Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Santa Catarina Disaster

As you may have seen on the news, the Southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina (which is immediately North of us - about 2 1/2 hours away) has been hit by massive flooding and mudslides. Brazil's president called it the worst flooding to ever hit Brazil (this is in a country with several of the world's largest rivers and plenty of history of flooding).

Their are many cities and rural areas which are completely underwater, and massive mudslides caused by the extensive rainfall have completely blocked off all land access to the state. Sudden mudslides swept across roads and buried many cars - the death toll stands at 116 at the moment, with another 31 missing but they won't know for sure until they are able to get to all of the buried homes and cars on the highways. A recent report said that hunger and thirst are getting to critical levels.

Current Baptist relief efforts are focusing on getting clean water, food, and cooking fuel to the affected areas. The International Mission Board of the Southern Baptists have released disaster relief funds to help with immediate relief.

While Rio Grande do Sul is not not directly affected, Santa Catarina is the only access to the rest of Brazil, therefore our state is also cut off and isolated.

Please pray for the flooding to subside and for God's people to raise up and serve those around them. Pray that God would use this tragedy to draw people to Him so that He may be glorified in this naturally beautiful state that is so needy for the gospel. Also, please consider giving to the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief fund to help the victims of this tragedy and many others like it around the world.

May God Bless you richly as you serve Him.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Update on the 1st Annual Evangelical Week of Black Consciousness

I just talked to the organizer of the 1st Annual Evangelical Week of Black Consciousness (see below). She said that all of the events during the week went very well. They were well received at the school and she said that the principal has invited them to come back and present more any time they want.

She was very excited to hear about all of the people praying for them during the week. Thanks so much for your prayers!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

1st Annual Evangelical Week of Black Consciousness

As you have been able to see from the last two posts, and from many other posts over the years, one of the biggest strongholds of evil in Porto Alegre and Rio Grande do Sul is Spiritism. This Voodoo-like religion is a combination of African witchcraft and Catholicism and involves demon possession, spell casting and sacrifices.

However, in a positive development that has only come to fruition after many of you prayed for God to tear down the barriers of Spirtism, one of our local Baptist churches is holding a the "1st Annual Evangelical Week of Black Consciousness."

Please be praying that God will use the events of this week to show those involved in African spiritist religions that Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, that no one comes to the Father except through Him, and that Christ wants to bring them freedom from the shackles of witchcraft that bind them.

Here is the schedule for the week:
Tuesday - Non-violence workshop at the church
Wednesday - True Love waits at the local public school
Thursday - Tolerance workshop at the church
Friday - Workshop on cultural realization and self-discipline at the local public library.
Saturday - Drug prevention workshop at the church

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Book Fairs and Spiritism

Every year, Porto Alegre hosts the largest book fair in all of Latin America. Hundreds of book tables are set up in the praças and parks of the historic part of town. It is an opportunity for Porto Alegre to shine and flaunt its status as the most educated and literate state and city in all of Brazil. Besides some really good food (I won't even mention the delicious fresh strawberry and whipped cream creation that Cam and I ate the last time we were down there), there are a host of plays, book readings, concerts and cultural activities that go on. Many thousands of people will circulate through during the weeks that the book fair is in session.
Unfortunately, this year there is a "Congress celebrating the 100 years of umbanda in Rio Grande do Sul" going on during the book fair. It will be running until Tuesday. Umbanda is an African Spiritis religion that mixes Voodo-like African religion with Catholicism - it is witchcraft in its most base form. Umbanda and related Spiritist religions have blinded the hearts and minds of countless Gaúchos to the truth of the gospel.

Please pray that GOD would bind up the stronghold of Umbanda and Spiritism and that it would not be allowed a place of prominance in Rio Grande do Sul. Ask for God to send His Holy Spirit to open the eyes of the Gaúchos to the truth of the gospel that they might be saved and worship the one true God and Him alone. In the words of one of our Christian friends who wrote me about this "I got upset and thought, let's pray for God set our state free." Amen to that!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Religious freedom?

Here is the direct translation of an article that came out in our local secular newspaper recently talking about the official approval by city counsel to leave the remains of dead animals sacrificed in Spiritist witchcraft rituals on the city streets.

Despite the ruling of this secular authority we know that God is MUCH BIGGER than any false worship offered in Porto Alegre, and we give GOD all the glory, honor, power and praise for how HE is being glorified, and will be glorifed more and more as He brings about a tremendous revival in Porto Alegre as you pray!

