By Mary Faulds, AFA Journal staff writer
September 2009 – Macon and Genny Hare started serving with New Tribes Missions (NTM) in the Amazon jungle in late 1956 with their three children, Macon Jr., Bing, and Christina, or Chrissy for short. They were located in a community named Puraquequare (PQQ), where the elder Macon was the Brazilian field director. PQQ was the location of an NTM school for missionary children and a Brazilian church plant.
In May 1957, the children were bathing on a floating raft in the Amazon, as they did every day. Macon Jr. said a swift current flowed under the floating dock. Three-year old Chrissy stepped back and fell off the dock. “My mom was sure we had lost her,” he said. “We rushed to the other side of the large dock, and she came up – we grabbed her and pulled her to safety.”
That scare caused Genny Hare to write a letter to her friend, expressing her relief that God had spared her child, but those words would have a different ring soon.
The next week, Macon Sr. was traveling in the jungle visiting other missionaries in a tribal area and would be out of contact for a few days.
“[Chrissy] had stacked some stools so she could climb and got into the medicine closet and took a number of malaria medicines,” her older brother, Macon Jr., recalled. “We did not realize that. A few hours later she went into convulsions. The camp nurse was next door and all attempts to save her failed as she went through several convulsions and then passed away.”
Since they were in the interior of the jungle, there was no way to embalm the body, so it was necessary to bury Chrissy immediately. The next morning, after a brief funeral, they paddled her away to bury her in a local Brazilian graveyard a few miles down river.
A few days later the elder Macon flew back into Manaus, a village three hours away, and was waiting to take a boat back to PQQ. Macon Jr. said his dad was told a baby had died at the school down river. There were several babies so he wasn’t sure if it was Chrissy. He stayed up all night praying.
As the boat pulled into the dock the next day, and as he saw Genny and just the two boys, he knew it was his little girl who had died. Macon walked up and hugged his family and said, “Let’s not be bitter at Jesus!”
A few weeks later, Genny received a letter from her friend, Nina, whom she wrote about Chrissy’s scare on the floating dock. Nina wrote how she didn’t know what to say, so she quoted Genny’s own words from her earlier letter. Genny would later say these words were God’s way of preparing her for the death of her daughter.
“As I sat and held her close to me on the float,” Genny had written, “I thanked the Lord for sparing her [Chrissy]. Later, as I was rocking her to sleep, I was thanking the Lord again, and it seemed the Lord asked me if it had been the other way, could I still have thanked Him? The verse in First Thessalonians came to my mind, ‘In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.’ As I sat and thought on these things, I wondered if it had been the other way, could I have thanked the Lord as much as I did for sparing her? I knew that would have been the real test. I could only confess to Him that I did not know how I would respond – that He knew my heart even better than I knew it.”
Macon Sr. and his wife continued in ministry in Brazil for a number of years before coming back to the U. S. to serve as one of the executive leaders of New Tribes Mission until he retired. He passed away in 2003, but his wife Genny is still living.
Macon Jr.’s life was also impacted profoundly by his sister’s death. “It helped me to sort out the important things that count for the Lord – for eternity,” he said. “A few months later [after Chrissy’s death], the same missionary nurse, who fought to keep my sister alive, asked me to take her to another baby who was sick. The nurse put the baby in my arms while she started to check the vital signs. I held the baby only minutes when she died in my arms.”
Chrissy’s death and the Brazilian baby’s death shook Macon Jr. to the core. He said those experiences are partially why he is in missions now. He and his wife, Katy, have served 25 years in Colombia, South America, and a few years working to save kidnapped missionaries. He is currently serving as part of the NTM communications department.
Macon Hare Jr., who says his sister’s death “shook him to the core,” now believes that her death was one of the main reasons he went into the mission field. He and his wife Katy have served for 25 years as missionaries in Columbia, South America.