Dave D - What a blessing this week was for so many...Brazilians and Americans! My greatest joy is watching your kids choose to serve God in ways they did...some for the very first time. God is good to show Himself to all of us in simple and amazing ways. Thank you for making it possible for us to be here. The stories of His grace and mercy abound. Here are a few...
Katie Mc - On Tuesday, Grace Colombo, Izabel, and I were grouped to go from door to door. It was amazing. We came to the first house, and an old woman opened the door. She invited us in and to sit down. She said she did not know who Jesus was, and after Grace and I began to talk to this woman, she opened up more. She seemed interested, and after letting her know about the service that night, we let her know that she could talk to the pastor. Later that night, I saw her at the service, and she was singing along with the worship songs. God really perservered through Grace and me as mouthpieces for Him.
Blake B- Mark and Francisco. The (simplified) names of the two men who made an impact on me that will last a lifetime. I was helping out at VBS in Pedra (The Rock in Portuguese). Pedra had never been visited by an Amazon Outreach boat so the day held much opportunity in itself. Earlier in the week, I was feeling like I wasn't too useful (as did many others in the beginning of the trip) and I prayed that God would use me accordingly to what He needed done. Basically I prayed that He would use me and that I would be satisfied immediately seeing fruit or not. So the afternoon after this prayer, I saw Mark in VBS and started asking if he had a kid in VBS and he said no I invited him to play soccer and of course he said yes...He's Brasilian. So I continued and asked him if he wanted to know that story of Noah; the story the kids were learning. So I began to tell him out Noah and tried to fit in the whole gospel as part of the story. We arrived at the soccer field and thankfully the Lord took over. After talking for about 20 minutes with Francisco (he came with us) and Mark, God just did a marvelous work and allowed Mark to have a soft heart to the great grace of God. He accepted Christ as his personal savior and I praise God for that. Unknowingly, he was from another village and I gave him a New Testament and a couple gospel tracts. God used me as a tool to share the gospel to two villages. Wow. I was so humbled at God's intricate creativity in His plans. I was also able to encourage Francisco in his faith: He told me that he had a dream that a large group of people came in a boat to Pedra to spur on his beliefs and he had been praying for reinforcement to instill faith in Pedra. Once again God answered prayers. This has shown me that God is ALWAYS faithful. Whether it's immediate or way later, God comes through and works his will into everything. He is so so good. Brasil has yet again been a fantastic channel which through God has blessed everyone here; from Texas or Brasil. Shout out to Jean Prouvaire. Miss you and love you so much. BRASIL 2012. Lego. Psalm 34:8.
Hannah Pavey- I've never seen a more beautiful smile. Hannati opened my eyes to a new kind of beauty. A few days ago, we traveled to Terra Praeta, and I felt the Lord calling me to serve in the youth girls ministry. We were setting up tables and chairs under a shaded tree and also looking for girls to invite to paint their nails and play with their hair. We had a few customers and then it happened....My eyes locked with a beautiful eleven year old girl standing off in the distance. It took a few minutes for her to accept my invitation to paint her nails and get to know her. She told me her name was Hannati. This precious girl had a cleft lip and two front teeth. Looking at her for the first time, most people in her city would have rejected her because of her appearance. However, her handicapped smile enabled me to see a picture of pure joy: Hannati reminded me that we are made in the Lord's image and PERFECT in his sight. As I painted her little nails, I kept glancing up at her and saw that she was beeming with joy. I kept saying "bonita! bonita!" This only made her smile more. We then went into a classroom with about 15 other pre-teen girls. We shared the gospel and our testamonies. After having a conversation about things girls struggle with, the Lord faithfully opened up and revealed himself to those girls. Hannati was especially blown away with the vastness of the Lord's love for her. I gave her a bible and wrote her a note in the front page: "Precious Hannati, You are Beautiful-never let anyone tell you otherwise. You are a daughter of God and he loves you more than you will ever imagine. I love you and I am praying for you." I had a translator read this out loud to Hannati, and once she heard these words, she leaped into my arms and her whole body shook with tears. I absolutely lost it when I felt her tears run down my back. The Lord brought her to me to reveal that even those with cleft lips and rejected by society are breath-taking in the eyes of the Lord. I am speechless with how the Lord places people in our lives by divine intervention and chooses to use us as vessles to further HIS Kingdom. His name was magnified this week, and all Glory, Honor and Praise go to Him!
Preston Pownell - Two years ago I met two young mentally handicapped boys in a village that made a drastic impact on my life. When we first arrived in Brazil, we were told that we would be going back to the same village that these two boys were from. Last year, we did not get to go back to their village and I honestly gave up the hope of ever getting to see them again. Two days ago we were told that we would not actually be visiting the two boys village, and this was a very discouraging thing for me to here. I felt like God was giving me a false hope of joy, and I was almost mad at God. I realized that I am not on this trip to fulfill my own fleshly desires, but to do the will of God, but, God's plan was not yet finished. Rose Delph approached me and told me that I might have the oppurtunity to take a few friends on a speedboat to their village called, Sao Benedicto. This morning, I woke up and heard the announcement that my mom, my brother, David Jordan, Chloe Robinson, Presley Scott, Bruno, and I would be taking a speedboat to the village for the morning. When we arrived in the village, I vaguely remembered where things where and I told the group to follow me. It was a total God thing and I ended up walking straight to their house. We knocked on the door and the father answered and we asked where the boys were. He had three other children in the house and he said that he had one more somewhere outside. He sent his younger son to go find him and I sat down in their house just praying that it would be one of those two boys. I looked up and saw one of those two boys walking into the house and he immediately recognized me. I was astounded and blown away at God's power and how he works things out. The boys name is Adeyuto (I think... I can't ever really understand) and it turns out that the other boy was actually Adeyuto cousin that lives in another village but to be able to see one of them was just incredible. Our whole group got to spend the morning with them and everyone with me got to see how sweet of a young man he really is. God answers prayers and I would just like to encourage everyone who reads this that God is all powerful and he can even allow someone to travel across the world with a gamble that one boy might be there and provide a way for me to see him again. God has done magnificent things this week and He does not intend to stop just here in Brazil.