September 26, 2010

Coastal Area Near Santos

We have lived in Santos now for nearly 1 year, and we have enjoyed living and serving here. It is a beautiful area, with many beaches, nearby mountains, beautiful scenery,... Santos is one of several cities in the coastal area known as the "Baixada Santista". The area also includes the cities of Guaruja, Cubatao, Sao Vicente, Praia Grande, and others. Below is a satellite map view of the area.

September 20, 2010

Igreja Batista Getsemani In Guarujá

We recently have started working with Igreja Batista Getsemani in Guarujá to share Christ in their community. It is a small church led by Pastor Sisteval, and is located in a poor area of Guarujá known as Vicente de Carvalho. We will be working in a school with the church in early November. Pastor Sisteval invite me to preach in his church, and last night I had the privilege to do so. My interpreter was Alex Dias, who is a member of a nearby church, Primeira Igreja Batista Itapema. At the end of the service I shared the Gospel and we praise God that 8 people accepted Christ and committed their lives to Him.

September 15, 2010

Guaruja School Event

We did our Quality Of Life project in the state school EE Marechal do Ar in Guaruja on Monday morning and we had a great time. God did some great things when we were there. We worked with Primeira Igreja Batista Itapema, which is located near the school. This was the first school we have worked with this church, and they did a great job helping us. They had 6 people from the church to help us, including one of our interpreters Laise. Ariel was our other interpreter for the day. We were originally scheduled to speak in the school 6 days (2 days for the morning period and 2 days each for the afternoon & night periods). However the coordinator for the night period cancelled the project for some reason, and the whole thing was almost cancelled for the other periods as well. It was only after we went and spoke to all of the teachers the week before the event that the school agreed to let us speak. There was a large spiritual battle in the school, and 2 or 3 of the teachers were fighting to not let us come in and speak about Jesus. Fortunately the majority of the teachers and leaders wanted it, and because we had the authorization of the department of education for the area we were able to do the project. We were going to only speak in 8 classes on Monday morning, but when we arrived they told us we had to finish the morning period that day (14 classes), and that we would have to reschedule the afternoon period for some other day late in the year because the government school leaders made some last minute surprise schedule changes. This happens quite a bit here in state schools in Brazil, and things are not as organized as we would like. All confusion aside, we had a great time in all of the classes, and the students and teachers were very receptive to hearing the gospel. We praise God that 369 students and 5 teachers accepted Christ, as did the coordinator and vice principal also.

September 13, 2010

The Harvest

"The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."  - Matthew 9:37-38

"I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields ! They are ripe for harvest."  - John 4:35

Jesus was speaking about the spiritual harvest in these verses. He spoke about a plentiful harvest, meaning that God had already done the work of touching and preparing the hearts of many people. Many people are ready to hear about Jesus, they are just waiting for someone to love them enough and care enough to share the wonderful news of Jesus with them. God is mightily at work all around us, touching and opening the hearts and minds of many people today, and He wants His church to join Him in the harvest work of sharing the Good News with those He has prepared, and helping them to have a personal relationship with Him through Christ. In John 5:17 Jesus said "My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I too am working." This is still true today. God is the same God today as He was when Jesus spoke these words over 2000 years ago. We need to always be seeking where God is at work, and then be ready to join Him. In John 4:35 above, Jesus said we need to open our eyes (our spiritual eyes), and see that the harvest is ripe and ready, thanks to God and His Holy Spirit. Many Christians are living their lives with closed spiritual eyes, unaware of God's activity all around them. They are blinded by the cares of the world, or by sin, or by being self-centered, or even by religion or by being too busy "serving God" at their church. May God open our spiritual eyes so that we may see how He is mightily at work, and how we can join Him in the great harvest He has already prepared. The harvest is ready ... are we ready ?

