Elderly Brazilian Paddles the Amazon to Share the Gospel

Originally published in 1971

Herculano de Oliveira has lived 82 years in the interior [of Brazil]. … His only earthly possession, outside of a few household goods and personal clothing, is a small canoe with one paddle. …

Herculano heard of the grace of God from the lips of [missionary] Erik Nelson and since that day has not ceased to follow in the steps of the “Apostle of the Amazon.” At times, during the course of many years, he walked beside the apostle. Since Nelson died at his post of duty in Manaus in 1939, Herculano has continued to declare the gospel up and down the Amazon. …

“I never know where it is that God wants me to stop and preach. So I pray, ‘Lord, as I paddle down this river, if you have someone to whom I must go with thy saving word, let it rain just as I am passing their house. I will stop and share thy good news.’

“Many times an entire family has accepted Christ when God led me by his rain.”

Excerpted from “A Canoe and One Paddle” by Richard E. Walker, The Commission, February 1971, p. 12-13.