Goodbye Brazil

A Quick Update from Pastor Adam

FullSizeRenderGoodbye Brazil. That is what we will be saying today. This morning we had some time to walk around and be tourists. It was interesting to walk around and just look at buildings and sites. The language no longer seemed foreign. We seemed to just blend in somehow. Some were no longer struggling with some basic conversational language. But, it just seemed natural to be there. Unlike the first day, there was no hesitation when trying to speak, or say good morning, thank you, etc.

As we rode the bus to lunch then the airport, I focused on the landscape. Rolling green hills, pockets of commercial buildings, sugar cane farms and houses. People going about their day working and providing for their family. It was only differeIMG_6924nt in location, but was no longer foreign to me. What some would look at and see as poor, dirty and unattractive, I was going to miss.

Somehow this culture and the people of Brazil had become my people. I care for them and want to help them. I want to see them come to know Christ as Savior, be disciples and grow in their faith. I want to see more chapels built, more voices raised in praise and I want to join them.

There is a song that I have been playing since before we left for Brazil. I have listened to it about 100 times during our trip. It just seems to fit. Below are the lyrics:

“Come Alive (Dry Bones)”

“Through the eyes of men it seems There’s so much we have lost As we look down the road Where all the prodigals have walked One by one The enemy has whispered lies And led them off as slaves

But we know that you are God Yours is the victory We know there is more to come That we may not yet see So with the faith you’ve given us We’ll step into the valley unafraid, yeah

As we call out to dry bones Come alive, come alive We call out to dead hearts Come alive, come alive Up out of the ashes Let us see an army rise We call out to dry bones, come alive

God of endless mercy God of unrelenting love Rescue every daughter Bring us back the wayward son And By your spirit breathe upon them Show the world that you alone can save You alone can save

As we call out to dry bones Come alive, come alive We call out to dead hearts Come alive, come alive Up out of the ashes Let us see an army rise We call out to dry bones come alive

So breathe, oh breath of God Now breathe, oh breath of God Breathe, oh breath of God Now breathe

Breathe, oh breath of God Now breathe, oh breath of God Breathe, oh breath of God, now breathe

As we call out to dry bones Come alive, come alive We call out to dead hearts Come alive, come alive Up out of the ashes Let us see an army rise We call out to dry bones come alive, yeah We call out to dry bones, come alive

Oh Come Alive!

13418945_10153707186787817_815045202369732493_nI feel like this song describes what God wants for Brazil, for America and for all people. He wants us to come alive. As we ministered to people, as we prayed with people, as we witnessed people come to Christ, one by one they were coming alive.

We have been dead for far too long. We have waited for something to happen never realizing that we are the something that needs to happen. We need to come alive. We need to rise from the ashes and come alive.

God is calling is to do something. To be bold I our faith and our witness. We are not to be ashamed of the Gospel. For it is God’s power for salvation and for those who believe. It brings life to the dry bones.

So, what now? That is the question I ponder as we travel home.

I can either take my experience in Brazil and put it in a frame as a nice memento to remember from time to time. Or, I can use it to remind myself each and every day what God has called me to do.

So, I will preach the word. I will be ready in season and out of season. I will preach His Gospel with boldness and certainty. I may not be popular, I may not be heard by all, but, I will be doing what God has called me to do. I will cry out to dry bones “come alive, come alive.”

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! -Ezekiel 37:4

 

 

Day of Jubilee

A Quick Update from Pastor Adam

13413175_10153718811962817_2061984607477259010_nThis is the day we have been working towards. Today, we would complete the new church building and hold a dedication service tonight. It was our hope that all the people we had invited and interacted with during the week would attend. It was our hope that the new chapel would be filled to overflowing as we celebrated the hard work of all involved, but most importantly, that we could visually see what God has done since we arrived on Monday.

As we approached the building that morning we could see the progress and how close we were to completion. The new floor had been installed that evening and the tile made a huge difference in the appearance of the sanctuary. While there was still a lot of work to complete, it was now in the realm of possible and believable.

13423879_10153718256772817_6095466480325071376_nAs I departed to begin street evangelism, the urgency was upon me. This was the last day. These were our last moments to tell people the good news. God put an urgency and a boldness upon us this morning, and it was evident. I believe that every person, but one, that we talked to this morning accepted Christ.

We also were able to make a final visit to the young man laid on the mattress and his family. It was sad to think that we would not be able to just “stop by” from this day forward, but it soon became obvious why we had to make a last visit. As Angie shared and ministered, God compelled her to share the Gospel. As she shared the Gospel, we all watched as a transformation came over the room. Hearts were opened and ready to receive. The entire family accepted Christ. It was a beautifully amazing moment that only God could have made possible.