"Porto Alegre: Sacrifice of animals in African worship is authorized
Approval Given by City Council

The sacrifice of animal in worship of African origin was authorized by the city council in the capital. The approved law decriminalizes (under the municipal sanitation code) the placing of dead animals usually used in the worship and liturgy of African religions in public places.

In April, a law was passed that established a fine for those who left dead animal remains in roads, rivers, drainage canals and streams. The law ended up creating controversy between religious groups.

At the time, the language of the law presented by city counsel member Almerindo Filho (PTB Party), and sanctioned by then interim mayor Eliseu Santos (PTB Party), who is linked to the Assembly of God, laid out a fine of up to R$330 (about US$175). Afro-brazilian religious followers protested the law on the grounds of religious prejudice.

Despite the fact that the law did not make any direct reference to creedal manifestations, they affirmed that the law was specifically targeted against African religious practices. In the practice of witchcraft, it is common to leave the remains of animals, such as chickens, on street corners after offerings to the African gods are made.

The author of the new law, city counsel member Guilherme Barbosa (PT party) said that it was necessary to correct the error brought about by the other law, because it would have caused negative consequences to the religious activities that use animal sacrifice. “The law determines that the city cannot hinder the functioning of worship, churches, or the exercise of the right of collective cultural manifestation” stated Barbosa."

Monday, October 20, 2008

Quick Volunteer Team Report

Here's the text of an email report sent out by the leader of our volunteer team that left a few days ago:

"We are home, exhausted and exhilarated. God is so amazing!

Despite many distractions, including a sick Jeff Dunson, a hurting Debbie Laster, a bruised and hurting Art LaBrack, a variety of translator schedules, a van with limited/no A/C, a tight travel schedule to Brazil, very little sleep, a dead refrigerator at our house, etc., etc., Satan could not prevail.

We saw 23 Professions of Faith (POFs) and a rededication on Monday in General Camara, 6 POFs in Alta Caraa (a community with one family of evangelical believers) on Tuesday, 42 POFs in Gravatai on Wednesday, 12 POFs on Thursday in Belem Velho, and 1 POF at 39000 feet over Brazil on Friday.

The woman (a root-canal dentist in the Brazilian AF) who accepted Christ on our flight from Sao Paulo to Miami and her husband were on our flight to Orlando. She has begun to share the Portuguese tract we gave her with her husband. He and I exchanged business cards so we can stay in touch. (They are vacationing here for a week.) Justine asked for information about our Sunday church services. I hope that everyone who sees this message will pray that she and Thiago will join us for worship this Sunday.

Time for some sleep. Thanks to all who have been a part of this incredible adventure."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fruit from our volunteer team

The following testimony is from a local missionary church planter after having received our volunteer team from FBC Oviedo, FL yesterday.

"Our family and a few others from the ministry in the Sitio Gaucho church led a group of Americans to give there testimonies and allow for questions during very straight forward gospel presentations in eighteen homes around where we live. Many of these were people we have been friends with for five to ten years. It was an amazing contrast to see forty two individuals pray a personal prayer of surrender to Christ in a week that started out with the discouragement of lies against our church. God is so good. In a very encouraging leadership dinner last night we discussed all the follow up we have to do on the families that were visited and thanked God for a unified team."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

September is beginning to draw to a close, and with it, the major push for the Month of Prayer for the Gaúcho People of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. If you have not yet received a copy of the videos and the accompanying bulletin inserts, you can request the DVD by contacting us , view them online or download them. The final video on Witchcraft is available on GodTube and also on YouTube .

Our prayer emphasis this week will be on the stronghold of Witchcraft. We would encourage you to watch the videos with your church or small group and to devote time during this week asking God to free the hearts and minds of the Gaúchos from the deception of voodoo-like African witchcraft which bind the Gaúchos in incredible darkness.

Cam, Blake, and Parker made it back to Porto Alegre yesterday – it’s nice to have the whole family back together! Parker got a good report from the doctor and will be continuing with follow-up with eye doctors here in Porto Alegre.

Even though the Month of Prayer officially ends after this week, we still need your prayers throughout the year – please don’t stop praying!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Stronghold #3: Materialism

We are well into the Month of Prayer for the Gaúchos of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil! As you may remember, the prayer focus this year is on the spiritual strongholds that bind the hearts and minds of urban Gaúchos. If you have not yet received a copy of the videos and the accompanying bulletin inserts, you can view them online or download them at www.teamgaucho.net.

