June 25, 2009

June Summary

We had another busy month in June, and God did some wonderful things here in Sao Paulo Brazil. We spoke in 3 schools, one in the South Zone of Sao Paulo and the other 2 in the East Zone of the city. In the schools we worked with Primeira Igreja Batista Sao Joao Climaco, Igreja Batista Boas Novas, and Igreja Batista Ebenezer. We also scheduled our first school for 2010 in March. We saw over 1900 people in these schools accept Christ and commit their lives to Him, including 36 teachers and one school coordenator. We are very privileged to be able to join God in what He is doing here.

Since July is a common vacation time for many people in Brazil, and because schools are out for winter break until August, we too will be taking a vacation and a trip back to the US for 2 1/2 weeks. This will be our first time back to the US since early 2007, when we had to go to Miami for our permanent visa. Because of our busy schedule and a lot of spiritual warfare lately, we are very ready for some vacation time and some R & R. Here are some photos of our school visits in June.

Us, part of the church team, & interpreters Elaine & Junior
Sharing Jesus in a class with interpreter Junior & DamielNancy & John with the team from Igreja Batista Boas NovasNancy sharing Christ with interpreter Elaine, Cris, and Eliane
Interpreter Eduardo and I asking questions about the US & English

June 23, 2009

New Ministry Video

Below is a new video about our ministry and what we do in the Sao Paulo area of Brazil. God called us here to help churches to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, and we share Christ in schools, churches, hospitals, homes, businesses,... We also train pastors and church members how to share Jesus with others.

June 22, 2009

God's Call - Part 3

"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." - Matthew 4:19

"... a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. ... Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went." - Acts 8:1,4

As we discussed in my last post, a part of having a "koinania" fellowship and friendship with God is to have a partnership with Him where you join God in what He is doing in the world. We do not try to do things for God (which many people make the mistake of trying to do), but He invites or "calls" us (or commands us) to join Him. When we understand God's desire and passion for all people to be saved and have a restored personal relationship with Him through Jesus (see 1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9), then we will know that this is one of the main things that God is doing in the world. And we know from Matthew 28:18-20 and other verses that God wants believers to become true disciples of Jesus who are fruitful in their lives and service for Him. God is always at work in the world and in the lives and hearts of those without Christ, and He is looking for faithful people to join Him in reaching out to them. According to Jesus' words in Matthew 4:19, if we are not being a "fisher of men", then we are not truly following Him. A fisher of men is someone who understands the command of His Lord Jesus, and who obeys and is actively sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with others in his/her daily life. According to Jesus' words, all Christians are to be "fishers of men" or missionaries, wherever they are, actively sharing Christ with others.

The church in the book of Acts clearly understood what Jesus commanded them to do, and all of them in the church obeyed. In Acts chapter 8 a great persecution came against the church, and everyone but the apostles were scattered to other places. Verse 4 tells us that all who were scattered, everyone but the apostles, went out and preached the word everywhere they went. These people had a passion for Jesus and a passion for those without Christ, and they faithfully obeyed and followed Jesus, sharing the Gospel everywhere they went. 100% of the followers of Christ back then obeyed His call/command to spread the Good News. Today in the church a very small percentage of people are truly following Jesus and obeying Him, and answering the call to reach out to a world without Christ.

For example, the number of evangelical Christians who are joining God in what He is doing in other parts of the world is very small. There are an estimated 500,000,000 evangelical Christians in the world (some estimates show up to 1 billion), and there are an estimated 100,000 evangelical missionaries serving the Lord. This means that only 1 in 5000 Christians are answering God's call/command to join Him in the world to reach others for Christ and to make disciples. When we lived in the US we were members of a Southern Baptist church, and even in the Southern Baptist denomination the percentage of people joining God as missionaries in other countries is very low (only 1 in approx. 2950). And yet God is clearly mightily at work in many parts of the world outside the US. This shows a serious lack of passion and devotion for God, and for those without Christ. May God touch our hearts and give us a renewed love and passion for Him, and for those who do not have the joy and peace from having a personal relationship with Jesus.

June 18, 2009

God's Call - Part 2

"God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful."

