Project: Equipe da Esperança (Hope Team)

21 Dec 2011

One of the projects that I visited is the "Hope Team" that visits and gives support to the patients and families in the hospital.

The Volunteers at the Santa Casa Hospital have a Mission statement that says:

Mission: to promote the volunteer action in looking after the patient in the Santa Casa Hospital and their relatives, to contribute with the process of humanizing the hospital ambience/ environment.

Since 11 September 1993.

Equipe da Esperança is an organisation that started 18 years ago and has about 80 volunteers from all sorts of professional backgrounds that dedicate their time as volunteers in the hospital for 3 hours once a week.

Equipe da Esperança is not a Christian organization but part of its volunteers are Christians. They offer not only their time to the project like every other volunteer, but they use this opportunity to share the love of Jesus to the people that they connect to in the hospital.

The patients usually come from Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia. They have all sorts of illnesses and need all sorts of treatments that are offered in this hospital. The volunteers can offer support, love, attention, prayers, and whatever else they are able to help.

The way in which they help is:

  • Receiving the families and attending the needs of the patients,
  • Visiting different patients in all areas in the hospital,
  • Giving support to the mothers in the maternity area,
  • Playing and singing in all areas in the hospital,
  • Making crafts, telling stories, playing games, presentations with clowns,
  • Providing pumper day with hairdressing and make up,
  • Collecting donations and distributing them to patients in need, etc.

 

They have a room where they keep all materials, clothing, and donations such as nappies, tooth paste, tooth brush, shampoo, soap, and other basics to be given to the patients who do not have enough money to buy such products.

I had the privilege to talk to Mercedes Tavares who is the president of the organization at the moment. She is a lovely Christian lady who has such love for Jesus and other people that she dedicates her time to share her love with people in need at the hospital.

She also teaches the chaplaincy course in church (my sister Marina and my brother-in-law Gustavo graduated last month from this course). In the organization Mercedes’ role is to make sure that all volunteers are offering all kinds of support to all families and that the partnership with the hospital can continue. In the course offered in the church her role is to teach Christians how to give spiritual support to the lost and to encourage people to maintain themselves strong in their faith when the situation is of suffering, loss, grieve, illness, etc.

The day of my visit I followed the team who organised a Christmas celebration to the mothers who just gave birth to their babies and for many reasons the babies had complications and had to be kept in the hospital for further treatments.

There were 7 mothers with their new born babies, the one who has been there the longest has been living there for the last 5 months. The mums have to live in the hospital, they do not go back home, their chair is next to their babies’ beds. All of them stay in the same room and they become a little family to each other. The volunteers visit them regularly, pray together, talk about life and Jesus, help them to keep strong as they suffer because of the unknown situation of their babies. It was an honour to participate of their first Christmas since they gave birth to their little angels. It was an emotional day for all of us.

The volunteers raised funds to buy presents for the mums and the babies. There was finger food, drinks and chocolate cake to celebrate Christmas.

Mercedes gave a message of Christmas and encouragement to each mother. We exchanged presents and all of us gave a message from God to each baby.

I also visited the area where they offer psychiatric treatment. The volunteers also visit the patients and their families weekly. Once a month they offer a pamper day, they offer manicure, pedicure, hairdresser, make-up and at the end of the day they have a celebration where every patient present themselves after the makeover.

I saw photos of the event and I could see some of the patients.

Until 2 years ago the hospital did not have a chaplaincy Christian program to offer to the patients. The programs were focus on financial support, preventing illnesses, social care, etc.

The chaplaincy program started 2 years ago and it has been a blessing to the patients and to the people who work in the hospital because the Christian volunteers not only work in each area of support, but also in the spiritual assistance to patients.

Equipe da Esperança finished the year 2011 with 12 programs in the hospital. Some of the programs are:

Celebrating Life – support for mothers giving birth, for mothers with babies with complications and their families

Hope Circle – visiting patients receiving psychiatric treatment

Telling Stories – visiting each patient to tell them a short story, to bring hope and a smile to them in such a hard time

Friendly Word – visiting each patient to sing and play music, to bring magazines, to talk to them and their families

Clowns and music – visiting children who are sick in the hospital to play games, talk, tell a story, etc

Chaplaincy – Christians who visit the patients to pray, give spiritual support, talk about Jesus, read the Bible together, give a word of hope and encouragement.

