Before Ash Wednesday, here in Brazil, comes the holiday, Carnival. It is celebrated without restraint and means that all forms of immorality are practiced. I read once that AIDS is spread more during this weekend than any other time. Wisely the evangelical churches hold their youth or family camps outside of the city. This year we were invited to speak at a family camp in Boa Vista, 750 kilometers north of Manuas.
The road is improving but there were times when that was still a work in progress.
We pass over the equator so it is always fun to stop and soak in the amazing fact.
Boa Vista is on a plateau where it is dry and windy, so unlike Manaus which is nestled in the Amazon rainforest. But the weather was lovely and the terrain reminded us of Texas.
Tom and I spoke to around 50 campers about how to be a godly family in a world of changing values. We met underneath the cashew trees each morning and explored the Word together.
Our tent was conveniently located.
Gwendolyn slept in one of the dorms and absolutely loved it.
The evening sermons were out under the skies where we worshipped God together.
Gwendolyn had a blast doing a treasure hunt in the middle of the night as well as singing a solo in the talent show. We enjoyed having her with us. Hudson opted to stay in Manaus and attend the camp there. He also loves camping. He was thrilled to find a coral snake, a vine snake and some other lovely creatures.
We do have some prayer requests. Tom’s father passed away on Sunday. Tom will be traveling to the U.S. to be there for the memorial service. I am leading a missions trip with 8 Brazilian ladies to a small village up the Rio Negro next Saturday, March 3, where we will be doing outreach and SS training.
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“The demon had yellow spindly legs and when I caught sight of his face it had a duck-bill. It was hovering around one man’s hammock.” This is what Pastor Wilter saw as he stayed up all night praying for the sleeping men around him. He had always known spiritual warfare was real but now he saw it up close and it chilled him.
The next day in the freshness and light of an Amazon morning he called the young man out from the other adults who were attending one of the talks at the three day retreat at our Wesleyan campground. Pastor Wilter asked this young man if he had ever made a pact with the devil. The young man admitted that he had. This was just one of the acts in this man’s life that was keeping him from experiencing freedom and new life. With a group of Wesleyan pastors gathered around him they prayed for his deliverance and he was set free.
This is one story among many about the Spirit’s working to release people from their bondage during the recent Acampamento da Colheita (Harvest Retreat).
For three days the spiritual battle was intense for the hearts of men and women. The retreat had been covered with earnest prayer and meticulous planning for many months, knowing that attacks from the evil one would be fierce. Each of the churches in the Amazon district invited ten people who needed divine intervention in their lives. Ten people who had a deep spiritual need and who were willing to give a weekend to see what God could do. Many churches brought more so there were 230 people searching for God. And He came. And with His presence came cleansing, transformation, deliverance and forgiveness.
During one pointed talk early Saturday morning, on the need for salvation, seventy people flooded the front of the rustic tabernacle. Thirteen people also came forward who had grown cold in their walk with God and sought a renewing touch. And this was just the beginning. Talk after talk treated specific areas in the lives of the participants, ending with Tom’s message Sunday afternoon, on the need for the Spirit’s sanctifying work in the believer’s heart. All came forward yearning for Christ’s total rulership in their lives.
A tremendous celebration took place around the camp’s lake with around fifty people receiving baptism. One youth who had a shirt with a satanic symbol entered the water. It was quite powerful to see that young man, shirt and all, submit under the hands of a praying pastor, submerge into the water and come out with joy radiant on his face. Christ clearly the victor.
Although a decisive battle was won the skirmishes will continue. I think of Evandro, who I heard testify at church that evening. With tears freely flowing he shared how God changed his life radically. Thanks to so many of you who have prayed for souls to respond to His call, for a plentiful harvest. It is so exciting to see this kind of harvest knowing that it is only because of fervent praying and the faithful labor of His people.
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