April 6, 2009

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'

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