A Day in the Life
of the DeSenna Family in Brazil
“Okay, it should be all right now,” Aluisio assured me as I was preparing to drive our truck to the teacher training I was conducting at our kindergarten school in town. The truck had just been fixed after enduring several months of problems, and now another problem had arisen, and it would not start. But confident that it was now fixed, I waved good-bye to the kids and kissed Aluisio good-bye, setting off on the five kilometer drive down our country road to town. About one kilometer down the road, the truck suddenly turned off. “Oh, no,” I groaned. Stubbornly refusing to attend to my urgent pleas, the truck would not restart. Now the praying began. I had just told the teachers yesterday how we would start at exactly 7:30 am, and here I was going to be late or not make it at all. I could not leave the truck in the middle of the road unattended, and I doubted I could get through to Aluisio by phone because he had been about to leave to feed the fish when I left and could be gone quite a while. I decided to try anyway, and thankfully had enough credit on my phone to call. Unfortunately, he did not answer. As I pondered what to do, he called me back. After coming to my rescue, he was finishing up fixing what he thought was the problem when who should come walking down the road but the neighborhood mechanic and his helper on the way to town. We promised them a ride to town after we got the truck fixed, but it still would not start after Aluisio’s mending. The mechanic quickly discovered the problem, and we were on our way. Halfway there we stopped while a man and his son climbed into the back to hitch a ride into town. The whole way to town I thought about how good God is and how He sees our needs even before we ask Him. The mechanic had probably left his house just after I had left and was already unknowingly on his way to help. God had delayed Aluisio in the house until he received my call.
After dropping off my passengers, I arrived at Noah’s Ark Christian School. The teachers told me they had prayed for me after receiving my call while I was stuck. In our school, we not only prepare the children to succeed academically, but teach them Bible truth and help to build Christian characters. As part of the training, we discussed some thought-provoking questions about education and read excerpts from Education by Sister White. The four teachers and one aide, all Seventh-day Adventists, eagerly listened to gems they had never heard before about character education. Some had not even known that Education and Child Guidance existed, let alone read them. Spirit of Prophecy books are expensive here and not highly valued. After wrapping up the training and taking care of administrative duties due to my sister-in-law Vania’s absence, I set off for home to join the family for lunch. The kids had gone swimming in one of the empty tanks while Aluisio worked on transferring pipes from one tank to another and other fish-farming tasks. Soon that tank, too, will be full and ready for young fish. Everyone ate heartily and Josh and Joy enjoyed a nap while Julie and I did Reading and reviewed English.
Aluisio set off to lead a Bible study in town with a small group of people that are learning basic truths in our faith and will hopefully choose baptism. This group started with one, and quickly grew to five or six people studying twice a week. Most are Catholics but want to learn more about the Bible and eagerly participate in the discussions about Bible truths.
Just as I settled down to begin math with Josh, my mother called from the United States, and we had a long conversation sharing news, and the children chatted with her, too. All too quickly it was time to go to the church to meet with two ladies, a mother and daughter, who help me teach the Cradle Roll Sabbath School class at the Seventh-day Adventist church we attend in town. Our purpose was to plan for the quarter and see what materials were available to use, and we also discussed how to involve the mothers more. We plan to have the children sing their memory verses at the end of the quarter in church. Little attention is paid to learning memory verses, and since I began teaching memory verses to the children, I have noticed some parents singing them to their children as they leave Sabbath School or even after church as they leave. By the time we finished, the sun had already set. We dropped them off at their house and set off for home, ready for supper.
As we left town and turned down the dirt country road leading to our house, the children and I discussed our day and enjoyed the cool air coming through the open windows. By now it was quite dark, clouds covering the moon and stars from the earlier rain. Suddenly, the truck turned off again, and we were left in the middle of the road about two kilometers from town and four kilometers from home. My heart sank as I realized that Aluisio had probably already left home after feeding the fish and was on his way to another study in a rural area where I would not be able to reach him by cell phone.
“What do we do now, Mommy?” the children asked.
“Now we pray,” was my ready answer. I tried calling Aluisio, but as I expected, he did not answer. Even with the windows up, we could hear the croaking of frogs, the shrill of crickets, and the eerie sounds of nocturnal birds coming from the forest on our right. Occasionally cars and motorcycles would pass, but they did not know who was inside the truck, I could not see who was driving, and I did not really want to let it be known that it was a woman with three young children. I quickly assessed my options, knowing my youngest, especially, was hungry and we did not even have any flashlights if we did attempt the walk home. Anyway, leaving the truck in the middle of the road was not really an option anyway. I knew there was not much credit on my phone, and I could not think of anyone else I could call for help. Rarely am I out after dark, and when I am it is nearly always with Aluisio, but now I was truly stuck, without hope of reaching him. As I pondered my situation, thankful that Joy was not complaining in her carseat yet, the cell phone rang. It was Aluisio. He had been in the shower when I called and called me back when he got out. I breathlessly gushed out my situation to him as I simultaneously thanked the Lord for answering our prayers. Soon he was on his way to my rescue, for the second time that day. After what seemed like a long time, we finally saw his motorcycle light coming. As he was trying to fix the truck, who should come along on a motor-taxi? No way! It was the mechanic again, on his way home. As we gathered around and watched him fix the truck, I marveled at God’s faithfulness. I had just had a talk with the children the night before about how God always hears our prayers and answers them, and they must believe that, even when Satan is trying to convince them otherwise. As we drove home, we prayed, thanking the Lord for hearing our prayer and sending help.
Aluisio dropped off the mechanic and left for his study with a family down another country road. This family had begun receiving studies after the father/husband, Seu Raimundo, had died of cancer. Aluisio had done a lot for them during his illness, and had prayed and talked with him about giving his heart to the Lord before he died. After Seu Raimundo died, Aluisio had given his support to the family and helped them make arrangements. The kindness he had shown to them had really impacted their lives and opened their hearts to receive Bible truth. The group of six people studies with Aluisio at their humble home twice a week.
Before going to bed, Josh wrote in his victory journal (original spelling and grammar retained): “Today is the day I will never forget. One time in the morning Papai came to Mommy. She was stuck. The macanice came by and Papai didin’t even call him! NOW tonight he came again! We were stuck! Papai came, The macanice came, again! What did I say? Papai didn’t even call for him! God is good!!!!!!!”
We had asked Aluisio if he had called the mechanic, and he replied that he had not. Quickly we realized what had happened and announced to each other, “God called the mechanic!”
“And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, he heareth us.” 1 John 5:14 “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” Psalm 34:7
By Sandy De Senna. Revelation 14 Ministries is a self-supporting ministry begun by the De Senna family and based in Rio Preto da Eva, Amazonas, Brazil. Tax-exempt donations are thankfully received through Harold Cortes of Seventh-day Sabbath Church at email@example.com. The De Senna family can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sandy and Aluisio De Senna, with their children JoyAnn (2), Joshua (7) and Julianna (10).