April 25, 2009

An Amazing Video About God At Work In China

I found this video that shows some of the amazing things that God is doing in China. The video is long but it will really touch your heart, as it did mine. It is humbling and moving to see the passion and faithfulness of the Chinese evangelical Christians.

God Is Amazingly At Work In China

At least 20,000 people in China accept Christ as their Lord and Savior - each day

In my last post I wrote about how God is doing great things here in Brazil. I have been doing research into what God is doing in other countries in the world, and I am astonished at some of the things happening in other parts of the world. Some of the most amazing things are happening in China. Despite Christian missionaries being banned from China in 1950, and despite heavy persecution from the government, the Lord is touching and saving an amazing number of people in China. It is estimated that between 20,000-30,000 people accept Christ as their Lord and Savior - each day. It is difficult to say exactly how many evangelical Christians there are in China because the vast majority belong to underground house churches, but estimates range from 40 million to 130 million or more. The general concensus in China is that there are at least 100-130 million evangelical Christians in China today and quite possibly more. Many of the Chinese missionaries and church leaders are ordinary people and farmers that are filled with the Holy Spirit and with God's passion to reach out to people without Christ. There are thousands and thousands of underground house churches, as well as many underground house seminaries and Bible study institutes to train new leaders and missionaries. God is truly doing amazing things in the world today.

April 23, 2009

A Very Special Time In Brazil

" Within the next 10 years Brazil will probably be sending out more missionaries to other countries than the United States."
- Pastor Wagner Vaellatti
Igreja Batista Boas Novas
Sao Paulo, Brazil

God is doing some amazing and very special things here in Brazil. In a little over 2 years, we have seen almost 31,000 people accept Christ in the Sao Paulo area, which is absolutely amazing to us. It is a great joy and privilege for us to be a part of what God is doing in Brazil. What we have seen and experienced is only a small part of what God is doing here. Not only are very large numbers of people coming to Christ as their Lord and Savior, but many Brazilian churches are experiencing revival. Many Brazilian Christians are growing spiritually, and many are answering the Lord's call to share the Good News of Jesus in other parts of Brazil and in other parts of the world. When I heard the words above from Pastor Wagner I was surprised. The US has long been the leader by far for sending out evangelical missionaries to other parts of the world. So I did some research over the past week, and I found out some very interesting things about what God is doing here and in other countries. I will share about the other countries in my next post, but for now here is some exciting data about what God is doing here in Brazil:

* In 1900 less than 1% of the people were evangelical Christians in Brazil
* By 1970 approx. 5% of the people in Brazil were evangelical Christians
* By 1990 the number of evangelical Christians grew to approx. 12%
* By 2000 the number of evangelical Christians grew to approx. 15%
* Today approx. 18-20% of the people in Brazil are evangelical Christians

More and more pastors and churches in Brazil are receiving and following God's vision to passionately reach out to others with the Gospel, here in Brazil and in other countries. Here are some more details:

* In 1990 Brazil sent approx. 850 evangelical missionaries to other countries
* By 1996 the number grew to approx. 1800 evangelical missionaries
* By 2001 the number grew to approx. 2800 evangelical missionaries
* Today there are approx. 5000 Brazilian evangelical missionaries in more than 100 countries
(the US is still the leader with approx. 60,000 evangelical missionaries; Korea is 2nd with approx. 14,000 evangelical missionaries)

As less and less people in the US, the UK, and European countries are fervently seeking and serving God, He is looking for and finding more willing and passionate servants to take to others the message of His love and salvation in Brazil and other Latin American countries, and also in places like Korea, China, and African countries. In my next post I will talk about other places in the world where God is mightily at work.

Finished Another School

Last night we finished speaking in the EE Moacyr Campos school in the Aricanduva area of Sao Paulo. We spoke there last week on 4 days and again last night, and we worked with Pastor Marcos and Igreja Batista Vila Antonieta in the school. Last night there were all high school students, and we had some small problems here and there with some of the students talking during our speech, but overall the vast majority of the students and teachers responded very well to the message. Incredibly 1956 students and 24 teachers accepted Christ in this large school, and we praise God for this great result. Here are some pictures of last night.

