Netzlaff, Daniel & Alejandra

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It all had started with a dream. In the city of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, a local missions pastor, called Pastor Daniel, awoke with a start. He’d dreamed he was standing on the banks of a river surrounded by jungle, preaching to an isolated tribe. He dreamed of the name “Araona.” He was certain his dream meant something and searched until he discovered that the Araona are a small, isolated tribe living in the northernmost section of Bolivia’s Amazon jungle. The pastor did not know how to reach the Araona, but he knew someone who might.

Pastor Daniel had come to know a SAMAIR pilot and felt certain that mission aviation would be the key to his reaching the Araona. He approached SAMAIR with the bold request that they would help him find and preach the gospel to the Araona tribe.

In December 2018, Daniel, a SAMAIR pilot, and a Bolivian missionary found themselves on an expedition, traveling within the Amazon jungle aboard a small boat to scout a potential landing strip and attempt to make contact with the Araona tribe.

After a long journey and several unexpected twists, they first made contact with the Araona chief and Daniel unabashedly shared his dream with him. The Chief, in turn, explained that nearly 25 years earlier, missionaries from New Tribes Mission (now Ethnos360) and Wycliffe Bible Translators had been living amongst them. But the tribe had decided they were no longer welcomed and had forced the missionaries out. There had been occasional short-term visits from other missionaries since then, but no consistent contact. There had been no visits in many years. After conversing, the Chief agreed to allow Daniel and the SAMAIR missionaries to come and visit his people.

Several months later, they visited the tribe again, where the Chief of the approximately 200-person tribe did something entirely unexpected and unforeseeable to all those who had been praying so fervently for this moment. Upon meeting the group who had come to share the gospel with his tribe, the Chief of Araona and his people began to weep. The Chief recounted, “I know we are not living as we should. And we don’t know how. Please help us.” The seeds that missionaries had planted so many years ago were ready to blossom.

Since the first contact with the Araona tribe, Daniel has been working in partnership with SAMAIR to meet the spiritual and physical needs of the community. He and his family, who live in Santa Cruz, are eager to join the work of SAM as missionaries as they continue to preach the gospel to unreached tribes like the Araona and mobilize believers to join them in this work.

    Ministry: Santa Cruz Christian Learning Center (SCCLC)

    The Santa Cruz Christian Learning Center (SCCLC) is an ACSI-accredited Christian school located in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. This pre-k through 12th grade institution seeks to see students and faculty transform society through God-honoring service.

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