Posted by: calloftheandes | November 20, 2012

Young Missionary Couple Eager to Distribute Audio Players in Amazon Basin

When Matt Parker talks about the “Brazil Amazon Players of Hope,” he’s not referring to a soccer team. Rather, the “players” are MP3-like digital audio players that he anticipates delivering to Brazil’s ribeirinhos (river dwellers) who live along the Amazon and its tributaries.

Matt Parker

Matt grew up as a child of missionary parents, Richard and Kimberly Parker, who direct a ministry called Services of Evangelism and Assistance to the River People of the Amazon (SEARA).

Of the 35,000 or so communities in the Amazon Basin, 30,000 have yet to be reached and need the gospel of Jesus Christ, according to Richard. No local Christian radio stations have been established, and there aren’t enough trained believers to meet the ongoing discipleship needs.

“Matt gave us the idea of using the players to record discipleship materials and give to new converts,” explained Richard, who had earlier pursued some radio station licenses. “We were wondering what we were going to do because we had already sent down an engineer who said an FM station would be perfect and that it would reach all of them. We thought it was meant to be, but God had different plans, so we have now switched to solar-powered MP3 players.”

Villagers living along the many waterways in the Amazon Basin depend on the river to meet many of their basic needs—fish to eat, water to drink. “Most of their income comes from fishing, agriculture or lumber,” added Matt. “They cut down trees and with a chainsaw. They can cut boards as straight as any [sawmill] planker  can, and they sell it to people on boats that come down the river.” For many, education and medical help is a good distance away, and many residents attain only an eighth-grade education.

“With our evangelistic boat, we visit each village [in our area] about six times annually,” Richard explained. “We are currently reaching 50 villages. In strategic communities where the gospel has been well accepted, we locate a missionary family who has had proper training from either our Missionary Training Institute on the east coast of Brazil or from our ‘floating seminary.’”

Each year about 200 river dwellers put their faith in Christ through the Parkers’ ministry. This, Richard said, “leaves us with the huge task of trying to disciple the new believers effectively. Where we have missionaries working full time, we can handle the task, but where our boat only visits for approximately 24 hours, six times per year, it is extremely difficult.”

Matt and his Ecuadorian wife, Anabella, plan to deliver at least 120 of the solar-powered digital audio players (called Messengers) to some of Brazil’s river dwellers in December. The players will contain audio recordings from MegaVoice, a ministry that distributes the players and offers an expansive Scripture audio library.

“We’re going to upload up to 4 gigabytes worth of programming [onto each Messenger],” he said. That’s going to be the entire Bible in Portuguese and what they call the ‘College Bible Course’ which is 252 programs—classes—that walk the ribeirinhos through the Bible.”

Mentioning “Amazon” doesn’t draw Matt off to pondering online purchases of Christmas gifts for Anabella and their new son, Dustin. To the Parkers it means making known a greater gift to the river people of Brazil.


  1. […] digital divide, HCJB Global, Word of Life-SEARA and In Touch Communications are joining forces to distribute MP3-like, preprogrammed audio players to different people […]

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