Some of the high school students at nightSharing Christ with interpretor KarinaMore students in a class at nightNancy, John and I, with interpreters Alessandro & Karina, and part of the church team last night

April 20, 2009

Brazil Photos

Here are some pictures of one of the best things about Brazil - the people. Brazilians are wonderful people - friendly, kind, hospitable, generous, warm, loving,...

April 17, 2009

Another Great Week In A School

We had another great week speaking in a large school in the Aricanduva area of Sao Paulo (in the East Zone of the city). We spoke on Monday & Tuesday mornings and on Wednesday & Thursday afternoons in the EE Moacyr Campos school (we spoke in 56 classes so far), and we will be there again next Wednesday night. The school has students from 5th grade through high school. We are working with Pastor Marcos and Igreja Batista Vila Antonieta, since they are close to the school. The response from the students and from most of the teachers has been great, and God is doing a great work in many peoples' lives in this school. So far 1725 students and 19 teachers have accepted Christ. This is a very special time here in Brazil, and God is touching and opening many hearts, and a great number of people are responding to the Gospel and accepting Christ.

We did have a couple of men teachers who were very cold towards us, and one of them refused to let us into his classroom. He coldly stated that he does not like Americans and that we needed to get out. We talked to the director about this, and he was very helpful. We were able to go back and speak in the class the next period. Fortunately we have never seen this before, and the vast majority of Brazilians really like Americans (and other nationalities too). The vast majority of students and most teachers have a great curiosity about foreigners and Americans, and are very interested in having us in their school. They also are very interested in hearing the Gospel and about God's love and His special plan for their lives.

Nancy and I and Elisvaldo sharing Christ in a class
John and interpretor Elaine speaking in one of the classesMe, interpretor Eduardo, Eliane, Elisvaldo, and Alfredo sharing JesusJohn and interpretor Alessandro sharing ChristSharing Jesus with interpretor Iraci in a high school classSome of the high school studentsNancy & John, interpreters Elaine & Andrea, Pastor Marcos and part of the church team

April 15, 2009

Crazy Driving In Sao Paulo

Driving in Sao Paulo is always an adventure, and it is far more difficult and dangerous than driving in the US. Besides having many roads in bad or poor condition, especially in the poorer areas of the city, there are many other problems: poor driving skills, (many people pay off someone to buy their drivers license instead of learning to drive), a lack of enforcement of rules and laws, an excess of cars (over 6,000,000 cars every day in Sao Paulo), smaller and crowded roads,... Another well known problem is the intensely crazy driving of the "motoboys", which are people who drive motorcycles. Many of them are deliverymen, and they are everywhere. They essentially have no rules, and they are famous for driving extremely fast and for weaving in and out between cars. On average there are 2 motoboys who die every day in Sao Paulo.

April 12, 2009

Happy Easter To All

Romans 5:8 - "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

I Peter 3:18 - "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit."

Matthew 28:6 - "He is not here, he has risen, just as he said."

April 11, 2009

Churrascaria - Brazilian Steak House

Since we went out on Thursday night to celebrate Nancy's birthday (it is on Sunday but we went early) in a churrascaria, I thought I would post some pictures of a typical churrascaria here. We went to Tendall Grill in Sao Bernardo, which is a very good place to eat. You start at the large buffet of salad items and many types of appetizers (crab meat, mushrooms, sushi, cheeses,...). Then the waiters start bringing you all of the different types of steak and other meats for you to eat as much as you can. This is not the place to be if you want to lose weight. The great thing about Tendall Grill is you can eat all you want for only about US $ 6 per person. In the US the Brazilian steak houses cost anywhere from US $ 50- $200 per person.

April 7, 2009

Evangelism In Poa' - Sunday

We had a very busy and productive day in Poa' on Sunday. First we drove 1 1/2 hours to get to Poa', and then I preached in the morning service at Primeira Igreja Batista Cidade Kemel. After the service we went to our friends Eliane & Joseniel's brother's house in Poa' for a great Brazilian lunch and for some fun & relaxation. After that the church made some appointments for us, and we visited 2 families to share Christ with them. First we visitied Jose and his wife, who is a member of the church. For years Jose did not want to hear about God's love and His salvation through Jesus, and he had no interest in church or in anything related to God. But God touched Jose that day, and he accepted Christ. After that we visited with Cristiana's family, who also were not believers. Cristiana is a faithful member of the church and already a believer, and we had a wonderful visit with her Mom and Dad and her sister. Again God did a wonderful work and all 3 members of Cristiana's family accepted Christ.

