God Is Working in Brazil (part two)
Two weeks ago I shared about our church’s mission trip to Santa Catarina, Brazil. I had more stories than space, so I’m picking up where I left off.
Three years ago, Pastor Jim Thomas invited me to go on the First Baptist Church trip to Brazil, and then additional McDonough Road members joined with First Baptist folks in 2015 and 2016. This year, we joined with Wynnbrook Baptist in Columbus. First Baptist went in April, and our team went in May/June.
We partner with Project 70, a church planting strategy that permeates cities with the Gospel, resulting in new converts and newly planted churches. We work closely with very dedicated Brazilian Baptists.
On this fourth trip to Brazil, I had two new experiences. One morning, Pastor Jairo, Project 70 leader, said he wanted me to accompany him and to wait for him. So I did, and it became obvious that he was involved somewhere else and I was left behind.
Eventually, someone came running in saying, “Pastor David, come now!”
When I got to the car, McKenna, one of our college students from Columbus, was sitting there. She said she got pulled from the social medical team because they couldn’t find our singers.
“They asked, ‘Can you sing?’ and I said, ‘Yes,’ and then they said, ‘Come on,” she said.
“They need you and me to sing on the radio!”
I said, “I preach, I don’t sing!” But we quickly decided what to sing and we did so with no accompaniment, and then they turned the mike over to me to share whatever I wanted. So I shared the Gospel.
One afternoon, Pastor Jairo, and I met with the Timbo mayor, and then walked to where one of our teams was set up. Jairo told me I could walk back to the hotel if I wanted so I could rest before preaching that night in the worship rally.
He told me to walk straight down this street until it curves to the right and take the left at the bend. Then walk down that street and I’ll come to the hotel. That sounded easy enough. When I got to the curve, there were two lefts, so I tried to follow the river since our hotel backed up to the river.
I kept walking and looking for landmarks. I thought about going back to where the team was located, but they would probably be gone by the time I made it back.
I looked like a lost American wearing a backpack, and the afternoon was slipping away, so I waved down a police car.
“No Portuguese,” I said, then, “Timbo Hotel?”
The officers put me in the back seat and drove me about ten minutes to Timbo Park Hotel. Now I can say I rode in a police car in Brazil.
Cheryl Woods had several interesting encounters where God was at work.
“It had been raining for several days in Timbo and the ground was very muddy. Three of us were dropped off in a neighborhood. One lady was weeding her flower garden. We literally had to stand in mud to get close enough to speak to her.
“As my shoes began sinking down into the mud, I began thinking ‘Do we really need to be standing in the mud? My shoes are getting soooo muddy.’
“We explained that we were out telling people about God’s love and asked if we could take a few minutes of her time. Though she allowed us to talk to her, she just didn’t seem to be a very happy person.”
She allowed the team to share the Gospel presentation, said Woods, and she prayed to receive Christ.
“Then she started crying and telling Mateus (the translator) about her husband who had a stroke 12 years ago and was paralyzed on one side. She was his caregiver and it was so hard.
“I asked if we could pray for them and she asked if we would like to come inside and meet her husband. When we got inside, this woman was like a giddy teenager . . . a different person: happy, joyful. As we shared the Gospel, her grandson came in and they both prayed to receive Christ.
“Here’s what God said to me that day: ‘While you were worried about standing in the mud and messing up your shoes, you almost missed this blessing!’”