Joshua Prior and myself had another amazing trip to the city of São Paulo. We spent time ministering to the youth, played soccer with them, and took them out for Brazilian hamburgers - which were actually pretty good. We challenged the youth in their relationship with Christ and listened to their stories of what God was doing in their lives, encouraging them to continue.
Joshua and I preached various sermons at three churches in the area, where I preached mostly in Portuguese as well as translated for Joshua. Joshua made a big impact on many people through his sermons as well as spending much time socializing with the people from church and other locals. We enjoy challenging people to look at God from a different perspective. Joshua often spoke of engaging the Kingdom of God within us and around us.
After ten days in Sao Paulo, I traveled alone to Acuãu, a city of 7,000 people in the rural, poverty stricken Northeast of Brazil. Once there, I was surprised to see just how well I could understand the people who lived in the rural areas who spoke a much different sounding Portuguese than I was accustomed to hearing. This is very important, because the local missionaries reach out to the communities by sending out small teams by motorcycle to the surrounding rural communities to simply visit and "shoot the bull" - talk about anything. And these missionaries have learned to roll with anything, because in the back country of Brazil not very much is off limits in terms of conversing. I have much respect for Wellington, the leader, and all the Iris Missionaries working under him who continuously reach out to these people in the middle of the desert.
The locals force fed me Cassava Root and Coffee - which was great. They invited me into their homes, let me ride their donkeys and walk around their farmsteads. I ended up preaching in three services in three different rural communities in one week. My sermons were mostly taken from John 14, in which I preached on Jesus as the way, not only for salvation, but to the Father's answer for every question in our lives. I was very convicted when I read John 14:4, "And you know the way to where I am going." It struck me that Christ Himself is the door, and is the path to every answer that we need. Through His Spirit we have our access to the Heavenly Father constantly.
I'm thankful I was able to impact people there, but for me, the simplicity of Jesus Christ among people who have so little brought me back into remembrance of my great need for Him. On one of my last days I had the privilege of bumping into a man on a motorcycle that Joshua and I led to the Christ two years ago. Thank you all again for your support and your prayers.