Friendly shoulder – offering support to families in the waiting area of the Intensive Care

Visit time – offering support to families in the time of visit

Emergency – offering support to the people arriving every minute in the emergency

Raising funds market – the volunteers produce goods to be sold in the market in the main hall of the hospital. The purpose of this is to raise funds to buy basic products to give to families in need. With the money raised they can buy nappies, hygiene products, baby clothes and any other basic necessity products.

But there are still many needs and work to do.  Every 2 years the leadership needs to be changed. Mercedes has been praying for her succession to be a blessing from God to the project.

She will still be involved with all the programs but someone else needs to get the role of director for the next 2 years.

Equipe da Esperança is not a Christian organization but it is offering spiritual support because of Mercedes’ hard work and influence. Depending on the new director the programs might be changed and maybe the spiritual support won’t continue.

We must pray that God will raise a good leader who will continue the good work and will expand even more the support to all patients in the hospital, its doctors, nurses, families, workers, etc.

They have a list of 80 volunteers but only a few of them are actively giving their 3 hours a week every week.  To be considered a volunteer a person can give maximum of 3 hours a week in an organization. If the person spends more time than this he or she is no longer considered volunteer and payment must be made for work done. They need people who can give time to the programs, if each volunteer can give 3 hours a week they will have a good team in the hospital. But what is happening is that many start the work and then they can’t make it anymore, or they are too busy, or circumstances change. The few volunteers who can give their time to the programs have to cover for others who are not able to participate.

They need more Christians who are willing to volunteer there so the chaplaincy program can expand to attend more areas of the hospital. With the growth of number of Christian volunteers the Christian presence in the hospital will grow and the program will be kept.

There are many who are willing to give support to the sick in the hospital but not many of those are Christians which means that support is coming from the world instead of from Jesus. 

Participating of a day of work there I noticed that it is not hard to do this work. I spoke to some of the volunteers and they love this work, they love the people, they are happy to give something that they have to the ones who are suffering.

My opinion is that if you love Jesus you love his people. And you can’t help answering Jesus’ call to serve him in serving others in need. I don’t think we can call ourselves Christians if all we do is to attend church once a week. We can’t keep this gift from Jesus to ourselves, there are many people suffering without him and these people won’t hear about him if we don’t tell them.

 It would be really nice to see people leaving their comfort zone behind and stepping into faith and service to God. Many will die without being reconciled to God. It is our call to make Jesus known to all people.

I pray that God will raise people who are servants and who love Jesus to take on this work in the hospital. If people could do this work full time as missionaries the impact in the hospital would be even greater and many would hear the name of Jesus and praise him forever.

Please pray for the leadership, for the relationship between Equipe da Esperança and the hospital, for the 12 programs to continue and grow, for each volunteer, for each patient and their families, and for God to raise missionaries who can work there full time to make Jesus known in that place.

I loved seeing the work they do there and my heart feels the pain and suffering of the people who do not know Jesus yet. This ministry is a great opportunity to reach out to the lost and to share our love for the Lord Jesus with others.

If you are interested in knowing more about this ministry and opportunities 

please contact me by leaving a comment on the blog.

God bless you.

Feliz Navidad from Peru!

19 Dec 2011

Feliz Navidad! I'm not sure what it means, but it's on all the signs around here! As American missionaries in Peru, we have an eclectic mix of traditions. One has to be careful not to offend the Peruvian Christians. We don't have a Christmas tree, since some of the local believers point out its pagan origens. Yet our church has two, one in the front and one in the back! Despite the unapproving stares of some Peruvians when they visit our house, we do have a nativity set (complete with llama), as that really portrays the whole reason we celebrate. But even with it, there is the struggle between the 'early baby in the manger' faction and the 'put the baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas Day' faction. We've opted for a compromise. Baby Jesus is in the manger, but hidden by swaddling clothes until Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve we will have fondue and eat Panetón, a light fruitcake very popular in Peru. A good loaf costs a day's wages for some, yet almost everyone buys them. May your traditions be fun and remind you of the real 'Reason for the Season'! Serving with you, Allen & Amy ps. In October, we made a plea for more support, and we are glad to report that our support is back up to SIM's requirements. Thanks so much!

