Rick and Gayle McLain honored

In late November, emeritus Brazil missionaries Rick and Gayle McLain were honored with the title “Citizen of Merit and Honor” by the city council of Concórdia in north Brazil. In the 1980s, the McLains started a church in this remote town, aided by Rick’s airplane and piloting skills. Because there was no doctor or hospital back then, Rick used his plane for emergency transport, taking people to hospitals in the larger towns of Belém or Quatro Bocas (read on for Socorro’s story). This intervention opened many doors for Rick and Gayle to share the gospel, and many were added to their church.

Life in Concórdia was very primitive and at times difficult, but the McLains remained faithful to what God called them to do. Concórdia’s mayor said in her speech that many of the civil servants, including her, had grown up attending the church’s AWANA club, and she credits the McLains for shaping their lives to be responsible citizens. During the award ceremony, Rick was able to again lay out the plan of salvation when he spoke. Along with the ceremony, Rick and Gayle celebrated the church’s 35th anniversary.

22 Mc Lains PI

Socorro: saved by an airplane ride

In the hotel where the McLains stayed, they got reacquainted with Antonia, now working as the hotel’s cook. Years earlier, her sister Socorro was a little girl living with their family in the far interior regions beyond Concórdia. As Socorro slept in her hammock one night, the hammock’s swaying likely caused the little tin kerosene lamp on the wall to tip over and onto Socorro. The hammock burst into flames, badly burning Socorro. After a week, she began to smell of gangrene, so her family carried her to the highway in another hammock, and from there her family caught a ride to Concórdia. However, the little clinic there could do nothing for her.

Knowing Rick could help, the clinic enlisted him to fly Socorro 30 minutes to the north, where he had a friend, Dr. Jorge, with a large hospital. The trip saved the family a five-hour drive on the road, plus a ferry crossing. In those days, such hospitals were only for those who paid into the medical system, but Dr. Jorge pulled some strings and got Socorro registered for medical care. Dr. Jorge did a surgical cleansing on her infected sores and wounds, saving her from potentially losing her life. Today, Socorro’s scars are her only reminder of the experience. She lives a normal life in the city of Belém thanks to the intervention she received.

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