on was a 27-year-old, Holy-Spirit-led missionary—Josie Rogers. Stuck in the airport in Manaus, Brazil, after her flight left an hour early, Josie, a 2008 third-year Rhema graduate, noticed a young man wearing an Indian headdress. And when the Lord said, "Go talk to him," she did. This young man was Anna's 22-year-old son. And Josie was able to do what Anna could not—she shared the Gospel with him.
The Journey Begins
For Josie, sharing Jesus is what it's all about. In 2012 she sold everything she owned and moved to Brazil. Her mission? To bring the Gospel to the darkest places deep in the Amazon.
Knowing very few people—and speaking only broken Portuguese—Josie began hopscotching her way across the Amazon territory of Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. Rhema Brazil had connected her with one pastor, who connected her with others, and so on. As a single female, she relied heavily on the Holy Spirit to get her safely from place to place and set her up with the right contacts.
"You have to work with whoever the Lord sets you up with," Josie noted. And that's what she did. With only a backpack
to her name, Josie boated, hiked, and motorcycled her way through the jungle and its villages and cities. She stayed flexible, going where God sent her. And because of that He used her—and is still using her today—to reap some amazing results.
Preaching the Gospel
In a tiny riverside community outside the small city of Manacapuru, Josie walked into the house of a man who'd been sick for three months. He couldn't eat food because he had terminal throat cancer. "He was ready to die," Josie said. "He was uncomfortable, groaning, and hungry."
But as Josie began to share the love of God with him (he'd never heard of Jesus before), the man's eyes got big. "That's what faith does," Josie explained. "It stirs a hope in you. I told him what it means to take authority over symptoms in your body and explained laying on of hands."
That day, the man was born again. And two weeks later, Josie received a report that he was up, working, and eating. He was completely healed!
In a nearby town, three people deaf from birth received their hearing after Josie ministered to them. "The Lord opened their ears, and they could repeat the Name of Jesus," she said. "I've seen them multiple times since then and they're happy, hearing, and talking!"
Colombian Connections and a Blind Witch Doctor
Josie has also made connections on the Colombian side of the Amazon. In Leticia, Colombia, she met a woman named Edilaine. A Rhema Colombia graduate, Edilaine also works with the Tikuna. Together she, Josie, and a few others were able to visit three villages where the Gospel had never been allowed before.
"The vast majority have never once heard the Name of Jesus," Josie explained. "I love to go to these places. They're small—almost forgotten. Most people don't want to go to them. But I do! God wants these people to know Him."
In one of these villages, Josie met a witch doctor who was almost blind. Though he thought he was working for God, he had no idea Who Jesus was.
"We began to teach him about what it means to know Jesus," Josie said. "Then I asked if we could pray for him. We laid our hands on his eyes, and boom! He could see without any problem. It was just beautiful to see God touch this man.
"You've got to do something to get their attention," Josie added. "If they don't see something that's going to change their lives, they don't want it. If this is truly the real God, He needs to show Himself real. Period. They won't be set free if we're not preaching the healing power of God—the saving power of the blood of Jesus."
Freeing Women From Bondage
In 2012 the Lord put it on Josie's heart to hold a women's conference in Manacapuru, site of one of the largest sex trades in the Brazilian Amazon. "The people are precious, but they're walking in so much bondage," Josie observed.
So in 2013, after much planning and hard work, she held a three-day conference. Women in the local churches invited those bound by prostitution and human trafficking. The first night over 600 women came. That number increased on the second night, and by the final night, over 1,100 women attended.
Many of the women risked their lives to come. If found not fulfilling their "duties," they could be harmed or killed. But as Josie put it, the conference was "an absolute success." Hundreds were born again. "We saw so many incredible miracles because they were hearing the true word of faith."
"Everything I do, it's all to the glory of God," Josie noted. "And it's fun walking out the journey. I'm not telling you it's easy. Missions isn't like sleeping on a bed of roses. Where I'm at, they don't have hot water. I've showered, washed my clothes, and done dishes in the river. And as a single woman, it can get lonely for me—even though I'm around people all the time.
"But it's worth it. Yes, I'm uncomfortable. Yes, I get sweaty. But I don't mind. We have to get uncomfortable to do the will of God.
"Challenges will come, but they won't stop me from moving forward," she added. "I learned at Rhema to be led by the Holy Spirit and to walk by faith. I'm not led by how I feel. I'm led by the Lord. And I trust Him to meet my needs. He takes care of me because I'm His daughter and He loves me."