I was able to accompany a group of students from Aggies for Christ to visit two of the churches, Cosmos and Jabour, in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It’s always good to be amongst the brothers and sisters in Rio and good friends from A&M. I enjoyed gathering around at nights to worship a bit in English (a rare happening). This was my third time in Rio and to work with Abel Azevedo, a half Mozambican, half South African man working with the Lord and who I first met while traveling with the Aggies in 2005. (Learn more about Abel here.) Time with Abel, the churches, and the Aggies was refreshing, a change of scenery.
It was one of the best times I had in Rio. Encouragement is the best word to describe the work we do in Rio. The churches are small, but strong and love the life guests bring. The ‘jovems’ (‘young people’) are full of life and carry a bright future for the church in Brazil. Speaking of the future, Abel has called on me to come work alongside him when my time in Santiago is over. I’m still considering it, truly I would love to work there.
After my time in Rio, I flew South to Porto Alegre, Brazil for the annual Brazilian missionary conference. It was top notch and a great opportunity to meet up with old friends spread over the South American continent. It was good to meet Carlos Castilho,a missionary in Rio supported by MacArthur Park in San Antonio. By chance, we were conference roommates. The men’s speaker was Murray Wilton from Huntsville, Alabama. He spoke on the Spirit’s capability to guide our footsteps and totally falling in love with Christ. I was blessed by his presence and had my first experience of true confession. It was an outstanding conference. (Read more about the conference here.)
On return from two and a half weeks in Brazil, I was host in the home of one of the families who was on furlough to Dottie Schultz of Missions Resource Network. She was the women’s speaker at the conference and came to Santiago afterwards to work with the team. It was a pleasure to be in the presence of such a wise and experienced individual.
The following week was a national evangelistic campaign. Speakers from across North and South America came to work with congregations all over Chile. It was a pain and a pleasure, depending on the day, to be a part of the marketing and Web development for the campaign. The church I work with, Iglesia de Cristo Congregación Providencia, put on a dinner in honor of Santiago’s firefighters, a coping with trauma seminar for an organization that aids parents that have lost children, and nightly mini concerts, talks, and religious forums opened to the community. It was good to see members reaching out to the community. See the campaign website here.
It’s summer time in the southern hemisphere. I had the pleasure of spending St. Valentine’s Day with the oldest member of the church, 85; she had no idea what the day was. Vacation time has arrived and it seems that “out of school” can mean “out of touch” or “out of town” for many of the youth. One would think summer would be the most convenient time, but school keeps people in the city. So youth activities are spread out and sometimes one does not see the value in them. Daily I’m thinking “How can God transform the youth?” Being led by the Spirit, I think one-on-one relationships are the best, not getting as many people together to watch a movie, but really taking an interest and caring about individuals and sharing the bread with those individuals. I can report on more things like events, activities, etc, but the reality is God changes lives through small things that are not easily seen. I’ve seen it and I hope you can as well.
- The Montecinos – Felipe a young boy from a family of four has been diagnosed with a brain tumor and will be operated on later this month.
- Youth of the church – May they be transformed in their faith.
- Floods in Bolivia – For months, Bolivia, Chile’s neighbor to the northeast, has been suffering heavy rainfall since November.
- Return of the Emerys – After two months in the United States, the Emery family has a new supporting church, but the kids are quite ill.
Recent Reads/Listens (Things to ponder):
- What is a Christ Follower? – podcast – “Christianity is not about us being committed to a denomination, creed, lifestyle, or a way of living. It’s an encounter with the living Christ. When I encounter him, I fall on my face and say, ‘Oh Jesus I’m tired of all the stuff…’”
- A Christianity That Works (response 2 and 3) – blog post – “…questions and answers challenge both the views we have about ourselves and our own “righteousness-of-sorts” and the religious structures in which we’ve heavily invested…”
- Christians Wrong About Heaven – article – “Never at any point do the Gospels or Paul say Jesus has been raised, therefore we are all going to heaven. They all say, Jesus is raised, therefore the new creation has begun, and we have a job to do.”
- A New Kind of Christian – book – “Instead of saying, ‘Hey, they’re wrong and we’re right, so follow us,’ I think we say, ‘Here’s what I’ve found. Here’s what I’ve experienced. Here’s what makes sense to me. I’ll be glad to share it with you, if you’re interested.’”
- 1 Corinthians – Holy Bible – “If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”
If you are interested in any other things I am reading or have read, please visit my del.icio.us page: http://del.icio.us/tterrag