- I Corinthians 1:9

What is God's call for your life ? When most people think of the words "God's call", they think of when God calls someone to be a pastor, or a missionary, or to some job or task. It is not entirely incorrect to think this, because God certainly does call us to join Him in His work (notice I did not say that God calls us to do something for Him). But when we only think like this we miss out on God's main call for our lives, which is to have close fellowship with Jesus our Lord and Savior. The word that is translated to fellowship in the English language is "koinania". The best definition of koinania that I have heard is that it is "the closest possible intimacy, fellowship, and friendship with God, and it is also a partnership with God where you join Him in what He is doing in the world."

God has a heart's desire and a passion first to have a reconciled personal relationship with all people through Jesus Christ, and then to have intimate and close fellowship with us. You were created to have this close fellowship with God, and He longs for you to be close to Him. Receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and committing your life to Him is only the beginning of what God wants for you. According to John 17:3 eternal life is more than just living your life and waiting for your chance to go to heaven. It is about knowing God and having fellowship with Him. The word "know" God means much more than just reading the Bible and knowing about God. It means to have a growing personal knowledge of who He is, and to see and experience Him in your life.

And having close fellowship with God is all about having passion for Him, and passionately seeking to know Him more. When we have a passion for God we will gladly obey and follow Him, wherever and however He calls us. It will not matter where God calls you to serve Him or how, when you have a true love and passion for Him you will go anywhere or do anything, as long as you can be with Him. The person who has this kind of love and devotion and passion for God is the one who God can use in great ways for His Kingdom and for His glory. The closer you are to God the more He can use you and the greater impact you will have for His kingdom. In the next post we will talk more about the 2nd half of having koinania fellowship with God - where we have the great privilege of having a partnership with God and He "calls" us to join Him in what He is doing in the world.

June 12, 2009

God's Call - Part 1

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
- Romans 12:1-2

Here is some great advice for discerning God's call and plan for your life:
Someone once asked Dr. Bill Bright , founder of Campus Crusade For Christ, how did you know what God was calling you to do with your life ? I keep waiting to find my purpose, but feel so lost. Dr. Bright said "the most important way to know God's will is to totally surrender to the Lordship of Christ. Ask Him to guide your steps. You are in God's will if you are surrendered to Him. The God who created everything guides our steps. All He wants is surrender and he'll tell us what he wants us to do. Don't give much thought to what you will do in the future ... Surrender to Him now and he will guide you in the rest. I live by Philippians 2:13 "for it is God who works in you both to will and to act according to His good purpose." So as I walk in the Spirit I can know that God will guide my steps. For example, in 1951 my wife and I decided we wanted to be total servants to Jesus. We wrote out a contract and fully surrendered everything we owned or would own to Jesus. Approximately 24 hours later God gave me the vision we called Campus Crusade For Christ. I'm sure if there had been no surrender and contract with God there would have been no vision. You can know God's will by full surrender to Christ, and by allowing the Holy Spirit to control you."

June 7, 2009


On Friday we visited the city of Santos, which is a city on the coast about an hour from Sao Paulo. We have been there several times in the last few months, as we feel that God is leading us to move there and serve Him there in the future. We are seeking His will and plan, and at this point we feel He is leading us to move there next year, probably in June when we have a mid-year break from mid-June until August.

Santos is a beautiful city founded in 1546, and it has the largest port in South America. It is home to a beautiful beach area with the world's largest beach-side garden, which is 3.5 miles long. There are approx. 500,000 residents in Santos, and there are over 1.5 million people in the overall area, which also includes the cities of Sao Vicente, Guaruja, and Praia Grande. I have done some research and found 321 public schools (state and municipal schools) in the region, so we will have plenty of work to do, reaching out in God's love to those without Christ. Here are some photos of Santos.

June 6, 2009

A Difficult & Fruitful Week

This week we experienced some of the strongest spiritual warfare that we have ever seen (see my previous post), but this usually means that God is going to do something very special and that we need to persevere and trust Him with the details and especially the results. As I said in my previous post, we and the people and interpreters that helped us experienced many problems this past week. I wrote the last post on Tuesday afternoon, and we still had 1 more day to speak in the school. When we spoke at the EE Manuela school on Wednesday night, the final day, we learned that one more person from the church (Primeira Igreja Batista Sao Joao Climaco) that helped also got sick on Tuesday, and one of our interpreters on Wednesday night had a big problem and conflict starting on Tuesday with a good friend, and he was upset about it on Wednesday night. It is unbelievable how many of the poeple involved in the work this week got sick, or had problems.

