March 31, 2012
March 26, 2012
We have recently started working with Igreja Batista Cidade Ocian in Praia Grande to help them to share Jesus in their community. It is a very nice church that is growing steadily.The church is led by Pr. Eduardo, and he invited me to preach in the church. A member of the church, Carla, helped as my interpreter. Even though we can speak well in Portuguese, we always speak in English and use interpreters to translate into Portuguese, to be different and also to encourage people in the churches and schools to learn English. This would help them to have better opportunities in their lives, and to have a better chance to have a good job and a promising future.
I spoke a message to challenge and encourage every member of the church to participate in God's work and mission to seek and to save the lost. The Holy Spirit was moving in a powerful way last night, and many church members seemed to take the message to heart. At the end of the message we shared the Good News of a restored relationship with God through Jesus, and God moved in a powerful way and 16 people accepted Christ and committed their lives to Him.
Three of the people who accepted Christ were a couple and their daughter who were visiting the church for the 2nd time. Pastor Eduardo told me that they were "Spiritists", which is a religion or philosophy that many Brazilians follow. Spiritism is a belief in various spirit beings and in reincarnation, and is a mixture of philosophy, science, and moral beliefs. Apparently they had studied spiritism quite seriously for many years. God touched their hearts in a very powerful way and all of them accepted Christ and committed their lives to Him. Afterwards we got to meet them and chat with them for awhile. This morning they sent me an email, and they are very excited about their new restored relationship with God. They also said that their daughter wants to help us as an interpreter in our project in the schools. It is always great to see God powerfully working in the lives of others.
March 21, 2012
This week we worked with Primeira Igreja Batista Itapema in the state school EE Marcilio Dias, located near the church in Guarujá. It is a large school that has students from 5th grade through high school. The participation of the church was excellent every day we spoke in the school, and they had between 4 to 7 people each day to help us.
The 2 weeks leading up to our outreach event at the school were extremely difficult for us, and the oppression and spiritual warfare was very strong. We had many difficulties and problems in the days leading up to our outreach. It is all because we were going to share Jesus with a great number of students and teachers this week. In the past we have had some of our most difficult times in the days leading up to an opportunity to reach many people for Jesus.
2 Corinthians 2:14 is a great truth, and time after time we have seen God lead us victoriously through many difficulties and spiritual warfare. "Thanks be to God who always leads us victoriously in Christ...". God moved in a great way this week in the school, and many students and teachers were very receptive to hearing the Gospel, and to having God come into their lives to help and lead them. Close to 1200 people accepted Christ and committed their lives to Him, including 21 teachers. We praise God for leading us victoriously through the difficulties and spritiual warfare, and for giving us the joy and privilege of participating in His mission to seek and save the lost.
March 14, 2012
In my previous post I talked about how we got a 9 year extension on our permanent visa, as we still wait on the dual citizenship process. The day after we were at the Federal Police they called and asked for a document on our original investment in Brazil, which allowed us to get an investor type permanent visa. I told them that the company we invested in (a friend's business) was closed in 2009 and that we reinvested in some apartments that we rent out to make some income. They said that since the company we originally invested in was closed that we would not be able to get an extension, and would probably have to leave Brazil. Talk about a shock. We were told we had a 9 year extension on Monday, and then we have nothing.
I asked them if the new apartment investment would qualify, and they said they would need to call me back. This morning they called and told me that we need to bring some new documents there asap, and then they would consider it. After we took the documents this morning, we were told that they would give us a 6 month extension and then send the documents and the case to the capital Brasilia, where they would need to decide whether to extend our visa more or not. So we went from a 9 year extension to no extension, and then to a 6 month extension. Hopefully the dual citizenship process will be completed in these next 6 months, because the bureaucracy here will drive you crazy.
March 12, 2012
20 months ago we started the process to obtain dual citizenship, because we knew that in February 2012 our "permanent" visa was going to run out. For various reasons we were not going to be able to renew the "permanent" visa, which only is good for 5 years, so we went the dual citizenship route. Dual citizenship is also the most secure way to be able to stay in Brazil and continue to join in God's work here.
Any type of government process in Brazil is long and stressful, and typically ends up costing some good money because of all of the documents and fees you have to get. We had to provide 22 different kinds of documents for the dual citizenship, and most of them cost money and take alot of time to get.
Because the government is so slow here, they did not finish the dual citizenship on time, so today we had to go to the Federal Police in Santos to ask for a renewal of the permanent visa. We were told we had to bring 5 documents with us, which we did. After they reviewed these documents, we were told that we needed to go to our bank and pay a fee for the process, and then return with proof of payment. Fortunately our bank had a branch nearby and we did this fairly quickly. Before we returned to the Federal Police we got a call saying that we needed to go to a special document place and get an authenticated copy of a document, so we went and got that too before we returned. When we returned we were told that we needed to go back to the special document place and get another authenticated copy of something else, so we went and did that and returned. Then we were told that we needed to back to the bank and pay another fee and then return with the proof of payment.
So after 3 hours of running around and jumping through their hoops we finally were told that our visa was extended for 9 more years, praise God. Even though we were not able to get the renewal through normal channels, because the government was too slow in processing the dual citizenship we were able to get the 9 year visa extension. God is good !
March 8, 2012
This week we spoke 3 days in the municipal school EM Giusfredo Santini, which is for students from the 1st to 4th grades and adults studying at night. It is located in a poor area of the city of Guaruja. This was the 100th school that we have spoken at in Brazil, and it is amazing to look back at all of the opportunities that God has given us to share Jesus.
We worked with Igreja Batista Morrinhos, which is led by Pastor Valtecy. Even though it is a small church, the participation was excellent, and we had 7-8 people from the church every day to help us. It was one of the best turnouts from a church to date, and we praise God for them. It was a blessing to work with them and help them to share Jesus in the school. God moved in a great way, and 15 teachers and 604 students accepted Christ and committed their lives to Him, including 53 adult students studying at night. God is great !