Our prayer emphasis this week will be on the stronghold of Materialism. We would encourage you to watch the videos with your church or small group and to devote time during this week asking God to free the hearts and minds of the Gaúchos from the deception of the unhealthy aspects of modern culture which keep them from being open to receiving the gospel.

I'm currently in Porto Alegre, while Blake, Parker and Cam are still in the USA. Parker goes to the doctor today (Wednesday), and if all goes well, he will be cleared to return to Brazil next week. Please pray that he will get a good report from the doctor and that they will be able to fly to Brazil next Monday and Tuesday.

The evangelistic service and social action project I participated in on Saturday went well, and the groundwork is being laid for a new church plant in that neighborhood. Please pray that in short order, a new church would be flourishing in that area. My evangelism and church planting classes also got off to a good start, although I am struggling with the blessings of having a large number of students and way too much material for them to absorb!

Thank you for your prayers for the Cunningham family who arrived last week to join our team of missionaries in Porto Alegre as our volunteer coordinators. They are getting settled in and finding their way around, so please continue to pray for them.

Thank you so much for your faithful prayers on our behalf!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Stronghold #2: Pride

September is rolling right along, and with it, the Month of Prayer for the Gaúcho People of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil! As you may remember, the prayer focus this year is on the spiritual strongholds that bind the hearts and minds of urban Gaúchos. If you have not yet received a copy of the videos and the accompanying bulletin inserts, you can view them online or download them at www.teamgaucho.net. The second video on Pride is available on GodTube and also on YouTube.

Our prayer emphasis this week will be on the stronghold of Pride. We would encourage you to watch the videos with your church or small group and to devote time during this week asking God to free the hearts and minds of the Gaúchos from the deception of the unhealthy aspects of their cultural pride which keep them from being open to receiving the gospel.

I have returned safely to Porto Alegre, while Cam, Blake and Parker are still in the USA awaiting Parker’s medical clearance so they can return. Please pray for our family as we are separated, as well as for my church planting and evangelism classes starting Thursday and an evangelistic service I will be leading at a church plant in a nearby city on Saturday.

Also pray for the Cunningham family as they are driving down to join our team of missionaries in Porto Alegre. They will be serving as volunteer coordinators for our team, so we hope that many of you will soon get a chance to meet them in person!

Thank you so much for your faithful prayers on our behalf!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Wow - God is doing some big stuff!

Last year, when God gave us the vision to start a month of prayer for the Gaúchos, I was hoping that we would get 50 churches in the USA on board to watch the videos and pray for our missionaries and our people group (I secretly hoped for 100, but I was afraid to admit that). Over the course of the year, we distributed over 100 copies of the DVD - it was exciting!

This year, we distributed over 100 copies of the DVD right off, and Cam put the videos online. The first week's video is available on youtube, godtube and our blogs (we're releasing one a week throughout the month), and all of the videos are available for download from our website www.teamgaucho.net.

Just in the last few days, 50 people have watched the first video on youtube, 179 on godtube, 102 on our blogs, and 4 have downloaded the video from the website, for a total of 335, plus those who have the DVD. WOW! I hope everyone who is watching is also praying!

Please pray with us that God will raise up a mighty army of prayer warriors for our team and for the Gaúchos, and stay tuned for this week's video!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

It's Here! Month of Prayer for the Gaúchos - False Religion

September is finally here, and with it, the Month of Prayer for the Gaúcho People of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil! As you may remember, the prayer focus this year is on the spiritual strongholds that bind the hearts and minds of urban Gaúchos. If you have not yet received a copy of the videos and the accompanying bulletin inserts, you can watch it here, view them online or download them at www.teamgaucho.net. Here is the first video on False Religions.

We would encourage you to watch the videos with your church or small group and to devote time during this week asking God to free the hearts and minds of the Gaúchos from the deception of false religions.

Update on Parker and Travel Plans

Many of you have asked about Parker. He is doing well after his surgery, and his eyes look much straighter. Assuming everything goes well, he will have a final appointment with the doctor on the 17th and will be cleared to return to Brazil soon afterwards.

While our time in the USA has been unplanned from a human perspective, it has been a good opportunity to spend time with grandparents, reconnect with many prayer partners and churches, and to solicit more prayer for the people of Porto Alegre. God knew exactly what He was doing!

Jeff is scheduled to return to Brazil this Friday, although Hurricane Hanna bearing down on the airports he is planning on flying through could change things. Please pray for safe travel, and that God would bless our family as we will be separated for several weeks while Cam and the boys await medical clearance for Parker to return.

