March 30, 2010

A Problem In A School

Yesterday we worked with Igreja Batista Central and Pastor Carlos in a state school in Santos for students in the 5th grade through high school. We were scheduled to speak in 15 classes on Monday morning and in 14 classes this afternoon. Unfortunately we only spoke in 9 high school classes on the first day before the recess time, and apparently a teacher complained that we were talking about religion, which is not allowed in the classroom in public schools in Brazil, and the vice-director told us we could not continue. The vice-director appears to be a Spiritist, and she was very cold towards us and she acted like she did not want us to be there. We had a very good meeting with the director of the school in November and scheduled the event with her, and she was very receptive and happy to have us come to speak in the school, and she even recommended us to 4 other schools in Santos. Unfortunately she is on vacation this week and was not there yesterday. So we need to contact her when she gets back and try to reschedule the classes we were not able to finish.

We do not speak about religion or specific churches or denominations in the classroom, in order to respect the laws, but we do speak about God's love for all of us and about how to have a personal relationship through Christ, and we share the Gospel clearly. In other schools we have spoken in we have had a very occasional complaint from an isolated teacher, but no one ever made us stop before like this week. The surprising thing about it all was how well it had gone in the classes we spoke in. We thought that it was one of the better school experiences that we have had in the 62 schools we have spoken in so far. Most of the students in the 9 classes we spoke in responded to the Holy Spirit and 171 students and 2 teachers accepted Christ before we stopped, and the vast majority liked it very much. Please pray that God will touch the heart of the director Lila and that we will be able to finish speaking in the other classes in the future.

Nancy and interpreter Lindsey speaking in a high school class
Interpreters Lindsey & Andrea, us, and the church team
Interpreter Andrea and I sharing Christ in one of the classes

March 27, 2010

Brazil Photo

Brazil has a coastline of 4655 miles, so naturally it has many beautiful beaches. The photo below is of a beach in Ubatuba, located in the northern coast of the state of Sao Paulo.

March 23, 2010

Brazilian Food

There is a large mixture of people from other countries in Brazil, especially in Sao Paulo, so you have a wide variety of foods available. There are many "estrangeiros" (foreigners) living in Brazil, including Japanese, Arab, Jewish, Italian, Portuguese, European, Hispanic, Chinese, Korean,... Typical Brazilian food is very good, and we enjoy it very much. Here are some types of foods that are available here:

- Typical Brazilian meal: rice, beans, meat (chicken, beef, or sausage)
- Feijoada: traditional meal, started by black slaves in Brazil; is a stew made of pork & beef, smoked sausage, black beans, and bacon; served with rice, greens, and farofa (a type of flour mixed with things like bacon, or sausage, and other things).
- Churrasco (my favorite): Brazilian BBQ (without BBQ sauce); a large variety of beef cuts, along with chicken, sausages,...
- Seafood ("frutos do mar"): a large variety of dishes with fish, shrimp, squid, and others.
- Pizza: cooked in a wood fire brick oven; typically thin and does not have tomato sauce; a huge variety available & very tasty.
- Italian foods: large variety of lasagnas, spaghetti, and pastas.
- "Esfihas" : these are made of bread stuffed with chicken or sausage or beef with cheese.
- Brazilian Hot Dog: it sort of looks like a hot dog, but has cheese & fried potato sticks & sometimes mayo & corn & cheese & peas & ...
- Cheese bread "pao de queijo": very tasty round pieces of bread with cheese
- Salgados: a snack type of food with many varieties available; a typical salgado is bread or fried dough filled with chicken, cheese, beef, or sausage.
- Guarana: very popular & good Brazilian drink made from guarana fruit
- Tropical Fruits: huge variety of tropical fruits
- Fruit Juices: a large variety of flavors; we like it mixed with milk
- Brazilian Coffee: puts American coffee to shame; very good & strong
- Desserts, Sweets: huge variety of "tortas" (pies), "bolos" (cakes), pastries, and other goodies
- Acai: a popular dessert made from the acai fruit; can be combined with granola &/or other fruits
(one thing to note: most Brazilians think that it is gross to drink milk with your meal)

March 22, 2010

Igreja Batista Nova Jerusalem

Last night we had the privilege of serving at Igreja Batista Nova Jerusalem in Santos. Nancy sang "Because He Lives" and I preached in the night service. Here in Brazil the night service is typically the larger of the Sunday morning and night services, which is opposite of the norm in the US. Pastor Wilson is the shepherd of the church, and they are enthusiastic to work with us in sharing the Good News of peace with God & eternal life through Jesus in the community. We will be working with the church in various ways to help them share Jesus with others, including in a municipal school close to the church in August.

Rebeca, a young member of the church, helped as my interpreter, and she did a great job. Although I can speak Portuguese well, it is more interesting for those who are listening when I preach in English and have an interpreter. This works especially well when we speak in the schools, because most Brazilians really like Americans and have a great curiosity about Americans & foreigners, and about the English language. This curiosity and the affection that Brazilians have for Americans opens many doors for us to share Jesus with others. At the end I shared the Gospel and 7 people accepted Christ and committed their lives to Him.