Moving house

16 Dec 2011

Just to let you know we are in the full process of renovating and moving house with all the ups and downs you can imagine !

Our ministry work continues but on a reduced level. We are very thankful for the great help given by several of our church members, impressed by their endurance and patience, ashamed by our lack of physical condition (we have been living with muscle stiffness for over a month!!) and looking forward to being settled. It won't be finished before Christmas and will probably take the whole of January to get into working order. However, we are praying that this new manse will be a valuable tool for all the pastors in the future as well as a well-adapted family home.

The Lord be praised for all the material wealth we have available to us and pray we will use it wisely and for His service.

Presenting in Spanish

14 Dec 2011

David gave a presentation on the weekend to about 30 people at a web developers conference in Lima. Most were full-time developers and some were university students. The aim was to invite people to volunteer to assist with the MissionsHub.org project - something David has been working on in his spare time. The challenge for David was to give this 45min presentation in Spanish. Here's the story...

I woke up on the morning of the presentation feeling anxious. I had slept about 4.5hrs - I had stayed up until 2am going over the talk. My Bible reading that morning was a huge encouragement - it felt like a miracle. The passage that came up was Exodus 4:10-12 where Moses was explaining to God that he wasn't good with words. God tells Moses "Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say". This was exactly what I needed to hear.

I was relaxed when I gave the talk. I had Fernando standing next to me, ready to clarify when my Spanish was confusing. The great news is that after the talk 6 people wanted to join the team and 16 wanted more info. They are a talented group and we look forward to demonstrating what this community of Peruvian developers can do.

In my intro I mentioned that as a Christian, a follower of Jesus, I was willing to go where God wanted me to go. This was the reason I left my job and came to Peru to serve with University Students. I was very encouraged by another Christian who took up on this in his presentation and shared the forgiveness he had in Jesus.

Here's one thing we've already achieved - a quick win. Fernando, who heads this community of developers, helped to configure a Content Delivery Network (CDN) for the MissionsHub.org site. So images and other large files from the website are copied to servers in key locations around the world using a free service. This helps to make the website to load faster - whereever you are in the world. [Update 22/12/2011 - The CDN is improving performance in most countries but it has actually slowed the performance in Australia. We will investigate our options].

Please pray:

  • thank God for those who have helped - especially my team from my previous work who helped get this started
  • thank God for this opportunity to make friendships
  • thank God for the opportunity to work in Spanish
  • that this project will bring this web developer community closer together and that it will give glory to God
     

Férias na Bahia

11 Dec 2011

Eu e o U-Don passamos uma semana de férias na Bahia com minha família pois minha irmã mais velha está morando em Salvador.

Fomos à várias praias lindas e a temperatura quente de verão estava perfeita para que a gente aproveitasse o mar.

Salvador conta muito da história do Brasil como colônia portuguesa. A cidade ainda preserva construções da época da colônia com arquitetura portuguesa. O povo é uma mistura de raças que nos lembra da história de como e porque os portugueses trouxeram os africanos para o Brasil.

Nós visitamos o Pelourinho e achamos muito lindo. O U-Don pediu para eu tirar foto dos prédios antigos para mostrar como eles ainda têm a mesma fachada desde a época da construção.

Para chegar ao Pelourinho nós pegamos o elevador Lacerda que liga a cidade baixa à cidade alta (custa 15 centavos por pessoa). A vista lá de cima é linda!

No Pelourinho nós visitamos uma das igrejas católicas mais antigas do Brasil que foi construída pelos portugueses. Foi interessante aprender como o catolicismo foi introduzido ao Brasil pois até hoje essa é a maior religião do país.

A igreja por dentro tem todo acabamento em ouro (ouro retirado do próprio Brasil).

Nós visitamos o museu dentro da igreja católica e aprendemos mais sobre a história dos santos e o simbolismo das imagens.