At 5:30 pm, after the visits, John and I led part of the People Sharing Jesus seminar in the church, and then after that I preached in the evening service at 7:00 pm. 7 more people accepted Christ in the evening service, and many of the members were challenged by God to be faithful in sharing Christ with others. It was a long weekend (thank God for strong Brazilian coffee), but it was a privilege and a joy to help the churches to share Christ in Poa', and we have many new friends there. 41 people accepted Christ over the weekend, and we praise God for that.

Interpreter Elizabete, me, and Pastor Goes in the morning serviceNeto, me, and Pastor Goes visiting Jose and his wifeVisiting Cristiana's familyElizabete and I leading the People Sharing Jesus seminarJohn and Elizabete leading a part of the seminarChildren singing in English in the evening serviceSome of the people in the evening servicePreaching and sharing Christ in the evening service

April 6, 2009

Evangelism Weekend In Poa' - Part 1

This past Saturday and Sunday we worked with a couple of churches to have some evangelism events in Poa'. We worked with Igreja Batista Boas Novas (Pastor Wagner) in Vila Zelina - Sao Paulo, and also with Primeira Igreja Batista Cidade Kemel in Poa' (Pastor Goes). We are praising God that 41 people accepted Christ over the weekend. On Saturday morning and afternoon about 150 teens and young adults from Igr. Bat. Boas Novas and many people from PIB Cid. Kemel went out into Poa', house to house, to visit with people and to invite them to a special event and musical at night in the municipal sports center. The event was held at 7:30 at night, and there were between 500-600 people there. The worship teams from each church sang a couple of worship songs, and then I had the privilege of speaking and sharing Christ. 30 people accepted Christ on Saturday night. Then the young adult choir from IB Boas Novas, which is directed by Pastor Wagner's wife Marta, performed a wonderful musical. Many poeple from both churches worked very hard to organize and put on the event, and it was a success.

Nancy before the eventthe municpal sports complex in Poa'Me, Pastor Wagner, and my interpretor ElizabeteSharing Christ at the event with ElizabeteSome of the 500-600 people in attendanceThe young adult choir from Igr. Bat. Boas Novas the choir performing during the musical, with Marta directing

Poa' - Sao Paulo, Brazil

This past weekend we were in Poa' for some special evangelism events, which is a city on the outskirts of the East Zone of Sao Paulo. Even though we live close to the center of the greater Sao Paulo area (a little east of the center), it took us 1 1/2 hours each way to drive to the far east end of the metro area. That's how large this city is ... it goes on and on and on...

Poa' has a population of 105,000 plus residents, and it is an extremely poor area. It can also be a dangerous area at night. To get to Poa' we had to drive through an area called Ferraz de Vasconcelos, which is one of the most dangerous areas in Sao Paulo. Poa' is located next to Ferraz de Vasconcelo, and we have been to Ferraz before. Shortly after we moved here in December 2006 we almost had our car hijacked in Ferraz (in the afternoon, not even at night). I spoke in an event on a Sunday afternoon, and on our way home a group of young men on 7 motorcycles, many with 2 people on them, started following our car. They sped up to us and were looking into our car. The Brazilian young man that was with us said that they are going to hijack and steal our car. Then all of a sudden, for no apparent reason, they just stopped. We could see that there was another car far behind us, and from a long distance behind us we could see them block the road and they hijacked and stole that other car. In the daylight. On a fairly busy road (they waited until there was not much traffic). God clearly protected us that day, as He promised He would. We constantly need to rely on God and His protection here, especially when we work in many of the poor areas, which is alot of the time.

Here are some pictures of Poa'. We had an absolutely great time there. The people we met in Poa' were wonderful people, and they treated us amazingly well. That's how it is in the very poor areas and "favelas" here - most people are wonderful and very kind & hospitable, and very open to the Gospel also. Then there is a distinct contrast, with a dark side of crime, drugs, violence, prostitution,... But many people in the dark are seeing a Great Light, the Lord Jesus, and many are being delivered from the bondage of crime, drugs, emotional problems, and other problems.

Primeira Igreja Batista Cidade Kemel in Poa'