Saturday, July 31, 2010

Wesley, 11 year-old shot dead in math class

Last Sunday, Rio de Paz (the NGO with which we participated during the floods, see articles here and here), silently protested at the most famous beach in Rio, Copacabana, the sight of many previous protests. On Friday the 16th, a stray rifle bullet blasted through the window of Wesley's school classroom quickly bringing his life to an end. Rio de Paz, with the help of many slum children we work with from Rio das Pedras and one Christian public school teacher, rallied together to say "Enough is enough!" to the violence. Read more and see pictures and video in this article.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bible Study - Giselle in Sitio

Junior, Giselle, Ana Luiza, Gabrielle

Giselle was really touched by the last mission team that came to visit from CrossPointe. Her two daughters always come with their smiling faces to our children's Bible class on Saturday afternoons, but Giselle would rarely stick around for the service unless we were serving food. Hers is a classic case- 24 years old, five children but only three living with her, living in Sitio for six years (if I remember correctly). She told me she used to be homeless seven years ago before she met her "husband" (we aren't sure if they are formally married or just living together) who's 56. But during the last mission trip, God began to change her heart through the words of an American on the team speaking to her through a translator. She didn't tell me what the American said, but what we do know is that she has made a personal commitment to start reading the Bible and attending church.

Last Friday, the 23rd, during our normal home visits in the community, we passed by her house to do Bible study with her which is what we want to start doing weekly. Our goal for this time is to equip her with basic study skills so that she can read the Bible on her own and apply it to her personal relationship with Jesus. Giulian was prepared to give her a few basic tools for study and we imagined that we would ask her to read a passage from the Psalms with us, but to our surprise she had already written a list of Scriptures she has been reading and had questions about. We started at the top with Romans 13:14 "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires." Through our discussion with her about this text we were able to re-direct her to the Bible by showing her the importance of knowing the Word in the fight against sin. Please pray as we begin this discipleship process with her. We will return tomorrow to discuss more and try to get to know her better.

It's going to be quite difficult to leave Sitio in six weeks just as we are beginning to see some fruit. I love how God is always sure to humble us so that we can be certain He is the one responsible for the fruit, not our own "hard work."


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Recent Pics of Kids in Sitio

***10/28/10*** The previous slideshow no longer works, but below are all the pics of Sitio. Thanks.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pen-selling Bus Evangelist

Today when Giulian and I were on our way home from Sitio, God ordained a meeting for us at the bus stop. Unfortunately we didn't get his name, but he was waiting to catch a bus where he could sell special pens for the equivalent of $0.50 a piece. Conversation began because he gave us a Christian leaflet and asked us if we know about Jesus. When we told him we were missionaries from the U.S. working with a church in City of God, he fist-pumped the air with both hands and said "Gloria a Deus!" ("Glory to God!"). He told us how encouraging it is for him to meet missionaries who come to help his country. In Santa Cruz, a city on the outskirts of Rio where he lives, his church is doing a work with the large homeless population. Every day he's on the buses from one side of Rio to the other, sharing about Jesus and selling his product to try to support his family. If there was a good way to give out Christian leaflets, it was the way he does it. We watched his speech on our bus and he was so friendly and pleasant with the often tired, frustrated bus riders. It was a blessing for us to meet him. He was full of the joy of the Lord and thankful for how God is always providing for him; you would never have known that he only had one leg.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Time in Sao Paulo

We're home in Rio safe and sound! We just got back from our weekend in Sao Paulo with an absolutely amazing church. Though we are really tired from all the awesome activities, we feel very refreshed by the time we spent getting to know them, their community, and the city. We'll be sharing more details about our time there in our upcoming newsletter, but for now here is a slideshow of the pics we took and a couple of videos.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Flying to São Paulo Today!

We're flying out to São Paulo in about 4 1/2 hours and we'll be staying there until Tuesday morning Lord willing! Tomorrow evening Giulian will be preaching to a small church-plant (our friend Paulo will help by translating) and Christy will be sharing her testimony with a group of kids from the local slum. Monday will be a lovely day of getting to know the city - it's culture, food, and street shopping. Paulo has some family there so we'll be visiting them as well. It should be a fantastic trip, and we'll have plenty of photo and video to share I'm sure.