O Pelourinho é cheio de pequenas casinhas coloridas que costumavam ser a cidade onde moravam os portugueses e hoje são lojinhas para turistas.

Nós não podíamos ir embora sem tirar foto com uma das baianas vestida com as roupas típicas.

Nós fomos ao Museu da Cidade onde pudemos ver várias artes, incluindo os bonecos que representam os orixás da religião Umbanda. A religião africana trazida pelos escravos na época da colonização influenciou a religião no Brasil. Até hoje muitos praticam sincretismo religioso incluindo Candomblé e Umbanda em suas práticas.

As estátuas têm tamanho humano e estão vestidas com as roupas típicas de cada orixá. Existe uma plaquinha com explicação de cada nome, o que eles fazem, quais objetos usam, etc.

Embora Salvador tenha tanta história da cultura e religião africana, a Bahia não é o estado com maior número de seguidores das religiões Candomblé e Umbanda. A Bahia é o estado brasileiro com o maior número de pessoas que não seguem religião nenhuma ou que não praticam a religião que professam seguir.

Nós fomos ao Mercado Modelo onde você encontra todo tipo de lembrancinhas que imaginar.

Fora a imersão cultural do Pelourinho nós também fomos à várias praias.

O U-Don pegou um siri na praia – como sempre.

E de noite nós fomos comer caranguejo.

Nós adoramos passar uma semana com nossa sobrinha.

E com minha mãe e irmãs.

Nós fomos ao Projeto Tamar de proteção das tartarugas marinhas. O programa deles é muito legal e vale a pena conhecer.

Nós aprendemos a respeito da vida da tartaruga e como eles estão as protegendo da extinção.

 

Ao final da apresentação nós presenciamos a abertura dos ninhos e solta das tartaruguinhas na areia ao caminho do mar. Foi emocionante ver as tartaruguinhas andando em direção à água e nadando no rasinho da praia. A esperança é que elas sobrevivam no mar pois a estatística é de que entre 1000 ovos apenas 2 tartarugas atingem a idade adulta.

 

Agora nós voltamos de ferias da Bahia. O U-Don já está de volta em casa em Sydney e eu fico no Brasil até o final de janeiro. Eu estarei participando de vários ministérios com a igreja local.

 

Favor orar pelo povo de Salvador por causa do sincretismo religioso que se tornou parte da fé brasileira. As pessoas nem reconhecem a armadilha do inimigo que os escraviza nas práticas ocultas e controla a vida deles.

Favor orar:

- para que eu aproveite o resto da minha viagem no Brasil,

- para que eu aprenda muito com o ministério e missões brasileiras,

- para que eu possa me preparar para a minha função com a SIM em mobilização para missões em Sydney,

- para que eu seja transformada por Deus enquanto eu sirvo aos outros ao meu redor.

Favor orar para que o U-Don se acostume novamente com a vida normal e emprego em
Sydney.

Para que ele se lembre diariamente que Deus está com ele sempre.

Para que Deus nos dê força nesse momento que estaremos separados um do outro.

Nos despedimos agora mas logo logo você receberá mais notícias nossas. Deus o abençoe.

Holidays in Bahia – Brazil

10 Dec 2011

U-Don and I spent a week in Bahia on holidays with my family.

The capital of Bahia is called Salvador and it is the city where my older sister lives.

There are many beautiful beaches over there and the hot weather was perfect for us to stay in the water the whole day.

Salvador tells the history of Brazil as a Portuguese colony. The city still carries the Portuguese architecture from year 1500 when Brazil was colonised.

The people are a mix of races that remind us of their African descendents who were brought from Africa to Brazil as slaves to work in the land.

It was the relationship between the Portuguese and the Africans that gave us our traditional dish called Feijoada, a pork stew with black beans. The Portuguese land owners used to eat the best parts of the pig, but they used to give to the slaves only the bad parts (ears, nose, feet, tail, etc). The slaves created this dish with black beans and the unwanted parts of the pig, which is now one of the signature dishes of the Brazilian gastronomy.

We visited the old city called Pelourinho. U-Don wanted to take a picture of the old buildings to show how they look like – still the same since when they were built.

To go to the old city we have to take the lift to go up the hill (it costs 15 cents per person). The view from the top is beautiful!

