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Archive for July, 2012

“And they will even pull out your fingernails!” Statements like these are used to keep kids away from any Evangelical Christians who come to Juazeiro do Norte, in northeast Brazil. It is no wonder Rakelly, the young Brazilian woman who is church planting there, was not too optimistic about how people would respond to the work team which went there last week. But as the love of Jesus flowed out from this mix of Brazilians and Americans,  many lives were touched for eternity.

Getting the recently purchased church property ready to be used was one of the main objectives of the group. The small church plant has been meeting on a tiny porch for the past 8 months. Then they wanted to evangelize, but how could that be done in a place so inhospitable?

With barely any tools for construction, they began to knock down old walls on the property with huge rocks which were lying around. It was as if at the same time they were also breaking down the barriers of everyone they came in contact with the same earnestness. First the construction store owner began to see that these Christians were nothing to be afraid of. The several hired brick layers worked side by side and noticed how hardworking and kind they all were.  A restaurant owner nearby decided it would be okay to send her little daughter to all of the children’s programs that were held. The iron worker, who made the front gate, dropped by later to listen in on the preaching. By the time the team left many newly made friends were weeping at the departure.

The team used various creative techniques to break down these barriers. Hudson, our son, fascinated youth and children with some crazy hip hop moves.

The church held a street party with drama, fire-breathing and preaching. Bible studies were given in homes where people were curious about the Gospel.

After a week of faithfully sowing the seeds of the Gospel 13 people had come to know Jesus as their personal savior!

The final evening saw that little freshly constructed church building full to capacity with many standing in the back and looking in through the windows. The joy of the Lord was present in the singing and in the testimonies. Three had even been baptized the day before with clear evidence of the saving work of Christ.

You know when people ask us whether we would have the work team or the money, we will take the work team every time. Money may be able to build buildings, but people build the body of Christ.

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Game On!

Our seminary water pump broke this week so there is no water on campus.  Some very tense relational difficulties have surfaced.  Strange health issues have appeared.  But now I know why.  In a short phone call to Tom this afternoon I heard astonishing news.  In a place where the soil for the gospel is very hard God is working mighty miracles. Seven people have accepted Christ in the last two days! Continue to pray for the work team of Brazilians and Americans reaching out to people in Juazeiro do Norte,  the land of the thorny tree.

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What would you say if you knew that pilgrims traveled thousands of miles every year to pray to a cement statue? What would you say if you knew that it wasn’t just a few people but millions? What would you say if you knew there was little Evangelical presence in this place?

What would you say if you knew that a group of Wesleyans decided to go there and tell as many as would listen that they did not need to ask the help of a beloved priest long dead, but they could talk to an alive Jesus?

Nine people left Monday from Manaus to fly to Fortaleza, in northeast Brasil where they will train and strategize with the Wesleyan churches there about how to reach this city of Juazeiro do Norte, a day’s drive away.

 The name  “Juazeiro” comes from a native tree that is extremely thorny.The word is that Evangelicals are not welcome in Juazeiro do Norte, somewhat reflective of the plant where it gets its name.

Rakelly, a young woman of 24 years left her comfortable life in Fortaleza a year ago to begin a extremely difficult ministry in this city, to plant a church in a hostile, prikly environment. She has won several families to the Lord already. Pray for this team

which Tom is leading (and Hudson is also a part of), as they storm Juazeiro do Norte with the overflowing love of Jesus Christ. They hope to help build the church both physically and spiritually. The team needs spiritual cover so if you are reading this would you pray for this courageous group that doors to the gospel would open and that bristly hearts would receive the love of Christ.

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