Byron became Mr. Toll Avoider after that first experience with the southern toll highway system on the way down to Foz do Iguaçu. So he checked out all the possible routes on the good old GPS and decided on one that would miss all toll roads and booths. Our new route ended up being quite the ride as we turned off on what looked to me like a red dirt tractor path in the middle of a sugar cane field. I still think that's exactly what it was even though later the director of the New Tribes school commented that it's one of his favorite toll free short cuts when going south.
We made it to the Instituto Bíblico Peniel around 6:00 o'clock in the evening just in time to hear the supper bell ring. Interestingly enough the people on campus don't talk about time like they do in Bahia. In the Northeast many places use the 24 hour clock or military time. There people talked about 6 in the morning and 6 at night.
We were warmly greeted and talked to lots of students. We found this to be a very friendly place. After supper students gathered around and asked us questions about our trip and our work. Some students had to hustle off to the kitchen to wash dishes. Every student is on some sort of work detail every week - kitchen, ground work, maintenance. They learn about all the things missionaries might have to do on the field.
After supper we met with the director, Pastor Samuel and his wife, Sonia. He gave a brief history of the school and explained their objectives and program. We enjoyed getting to know them both. He also talked about avoiding tolls and knew about the red dirt short cut!
The next morning after a good night's rest in the guest cabin on campus to which we were assigned, we all attended some classes.
Students are encouraged to raise support to pay for their tuition, room and board to go ahead and get into the faith missions mind set. Tuition here was the lowest of the three Bible schools we visited.
Emphasis is on working with tribal missions which is the main work of New Tribes Mission which founded the school. Students who study here get a certificate in Bible and usually go on to another New Tribes training center in another state to be prepared to learn tribal languages.
Even though this stop was not on our original itinerary and a little off our route, it was well worth the time. I enjoyed a conversation with an older student named Maria Alice who told me how she had spurned God's calling in her life as a young person. As she got older she began to consider that perhaps it wasn't too late to train and become and missionary. She said it wasn't easy but she hoped one day soon to serve the Lord in tribal missions.