At the time of Mayr, the great Brazilian mission field had few workers to reach the population that lived in rural areas. There were no roads or trains in the middle of the jungle, so in regions like the North and Northeast, the inhabitants of the interior had to navigate about 65 thousand kilometers of rivers in a green maze to reach a hospital.
Diseases such as malaria, typhoid, and smallpox were aggravated by malnutrition and poor sanitation. People lived surrounded by jaguars, piranhas, and poisonous snakes. For them, the disease meant needing a miracle.
Desire to Serve
This situation in the Baixo Amazonas Mission, an administrative region of the Adventist Church, changed in January 1929, when Pastor Leo B. Halliwell was transferred with his family from the Bahia Mission to Belém, Pará to assume the presidency of the institution.
His wife, Jessie, was an excellent nurse and famous for delivering babies. In addition to the profession, she was an expert in hydrotherapy and an excellent vegetarian nutritionist.
To visit those who needed Jessie’s work, the Halliwells undertook dangerous, lengthy, and uncomfortable trips through the Amazon. The available boats were not able to go directly to the places they needed, and the crews had to continue through the narrow tributaries of the canoe. The mission needed an option that best suited its needs, but there were no resources for that.
The Halliwells acquired the knowledge and inspiration needed to build the first motorboat through the pioneer vessels on the continent, Ulm am Donau and Messenger, commanded by Enrique Marker on the River Mamoré and its tributaries. Through an exhaustive study, Leo Halliwell designed a mission launch. During the 1930s, while on vacation, the Halliwells returned to the United States to raise funds to build it. Leo visited churches and camp meetings, thrilling people with stories of their experiences in the new mission field.