In the old city we visited one of the first Catholic churches built in Brazil by the Portuguese. It was very interesting to see how the Roman Catholic Church was introduced in Brazil because up till today Brazil recognizes Catholicism as the national religion.

The church has its finishing touches in gold (gold that the Portuguese found in Brazil).

We went to a Catholic museum inside the church. There we learnt about the history of the saints and the meaning of their symbolic images.

We walked though the old streets of Pelourinho where there are little houses that used to be the town centre where the Portuguese used to live (and today they are shops).

We took a picture with one of the bahian ladies dressed in a traditional African dress that they used to wear during colonial times.

We went to an art museum where we learnt more about how the African religion influenced the Brazilian faith as well. (Catholicism was introduced by the Portuguese and Candomblé was introduced by the Africans).

The statues are human size, dressed up to represent each god. There is an explanation with each name, what they do, what weapons they use, etc.

Still today people worship these gods, they dress up like them, they order and offer sacrifices, and are followed by many people in Brazil. The mediums receive the spirits of the gods and people can consult them and order services from them. People order all sorts of services e.g. : to kill people, to receive power, to make people ill, to make people fall in love with someone, to destroy someone’s marriage, or whatever else people want. The payment to the gods is done in all sorts of ways: money, sacrifices, becoming a follower, becoming a medium, etc.

Salvador is the capital city of Bahia. Bahia is the number one state in Brazil for the number of people who do not attend any church or follow a religion. Even though Bahia is the state where the African religion started in Brazil there are 2 other states that have a higher number of followers of African cults and black magic.

We went to the markets where you can buy pretty much anything. Many items are related to black magic and have spiritual connotations so you must be careful to know what it means before buying something to bring home as a souvenir.

Besides the cultural immersion of the old city we also went to many beaches.

U-Don caught a baby crab on the beach – as usual.

And at night we ate a proper adult crab.

We loved spending time with my niece.

And with my mum and sisters.

We went to the project called Tamar that rescues and protect turtles. They have a very nice program to raise awareness and protection to the few turtles still left.

We learnt about how they breed, what they eat, who their predators are, how to protect them, and many other interesting facts.

 

At the end of the presentation they opened the nests in the sand to release the baby turtles in the ocean. It was quite emotional to see the little turtles fighting for their lives on the way to the water. We just hope that they will be able to survive because out of 1000 eggs only 2 will reach adult age.

 

We are now back from Salvador. U-Don is back home in Sydney and I will stay in Brazil until the end of January. I will be participating of many ministries with the local church.

 

Please pray for Salvador regarding the issues of many religions and the use of black magic, which has become so engrained into the Brazilian faith that people do not even recognize the devil’s trap.

Please pray:

  • that I will be able to make the most of my remaining time in Brazil,
  • that I will learn about their ministry and missions,
  • that I will be able to prepare myself for my new role with SIM (mobilization of missionaries in Sydney),
  • that I will be able to be transformed by God while I serve others around me.

 

Please pray that U-Don will settle back home and at work quickly. That he will know that God is with him all the time. That God will give us strength during the time that we will be away from each other.

We say our goodbyes for now but I will keep you guys updated with more postings.

 

Two encouraging developments

06 Dec 2011

Praise the Lord for Murielle, the neighbour of one of our church members, who has accepted Christ and joined our Tuesday morning group of prayers.

Praise the Lord also for Serge who is slowly coming back to God after a number of years 'in the wilderness'. Pray he will continue along this path and be enormously strengthened in his faith. Pray for a wise Christian man to accompany him.

So this is Christmas .....

06 Dec 2011

In France, Christmas is relatively low key. Because we live in a so-called secular country, there is not the same religious build up. Lovely decorations go up and town councils have swapped to economic light bulbs; shops have beautiful windows; some houses are now decorated and lit up at night. But where is Jesus ??

The 3 main churches in Lamastre (Catholic, Protestant and Evangelical, but note that we are talking about an average of 40 people at each church service in a town of 2600!!) have got together to organise a joint Christian book stall in an empty shop right in the centre of town. Perfect! Our ladies got together to decorate the store fronts and now there are angels, and shepherds, wise men, manger scenes and bibles everywhere! People have been very admiring. Books seem to be getting sold also.

