We worked with Igreja Peniel in a large municipal school in Cubatao this week. The school is for students from 1st to 9th grades, and they have night classes for adults also. The participation of the church was very good, and they sent 5 or 6 people each day to help, including Pastor Roberto. We had to rearrange the schedule as the week went on because of changes in the school schedule &/or schedule conflicts, which is very common here. This creates more work for us because we have to reorganize interpreters and people to help us, and it can be frustrating, but it is what it is and we have to deal with it often here. Also, we have to go back one morning in November because 11 of the classes were out on the day we spoke in the morning period.
God touched and prepared many hearts of the students and teachers and school leaders, and many joyfully listened to the message and received Christ. 861 students, 16 teachers, and the Vice Principal accepted Christ and committed their lives to Him. We also had some opportunities to talk about the church privately with some of the students, which is what we always try to do if possible. We are not permitted to talk about a specific church in the classrooms, so we talk about how they need a good church to help them to grow in their new relationship with Jesus and to help them in their lives, and we also tell them that they can talk to us privately if they need help to find a good church. Also, we praise God that the school recommended us to many other municipal schools in Cubatao.
September 30, 2011
September 24, 2011
Today we helped Primeira Igreja Batista São Vicente put on a community service event at a school in the bairro of Vila Margardia, which is a very poor community in the city of São Vicente. The church provided services such as counselors, psychologists, eye doctors, haircuts, food, clothes,... for poor people, and the turnout was very good. We had the privilege to speak to 2 groups of people during the event, and we are thankful for the opportunity to help others and to share the Good News of Jesus with them. We praise God that over 300 people were ministered to in various ways to meet their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, and that 8 adults and 36 children accepted Christ and committed their lives to Him.
September 20, 2011
I have stated several times in our blog that my least favorite thing to do in Brazil is drive. I used to love driving, but now I genuinely dislike it ... here in Brazil. It is very stressful, due to the huge quantities of bad drivers here and their bad driving habits. The majority of Brazilian drivers do not have any respect for other drivers or for the rules.
Today we read in a local newspaper that there were 10,200+ car accidents in Santos in 2010, which has a population of 500,000 people. That is a very large number of accidents for a city of 500,000 people, and it just confirms what we already knew - it is a tough place to drive. Driving in other parts of Brazil is difficult and stressful as well; I think it is worse in Sao Paulo because there are many bad drivers and also they are very aggressive drivers, which is a bad combination. Here are some statistics:
* there were 2000+ vehicle accidents per 100,000 residents last year in Santos
* there were 500 vehicle accidents per 100,000 residents in New York City
* there are approx. 20 traffic fatalities per 100,000 residents annually in Brazil
* there are approx. 12 traffic fatalities per 100,000 residents in the US
September 17, 2011
This past week we worked with Igreja Batista Jd. Casqueiro in the municipal school UME Nobrega, which is located in the Jardim Casqueiro bairro (neighborhood) in the city of Cubatao. The participation of the church was good, and they had 3 or 4 people helping us every day. The school has students from the 5th grade to high school, and also has night classes for adults. We originally had a different school in the same bairro scheduled, but they have to reschedule for next year. Thankfully God gave us another good opportunity. Many of the students live in a favela (slum) known as Vila de Pescadores, so many of them come from poor families. God touched and prepared many hearts to hear the Gospel, and 721 students (including more than 100 adults studying at night) and 11 teachers accepted Christ and committed their hearts to Him. One teacher was very emotional as Nancy was sharing Jesus in her class, and she prayed to receive Christ and commit her life to Him. Afterwards, she threw away her cigarettes in the trash, in front of her students in the class (she is in the 3rd picture from the top).
September 16, 2011
Late yesterday afternoon there was a huge accident involving 270 cars or trucks on one of the highways between the coastal area where we live and Sao Paulo. In between our city Santos and Sao Paulo, there is a large mountain range. You have to climb the mountain range to get up to Sao Paulo, which is about an hour and a half away. On many days there is fog near the top of the ascent, and yesterday the fog was very dense and visibility was poor. Combine the dense fog, poor visibility, and the horrible driving habits of many of the people here, and you end up with a huge 270 car pileup. One person was killed and 51 were injured, including 2 who are in serious condition. Driving here is very stressful, since there are many poor drivers who have no respect for the rules and for other drivers.
Last night we spoke in a school in Cubatao, which is located at the base of the mountain range, in between Santos and Sao Paulo. Normally it takes 20 or 25 minutes to arrive at the school, but last night the traffic was terrible because of the accident, and it took us 1 1/2 hour to get there. Even though there are 2 highways that go up the mountain range between Santos and Sao Paulo, and even though the accident was located 15 miles away from where we were, it affected traffic all the way to Santos.
September 15, 2011
When most people think of the word "worship" they think of a worship service at church, or of music or a song. These are obviously outward signs of worshiping God, but the Bible defines worship altogether differently than what most people think of. Romans 12:1 shows us that true worship, the kind that God desires, is to be a living sacrifice. True worship is more about being than "doing worship".
True worship involves surrendering your life to God, and offering everything to Him as a living sacrifice - all that you are, all that you have and will have in the future, and all that you do. True worship is a heartfelt demonstration of your love and devotion and gratitude to God, in the form of an offering and a commitment to Him. It is much more than attending a worship service once or twice a week ... it is a 24 hours per day / 7 days per week lifestyle of being a living sacrifice or offering to God.
The Bible shows us in Romans 12:2 that when we live this lifestyle of surrender and devotion to God, we will be able to know God's perfect will. When we are fully surrendered to Him and fully devoted to Him, then God will reveal His good and perfect will to us. And we will be the type of devoted servants that He can use in great ways in His Kingdom work.
September 9, 2011
We have recently begun to work with this church located in the Centro (downtown) area of the city of Cubatão. The church is led by Pastor Roberto, and we will be working with them in a large municipal school in Cubatão the last week of September. As is normally the case, I preached in the church before the school outreach project, to encourage all members of the church to participate in God's Kingdom work of seeking outside of the church to reach people for Jesus. The church seemed to receive the message enthusiastically. At the end of the service we shared the Gospel and 3 people accepted Christ and committed their lives to Him. Praise God.
Pr. Roberto and I
Some of the people in the worship service
Interpreter Patricia and I preaching God's word & sharing Christ
September 7, 2011
Here in Brazil September 7 is Independence Day. Brazilians are celebrating their independence from Portugal, and Sept. 7, 1822 is regarded as the official day. On this day in 1822 Dom Pedro I made the famous statement "Independence or Death", and below is a famous painting in Brazil depicting Dom Pedro 's act of declaring Brazil's independence from Portugal, whose king was Dom Pedro's father.
September 3, 2011
Below is a link to our Newsletter for September 2011. Take a look at the great things God is doing in the Santos area of Brazil:
We give God all the glory and honor and praise for the great things He is doing.