May 31, 2011

Violence In Schools

There is a growing trend of violence in public schools in Brazil, and unfortunately things seem to be getting worse. The tragic shooting in a school in Rio de Janeiro in April was by far the worst example, and this was Brazil's first ever mass killing in a school. There is a growing trend of bullying in the public schools, as well as fighting and other incidents.

In the last month alone in Santos, there have been 4 incidents of bullying, fights, or other types of problems in the local newspaper. Bullying is becoming a serious problem in the schools, and this could lead to other larger incidents later on. In a municipal school that we will be speaking in next month, a 14 year old girl was nearly injured when another girl put a small "bomb" in her backpack and it exploded. Her books and school materials were destroyed, but fortunately she was not injured.

Many students here come from broken homes, and there are many problems in the families such as abuse, or drugs, or alcoholism,... The schools have their hands full, and many are open to receiving help from the outside. One of the churches we work with has a new program to try to help with the bullying problem. We are hoping and praying that as we introduce students to Jesus through our "Qualidade De Vida" (Quality Of Life) project, that He will bring spiritual and emotional healing, and that He will make a great difference in their lives, and in the schools, and in the communities. There is great hope in Jesus, and thankfully many students and people here are open to hearing the Gospel and to receiving Him as their Lord and Savior.

May 22, 2011

A Beautiful Weekend

Winter is coming to Brazil in June, but you would never know it this weekend in Santos. The weather was gorgeous, and it gave us the opportunity to take several long walks and take some pictures this weekend. The red sculpture in the first 2 photos is a monument from Japan commemorating Japanese immigrants to Brazil.

May 20, 2011

A Great Week In Santos

This week we spoke in the EM Cidade de Santos municipal school in Santos, which is for students in 1st to 8th grades. They also have classes at night for adults. We worked with Igreja Batista Centenario, which is led by Pastor Luis. One of our interpreters, Regina, who is a member of the church, helped to organize helpers from the church. We almost lost this good opportunity to do our project in the school, because we originally scheduled it with them last November and they had a different principal then. When we called in early April to confirm with the school, we learned that they had a new principal and leadership team, so we needed to get their approval again. Fortunately they agreed to let us do the project. Once again God moved in a great way and prepared many hearts before our visits. During our 4 days in the school 850 students and 8 teachers accepted Christ. We praise God for the joy and privilege of allowing us to join Him in His Kingdom work.

May 16, 2011

A Neighborhood In São Vicente

Last week we spoke in the EM Jacob Andrade municipal school in São Vicente. São Vicente is Brazil's oldest city, and was founded in 1532. There are some nice areas of  São Vicente, especially around the beaches, but the majority of the city is made up of poor to middle class neighborhoods and favelas (slums). Here are some photos of the area that we spoke in last week. This neighborhood is typical of many of the areas we minister in, and many Brazilians live in similar areas. There are many problems with crime, drugs, violence, prostitution,... in the favelas and poor neighborhoods. However, there are many wonderful people there that are very humble, and very eager to hear about God's love.

May 14, 2011

Being A Servant

Below is an excellent devotion from the Experiencing God devotion. I believe many Christians, pastors, and churches have lost their reverance for Almighty God, and have forgotten that we are to be humble servants and that God is the Master. We are here to do whatever God wants us to, however He wants us to do it, and wherever He wants us to.

"The servant carries out the master’s will. The servant doesn’t tell the master what to do. The servant does not choose which tasks to perform for the master, nor does the servant suggest days or times when it would be convenient to serve the master. The servant’s function is to follow instructions. The master, on the other hand, gives directions. The master does not tell the servant to develop a vision that will guide the master. The master is the one with the vision; the servant’s task is to help fulfill the master’s purposes.

We are the servants; God is the Master. We tend to try to reverse this! God’s revelation of Himself, His purposes, and His ways depends directly upon our obedience. He may not reveal today His intentions for the next five years, but He will tell us what our next step should be. As we respond to God’s revelation, He will accomplish what He desires, and He will be the One who receives the glory. Our fulfillment comes from serving our master.

The world will encourage you to strive for positions of authority and power. God wants you to take the role of a servant. As God’s servant you should have no other agenda than to be obedient to whatever He tells you. God does not need you to dream great dreams for your life, your family, your business, or your church. He simply asks for obedience. He has plans that would dwarf yours in comparison (Eph. 3:20)."

May 11, 2011

Reaching Students & Teachers For Jesus

We had our Qualidade De Vida (Quality Of Life) outreach project in the municipal school EM Jacob Andrade in São Vicente on Monday and Tuesday. We worked with Capela Calvario church, which is located near the school. Pastor Celso and Pastor Chris (from Germany) lead the church, and each of them helped as our interpreters in the school, as did a few more people from the church. The school is located in a poor favela area of São Vicente, and has students from 1st to 4th grades. The participation of Capela Calvario was great, and we had 8 people from the church with us on Monday morning, and 6 more on Tuesday afternoon. We praise God for the good participation of the church, and for going ahead of us and preparing many hearts. 335 students, 6 teachers, and the Vice Principal accepted Christ and committed their lives to Him. The school leaders loved the project, and they want us to come back and speak to the parents at a future parents meeting. This will be a good opportunity to reach some families for Jesus. The school also is interested in receiving more help from the church, which is what we always pray and hope for.

May 9, 2011

Brazil Photos

Here are some miscellaneous photos we have taken of various tropical plants found in Brazil.

May 3, 2011

Big Waves In Santos

 There were some large waves today in Santos, due to a weather system off the coast of Brazil. The waves caused some flooding on the beach road in an area known as Ponta da Praia, and also caused some minor damage to a breaker wall separating the sea from the beach road. It is very rare to have waves large enough to cause flooding on the beach road in Santos.