Pray that this will make the average non-church goer think about God for a bit and get curious.

Our Christmas celebration will be Sunday 11th December. Our teens have a big role to play this year with a half-hour comedy play on "who is the central figure in the Nativity play?", a couple of dances, organizing our Primary-age kids into a dance. We have formed a choir with 2 songs: one modern French praise song and one traditional Christmas carol (Good Christian Men Rejoice! translated into French last century!)

The French don't have many of their own religious Christmas songs and you hear all sorts of versions of our Anglo-Saxon ones in shopping centres.

Can you believe that the only reason our church has a service on Christmas Day this year is because the 25th falls on a Sunday!

Most French follow the Catholic tradition of celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve. Heard of midnight mass?

Please pray that at this time people will respond to our invitations to our celebration and to Christ's invitation to enter into their lives.

Primeira semana no Brasil

03 Dec 2011

Nossa primeira semana no Brasil foi cheia de atividades com o ministério jovem da igreja.

O Pastor da Rede Teen nos levou para ver algumas das atividades para adolescentes na igreja e fora da igreja. Além das aulas de jiu-jitsu no Projeto IDE, ele também aulas de jiu-jitsu na igreja. Essa é uma grande oportunidade de alcançar pessoas para Jesus pois muitos começam apenas frequentando as aulas e com o passar do tempo acabam entrando em uma célula para estudo da Bíblia, vão ao culto e aceitam a Jesus como senhor e salvador.

O U-Don foi participar de uma das aulas para ver como é.

As aulas são divididas por idade e níveis. Alguns dos meninos até competem em campeonatos locais contra outras academias. Eles aprendem disciplina, respeito pelos outros, controle e até mesmo descobrem o quanto são valiosos como pessoas. Eles aprendem as técnicas do jiu-jitsu e como usar a força para a prática do esporte na luta e não para brigar. O Rafael ensina o valor da amizade e companheirismo assim como as técnicas para a luta. Os alunos são estimulados a construir um relacionamento amigo entre eles e inclusive entre os competidores.

E até mesmo quando eles participam de competições contra outras academias o time deles faz a diferença pois eles oram juntos no início da competição e mostram o amor e respeito pelos oponentes enquanto competem.

No final de cada aula eles oram em grupo para agradecer a Jesus pela oportunidade de estarem juntos ali aprendendo o esporte. Eles pedem para que tenham a oportunidade de mostrar o amor de Jesus para o mundo, sendo usados por Deus onde quer que eles vão.

Nossa oração é para que esse ministério continue a alcançar muitas crianças e adultos que não conhecem a Jesus ainda. uma grande oportunidade para fazer amizades e ajudar uns aos outros na caminhada de com Deus. Nós pedimos a Deus para abençoar o Rafael, Aurinho e outros professores para que eles sejam usados por Deus para abençoar a outros.

Mas a diversão não acabou !

Outra parte do ministério que participamos foi o culto para adolescentes que acontece toda quinta de noite. O culto é muito animado, tem dança, música, testemunhos, batismos, a palavra de Deus e muita oração.

O Rafael nos convidou para dar nosso testemunho durante o culto. Nós falamos um pouco a respeito de como era nossa vida antes de conhecer a Jesus, como nós entregamos nossa vida para Jesus e o que mudou de prá . Nós contamos a história de como nos conhecemos e o que Deus tem feito em nossas vidas.

 

Deus abençoou a igreja com a vinda do Rafael e o amor dele para que os adolescentes conheçam a Jesus. Nossa oração é para que esse ministério cresca ainda mais para alcançar muitos que ainda não conhecem a Jesus.

Foi uma noite abençoada e nós gostamos muito de participar de um culto tão legal.

E nós também tivemos o privilégio de participar da formatura do curso de capelania da minha irmã e cunhado. Os dois estudaram e se prepararam por 4 meses para atuar como voluntários na capelania hospitalar. Nós ficamos muito felizes de vê-los recebendo os certificados e de celebrar o final do curso e o começo de uma vida de serviço à Deus. Eles irão visitar pacientes em hospitais para levar uma palavra de Deus, uma oração, uma música, alguém para conversar, ou seja o que for que Deus pedir que eles façam.

