A recent report shows that the number of poor people in Brazil that live in favelas (slums) has increased dramatically in the last 10 years. In 2000 there were approx. 6.5 million people living in favelas in Brazil. In 2010 the number increased to 11.4 million. Despite Brazil's strong economic growth in the last few years, the number of poor people continues to grow. At the same time, the number of rich people in Brazil is growing as well, although not as quickly. Brazil is truly a place full of contradictions.
Rio de Janeiro leads the nation in the number of people living in favelas with nearly 1.4 million. That is 22% of the 6.3 million residents living in the city, which is a staggering number. Sao Paulo is the city with the 2nd largest population living in favelas with nearly 1.3 million.
One of the projects I have been working on lately is to update our website. I have updated most pages on our site now, and will probably finish with all of the pages by sometime this week. Please take a look and see what God is doing in this part of the world:
We had a great year in 2011, and we praise God for the privilege of joining Him in His Kingdom work. God is mightily at work here and all over the world, and it is an undeserved privilege to have the opportunity to be His servant. Here are some of the highlights of 2011:
* we spoke in 20 schools this year, and we saw God do great things in the hearts and lives of many students, teachers, and school leaders.
* I had the privilege of preaching in 11 churches this year, and in all we worked with & helped 14 churches to share Jesus in their communities through various events and projects. (we have now worked with approx. 30 churches in this area of Brazil known as the Baixada Santista).
* we had our 1st American church come to help us to share Christ, and we had a tremendous week in October where we spoke in 5 schools and visited various homes with a church to share Jesus. We had close to 2300 people that accepted Christ and committed their lives to Him that week.
* we had the privilege of helping some churches in their ministry to poor people, and we had the opportunity to share the Gospel during these events.
* we saw over 13,000 people accept Christ and commit their lives to Him this year.
* we had 2 People Sharing Jesus seminars in churches, to train pastors and members to powerfully and effectively share Jesus with others person-to-person.
* we had a great trip to the US in late June and early July, and we were able to see 2 of our sons and both of our families, along with many friends.
We are looking forward to 2012, and it promises to be a great year:
* we have already scheduled our Quality Of Life project in 10 schools in the first half of next year.
* we have 2 American churches confirmed to come to help us next year (1 in May and 1 in October), and there is a possibility of a 3rd church. This is a great blessing to us, and it allows us to be able to reach many more people for Jesus than we can by ourselves.
* we will be working with several new churches next year that we have not previously worked with.
It will be great to see what God will do in this upcoming year. We give Him all of the praise, glory, and honor. Without Him we can do nothing.
Here is a link to our December newsletter. Check out what God is doing in this part of the world. Thanks to all who have been faithfully praying for us, and for the people we are trying to reach for Jesus. Your prayers are very valuable and encouraging to us, and we very much appreciate them.
On Saturday night (Dec. 3) we had a great opportunity to share the Gospel. Igreja Batista Vila Nova Mariana, located in a very poor area of Sao Vicente, has a ministry called PEPI for poor children. They take care of about 50 pre-school children during the week, and they feed them as well as have pre-school classes and Bible studies for them. It is a good ministry designed to help and reach out to poor children and their families. Most of the children and families are unchurched.
Saturday night the church had the ministry Christmas party, and Pastor Andre invited us to come and share the message. We shared the same message that we use in the public schools, and in the end we gave a clear and detailed presentation of the Gospel. We praise God that 92 people accepted Christ and committed their lives to Him, most of whom were parents or adult relatives. We pray that God will continue to work in their hearts and lives, and help them to grow closer to Him and grow spiritually, and that they will get plugged into the church. After the message, the children put on a Christmas show for their parents and relatives, and they did a great job.
We returned late last night from our trip to Porto de Galinhas. We had a great trip, and it was good to get some much needed rest. One of the best attractions in Porto de Galinhas is the coral reef. During low tide you can take a boat ride out to the reef, where you can see several natural pools and thousands of tropical fish and other things. We enjoyed it so much that we went twice. The tropical fish are literally everywhere on the reef, and we have never seen anything like it. You can even feed the fish while you are there.
We have finished our events in the public schools for the year, and we are on vacation this week in the beautiful area known as Porto de Galinhas. It is located in the northeast part of Brazil, in the state of Pernambuco. Porto de Galinhas was voted to be one of the best beach areas in Brazil, and we can see why. Here are some photos.