Thank you so much for your faithful prayers on our behalf!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Update on Parker's Eyes

Greetings from Newark, Delaware! We arrived in the USA from Brazil last week to attend a missions conference sponsored by the IMB in Richmond. The day we left Brazil, we had an appointment with Parker’s eye doctor who told us that surgery would probably be necessary to correct his crossing eyes. I had already arranged an appointment with the ophthalmologists at the children’s hospital here in Delaware, and during that appointment they confirmed that recommendation.
We are so thankful to God for the opportunity to get Parker’s eyes corrected and to get it done here with such good care available. It is, however, something of a challenge to work out schedules, since it will involve more time here than we anticipated. We are so thankful to the IMB for supporting us through this time!
Parker is scheduled for surgery this coming Monday, July 28. It’s an outpatient procedure with a follow-up appointment the next morning.
Please pray for Parker’s surgery to be successful and for the correction
to be 100%.
Please pray for us as we juggle our schedules to accommodate the extra
time here for post-surgical follow-up.
Pray especially for us as we make decisions regarding Blake’s schooling this semester, which begins at the Pan American school on July 28. At this point we are considering homeschooling for the semester, or at least half of it. An added complication is that we left our homeschooling books in Brazil! Argh!.
Pray also for our preparations for September Month of Prayer for Urban Gauchos –we’ll let you know more about this in a Dunson Diaries next week. Be in prayer about how God would have you participate in touching the lives of Urban Gauchos through both personal prayer and the raising of prayer support for this tremendously spiritually needy people.
Thank you all so very much, your prayers make a tremendous difference in our lives and ministries!
God bless you!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

We need immediate prayer for the month of prayer!

September is the month of prayer for the Gaúchos. We are producing a DVD with 4 videos that highlight 4 strongholds which bind the Urban Gaúchos of POA in darkness: Witchcraft, False Religion, Pride, and Materialism. These videos and accompanying bulletin inserts will be distributed to interested churches and individuals in the USA to use in worship services, prayer services, Bible studies, small groups, etc. We did this last year, and were surprised with the positive response.

However, we have been running up against one technical problem after another. After much wrangling, the videos are ready to go, but we still can't get them to burn to a DVD. We need to get the master DVD ready so we can make copies to start getting them distributed.

There is no doubt in our minds that this is spiritual warfare - it's interesting how much push back you get when you do something to raise up prayer to combat the forces of the evil one.

PLEASE PRAY NOW and ask God to make our computers work so that this DVD can be prepared. Also pray that the forces of evil that are trying to use our technology to drive us nuts would be bound and pray that God's Holy Spirit would be fully loosed to raise up prayer support for the lost in Porto Alegre.

While at a meeting in São Paulo, Cam dropped her computer--the only computer that has the movie files stored on it. Thankfully, the files weren't damaged, but we'll need to send the computer away to Dell for a screen replacement. We don't believe this is a coincidence. Please pray for this project.

JULY 22--DVD is completed and a master copy is burned. Materials are arriving tomorrow to make the copies and begin sending them out.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Prayer Request for our Friends

Here is a prayer request for our friends Shane and Erin (see two posts below).

Hello friends and prayer warriors. God has done great things recently and right now He is giving us a deep peace in a hard time. Today, we heard from Erin's family in Montana that her older brother Kelly, went to be with the Lord last night in a plane crash. He was the pilot and he was alone. Erin and I will be returning tomorrow to the US for the funeral next week. My parents who live in town here in Gravataí will look after our kids. We appreciate your prayers.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Victory over Evil - Part 2

Here is the rest of the great story from our friends Shane and Erin Latham.

