Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Brazil Trip 2014: Day 3

As you can see by the time of this post, today has been a long one to say the least!  Long and tiring, yes, but no less a blessing!

We got to spend the day traveling to and visiting with our two church plants outside the city of Porto Alegre in the coastal towns of Capão do Canoa and Torres.  Both of these ministries are led by men who faithfully serve their communities despite less than ideal circumstances.  Though the stories of their parishioners and neighborhood families are just as simultaneously challenging and inspirational as those we have encountered earlier this week, what has struck me most today has been the faithful work of the missionaries and their families in these towns.

Lindomar is our worker in Capão, and he has a vision for expanding his ministry in this town. Without any kind of formal Bible training or seminary education and having faced many difficulties with the building where the church is meeting, with raising teenage sons who are rebelling against the faith of his family, and with a lack of resources to do all he would like to do in the area, he presses on and works toward reaching his goals of seeing more people fed, more hearts reached with the Gospel, and more lives transformed with the love of Christ.  He is in the application process for a government program that supplies fruits and vegetables for organizations helping the needy.  He has an ongoing soccer ministry that reaches out to the neighborhood children and is reformatting the activities to involve the children's parents more so it becomes a family event.  He is in the planning stages for new programs that will spread the message of hope in the Lord to more people in the community.  His heart for his people is evident as he continues to dream big for the Kingdom!

Artênio is our missionary pastor in Torres.  He and his wife Lú have an evident love for the people of their community.  Tonight they held their weekly children's outreach where they have special activities and a meal for the children of the neighborhood.  Their work in Guarita (an area of Torres) is in a dangerous location, and they have had to relocate four times in the past two years because of the lack of safety or issues with their landlord.  But these things don't hinder the continuation of their ministry.  Just this morning Artênio was in the home of a couple in the community who have a unique story.  One evening last year Mercedes came home to find her husband Bento hanging by a rope in their shed.  She called for help and by the grace of God, Bento survived this suicide attempt and has since recovered.  However, this was his fifth unsuccessful attempt to take his own life.  When we visited their home tonight, he shared with us his struggle with believing the whole Bible and how he feels hindered when he tries to pray.  Though his wife has made a profession of faith, he struggles to accept Christ.  The spiritual warfare in this home is evident, and Artênio faithfully maintains a relationship with this family, being an example of the love of Christ!

This hardly begins to scratch the surface of these ministries in Capão and Torres, and the few short hours we got to spend at each location just aren't enough to encourage the pastors and their families the ways they deserve and to get to know the people in the communities like we want to.  But we pray that each family we visited, each child we hugged, and each home we walked by will be impacted by the ministries of Lindomar and Artêntio, these men of God with whom we are blessed to partner for the sake of the Gospel!

Pastor Magioli enjoying some chimarrão en route to Capão this morning

My sweet friends Jeisi (left) and Tracy (right)

Pastor never passes up a chance to play the guitar and sing, even if it's just the birthday song!

A quick walk by the beach!

This is in the neighborhood where our church in Capão is.

I can never get over the bare feet on these roads.

Lindomar and his wife Marilu

The mountains between Capão and Torres

Artênio and Lú, the workers in Torres

This is Bento, the man who has attempted suicide multiple times and now struggles to trust Christ for salvation.  Pray for the Lord to soften his heart and for the enemy's stronghold in his life to be released!

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