March 19, 2010

A Difficult But Fruitful Week

This week we finished speaking in a school in the Sao Mateus area of Sao Paulo. Many times when we are speaking in a school or other event where God is doing great things, we experience many difficulties, and this past week was certainly very difficult. The week started out with a couple of our interpreters canceling on us, one of which was a very late cancellation. So on Monday night we only had 1 interpreter and it took us twice the normal amount of time to speak in all of the classes, which were adults trying to get their high school diploma. Our interpreter Elizabete had problems with her car on the way to the school, and she almost did not make it.

Also on Monday morning we had a difficult thing happen to us, which left us very disappointed. We have been trying to sell our house in Sao Caetano (in the Sao Paulo area) for 8 months now, and last week we received an offer. After making a counter-offer, the buyer accepted and we were supposed to sign the contract on Monday afternoon while we were in the Sao Paulo area. A few hours before our appointment, the realtor called and said that the buyer was ill during the weekend and that she decided to back out. This is the 2nd time we have had a buyer that didn't work out, which is very frustrating and disappointing, especially after trying for 8 months to sell the house. We need the money out of the house, because we did not come to Brazil through a mission organization, and we are using our own money for our ministry. We are losing money every month until we can get the money out of the house to be able to make more income from bank interest and investments.

Also during the week we had a couple of near accidents, and one of them was a very close call (I absolutely do not like driving in Sao Paulo). Then to top it all off we had a flat tire after speaking on the last day at the school. It still amazes us sometimes how many challenges and difficulties we have when we are sharing Jesus with many people. It can be very difficult. However the 2 weeks we worked in the school went extremely well, and God powerfully touched many hearts and 979 students (including more than 100 adults studying at night) and 23 teachers accepted Christ and committed their lives to Him. No matter what we have to go through, it is always worth it to have the joy and privilege of joining God in what He is doing.

March 18, 2010

Sao Mateus Area Of Sao Paulo

We spoke in a school in the Sao Mateus area of Sao Paulo this week and last week, which is a heavily populated and very poor area. Here are some photos of the area. The cow you see in the 1st photo is not in the country, he was in the middle of the favela (slum).

March 12, 2010


Here are some photos of sunsets we took recently. The first group of photos were taken in Sao Paulo, and the next group in Santos.

March 10, 2010

First School Of The Year

On Monday and Tuesday mornings we spoke in a school in the Sao Mateus area of Sao Paulo. This area in the East Zone of Sao Paulo is a very poor area, and there are many problems of violence, drugs, alcoholism, physical abuse in families,... We worked with Igreja Batista IV Centenario (Pastor Haroldo) in the school, which has students in the 1st grade through 8th grade. We spoke in the morning period to 3rd & 4th graders, and also to 7th and 8th graders. Next week we will return to the school to finish speaking to the night period on Monday night, and then on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon. We had a great time with the students at the school, and God moved in a powerful way. Over 450 students and 12 teachers accepted Christ in the 2 days we spoke. This trip was also an opportunity to see some friends of ours in the Sao Paulo area, which was fun.

Our group at the school
Some of the students in between classesNancy and her team, including interpreter AlessandroInterpreter Elaine and I sharing ChristStudents in one of the classes

March 5, 2010

The Key To Success In Ministry

" I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to." - Acts 13:22

"In everything he did he had success, because the Lord was with him."
- I Samuel 18:14

What is the key to success in serving the Lord ? Is it education ? Experience ? Training ? Creativity ? Biblical knowledge ? Sincerity ? Something else ? All of these things are important, but if you study God's Word you will see that one thing is far more important than anything else. God Himself is THE source of success; that is success in terms of eternal fruit that brings glory to God. And if God is the source of success, then our relationship with Him becomes the most important part of our lives. Walking closely with God is by far the most important key to experiencing His power and victory and success in ministry. Like Jesus said, without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). We need to continually work on our fellowship and relationship with the Lord, not just on our ministry for Him. Having a passion for God and for having close fellowship is vital.

In the ministry of reaching those who are without Christ and making true disciples, God and His power are everything. Without Him we are powerless to do anything, and we will never experience success and victories in winning people for Jesus. When we try to do God's work and share the Gospel of Jesus in our own abilities, or with clever or convincing speech, or with clever strategies, or by using human wisdom, we will fail. HE is our success; our fruitfulness; our power; our competence; our ability; our victory:

"Such confidence is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. HE has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant..." - 2 Corinthians 3:4-6

"The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord." - Acts 11:21

March 3, 2010

Igreja Batista Ponta da Praia

We have begun to work with 6 churches so far in Santos, and we were invited to sing and preach in Igreja Batista Ponta da Praia this past Sunday. Unfortunately Nancy was not able to sing because we were sick last week and her voice was still not well enough to sing by Sunday night. We very much enjoyed our time at the church, and enjoyed getting to know some of the people after the service. The church is led by Pastor Ezequias, and it is a good church with many young people. We will be working with them to share Christ in their community, and we will be speaking in a school near the church in June.

God touched many people through His word in the service, and the people responded well to the message and challenge to actively join God in His work by sharing Christ with others. At the end of the service I shared the Good News of Jesus and 13 people accepted Christ as their Lord & Savior and committed their lives to Him. We praise God for what He is doing here.

part of the church's worship team
during the worship portion of the servicePr. Ezequias, Alyne, and Isome of the people during the serviceSpeaking & sharing Christ with interpreter Alyne