Brazil - Fall - 2017
Joshua Prior and I set out for a big trip in Brazil. We began in the city of Sao Paulo, spending time with a group of youth from our sister church "Casa de Jesus". During our time, we played sports, took them out for pizza and spent much time praying and listening to them share about their lives. These amazing young guys and girls grew up and currently reside in the drug and gang infested slums of Sao Paulo. They see things every day many Americans never have to see in their entire lives. But they are so loving and caring, and strong in the gospel. Along with this, we preached at several churches and cell groups in the Sao Paulo area, and ministered to various individuals throughout the city.
After a week in Sao Paulo, Joshua and I, along with Pastor Dirceu, traveled to the Northern city of Fortaleza for an Iris Ministries missionary conference. During this time, we met many of the leaders and workers of Iris ministries who invited us to come and minister with them in several cities throughout Brazil. God gave us many words of wisdom and counsel for the various leaders and workers at the conference. Most of them are full time missionaries and have sacrificed nearly everything to be a long term missionary. They appreciate very much when others come to encourage them and assist them in their work. One of the highlights of this portion of the trip occurred when Joshua and I ministered to a man named Janilson who was a bus driver for the missionaries. I led him to Christ in Portuguese, and his face completely changed as he was asking Jesus into his heart. It was amazing to see such a rapid change.
I was alone during the last week of the trip in which I returned to Sao Paulo. God was speaking to my heart about continuing to reach out and love people, even when they rejected me. He reminded me of the passages concerning Him on the cross, how He loved even those who shook their heads at him and helped put him up there. I realize that the world mocks love as something weak, but Love is the very thing that makes us strong. When we are able to take up our own cross, then people will see the Love of Christ in us, and we will experience the power of His resurrected life.
Some of my best times were spent alone with the pastors and the friends I have made down in Brazil over the years. Now that I have a much firmer grasp on the language, I am able to really get to know these people and it has been a joy for me that I never could have imagined.
Thank you again everyone for your continued prayers, love, and support.