A few stats about São Paulo from Wikipedia :: With a population of over 11 million, it is the most populous city proper in the Western World and 6th most populous in the entire world (the S.P. Metropolitan area is just short of 20 million). People from São Paulo are known as paulistas and cariocas (people from Rio) think they work too much and are too serious. It's the 10th richest city in the world and is expected to be the 6th richest by 2025, and among the wide immigrant community there are over 6 million Italians (so Giulian will feel right at home).

Please pray for us as we travel because it has been raining cats and dogs here and our island is actually flooded again. We'll see if they're able to take off today, but we really don't want to get caught in flood traffic and miss our flight. It should only be a short 1 hour flight, so we'll let you know how it goes. Hopefully we can get internet connection there to share some videos, and we're hoping to send another monthly e-newsletter out next week as well. Talk to you soon!!

Giulian and Christy

Friday, July 16, 2010

To Die Victorious Over Fear

Mini-Biography Part 4
James Chalmers

Murdered and Eaten. Two verbs you do not run across too often regarding the same person. But that was the fate of this heroic missionary, James Chalmers (born 1841). Growing up in Scotland by the sea, the young Chalmers sought to conquer it through many daring adventures that often left him in need of rescue. His riskiness led him to listen to a preacher at a revival and he was stricken by his own sinfulness, but found relief in Christ the next day thanks to his Sunday school teacher. Shortly after obtaining some language training, he and his wife were sent off as missionaries to Rarotonga, an absolutely isolated island between Australia and South America. After experiencing some success there, he desired to go where Christ had never been preached - the cannibal islands of New Guinea. The cannibals did not react so kindly at times to their new neighbors, but eventually were won over by the joyful service of the Chalmers. So much so that at one point when Mrs. Chalmers lay bed-ridden with fever, a native kindly brought her a stew with the meat of the day. Yes, you guessed it, human flesh.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Leadership Development in Rio das Pedras

Last Sunday I got to be a part of a leadership vision casting meeting at one of the churches we have been working with. After brainstorming with the pastor on ideas for leadership development he asked me to speak to a hand full of guys on the importance and necessity of leadership in the church.

I was able to walk the guys through the Great Commission and how the local church is the God-ordained channel to fulfill it. The pastor opened it up for the guys to voice their vision and they all seemed eager to grow the church and unite the community. Some expressed conviction on how they need to start dedicating more time to furthering the great commision and not to regard church as a place to relax.

I was glad to be used and we are working on next steps for these guys. We are praying that we can influence their character, grow their capacity, and increase their competence. Pray with us that God uses this time as a seed for them to take more responsibility in their church and in their community.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Recent Videos

We caught up today on some long over due video-posting. Some great moments captured in these clips-

Friday, July 9, 2010

Guacamole Night!

Check out that baby! That was from the previous guacamole night, the one tonight isn't quite as mammoth but hopefully it will taste better. Giulian is in the other room practically drooling in anticipation, meanwhile my eyes are drooling because the onions here are so darn potent! So much so that without even realizing why I had a random memory pop into my head about the time when Giulian and I stopped at this Mediterranean restaurant in the middle of the Nevada desert while we were driving to Texas from California. Giulian and I were talking about how hot it was there after I told him I remembered that, when he realized why I remembered it- the odor of onions combined with the heat was so potent in that restaurant that we both were crying.... Funny how our minds do that!


Thursday, July 8, 2010

CrossPointe Trip Photos

From June 28th to July 6th we had the privilege of hosting a mission team from CrossPointe Church in Orlando, Jay's home church. A few people on the team had been here before and others had never been on a mission trip, so it was a cool mix. This team did a wonderful job of loving on these kids and making them feel special even where there were over a hundred of them. They did a Vacation Bible School in Rio das Pedras for three days that consistently saw around 150 kids or more, and capped off their week with a church service in Sitio that had over 100 kids as well as over 30 adults!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Mission Team

Hey guys,
We have been real busy this week hosting the mission team that came in from CrossPointe Church in Orlando Florida. We have been spending most of our time in Rio das Pedras with an bible school for the kids.

You can follow more closely with what they are doing here at their blog here.

Also, yesterday the men of the group had the privilege of ministering to the men in Polinter Prison, a prison famous for its inhumane treatment of the prisoners. Watch this video below of the worship service we held with the men in the prison.

Neves from Marcelo Talassuh on Vimeo.

Love you all,

G & C