November 29, 2010

Primeira Igreja Batista Cubatão

We have recently started to work with Pastor Joel and Primeira Igreja Batista Cubatão to help them to share the Good News of Jesus with people in their community. We will be having a People Sharing Jesus seminar the next couple of Sunday mornings, to encourage and teach the church member how to effectively and powerfully share Jesus with others. We also have scheduled our Qualify Of Life project in a school near the church for March 2011, and we will be working with the church there as well as in other schools in the future. 

Last night I had the privilege of preaching in the church, and I used the opportunity to encourage and challenge all of the members to allow God to place His desire and passion to reach lost people and to help them to have a restore relationship with Him. I also share the Gospel at the end of the service and 3 people received Christ as their Lord and Savior and committed their lives to Him. What a great privilege it is to join God in His kingdom work, and to help others to have peace with God and eternal life.

Pr. Joel, interpreter Amanda, and I
some of the people in last night's service

Interpreter Amanda and I sharing Jesus at the end of the service

November 25, 2010

"Mais Educacao" Program In Guaruja

Yesterday we had the privilege of speaking in the "Mais Educacao" (it means More Education) program in the municipal school EM 1 de Maio. The school is located in a very poor area in the city of Guaruja. The program was implemented by the city education department to encourage more students to get a good education. I spoke in the morning session, and Nancy spoke in the afternoon session. We used our "Quality Of Life" speech that we use in schools, where we speak about how to have a good quality of life and a good future. We speak about how they need to take care of 3 parts of their lives - Body, Soul, and Spiritual Life. We are able to talk in the schools about God's love and His plan for their lives, and we also are able to share a clear and detailed presentation of the Gospel. We are able to talk in detail about sin and separation from God, about the cross and how Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for our sins, and also how we must repent & turn from our sins and back to God, and that we need to put our faith & confidence in Jesus and what He did on the cross, and that we need to commit our lives to Him as our Lord & Savior. We are very happy that in the end 92 students, 5 teachers, and the school coordinator accepted Christ and committed their lives to Him. After we spoke we encouraged the students to learn English if they can, because they will have more opportunities and a better chance to have a good future if they speak English. Many companies in Brazil need people who can speak English because business is much more of a global market these days. Another great thing that happened was that the teachers and the school coordinator liked our project so much that we have scheduled some dates in May 2011 to return to the school and speak in all of the classes (they have over 2000 students). This will be a great opportunity for us.

 speaking in the morning session with interpreter Rebeca

 some of the students (5th-8th grades) in the afternoon session
Nancy and interpreter Rebeca speaking in the afternoon session

November 24, 2010

Speaking At A Municipal School In Santos

On Monday and Tuesday we worked with Igreja Batista do Horto in a municipal school near the church. The school is for students from 1st grade through 5th grade, and is located in a fairly poor area of Santos. As is often the case when we are sharing Christ in the schools, we had several problems and complications during the event. One problem that arose was because the pastor started talking in one of the classes about his church, and this is not allowed here in public schools. There is a law that says you cannot speak about a specific religion, or church, or denomination in a public school classroom. When the principal found out that he talked about his church in a class, she was pretty upset. Fortunately she let us continue, although she wasn't very nice about it. On the 2nd day one of our interpretors didn't show up, and when Nancy called her she said she thought it was another day. Fortunately she left work for awhile and came and helped us, because we would not have been able to finish without her. Even though these types of problems and complications happen alot to us, in the end God  always seems to work everything out for His glory. The students and teachers and some of the other school leaders loved the project, and we think that is why the principal let us continue. We praise God that 349 students and 5 teachers accepted Christ and committed their lives to Him.

November 16, 2010

Brazil Photos

Because Brazil is a country with tropical weather, it has a great variety of plants, flowers, animals, reptiles, insects,... Here are some photos of some of the beautiful tropical butterflies you can find in Brazil.

November 13, 2010

Missions Conference In Sao Vicente

Last night we went to a Missions Conference at Primeira Igreja Batista Sao Vicente which is being put on by the National Missions Dept. of the Brazilian Baptist Convention. The conference is one of 24 that they are having this year all across Brazil. The goal and hope of the conferences is the awakening of the Brazilian church, and to raise awareness of the urgent need for more missionaries and for more people to be involved in the most important work of sharing the Good News of Jesus across Brazil (and to other parts of the world).

One of the great works of God that was highlighted last night is the project in "Crackolandia", a drug infested area near downtown Sao Paulo. The area is a very dark and oppressed area where drug use is rampant, and where thousands of addicts and homeless people live. The Baptist Convention has a mission work there and God is doing great things and miracles in the hearts and lives of people there. There were several testimonies last night of drug addicts, thieves, and kidnappers that were living in the streets in Crackolandia, using drugs every day, until they met Jesus and received Him as their Lord & Savior. They have been freed from drugs and lives of crime, and many are now serving in the mission that helped them to know Christ. God is mightily at work in this world, performing miracles, changing lives, healing and freeing people from all sorts of terrible things, and bringing them into a restored personal relationship with Him. The One True Living God is awesome !

