Kingsway's breakthrough in worship and mission occurred when we took our worship conference to the Amazon in 2003. We went to worship in song and prayer, but God began to teach us that worship was also about loving and serving people. Our lesson began with a simple gift to a village to provide the salary for the village teacher. In doing this God planted the seeds for Mission Worship. Within six months God gave the leadership of Kingsway a clear directive ‘to release worship to the poor’. So began a unique partnership between Kingsway and Ray of Hope, a fledgling local organisation formed by the very people who helped organise that first Amazonian worship conference. This partnership has grown into a ministry that has real impact up and down the banks of the Amazon, bringing the gospel, practical help, and education to children and families in great need. Thirteen schools have been built, the Ray of Hope boat is frequently delivering ministry teams into the jungle, and plans for building the first of six multi-faceted centres on the river for the local tribes is now underway. The journey has only just begun! We hope that our story will inspire you to be expectant to hear the call of God in your worship.
Ray of Hope seeks to help transform the lives of children and families living in the villages scattered along the edge of the River Amazon in Brazil.
Every week in remote parts of Brazil, the Ray of Hope team takes to the river to meet the needs of the children of the Amazon, bringing love to villages in very practical ways, by holding Kid’s clubs and helping young mothers tend to the needs of their children.
Currently parents have little choice. Either they face a long and arduous journey to the nearest school, or there is no education for their children. It is in these places that we want to provide teaching that covers the national curriculum and Christian resources that help both children and adults understand the Word of God.
Ray of Hope have been supporting families, providing food, clothing and medical care, for several years, and are now strategically building schools in remote locations such as Balbina Islands. Here the villagers were putting their children into canoes at 3am, for a three hour journey across dangerous water; such was their desire to see their children educated.
"What we do here is not an act of charity more an act of justice; it’s a part of our worship to a God who commanded that we love our neighbours as ourselves. These people are our neighbours."
A.R.K - The Amazon River Kids
It was by anyone’s standards a very modest studio, but for all of these children it was the greatest example of technological genius anyone had ever seen, and an adventure they could not have contemplated six months earlier.
Ray of Hope an organisation well known to the Indians had arranged a recording to raise awareness of the difficulties these villagers face, and the extremely poor educational opportunities their children are given, had brought the kids to Manaus for a recording.
Literally plucked from the jungle and confronted by the bright lights of Manaus the capital city of Amazonas, it was an unforgettable time.
For these children all drawn from small villages scattered along the banks of the River Amazon this became a life changing experience, as they mingled and mixed, most unaware of the existence of each other or their villages.
Life for the Indians is extremely hard, and their children do not have the luxury of an extended childhood; often by the age of 11 many children become surrogate mothers to their siblings as the need to ‘bring in money’ forces their parents to leave home often for days at a time.
However for a few brief days these children had the opportunity just to be kids, to play games, eat pizza, ride the funfair and sing sing sing, something they love to do.
We realize that most of you will not understand many of the words (although you may recognize many of the songs), however join with these children as they lift their voices in worship (and they really did!) to a God of Love , who’s mercy, grace, and faithfulness is found even in the remotest of locations, deep within the rain forest.
Ladies and Gentlemen…..ARK, the Amazon River Kids!
Kingsway Music MD & Co Founder of Ray of Hope Charity
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