Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"Bridges to Brazil"

“. . . As your days are so shall your strength be”  Deuteronomy 33:25

Three weeks ago today I left for one of the most incredible journeys of my life. I went with four of the most amazing people in the world, Bill Williams, Melissa Partch, Carlo Corral, and Justin Harrington for a 12 day trip into the Rain Forest of Brazil and to the state of Rodonia.  There we went first to the city of Vihleana and then to one of the indigenous people groups in Brazil called the Aikana Indians.  We went there with five primary objectives in mind.

  • conduct Bible classes for the children
  • encourage and equip the Aikana church leaders 
  • Host a community outreach in the village 
  • clean and repaint the Aikana Village church
  • Be a witnesses to anyone and everyone that God brings across our path in the village and along the way. 

Amazingly God gave us the strength to accomplish all of these things and more.  Carlo, along with Justin and Melissa taught the children. Carlo used his talents as a professional clown, not to mention his nose, to capture and hold the attention of children and adults who gathered for four days in the heat of the day and once in the morning to hear the parables of Jesus including the Good Samaritan, the lost Sheep, the parable of the soils and more.

Bill and I sought to use our teaching gifts to encourage individually and collectively the the Aikana village church leaders.  We preached four times in the village and once in the city of Vihleana, teaching on spiritual leadership, personal holiness, stewardship and evangelism.  We were also privileged to meet personally with the interpreters who are working to translate the Scripture into their own language.

Meanwhile Melissa worked with Ana and Pollyanna to assemble gift bags for every family with the gifts we had brought from Journey, including toothpaste, toothbrushes, flashlights, combs, school supplies.  They were distributed personally to each family including the tribe’s chief, on the day of the outreach. She also personally made friendship bracelets for all of the children which she distributed on our last day there.

Justin coordinated cleaning and painting the church.  It wasn’t as easy as we thought since the building was taller and we didn’t have a lot of ladders.  Nor were they the kind we were used to but rather hand made and heavy.  We also had to battle “Brazilian wasps” which had apparently made their home in the back wall of the church.  Nevertheless we were able to finish the project with the assistance of a number of men and women from the village.

Finally all of us sought to be a witness to anyone and everyone we met along the way, whether it was someone we sat next to on the plane or Avahaw, the school teacher we met in the village, we prayed that God would help us to open our mouth to share the Gospel.  In addition all of us visited each day in the homes of various Indians.  There we we got acquainted with the villagers and were introduced to their way of life including the way they hunt, farm, cure their food, make music, and more.

Like the apostle Paul, “we were delighted to share with them not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, 1 Thessalonians 2:8 . Thank you then for your prayers and for the financial support of so many that we might be able to be His witnesses, both in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth, Acts 1:8.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Post Election Reflections

“In this you greatly rejoice. . .” 1 Peter 1:6

Did your candidate win in Tuesday’s election.  Chances are If he did then you are pretty happy, but if he didn’t then chances are you’re pretty bummed.  Yet Peter said that there is something we can and should rejoice in, something that is not dependent upon the results of any election here on earth.  It is our salvation.  A salvation that is reserved in heaven for everyone who has put their faith in Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:4

Our rejoicing then is not dependent upon anything here on earth but rather upon the thing we have in heaven.  That’s because this world is not our home.  We are only alien and and strangers and the sooner we begin to live like that the happier and holier we’ll be. 1 Peter 2:11