November 11, 2010

Sharing Jesus In A School In Guaruja

This week we spoke in the state school EE Lamia, which is located in a fairly poor area of Guaruja and is for students in the 1st to 4th grades. We worked with Pastor Sisteval and Igreja Batista Getsemani in the school, and the church participation was excellent. They had 5-6 people with us each day and they were a big help. The school is interested in receiving more help from the church for the students and their families, and they will be having a meeting to discuss how the church can help. There are also several teachers at the school that we met that are Christians and hopefully God will use them also to help & guide the new believers. God did a great work in preparing many hearts to hear the Gospel, and we praise God that 288 students and 6 teachers accepted Christ and committed their lives to Him.

November 7, 2010

Is Evangelism Just For A Few "Gifted" People ?

In many churches today there are very few people who are participating in God's work of reaching out to others with His love and with the Good News of Jesus. Many Christians today think that only those who have the gift of evangelism need to share the Gospel with others, and that they have a different gift so they are serving in another area of the church. There are others who feel that the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20 is only for people God anoints as apostles, and that the commission and command that Jesus gave is not for every Christian. 

If you look at many churches today, you will see maybe the pastor (and maybe not) and some leaders and a small group of members that are actively sharing the Good News of Jesus with others. I emphasize the word "actively" because evangelism ought to be a lifestyle and not a series of special events that the church puts on every once in awhile. It is a lifestyle of having a close relationship with Jesus, and in the context of this close relationship with Him we seek to become more and more like Him, and we seek to please the One we love. It is a lifestyle of offering our lives to Him as a living sacrifice, and a lifestyle of seeking His heart & will above our own. When we walk closely with the Lord we learn that His passion and desire is for all men to be saved (I Timothy 2:4) and for all to come to repentance and a knowledge of the truth (2 Peter 3:9), and through His grace He places the same desire and passion into us. When Jesus touches and changes a person's heart and places His love and His passion for lost people into that heart, there will be no problem in getting that person to love others and to actively & lovingly share the Good News with others.

 Is the church today what God wants it to be ? How does the church today compare to the church in the Bible, particularly the early church in the book of Acts ? The early church in Acts is considered the model of what the church is to be like. In Matthew 4:19 Jesus says "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." In order to truly follow Jesus we must be "fishers of men" - people who activiely share Christ with others in their daily lives. In many churches today there is alot of talk about sharing the Good News of Christ with others and of making disciples. It seems that many churches talk more about the Great Commission than actually do it. How many people in the church are being true to Jesus and being fishers of men ? Some people think that Jesus was only addressing the apostles in Matthew 4:19 and Matthew 28:18-20, and this work is only for the "professionals" or for apostles or for the gifted ones.

There are some very interesting verses in Acts chapter 8 about the church. Acts 8:1 tells us that a great persecution broke out against the church, and that everyone except the apostles were scattered to other places in Judea and Samaria. The apostles, the main leaders of the church, remained in Jerusalem, and everyone else in the church was scattered. If this were a modern day church, it would be the pastors and the staff that remained in Jerusalem, and the regular ordinary people of the church were the ones scattered. Acts 8:4 tells us "Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went." In the church of the Bible, it is God's design and plan for everyone in the church to share the Good News of Christ with others, not just the pastors or the staff members or the missionaries or the apostles. In most churches today only a hand full of people are true "fishers of men" that actively share Christ with others in their daily lives ("wherever they go"). With regards to the Great Commission it seems the church is falling far short of God's design for the church shown in the Bible.

November 6, 2010

Jogos Abertos In Santos

Santos is hosting a large sporting event known as Jogos Abertos between November 1-15. It is a large Olympic type sporting event with 15,000 athletes representing 250 cities from the state of Sao Paulo in Brazil. The athletes represent their city's teams and compete in 34 different sports, including soccer, swimming, boxing, judo, biking, volleyball,  basketball, and many others. The soccer legend Pele, who is from Santos, lit the flame during the opening ceremony. 

There is a group of evangelical Christians from various denominations and cities that are serving during the games to reach out to people with God's love and to share the Good News of Jesus. The group is known as CBE (Coalizao Brasileira de Esportes , which means Brazilian Sports Coalition), and they are the same group that went to South Africa during the World Cup this year. In the future they will be doing various outreach acitivites during the World Cup 2014, which will be in Brazil, and also during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. We are going to try to see if we can help them out during the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.

November 1, 2010

Brazil Elects It's 1st Woman President

Yesterday was the 2nd vote this year to elect Brazil's president, and the woman known as Dilma was elected as Brazil's first ever woman president. She is aligned with the current president's (known as "Lula") political party, and she will serve 4 years. There was a 2nd vote because in the first vote a few weeks ago between all of the presidential candidates no one had over 50% of the vote, so the top 2 were placed in a 2nd vote. Dilma won 56% of the vote.