September 10, 2010

Your First Love

From the Experiencing God daily devotion:

Go and cry in the hearing of Jerusalem, saying, "Thus says the LORD: I remember you, The kindness of your youth, The love of your betrothal, When you went after Me in the wilderness, In a land not sown." 
(Jeremiah 2:2)

Even when our hearts grow cold toward God and our devotion to Him weakens, His love remains steadfast. We may forget God, but He remembers us. God was concerned because the people of Judah had allowed their hearts to drift far from Him. In a powerful moment, God shared His heart with His people, recalling what it was like when they first began loving Him. He remembered how they had loved Him, as a new bride loves her husband, with excitement and enthusiasm for the future. He recalled the kindness they had expressed as they willingly followed Him wherever He led them. God reminded them of the love they had once had for Him, so that the memory might rekindle feelings of devotion and their hearts might return to Him.
If you do not guard our heart, you will grow cold in your love for Christ. A time may come when He approaches you and reminds you what your relationship was once like. Do you recollect the joy that permeated your life when you first became a Christian? Do you recall the youthful commitments you made to Him, pledging to do anything He told you to do? Do you remember the thrill you experienced each time you came to understand a new dimension of His nature? Spiritual memory is important. You may not realize how far you have drifted from God until you contrast the love you are expressing to Him now with that of earlier days.
God has not changed. He is the same Person you gave your heart to when you became a Christian (Mal. 3:6–7). If your love for God is not as intense as it once was, return to Him. He will restore the intimate fellowship you once shared with Him.

September 7, 2010

Happy Independence Day Brasil

September 7 is Brazil's Independence Day. The Brazilian nation was born on September 7, 1822 when Prince Pedro declared, "By my blood, by my honor, and by God: I will make Brazil free." He later became Emperor of Brazil and won independence from the Portuguese. Independence Day of Brazil is celebrated with a military parade, air shows, fireworks, concerts and lots of family picnics and parties. Since this year's holiday falls on a Tuesday, people had a long 4 day weekend to celebrate. Approx. 400,000 cars from the capitol city of Sao Paulo came down to Santos and other nearby coastal cities. Many of them have returned early because it has been raining since Sunday. There was a parade scheduled for this morning on the beach road in Santos and students from 19 schools were scheduled to participate, but it has been cancelled because of bad weather.

September 6, 2010

Sports In Brazil

There is no doubt about what the main sport in Brazil is. Soccer (futebol) is king in Brazil. You see people playing everywhere, and they are very passionate about their favorite team. You always know when a pro game is going on, because there is alot of fireworks & noise. Santos FC is the team in our city, and they are having a very good year so far.

Other sports that are popular are basketball, volleyball and Formula 1 racing. On the beach in Santos you also see people playing tennis, a version of volleyball where they can't use their hands, and some others. On Brazilian tv you can see soccer from all over the world, and you can also find some NFL football, baseball, and basketball on cable. We have to watch college football (my personal favorite) and college basketball on the internet.

September 4, 2010

September 1, 2010

Outreach Event In Santos

This week we did our Quality Of Life project in a municipal school in Santos. The school is EMEF Auxiliadora, which is a school for students in 1st grade through 5th grade. This was our first school working with Igreja Batista Centenario, which is located close to the school. We spoke in 9 classes on Monday morning and in 9 more on Tuesday afternoon, and Andreia & Ludmilla helped each day as our interpreters.  The students, teachers, and school leaders were very grateful for our coming to help them, and we enjoyed our time with them very much. God did an unusually powerful work in the hearts of the teachers, and many received Christ and expressed interest in the church as well. We praise God that 339 students and 15 teachers accepted Christ and committed their lives to Him, and also that the school director Antonio expressed an interest to receive more help from the church for the families of the students. God is good.

some of the students during break time
Nancy & interpreter Andreia praying with students
one of the afternoon classes
Interpreter Ludmilla and I speaking in one of the classes
Nancy passing out "Livro Da Familia" to a class
Us, interpreters Andreia & Ludmilla, and the church team