Hello! My name is Shane Watson. For those of you who don't know me, I'm a husband to a caring wife and dad of two wonderful boys. I have always tried to make an impact where I am. I've had a few opportunities to make a REALLY big impact in the world. It started with New Orleans. I remember the first couple of days out in the field, feeding the homeless, I broke down.
I never quite understood the depth of need out in the world until I saw it for myself. The three times I went to New Orleans shook me to the core and forever changed how I saw the world. I learned that my role is to bring hope to those that feel like they are forgotten. The relationships I created during my work there are still active today.
It has been several years since I could help in that way again. As of right now, I have an opportunity to continue my work in serving those in need. The difference is that the ones I will be serving are in Brazil, in the Amazon.
For those of you that know me, this is an incredibly huge step for me. This takes me out of every possible comfort zone I have and throws me into completely unfamiliar territory. This is EXACTLY why I believe I must go. I will step outside what is comfortable and well-known so that I'm forced to keep my eyes open and think.
I will be joining a team of 14 other individuals from the Dallas area who will fly to Brazil. We will go by boat down the Amazon river to meet with those who call themselves "The Forgotten". "The Forgotten" are those who live in villages all along the Amazon river, without any connection to the outside world, other than an 18+ hour boat ride upstream. These villagers have no infrastructure to support them: no hospitals, no pharmacies, no libraries, and no police. They are cut off from the basic services that we take for granted every day. In some cases, they have no access to clean water.
My job will be to serve these individuals by supporting the medical team, assisting with VBS (Vacation Bible School), and being available to the villagers as needed. Far from an exotic vacation, this will be a demanding, life-altering ten days (July 12-July 21). I’m expecting to come back with videos, pictures, and stories of how life is in the Amazon and how that experience has changed my life.
So, how do you fit in to this picture? First, you can keep my team and I in your thoughts and prayers. Most of us have never been out of the U.S., let alone been in the Amazon. Secondly, you can provide financial support.
The cost of making this trip happen is around $4,700. The cost breakdown is as follows (links provided to relevant info):
The amounts below are due by May 28th to be able to go.
Base trip cost: $2000
Flight cost: about $1500
VITEM I Visa to Brazil(estimated): $175
Other costs, and what we've done so far:
Expedited Passport: $225 (Purchased as a step of faith)
Immunizations: about $200 (includes Yellow Fever, TWINRIX [Hep A & B] , Tetanus-Diptheria, Malaria) (Several have been covered by our insurance, some are not. The ones covered by insurance have been taken care of.)
Lost wages, tip for boat crew, food for trip: $600 (This would be helpful, but is not a part of the initial trip cost.)
These are the basics needed to provide for my family while I’m gone, protect myself from illness, and provide myself access to the Amazon. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Any funds provided beyond the $4,700 will be donated to Amazon Outreach so that, through them, we can provide clean water to some of the villages by digging a well. If I am unable to reach the goal of $4,700, the full amount will be donated to Amazon Outreach to support my team’s efforts. In the coming days, I will also ask for donations of toiletries, small toys, and other items that will be given to the villagers that we meet. Any assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
Note: Donations for Visa, Passport, Immunizations, and Lost Wages are not tax-deductible as they are considered to be a "personal benefit". All other donations are transferred to Amazon Outreach/Coppell Bible Church and are tax-deductible.