"This Monday I went back to Adriana's house for our newly scheduled weekly Bible Study. We sat behind her house under a clear blue sky, beneath an orange tree. Adriana had some pressing questions that needed to be answered. Since our first update about this situation, I had received counsel from different people who live in Brazil and had dealt with former spritists who had changed camps. Some of the counsel had to do with renouncing everything about the past life and burning all of the materials that were accumulated over the time of the person's involvement in that religion. So I asked Adriana how she felt about renouncing things from the past, including dedications that she had made and things she had allowed to come into her life. She said that pastor Eduardo had preached about renouncing things during the message on Sunday and that she knew she couldn't take communion because she hadn't renounced anything yet although she was sure of her decision and there was no way she was going to give up on living for God. Then I asked her if she still had things in her home associated with her religion. She said that she had a lot of stuff. She said that she had a skirt that was made with such love and care, and it was such a beautiful thing. She said, "I don't know what I should do with it. I don't know if I should just keep it stored away somewhere, if I should give it to someone else or if I should burn it." The moment she talked about burning it, ashes started falling all around us! Huge ashes and little ones were falling on the table and on the open Bible. They fell on our skin and my backpack and in our hair. We just looked nervously at each other and continued on in prayer. Shortly after that, I asked Adriana if there had been a time when she had dedicated her family or her house or marriage or children as a kind of deal during her time in her religion. At this moment, her autistic son came running right toward us with absolutely nothing on screaming his head off. Adriana got up and stopped him before he reached us and looked embarrassed and said that this happens all the time. I began praying to the Lord out loud asking for His wisdom and protection, for He is so much greater than any earthly power. Things calmed down, and once again we began talking about Adriana feeling in her heart that she needed to renounce everything and destroy all of her things. We ended up in prayer that afternoon, but no decisions had been made on the part of Adriana to do away with her stuff.
That night as I finished up with my girls group, Adriana showed up at our door with a bag full of religious articles, including the skirt. Shane told her if that wasn't all of it that there was no use even doing away with half of it. She said she had a lot of stuff at the spiritist house she is acossiated with in the Caveirá neighborhood, even a bone she stole at night from a cemitary as part of her last ritual to become a "mother saint". We told her never to go back there but to clean out her own house thoroughly. She went home and we prayed at our house with a group of people. Then, Shane and I went with four others to Adriana's home. As we got out of the truck we could hear Ruan (Adriana's autistic son) screaming and going crazy. Adriana came out and greeted us. She asked that before anything was done, if we could explain to her other children what we were doing. We had a great time getting to know her family better, and explaining what was going on. Our worship leader prayed with the children, and then we went out behind Adriana's house to help her burn her stuff. She had gathered more things and she was ready to get rid of all of it, with no doubts and no regrets. Shane lit the fire and we sang worship songs as the flames consumed all the things in the fire. Shane smashed a stone image and a bottle of perfume that was supposed to save her marriage. As the fire began to die toward the end, we were still praying and singing. Shane began pulling dirt over the dying fire as we sang these words: "The Lord of the army is lifting up a powerful people on the earth, and the gates of hell will not prevail over this victorious people. Every time Shane covered the ashes, great flames burst out. They did this during the whole first part of the song. Finally we were at a part of the song that goes like this: "The people that were freed from the devil, whom reigns over his works, these people march forward to the promise land". The fire made one last great burst of flame and died completely. Everything just went black. Shane prayed: "Lord, We return these elements to the earth from which they were stolen. They were originally created to praise You but they were used for evil and now we give them back and renounce all agreements that were made through them. Amen." Adriana prayed and renounced any part in her former belief and then just started singing and clapping with joy. She was so happy, we were all amazed at God's power of transformation in her life.
Thanks for your prayers,

Victory Over Evil - Part 1

Here is the first part of a fantastic story that is going on right now in the ministry of our missionary friends Shane and Erin Latham, who serve with the ABWE in Gravataí (a satelite city of PoA).