However, we saw God do great things this week, and in the end 1121 students, 13 teachers, and the school coordenator accepted Christ. Now the school is very open to receiving more help from the church, and they were practically pleading for them to help the students & teachers & families more. God is going to continue do some wonderful things in the lives of the new believers and in their families. Please pray for them, and also pray for those who got sick this week, including Pastor Carlos from the church.

Me, Nancy, John, Elaine, part of the church team, & Junior at the school
Sharing Christ with interpreter Elaine & EduardoJohn and Darrell (missionary kid from Virginia) with some studentsSpeakng in a class at night for adults with Renato and the church team

June 2, 2009

Spiritual Warfare This Week

When we have an opportunity to share Christ with alot of people, or when we speak in a large school where there are many students and teachers that accept Christ and we have a great victory, we normally experience a good bit of spiritual warfare, either right before the event or just after it. This week we are speaking in a school called EE Manuela in the Sao Joao Climaco area of Sao Paulo, and the spiritual warfare has been unbelievably strong leading up to and during these days. We spoke in the school on Monday morning and today in the afternoon, and we have seen many people accept Christ (almost 900 in 2 days), and we have 15 more classes to speak in tommorrow night.

What are some of the things we experience in this spiritual battle ? A few days before the event in the school we had some family problems and conflicts. And we have experienced a strong feeling of oppression at times. Also, we have had some more problems in the classes with some of the students than normal. And there have been many complications and problems with our interpreters and with some of the people from the church we are working with this week in the school, Primeira Igreja Batista Sao Joao Climaco. We always use 2 interpreters each day we speak, because we have 2 teams and we speak in 2 classes at once. One of our interpreters for Monday morning, Priscila, is pregnant and on Sunday night/ Monday morning she got very ill and she nearly lost her baby. Fortunately she is better now and the baby is fine, and fortunately our good friend Junior, who is not working now, was able to help us with only 25 minutes notice.

Then today some other crazy things happened: as we were speaking in the school today our interpreter Joana's Mom was taken to the hospital in an ambulance with extreme high blood pressure and other problems. Joana was able to finish today and then she found out her Mom was ill. Also Pastor Carlos from the church was going to help us, but this morning he felt pains in his chest and he had to go to the hospital to get checked on. Also, one of our interpreters for today cancelled out on us late last week, and fortunately we were able to get a replacement in short time. And we have had an unusually hard time finding 2 interpreters for tommorrow night. It is usually easier to get interpreters at night than for the morning or the afternoon. We had 2 scheduled a month ago, then one cancelled last week. Then we had a hard time getting another one, but we finally got one on Saturday. Then yesterday her car broke down and now she cannot help on Wednesday night. So finally we got another one last night.

Also, there have been some problems at the school lately with fights and other problems, and just last week 2 students were playing around on the steps in the school and one pushed the other accidentally down the steps and the boy died. But through all of this God is doing a very special work in the school, and we feel that He is going to continue to do some very special things in the lives of the people from this school. The school leaders are very open to recieving our help, and they also asked us if the church and the pastor could continue to work with the students and teachers and families after this week to help them in their lives. So please continue to pray for us, and for the people that help us, and for the people we are reaching out to in God's love. Believe me when I say that we all need the prayers.

June 1, 2009

PSJ Seminar at Igreja Batista Ebenezer

We recently led a People Sharing Jesus seminar at Igreja Batista Ebenezer in the Mooca section of Sao Paulo on Sun. May 24 and 31. It was well attended with 80 people participating and learning how to be a faithful and effective witness for Jesus. The church responded very well to the challenge to all members to be faithful followers of Jesus and to be the "fishers of men" that he wants all Christians to be. We will be working with IB Ebenzer more in the future, including in 2 schools soon, 1 in later June and 1 in August.

In the People Sharing Jesus seminars, which is from Total Church Life Ministry, we teach 3 easy-to-use methods to share the Good News of Jesus with others. We also teach some powerful truths and principles about the work of sharing Christ with others, as well as alot of other useful information regarding spiritual warfare and other subjects relating to being an effective witness for Christ. The seminar is one of the things that God has called us to do to help and equip churches and members to share Christ with others in their communities. You can find more information about the People Sharing Jesus seminars and Total Church Life Ministry at this link: Total Church Life Ministry

The seminar at Igreja Batista EbenezerJohn and interpreter Pamella teaching how to share Jesus confidently
Pamella and I leading part of the seminar