Near where we worked in the Northeast, there is a statue of a famous priest. A form of idol worship has developed around this statue. The priest taught the people that they must pay for their sins by doing different painful things and so when he died, they added a climb to his statue as another step in their payment for sin.
There is a large, sharp rock that is cut in half. You must walk through a very narrow opening at the far side to be forgiven. You must fit through this hole at all costs, no matter the cuts and pain, if you are to be forgiven. This is what he taught them.
There is a special water that they must drink, as well as a statue of Jesus on the cross that they must touch with their hats. They do not dare to touch it themselves. Also, they must carry a rock on their heads for a long distance. The size of the rock reflects the amount of their sin. All of this must be done once a year or there is no forgiveness.
We did a show in a town square in the Northeast where I told the story of Nebuchadnezzar and his golden statue that he made so that people could worship him. They told me that if I had told that story in a place a little closer to the statue, I would have been stoned. Some of his followers were in the crowd that day, but not too many.
Our new puppet team at Fountain in the Desert will go to the very dangerous place and share. In fact, they have already been going to this place. Please ask God to protect them and open many people´s hearts to the truth!
If you want to see a short video clip of what I have described, go to our Agape Puppets Brasil website at www.amoredefantoche.com.br
Then click on TV fantoche (puppets).
Go to these three clips:
Romeiros um Juazeiro
Min.sal da Terra I
Min.sal da Terra II
There is a place in Araras, a very pretty small town, where no one wants to live. The town is wonderful, but there is always a part of every town that has problems. The Directors of a school in that place invited us to come and do two programs for their young people, ages 11 to 15.
These young people live surrounded by violence of all kinds: rape, beatings, and murder. They live with parents addicted to drugs. There is simply nothing that they have not seen. Their behavior reflects their surroundings.
The Directors and teachers were stunned by the way they behaved at the puppet show. They told us that they were envious of the complete attention that they gave us. Church children do not behave as well. Both Directors told me, without talking to each other, "Your team has brought light to this place." Then, they invited the pastor to come regularly and speak to the young people.
I struggle to find the words to describe to you the great miracle that we saw God do with these young people. They were so hungry to have love, hope, and peace. They listened to the stories of Jesus and the testimonies with a desperation that only comes from knowing your real need. After the show, teenage boys came up to me, thanking me and hugging me! Please ask God to grow their faith!
Where can you go to stand in the dark and be light for people who do not know Jesus?
As we have been in Brazil, we have received encouraging e-mails in response to the reports that we sent. They came from all over the world and we thank you for taking the time to write to us. One friend in Germany, Bjorn, told us that he had been sharing our stories with his small group. It is incredible to think of all the people who prayed for the children of Brazil. Praise God for your faithfulness!
Food is so different in every country. Even ordering a hamburger will not be what you expected. Our hamburgers were five inches square, on flat bread and are always served with an egg on top. Hot tea is different, too. Licorice tea is not what you expect. Bigradeiro is an incredible pastry, rich with chocolate and better than you can imagine. Hadia and Lisa were serenaded by two boys at one of the schools in very interesting English: "You are so beautiful. . . to meeeeee!"
This afternoon, Wednesday, we begin our journey home, arriving Thursday morning. Please pray for safe travel home. Please ask the Lord to sort out the many details that we always have to deal with when we travel. Praise God for an awesome trip to Brazil!
Please celebrate the birth of Masana (elegant love) born to Masaji and his wife in Japan. Masaji was a student at Covenant College and spent many years in our home. Mike and I loved him like a son. Ask the Lord to give his daughter great faith!
Linda for the team
Sam (Assistant Director)