October 26, 2011

The Harvest Is Great

"Then he said to his disciples the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few."    Matthew 9:37
The harvest is plentiful ... These words spoken by Jesus are still very true here in Brazil, and in other parts of the world. God has prepared many hearts here, and many are ready for someone to tell them the Good News of Jesus Christ. God has gone ahead of his people, and has done the work of preparing and opening hearts. A great number of people are ready and willing to listen to someone tell them about God's love and salvation through Jesus ... they are waiting for someone to tell them how they can have peace with God, eternal life in heaven with Him, and a restored relationship with Him. They desire to have these things, thanks to the Holy Spirit's work in their hearts, but they do not know how to have them.

... but the workers are few. These words are unfortunately true also. Far too few Christians here are actively sharing Jesus with others in their daily lives, and they are completely missing God's activity in the hearts and lives of the people all around them. In many churches the pastor(s), some leaders, and a small group of church members are actively sharing Christ with others. Many are oblivious to the great harvest that is all around them. There is also a shortage of workers who are willing to do the important follow up work that is necessary to help new believers who accept Christ to grow in their relationship with Him, and to disciple them to become faithful & fruitful servants of Jesus. Sadly, many are too busy pursuing their own interests and doing church things that they are not doing the things that are most important to God ... reach lost people with the love and Good News of Christ, and then work hard to help them become faithful disciples and servants of His.

Our outreach work last week with 3 local churches and a team from the US once again showed that God has prepared a great harvest here. Many many people are seeking for God, and they know they need Him in their lives. They are ready, and they are waiting for us to tell them about God's love and Jesus. I pray that God will touch and convict and break more Christians' hearts, and that He will send more workers.

October 22, 2011

Americanos In Brazil - Final Day

Friday was the final day of the mission trip by 2nd Baptist Church Cedartown GA, and today the team is flying back to the US. We had a fantastic week of loving on people here and sharing the Good News of Jesus, and God did a great work in many hearts and lives. We first met at Primeira Igreja Batista Sao Vicente (First Baptist Church of Sao Vicente) and the team and Nancy and I had lunch with Pasotr Gilberto at a nearby restaurant. Then we went back to the church and we spoke in the Colegio Batista school next to the church, which is a private school run by the church. Even though it is run by the church, the majority of the students and their families do not attend a church. Joseph Mauldin shared the message to the students who are in the 1st through 5th grades, and their teachers, and a member of the church, Atila, was his interpreter. 57 of the students and 3 teachers accepted Christ and committed their lives to Him. Afterwards I asked them some questions about English, and we always encourage students in schools to learn English if they can, because it will help them to have more good opportunities later in their life.

After speaking at Colegio Batista we went up to Sao Paulo, and the team stayed at a hotel near the airport there on Friday night, because they were leaving early on Saturday morning and the airport is a 2 hour drive from Santos. Our friend Diego from Primeira Igreja Batista Sao Vicente helped out by driving 3 of the folks from GA in his car, and we took the rest in ours. On the way to the hotel we stopped at a really nice museum in the Ipiranga section of Sao Paulo called Museu Ipiranga, which was built in the late 1800's to commemorate the independence of Brazil. It is a beautiful palace that is filled with many items from the 1800's, and it is surrounded by beautiful gardens and fountains.

God did a great work during the 8 days we were all together, and we praise Him for allowing us the opportunity and privilege to join Him in what He is doing here. We spoke in 4 public schools and 1 private school during the week, and visited & spoke in 2 churches, visited various homes to share Jesus in Sao Vicente, and we also had "divine appointments" during the week to share Christ with numerous other people person-to-person. We praise God that 2295 people accepted Christ and committed their lives to Him, including 53 teachers, a vice principal, and various adults that study at night in the schools.

