I arrived in São Paulo, Brazil the 13 of Febuary to see a good friend of mine, Asafe Ribeiro de Morais, get married. Asafe has been one of my translators for nealry 8 years and a close friend. My own father, Archie Jordan, whose song "What a Difference You Made in My Life" became a huge hit in Brazil, spent time with and ministered in the church of His father, Pastor Vanderlei. Pastor Vanderlei passed away recently, and it was a great honor be able to attend my friend's wedding.
Out of three churches in São Paulo, I only had a translator for one of them. I started out preaching at "In the Name of Jesus Church" under Pastor Jose Carlos. I preached on the subject of "Walking like Jesus Walked" in Portuguese, then stayed after to pray and minister to the people.
Next, I preached in our sister church, "Casa de Jesus", in which many people who live in the slums were able to attend and hear my message. I also preached in the soup kitchen service they have in the neighboring slum named "The City of God". The people really appreciate that an American would take time to visit them, minister to them and learn their language.
Finally, I preached another sermon in Portuguese at Pastor Wladimir's Church, in eastern São Paulo. The worship there was incredible. Really, all the churches I preached at had great worship.
This is what struck me the most in São Paulo - the power of true worship. Two of the missionaries that stayed in the same base, Amanda, and Katia, influenced me one night to go here a two hour worship at a local church. After, being stopped and interrogated by the police and patted down to see if I had drugs, we made our way into the IMOSP church in central São Paulo. During the worship I noticed a few people who appeared completely lost in the presence of God. I asked two of them what they were doing. They both replied, "It is a lifestyle of needing the presence of Christ". This really convicted me. I realize how little emphasis I had been placing on this, and how important it was.
Next, I left for the desert to visit the Iris Ministries base at the city of Acuãu under the leadership of Pastor Wellington. I thought it was a bit strange at first to have so many missionaries in the middle of the God forsaken, blistering hot desert of Brazil. But, then I saw how these people operated. These missionaries will never have the fame of saving thousands of people in one big conference, because there are only 12,000 people in a 100 mile radius. But, these missionaries have sacrificed so much to live among the forgotten people of Brasil, all of whom loved to have us visit with them in their homes. I also encountered a bus driver named Janilson whom we had lead to Christ a few months back in another city.
I traveled with several of the missionaries by truck and motorcycle through the backwood dirt roads into the outlying communities. Every house welcomed us generously with coffee and the people were very hospitable, asking us to return anytime we could. After the visits, many of these people, including one 74 year old woman, would walk hours to the nearest church service the missionaries held in the evening. Many of the people have come to the Lord, and there is such a pure spirit, free of religious effort.
These new converts in the desert are grateful for freindships and especially for the chance to know Jesus Christ, who gives them a new reason to live and a new hope. The suicide rate in this area is very high, because if the desert does not receive enough rain during the rain season, then the people lose their animals and plants and have nothing to live on.
This trip made me realize, that whatever God puts in our heart and calls us to do, we need to do it, even if it looks odd to some people. Not everyone has a call to live in the desert and preach, but we each do have a call God has given to us.
Thank you everyone again for your prayers and support.