As we closed our day of work, it was hard to believe that we had walked and talked with the people of Brazil for an entire week. The language barrier no longer bothered me. The difference in culture no longer bothered me nor did I even notice anymore. I no longer looked at them as different, but as a people that God loves and a people that God desires to know Him. 

13450277_10153718820162817_2631115653435250287_nIt is easy at this point to look back and think that I have not done enough. “If I could have only talked to one more person, or two more.” However, I have to firmly believe that I talked to every person God wanted me to. I have to firmly believe that each encounter was in His plan. That I have done what He called me to do here in Brazil for his season.

The dedication service was amazing. The Church was lit up, the sign was on the building, and it even had doors on the front entrance! The excitement was evident as we prepared for service. Pastor Andre just looked around at his new building, and I could feel the emotion that he was feeling. Because I also beloved that I was seeing a miracle before my eyes.

13407102_10153718814832817_1300210905521612405_nAs we joined together in song and praise, it was standing room only. We were able to present to them the keys to their new Church, and of course, an Oklahoma flag! There was laughter, there were tears, lots of hugs and handshakes. There was food, there was fellowship. But mostly, there was a connection that will always be there. This will be a city that will always be on my heart. This is a church and a pastor that will continually be in my prayers. First Baptist Church of Jardinopolis will be a place that I may always call “home” in Brazil. For it is here that I fell in love with the people of Brazil.

I do not know if I will ever be able to return, not only to Jardinopolis or Brazil. I do not know what God has planned as my family as I seek to find a church home to pastor. I do know what I have learned here in Brazil and what I have seen. I will trust God. I will trust Him in these next few months as we transition, I will trust Him to place us where we need to be. I will trust Him.

13445826_10201851700570389_3789043212923276649_nI would like to thank those who have covered this trip in prayer. Those who were able to contribute financially. Those who encouraged and supported me. I would like to thank those who were here with me. I learned something from each of you and we have formed a bond that will always be there.

I would like to thank my beautiful wife, who encouraged me. I think she had the hardest part of all. As she dropped me at the airport and said goodbye, even then she gave me a smile and said this is God’s plan. I thank you for your faith that encourages me each and every day. I love you. I miss you. And I will be home soon.

All Good Things…

A Quick Update from Pastor Adam

13406795_10153711413032817_7429698030894245742_nGood morning my love. I am up and ready for this last day of ministry in Brazil. I am happy to be closer to coming home, yet saddened by knowing we will leave tomorrow. This country and these people have written themselves on my heart. There is a great need here, just as there is everywhere.

If I leave tomorrow and never have the opportunity to return, the lessons I have learned here on Brazil will impact me and my ministry for the rest of my days. God has shown me His love for people, and His desire for them to know Him.

I think I will leave a piece of myself here. It will be a piece of insecurity, uncertainty and selfishness. Being here has changed me in a way that I am not sure I can describe. But what I do know is that it has given me an appreciation for what and who I am returning too. I love you and I cannot wait to see you.

About My Father’s Business

A Quick Update from Pastor Adam

13442183_10153715779147817_6285724954959883890_nAs the morning dawned I began to realize something. This would be our last full day of ministry and work here in Brazil. There seemed to be an urgency about today. A real sense and desire to be about our Father’s business.

As we gathered at the work site in the morning, the amount of work still to be done was evident, but not impossible. The building still needed paint inside and out and the roof needed completion. The electrical wire was run but not fully functional yet. The building had no windows or doors. Not impossible, but still a lot to do.

Again, we had different teams heading off in different directions. Today we would see a team go to four different schools and share the Gospel. They would be in contact with almost 1000 kids today alone. And, as always, God showed up and the results were amazing. One school that would not allow us to share the Gospel was opened and more than willing got allow a Gospel presentation.13474198_10208208336277725_2113823360_n

I set out in the morning with my friend David to walk the streets and share the Gospel with those we would encounter. We met two older ladies that at first seems very closed to the words of the Gospel. As I shared, I felt compelled to tell them that God had sent me over 4000 miles to tell her this one thing, “I love you.” We prayed together to receive Christ. She broke down during prayer and accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior.

We also had an amazing opportunity to for an unscheduled visit at a business. We met with a family, husband, wife and daughter. As we engaged in small talk, the mother said she wanted to hear about Jesus. David gave an amazing Gospel presentation that led all three of them to make a commitment to Christ as Savior.

We also had opportunities to pray with others and share the Gospel around the church.