October 21, 2011

Americanos In Brazil - Day 7

On Thursday we worked with 2 churches (Capela Calvario and Primeira Igreja Batista Sao Vicente) in 2 state schools in Sao Vicente. First, all of us went to lunch with Pr. Celso and his wife and several members of Capela Calvario. We went to a typical Brazilian style buffet lunch restaurant, and we had great food and a great time. Then we all went to the school EE Armando Victorio Bei and spoke in 17 classes in the afternoon period. It went really great, and 343 students and 4 teachers accepted Christ and committed their lives to Him. Afterwards many students came up to the Americans and wanted to talk to them, so we stayed awhile.

Later at night we split up into 2 groups and some of us returned to EE Armando Victorio Bei and spoke in 17 more night classes for high school students. Our other group worked with Primeira Igreja Batista Sao Vicente in the school EE Enio Vilas Boas, and we spoke in 4 night classes for high school students. Once again many students wanted to meet the Americans and talk, so we stayed quite awhile afterwards. At EE Enio Vilas Boas we had 56 students and 1 teacher accept Christ and commit their lives to Him, and at EE Armando we had 347 students and 9 teachers.

At each school the leaders really loved the project, especially because we had 6 more Americans with us, and each recommended us to other schools in the area. EE Armando asked us if we could come back once a month to continue to help, and Nancy and I are not able to do more because we speak in many other schools and have many other projects, but we are going to try to get the church to start doing something with them as part of the important follow up work.

All in all it was a great day. We are all very tired because it has been a long and busy week, but it is hard to describe the joy that we all feel as a result of the things we have seen God do in the hearts and lives of so many people. Nancy and I personally have loved the time of fellowship, fun, and laughs that we have had this week with the folks from 2nd Baptist Church Cedartown GA, and we are looking forward to having them come back next year. We have 1 more day of activities on Friday, and then they will be leaving for home on Saturday morning.

October 20, 2011

Americanos In Brazil - Day 6

On Wednesday we had a very busy day, as we split into 2 main groups and visited 2 schools in Sao Vicente in the morning at the same time, and then 2 more schools at night in Santos. In the morning we worked with Capela Calvario in the state school EE Armando Victorio Bei in Sao Vicente, and also 1 group worked with Primeira Igreja Batista Sao Vicente in the state school EE Enio Vilas Boas. In both schools the project went great, and the students loved having Americans in their school, and they really enjoyed talking to the "gringos". The leaders of both schools really liked the project also, and they were very very appreciative of our help. In both schools some of the teachers and the school leaders were telling the students that our message was very important, and that they need God in their lives. Combined a total of 460 students and 10 teachers accepted Christ and committed their lives to Him in the morning period.

After these first 2 schools we all went to a small restaurant near the beach in Santos and had a nice lunch, and one of our interpreters Patricia joined us. We had Japanese food and seafood for lunch. Then another one of our interpreters, Rebeca, took some of the ladies out shopping for 2 hours. After resting for awhile, we all joined up again at the hotel at night and split into 2 groups again. 1 group spoke at the state school EE Visconde Sao Leopoldo in Santos (where we were Monday morning & afternoon), and another group spoke in the municipal school EM Therezinha (where we were on Tuesday morning & afternoon). At night both schools have adults studying to finish their middle or high school education. There were fewer students than normal on Wednesday night because the Santos soccer team had a game that night, and many people stay home to watch the game. We still had a great night, and combined 134 adult students and 8 teachers and a vice principal accepted Christ and committed their lives to Him.

One very wonderful thing that God did was at the school EM Therezinha at night. One of our 3 interpreters did not come, so we were 1 short. The teacher at the school who teaches some English classes volunteered to help, so she translated in 2 classes for us. In the first class she got very emotional during the speech, during the spiritual life part and in the prayer. After the class I asked her if she felt in her heart that she needed Jesus, and if she prayed too to receive Him and commit her life to Him, and she said that she very much felt that and yes she did pray and receive Christ. God is great !

After the schools at night we all went to a nearby restaurant and had a late night pizza snack. We had a great time of fun and fellowship, and a lot of laughs.