When we arrived in Serra Talhada, of Pernaambuco (a state), a friend met us who would guide us deep into the country. She was so overcome when she saw us that she began to weep. She exclaimed through her tears, "I can not believe that you came, I can not believe that you are here. We waited so long!"
We drove another hour to reach ¨Water in the Desert,¨ a national ministry centered at a rural Presbyterian church. Many people had traveled from all over the state, Baptist, Non-Denominationals, and Presbyterians. As brothers and sisters in Christ, they came with one purpose. They wanted to learn how to share Jesus with their children!
They greeted us with such joy, hugging and kissing us ignoring our lack of Portugesse. They made us feel so welcome that Sam and I struggled to describe their kindness and love that they poured out on us. Finally, we both agreed that this was what heaven must be like. Surely this is a small taste of the joy that Mike and so many others we love are tasting!
We struggle to find water, sometimes the beds have bugs, and we often sleep on the floor. The food is usualy white bread, beans and rice, and amazon fruit. There is only cold water in the shower. The mosquitos are enthusiastic (Lisa has 42 bites.) The days begin early and end late. We wash our clothes in the sink. And we have such joy as I cannot describe to you! How is this possible? We are surrounded by incredible people who model for us Christ´s love and sacrifice. All of us are keenly aware that God is doing something wonderful in this place and we are so blessed to be a part of it. Pray! Thank God for what our friends are teaching us.
In this area, less that 1% of the people confess Jesus. For about a year, the people have had a Christian radio station. It has the potential to reach over 250, 000 people. We did an interview for the station hoping to encourage the Brazillians to make reaching children for Christ a priority. In many areas, childrens minstry is still not important. Please pray for this change of heart .
For most of the young people in the school, this was the first time that they had heard the Gospel. After the program, we were told by a teacher that we would always be welcome to return. Our new puppet team has an open door! Praise God!
Best of all, the young people really listened. Please pray for them to become believers. There is a good church in walking distance of the school. In fact, when our van was delayed, everyone grabbed equipment and walked to the school. We had no other way to make the show on time. We must have looked very funny as we walked down a rocky dirt road, dodging piles of various kinds of manure. When we finished, the van had not returned, so we departed in the same way.
350 plus children gathered under street lights to watch a puppet show. 40 people from the training we had earlier in the day loaded in the the back of giant truck and came to help. It was an incredible evening. They listened, laughged, and so many prayed out loud. We were in a very poor area, working with a local church, and it was especially sweet to hear their prayers. Their homes were so small, usually only two little rooms. Drugs are a big problem and many homes are broken. Faith in Jesus could change this community. Please pray for so many who came to faith tonight to grow in that relationship.
Most people here know nothing about the real Gospel. They know all about the church telling them to be good. and the practice of a voodoo type belief. Ask God to put His light in this place. Tomorow, we have 4 shows. Thursday, we will finish training this team. Pray for them to learn these skills well.