13479559_10208206459270801_1978707047_nThose who stayed at the old church building spent the day sharing the Gospel. As I watch them share with those who come in, I just sit amazed at what God is doing.

Today we also had to say goodbye as some of the workers departed for the next project that they will be working on next week. Another church building in another town. Although I have not spent much time at the work site, as I watched them leave, I knew that we were getting closer to the day that we will depart and head home. It was a time of both celebration and sadness. Sad to see them leave, but excited that another church in another town will have their prayers answered when their building is completed.

As the afternoon came to a close, David and I walked to the construction site to lend what assistance we could at the close of the day. As we approached, the work done today was evident. The outside was partially painted, the inside was painted, we had windows and doors, a roof and working lights and fans. Tonight they will tile the floors. And tomorrow, we will finish up and prepare for our celebration service.13450877_10209414127771843_300628898494481839_n

As I reflect tonight on this week, I can remember thinking a week ago,  “Wow, it’s only Monday!” Now, I cannot believe tomorrow is Friday. God has done a mighty work all week. He has kept us safe, kept us strong and kept us focused. He has prepared the way before us to share His Gospel, to His people, to build His church. I feel humbled to have been a part of this time in Brazil. I am amazed by my teammates and what they have done.

Tomorrow will be a day of celebration. We will celebrate what God has done in this city, this country, these people and also what He has done in each one of us.

 

Serving the King

A Quick Update from Pastor Adam

day 5Today saw us at the mid point of our trip. Spirits are still high even if the work is taking a slight physical toll. We are all watching out for each other and taking care of one another.

If I was impressed at the progress of the building yesterday, then I must say that I was totally amazed today. As I approached, I could see that the trusses and purlings for the roof were set, welded and ready for the load of the tile roof. Yesterday we were all able to write a verse on the purlings before they were installed. We also were able to bury a Bible underneath where the pulpit would stand, so as the Pastor preaches in this church, he will have the word of God over and under him at all times.The walls were stuccoed and ready for paint. I cannot wait to see what it will look like tomorrow when we return.

We were able to send a team to another school in the morning, and then we were also invited to visit a home for disabled children in the afternoon. The team members that went were truly blessed to be a part of the visit and could not stop sharing about the kids they were able to visit with. 13428393_10153713641792817_7360991741520954823_n

Today we also had some impromptu moments that you just cannot schedule. Before hitting the streets in the morning we broke into a worship session. It was beautiful as our voices joined together in both English and Portuguese to sing worship songs we all knew. I enjoyed holding my phone out for my friend David so he could play the guitar and sing as I joined in with him.

We walked through some rougher areas of the city today, but met some really beautiful people. Although not everyone will pray for salvation, I have not had one person turn down prayer.

So, I have begun praying the Gospel over them and believing that God will do a mighty work through our prayer. We met a lady who was an agnostic. She talked with me for about 20 minutes as I shared the Gospel and answered her questions. Even though she did not make a decision for Christ, she did agree to let me pray for her, that she would read the gospel of John we gave her, and that she would highly consider coming to Church on Friday.

13442304_10153713657447817_5466995049593691357_nWe were also able to visit the young disabled boy again today. Angie had put together a special package of gifts for him. It was really awesome to be able to visit again with him and his mother and just see how receptive she was to us. We will be returning to visit again tomorrow.

We also encountered another family with a disabled boy. Again, we were invited into a home to pray for her sick child. There in a bedroom, in a metal crib lay a six year old boy that had been disabled because of an accident. I would rather not describe his condition, but I will say that his mother looked at him with complete adoration.

She explained to us that the accident happened two and a half years ago, and he was only supposed to live for 3 days. She looks at him each day and has faith for another day. She looked at us and asked to tell his story. She did not ask us to do this so she could have our sympathy, but so that people would know that God does exist, and He is good. I cannot describe how we felt as we stood in her home. She asked us to come back and visit when we return to Brazil. She is an amazing person and the picture of faith.

I cannot believe that these encounters are chance or fate. I cannot believe after traveling 4000 miles that we just happen to run into these people. I am in awe of what God is doing. I am in awe of the people we meet and their story. I am in awe of my team mates as we minister together. I am in awe of God and His goodness. I am in awe, and I hope to always be. 

Oh, and we went and ate some Brazilian pizza this evening. It is hard to describe, but worth the trip to Brazil. Who knew that banana, cinnamon, cheese and white chocolate would make a good pizza?

Another Day in God’s Will

A Quick Update from Pastor Adam

13394182_10153709601797817_4890749091693623405_nThis morning, it was a little harder to get up and get moving. I think the adrenaline may have wore off and the reality of the long flight and the first day walking the streets is beginning to take its toll. Or, it could be the after dinner ice cream run instead of going to sleep right away.