Nossa oração é para que os alunos que receberam o certificado nessa formatura sejam instrumentos nas mãos de Deus para levar esperança e amor às pessoas que eles encontrarão nos hospitais. Para a Marina e o Gustavo oramos para que eles sirvam a Deus com todo o coração e que eles possam mostrar o amor de Jesus para muitos e serem transformados com essa experiência de serviço ao necessitado.

No final da semana nós fomos no casamento da Marina e Gustavo e foi uma bênção para todos nós. Muitos convidados não são cristãos e a palavra dada pelo Pastor com certeza tocou o coração de muitos. Nós adoramos o casamento e oramos para que os dois tenham uma vida abençoada juntos e que o relacioinamento deles seja um testemunho do amor de Deus na vida de outros.

Essa semana nós estamos de férias na Bahia com a família toda e mais fotos e aventuras serão incluídas nesse blog logo logo!

First week in Brazil

03 Dec 2011

Our first week in Brazil was full of commitments with the youth ministry of the church.

The Youth Pastor Rafael Fogaça brought us to see part of his ministry with the youth in the church and outside the church. Besides the jiu-jitsu classes to the disadvantaged kids in the suburbs, he also teaches jiu-jitsu in the church as a way to connect non-christians to the church. Many people join the classes because of the sport and then end up joining a Bible study group, start attending the youth service and accepting Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.

U-Don went to one of their classes to check it out.

 

The classes are divided by age and levels. Some of the guys even compete in the local competition against other gyms. They learn discipline, respect for others, self-control and discover how valuable there are in Jesus’ eyes. They learn proper jiu-jitsu techniques and how to apply their strength in a sporting context and not in a street fight. Rafael emphasises on the relationship building and bonding between the students.

And even when they participate in local competitions against other jiu-jitsu practicioners, their team is different because they pray at the start as a group and show love and respect for their competitors as they compete.

At the end of each class they pray as a group to thank Jesus for the opportunity to be together at that place and to learn the sport. They ask that they might use this opportunity to show Jesus’ love to the world and to be used by God wherever they go.

Our prayer is that this ministry will continue to reach out to so many kids and adults who do not know Jesus yet. There is a great opportunity to build relationships and encourage each other in their walk with God. We ask God to bless Rafael, Aurinho and other teachers so they will be used by Him to bless others.

But the fun was not finished yet!

The other ministry that we participated in was the youth service that happens every Thursday night. Their service is very exciting, there is dance, music, testimonies, baptisms, the word of God and a lot of prayer.

Rafael invited us to share our testimonies during the service. We spoke a little bit about who we were before knowing Jesus, how we gave our lives to Jesus and then what changed since. We told them about how U-Don and I met and what God has been doing in our lives.

God blessed the church with Rafael and his heart for the youth to know Jesus. We pray that this ministry will grow even more to reach out to many who still do not know Jesus.

It was a blessed night and we enjoyed being part of such a great service.

We also had the privilege of participating in my sister and my brother-in-law’s graduation from a chaplaincy course in the church. They both studied and prepared themselves for 4 months to be able to volunteer in hospital chaplaincy. We were happy to be there to see them receive their certificates and celebrate the end of the course but the beginning of a life of service to our Lord. They are looking forward to visiting patients in hospitals to bring them a Word from God, a prayer, some music, someone to talk to, or whatever else God asks them to do.

We pray for all students who just graduated from this course, that they will be used by God to bring hope and love to the sick that they will be in contact with at the hospitals. For Marina and Gustavo we pray that they will serve the Lord with all their heart and that they will be able to show Jesus’ love to many and be transformed by this experience of wholehearted service to the needy.

At the end of the week we had Marina and Gustavo’s wedding and it was a blessing to all of us. Many guests were non-christians and the word spoken by the pastor touched many hearts. We had a great time together and we pray that they will have a blessed life together and that their marriage will be a testimony of the love of God to others.

This week we are having holidays in Bahia with the whole family and more photos and adventures will be posted in this blog soon!

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