After finishing an outside show in the center of town, we noticed that there were policemen everywhere. A very tall policeman (6ft 6 inches), wearing a bullet proof vest, and carrying an extra side arm came towards Gerson, our Brazillian director. He was not smiling. He said, "Where is that story lady? I want to meet her!" Gerson was very nervous. Then, the policeman smiled and said, "That was a great story. I am a Christian."
We talked a long time and he offered the services of the police if we needed them. Of the 500 police in this area, one hundred are believers. The policeman that we met has only been a believer for 4 years. He descried himself as a baby Christian, but since he towered over all of us, we thought his reference to "being a baby" funny.
So many blessings…
1. People walked for many miles down dark rocky roads to reach the site of the puppet show. Some walked for up to two hours each way.
2. Everytime I tell the story of Zacheus, I describe the changes in his life. I always talk about how all the money did not make him happy, but when he came to Jesus, he was happy. After the show, a woman came to me and said with a big smile on her face, "I am happy."
3. We are working with a Brazillian national band and we love their music! They open for our shows and sometimes close. Praise God for these talented friends. Salt of the earth! There music is joy.
4. After a show, children line up not to recieve a balloon, but to ask for a hug, a touch… love. Of the thousands of children that we have seen, less than ten times has a child asked for a balloon. They hunger for love, for Jesus.
5. In a remote village, a little boy raised his hand to tell the Pastor that he prayed with us asking Jesus to be his Savior. Four times his friend pulled his hand down, but he persisted and was the first to come and stand by the Pastor. He looked to be about six years old. Pray for him!
God has given us more that we expected or imagined. These friends are already so creative in ministry and will do amazing things with their tools.
They wrote and performed a drama for us as a thank you gift. Even though it was in Portugese, I understood. We all understood. They were dressed like peasants in the area and walked in behind a man carrying a big cross. The people here suffer, aching to have hope, to know God, but the Catholic church here does not meet those needs. In the villages, you can see the pain and longing in their eyes and this is what our friends were trying to dramatise.
A haunting song played in the background and repeatedly asked the same questions. "Who will come here to speak about Jesus?" "Who will save me?" "Who will give me hope?" I was weeping as I watched their story. Please ask God to help us answer their prayers.
The North East is very rural when you leave its isolated cities. The people who live in the country are desperately poor, bound by superstition. So many places have no church. Please ask God to call missionaries to this place.
At an evening show, we were amazed at all the giant, posionous frogs that were everywhere. The were bigger than kittens! On the way to church Sunday morning, a cow almost ran down the van. The Pastor caught a chameleon and offered to cook it for us. Sam, who is most often bitten, refered to all bugs as beasts. Sam, one afternoon found one of the posionous frogs under his pillow. He thinks he had been sleeping with him for days. Gerson found one of these frogs in his suitcase and we have all shared a cold shower with them.
Faby and Gerson are our Brazilian puppet directors. Their English is very good, but sometimes, they still make mistakes. Gerson told us to hurry because it was snake time. He meant to say snack. Faby translated for a girl at a street show "Linda, she wants a rug. She wants a rug." I gave her a hug.