As we approached the job site, the progress being made was evident. The walls were up and some were beginning to be stuccoed already. The new church was beginning to take shape before our eyes.

Each morning we gather around and pray for the day. We also have a devotional time and a time of prayer requests for all present.

Some of us then departed for street evangelism, some back to the old church to hand out sunglasses and talk with people and some for the schools to talk with children. 13394105_10153709398832817_3572354428049188836_n

When we first arrived it appeared that the schools were going to be closed to us, or if we did visit, we could not mention Jesus at all. Through prayer this situation has changed. We have been allowed to visit a school each day and share the gospel with thousands of kids. The results have been amazing. 

The highlight of my day was visiting the Policia. No, I was not arrested. Four of us went to the local station to share the gospel and to minister to the local police. This was an remarkable time. We had a cultural exchange with them, a sort of question and answer session. To hear them talk about their job was a real eye opener. Over 100 officers are killed each month in Sao Paulo. The officer has fiscal responsibility for any damage to their squad cars if they chase a criminal, and will be required to obtain their own defense lawyer if sued by any criminal or family member if they hurt or shoot anyone in the line of defense. But, they believe in what they are doing and in the service they provide.

In the afternoon we again went out into the streets to evangelize and talk with people. Again, people here in Brazil are more than willing to give you their time and attention, which still amazes me.

day 5 bWe approached a group of people outside a home. As I prayed with two of the men, the other team members were talking with a lady. She asked us to come into her home and pray for her son. She simply explained that he was sick. As we entered her home, we saw that her son was laid on a mattress in the front room. He is unable to sit up, walk or to really have full use of his limbs. But what a smile! 

She explained that her husband had left when this young man was 9 months old and now he is 25. She has been taking care of him by herself all these years. One of our team members, Angie, really connected with him. He lit up when she prayed for him. Here we are, four Americans in this home, and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. We also prayed with the mother that she would have some help, some support and for her to remain strong. This moment was enough reason to have come to Brazil. If these were the only people we met, the entire trip, the time, the cost and everything involved was worth it.

We also prayed with others to receive Christ throughout the day. Pastor Scott saw a whole household saved and friends from across the street saved. As I reflect upon this day, I am humbled. I am changed. I am focused. God is truly at work. I don’t know what this means for me when we return to the States. I don’t know if my passion to preach the Gospel will be as well received, or even wanted. But, I know what I have been called to do. I will be faithful to God’s call. Just as here in Brazil, I will trust God for the opportunities and let Him be responsible for the results.

A Day of Evangelism

A Quick Update from Pastor Adam

13394162_10153709392657817_1338274899371279272_nThere is no greater way to learn about people and their culture then walking the streets and neighborhoods. As we spent the day walking and talking with people on the street it was very apparent that we were well received.

What I find amazing is that people are willing to give us their time. They will stop and engage us in conversation. Nobody has been rude or told us no.

We have been invited into their homes and courtyards to share the gospel. What is most common is that they have heard about Jesus, may even believe in Jesus and Heaven and Hell, but do not have any assurance of their salvation. They believe that if they are good enough, then maybe they will go to Heaven. As we share the Gospel, their facial expressions change. There seems to be a moment when they get “it.” They understand the Gospel and they want to know Jesus as Savior. IMG_6923

If they do not, they will still let us pray for them. We have prayed for healing, jobs, marriages and families. We have prayed for wounded hearts and broken souls. 

Brazil is a remarkable country and the people are amazing. They are generous, kind and hospitable. They want to feed you, and give you coffee and cake multiple times per day.

God is truly at work in this city, this country, this church and our team that has come. Once again, I think God has sent me to change the lives of others, but the life being changed is mine.

Our First Day in Brazil

A Quick Update from Pastor Adam

13428435_10206797833160204_2463736146815119239_n

Up and moving this morning. Excited for the first day. We will start to see the progress on the building and set up for VBS and begin evangelism.

The church started the building but ran out of money, so we are here to finish their project and get them out of a rented store front and into their permanent building.

Last night there were people, including myself who were outside on the sidewalk looking through the door way for Church service. It was amazing to see people excited about Church and worship.

They carry their bibles in plastic covers. They are precious and hard to get. I think of the multiple bibles I have at home and am humbled by the thought that I can go buy one so easily. What we take for granted, they protect and treasure.

We can learn a lot from spending time with those who treat their faith as something found instead of what is owed. They have truly found the pearl of great price and are willing to sell everything for it.