August 28, 2009

Another Fruitful School Visit

This past week we spoke at EE Padre Grigolli, a public state school in Sao Caetano for 5th graders through high school. We actually spoke in 5 classes there in July 2005 during a mission trip with our church Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta GA. It was during that mission trip that God called us to serve Him in Brazil. We worked with Igreja Evangelica Avivamento Biblico, which is located close to the school, and the school let the church hand out invitations to a special event they are having for youth this coming Saturday night. We spoke in 11 classes on Monday morning, in 8 more on Wednesday night, and in 9 classes on Thursday afternoon. God touched many hearts, and 686 students and 11 teachers accepted Christ.

Nancy & interpreter Priscila & Roberto sharing Christ
Interpreter Junior and I and Giorgio sharing Jesus in a classInterpreter Pamella and I leading students in prayer
Some high school students praying to receive Christ
Nancy and interpreter Elaine speaking in a class at night
Interpreter Elma and I sharing Christ in a class
Nancy & I, interpreters Elma & Ingrid, and the church team

The Purpose Of Prayer

"Prayer is the way that the life of God in us is nourished."

"the biblical purpose of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself."

From the devotional "My Utmost For His Highest" by Oswald Chambers:

... one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord teach us to pray..." - Luke 11:1

Prayer is not a normal part of the life of the natural man. We hear it said that a person’s life will suffer if he doesn’t pray, but I question that. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished not by food, but by prayer. When a person is born again from above, the life of the Son of God is born in him, and he can either starve or nourish that life. Prayer is the way that the life of God in us is nourished. Our common ideas regarding prayer are not found in the New Testament. We look upon prayer simply as a means of getting things for ourselves, but the biblical purpose of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.

"Ask, and you will receive . . ." ( John 16:24 ). We complain before God, and sometimes we are apologetic or indifferent to Him, but we actually ask Him for very few things. Yet a child exhibits a magnificent boldness to ask! Our Lord said, ". . . unless you . . . become as little children . . ." ( Matthew 18:3 ). Ask and God will do. Give Jesus Christ the opportunity and the room to work. The problem is that no one will ever do this until he is at his wits’ end. When a person is at his wits’ end, it no longer seems to be a cowardly thing to pray; in fact, it is the only way he can get in touch with the truth and the reality of God Himself. Be yourself before God and present Him with your problems— the very things that have brought you to your wits’ end. But as long as you think you are self-sufficient, you do not need to ask God for anything.

To say that "prayer changes things" is not as close to the truth as saying, "Prayer changes me and then I change things." God has established things so that prayer, on the basis of redemption, changes the way a person looks at things. Prayer is not a matter of changing things externally, but one of working miracles in a person’s inner nature.

August 26, 2009

Update On Our Move To Santos

We started the process of selling our house in Sao Caetano in mid-July, and as of now we have not sold it. Since we have a full schedule of speaking in schools and churches in the Sao Paulo area until the end of November, we are hoping and praying to be able to move to Santos by the end of October or November. We will see what God has planned for us.

We have been going to Santos every Saturday to look at apartments (condominiums). The process of selling and buying a house in Brazil is different. You can use various real estate companies to sell your house, and we have 8 that are trying to sell our house. We are also trying to sell it ourselves, which would save us money, and have listed it on 4 or 5 "sell by owner" sites. Looking for houses or apartments is different too. Every Saturday we have been with a different realtor to look, because different realtors have different apartments to show. It's not like in the US where you can go with 1 realtor to look at anything on the market. So far we have seen 22 apartments and we will see 7 or 8 more this coming Saturday, and then more on the 1st Saturday in September. We have a list of 4 or 5 so far that are interesting to us, and when we know that we are selling our house then we will go back and look at these again, and then decide which one we want to buy.

A view of the coast from the mountains above

August 20, 2009

Finally Speaking In Schools Again

After an extended winter break due to swine flu concerns, schools in Sao Paulo started the 2nd semester this week. We had the opportunity to speak in the EE Gallicho school in the Mooca area of Sao Paulo on Tuesday morning, Wednesday afternoon, and tonight. We worked with Pastor Manoel and Igreja Batista Ebenezer, which is located very close to the school. We spoke in 13 classes on Tuesday, 13 on Wednesday, and in 3 classes for adults tonight. We had a great week at the school and we praise God that 602 students, 13 teachers, and the principal (Celia) & school coordenator (Flavio) accepted Christ. The school is very open to receiving more help for the students and their families, and the church has already started to schedule more programs with the school.

Nancy & I, Pastor Manoel, Flavio, and part of our team

Interpreter Eduardo and I speaking to a classNancy and interpreter Flavia after sharing Christ in an adult classInterpreter Rodrigo, Nancy & I, and school coordenator FlavioSharing Christ in a high school classPraying with the students & teacher to accept Christ

August 13, 2009

Waiting For Schools To Open

Since the state of Sao Paulo and some other states in Brazil extended winter vacation 2 more weeks for schools because of swine flu concerns, we have been trying to keep busy. We have been visiting some parks and other sites in Sao Paulo, and have been going to Santos once a week to look for apartments. We also have been organizing our next 3 school events, and thankfully we will start speaking in schools again next week. We will be speaking at EE Gallicho school in the Mooca area of Sao Paulo on August 18-20, at EE Padre Grigolli school in Sao Caetano on Aug. 24-26, and EMEF Roquette Pinto school in the Sapopemba area of Sao Paulo on Aug. 31-Sept. 2 ; please pray that God will bless our visits to these schools and that many will be touched and reached for Jesus, for His glory. Here are some photos of the botanical gardens and of Parque Ibirapuera in Sao Paulo.

Parque Ibirapuera in Sao Paulo
A huge tree in the park
Some small parrots in a tree

Nancy and Sampson in the parkthe botanical gardens in Sao Pauloa flowering treethe elevated jungle trail in the botanical gardenssome monkeys swinging in the trees

August 12, 2009

Fathers Day In Brazil

Fathers Day in Brazil is on the 2nd Sunday of August, so technically I get to have 2 Fathers Days, one in June (American) and one in August. This past Sunday we celebrated Fathers Day with our good friends Junior and Elma and their families. They are a blessing in our lives, and they and their families have practically adopted us, so we spend alot of special occasions with them. Brazilians love to get together with family and friends, and we had a great time. There was lots of good Brazilian food, including our favorite - churrasco. Churrasco is a variety of steak and other meat cuts, and is cooked in a "churrasqueira", which is a wood-fired or charcoal-fired brick oven. There is no barbeque sauce, but the meats are seasoned very nicely with a course salt and sometimes other seasonings. It is awesome.

August 6, 2009

Swine Flu In Brazil

The number of confirmed swine flu cases in Brazil is growing, and there are now almost 3000 people with the sickness. As of yesterday, 129 Brazilians have died from the disease. The south and southeast parts of Brazil have the most cases, including the state of Sao Paulo, which is one of the most populated states.

The state of Sao Paulo extended the winter vacation for all public schools for 2 more weeks until August 17, due to concerns and fears caused by the swine flu. This has caused us to scramble and reschedule 2 schools that we were set to speak in for the weeks of Aug. 3rd and 10th. We are hoping and praying that this will not hinder us anymore in our efforts to help students, teachers, and families to have a personal relationship with God and a better life.

August 1, 2009

Brazil Photos

Since we are going to be moving to the city of Santos, I thought I would use these pictures as our monthly Brazil photos. Santos is located on the coast of the state of Sao Paulo, about an hour south of the city of Sao Paulo.