Joshua Prior and myself began the trip preaching and ministering in the favelas of Heliopolis and the City of God in São Paulo, Brazil. It is good to see spiritual growth of people living in such harsh conditions. We saw many of the same faces in the main church and soup kitchen where we minister. Some of these people are struggling hard with the temptations around them, while others are becoming more stable in the faith and experiencing a joy and reality that only the Spirit of Christ can bring.
I asked one of the children in the City of God what he enjoys most about his life. He responded that the only good thing in his favela was the soup kitchen church. Our sister church ‘Casa de Jesus’ has done a terrific job there. It’s been an honor to be a help in the City of God and Heliopolis. The women and children love having us there, and they are really touched that people would care about them enough to come from a far away country and spend time with them. They especially enjoy hearing our testimonies of how Joshua and myself were freed from a life of struggle and substance abuse to having a life free of these vices because of what Christ has done for us.
Joshua and I were privileged to spend a day and a half at the beach with some clean air. We even took a little fishing trip with some of the elders from a church that we speak in called, “In the Name of Jesus Church.” We also spent time Pastor Dirceu Ribeiro who is the pastor of our sister church “Casa de Jesus” and helped out with one of the men he is mentoring.
When we returned to São Paulo, the pollution was terrible and we both became sick. However, we kept to our schedule and spoke at a youth meeting the next day. We also ministered to various people such as a young man who works in a coffee shop name Vinicius who has become a good friend of ours.
I spent the final week in São Paulo by myself as Joshua returned to the U.S. By this time I was very ill and my schedule was extremely busy, but it was incredible to see God use so much even in my illness. I returned to a church in East Sao Paulo led by Pastor Jadis. I didn’t know if I would have the energy to speak or not, but it turned out to be an incredible evening and God gave me a message on love that really affected the people and the Pastor. I will be returning to this church often.
A couple of nights later, I was invited to a new church led by Pastor Josue. I was expecting a translator, but I realized that I could speak English and Portuguese as good or better than some of my translators. So, I spoke the sermon in Portuguese and the people understood almost all of it. Afterwards, I was ready to go back to my place but the pastor wanted me to stay and continue ministering. Over 100 people came up for prayer. I prayed rather quickly for each one, but I noticed that something was happening to the people when I prayed for them. I began to ask them individually if they had felt anything happened during prayer, and some of them responded that pain had had in their bodies such as headaches, pain in their knees and other pains were lessening and going away.
Being sick myself, I was shocked to see how the Holy Spirit was touching people. One woman I pray for told me that she had lost 40% or 60% of her hearing. She said when I pray for her something left her ear. I snapped my fingers to see if she could hear any better and she screamed and said she could hear perfectly. I was truly shocked.
My final weekend I spoke at a seminar that was held at the church “In the name of Jesus” led by Pastor Jose Carlos. I taught three times on the theme of “Walking in a New Life”. I focused on accepting our weakness and His strength. I shared my testimony of how I try to be strong in my life with my own strength but felt time after time until I learned how to cry out to Christ.
This is one of the best trips I've ever had to Brazil. I’ve been nine times now. Currently there are eight churches inviting me to speak, more churches that I have time to speak at. I learned as Paul states in II Corinthians 12:9 – His strength is perfected in my weakness. Every time I spoke, except one time in which I was extremely ill at the soup kitchen, I was full of energy and it was such a joy to see God using me to touch so many people. And it really didn’t matter whether it was a larger or smaller church where I was speaking, because there was so much joy and life everywhere I visited.
Thank you all for your support and prayers. We couldn’t do this without help.