"What a mother's day! This morning we had a special breakfast at the church. The teenagers of the church presented me with a great picture of a bunch of us in front of the famous "Laçador" (the state gaucho statue). Then we went out to eat. In the afternoon it was my turn to clean the church with my 13-years-old girls group. Gabriel and Camilla went to help us. While I was there cleaning up, I went outside and the neighbor lady called me over. Her name is Adriana, and she is a "mother of saint" which is like an urban witch doctor. In the spiritualist system, you have to feel the power in you to become the "mother of saint." She told me that she remembered the feeling and the power that came with it. She and her family have been coming to church, because her husband has been insisting. He is not a spiritist and is trying to pull her out of it. Well, Adriana tells me that she has a question. So I told her that as soon as I was done with my responsibility at the church I would be right over. But she insisted that it was only one question. So I said, "Go ahead, what is it?" She asked me how much of her life would have to change to be able to do the whole "give your life to Christ" thing. I told her that God has never asked us for perfection. All He wants is our complete faith in Christ's perfection and His sacrifice for us because of how imperfect we are. I told her that if a person had to wait to become something to give their life to Jesus Christ, there would be no people in our church because we all have a lot of problems. So then Adriana said, "I just have one more thing to ask you. Would you please come into my house and pray the "give your life to Christ" prayer with me?" I couldn't even believe it. I said, "Adriana, are you serious?" And she said yes! She said that ever since they have lived beside the church she hasn't been able to light any candles or cut up any animals to curse anyone because it just hasn't felt like the right thing to do. She said that the day she became a "mother of saint" she thought it would be the best day of her life but it turned out to be the worst day of her life. Both her and her husband have been to church for the last several weeks, and they went to the couple's meeting and she even showed up at the women's prayer meeting last Thursday. She said that those have been the best two moments of her life! I went into her gate, and she locked it with a chain behind me. When we went inside her house and when she locked her door behind her with a chain too, I started praying, "Lord it is all you and Your power here. I am helpless and I am only trusting in You and Your power. I didn't know what was going on, but she turned on her cd player and played a song that she had gotten as a mother's day gift from one of her kids. It was an old hymn that talked about kneeling down and praying and talking to God with sincerity in your heart. She said that this is what she wanted to do. So there in her home we knelt and prayed and we cried and cried. She said, "I just don't feel it in me anymore. I know that I am no longer a "mother of saint" I am now a child of God." Of course then we cried some more. I told her that the battle may get tough now that she is in the thick of it, but not to give up, and that she would always have God on her side and brothers and sisters in Christ to help her get through the hardest moments. And she said, "then we will all just get down on our knees together and pray some more. It is kind of funny because just yesterday I was looking at a spiritual self-evaluation and I was specifically praying to the Lord for more opportunities to witness (there was a question about how many times we had shared the story of Jesus Christ with someone in the last month). It was a wonderful answer to prayer. Please keep Adriana and her family in your prayers because people who come out of spiritualism always seem to have a pretty tough run of it at first, and we have seen many get tired of fighting and give up. Thanks"
Erin Latham

Thursday, May 15, 2008

2007 Month of Prayer for Urban Gaúchos - Part 1

For those of you who never received the DVD for our 2007 Septmber Month of Prayer for Urban Gaúchos, we now present the videos on youtube. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Prayer video for Bill and Cheryl Arbo

Here is a video about the work of our team members Bill and Cheryl Arbo. The video was put together by Pascal Stowell, one of our colleagues here in Brazil. Enjoy, and don't forget to pray for Bill and Cheryl's ministry with upper class professionals.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Prayer Requests for PoA Church Planters - André Luís and Ivone

André Luís is a sergeant in the Brazilian army, a seminary student, a pastor, and is in the process of becoming a church planter. He took over a church in a city 1 1/2 hours away from where he lives that was down to 4 people, and has built it up to a congregation of about 20 adults and 20 more children. He has a tremendous vision not only to see his church grow, but to see 16 more churches started in the city of General Câmera and the four surrounding cities. André Luis wrote today and said:

"I have a lot that I could share about my ministry and also about everything that God is doing in General Camera and the region. But, I would like to ask you...that you would specifically pray about some attacks that Satan is launching against the work that we intend to carry out in the region.

If it is possible for you to ask your intercessors to pray for us, that would be good. Ever since I started the ministry in General Camera, there were some things that needed to be organized and some positions that I needed to take. When I made the decisions following God's direction, things started to get complicated, and some barriers started to be raised, trying to keep me from working there. Despite this, I decided to do what God told me to do. I rented a house in General Camera, and I started to direct the church in the area of training. I also started family groups, and I started the process of beginning preaching points in the region. As soon as I started this, many unnatural things have happened. Two Sundays ago, after a week full of victories (including Jeff being with me on Sunday, but the victories were throughout the entire holiday weekend), on my return from General Camera that night, when I went to pick up my kids, my car was broken into and they stole everything we had in the car, including all of our bags with our clothes, my bookbag, and everything. This Sunday, on my way back, one of the water hoses on the car broke and I didn't notice it, and the motor locked up and it appears that it destroyed the entire motor. I had to be towed home. These are just two of the primary examples of things that have happened in the last month.

I believe in a powerful God, but I know that the enemy of our souls is not happy with God's purposes for that region. So I ask you to pray for me, for Ivone, and for my children Jonathan and Jessica. Also pray that God will free that region from the hands of Satan...

On the 7th of June, I will be with Jeff again, and will be holding an evangelism impact and getting ready for July, when I will be receiving 12 (short-term Brazilian missionaries). I believe that this is also a motive for prayer...May God bless you, André Luis."

Prayer requests for PoA church planters - Delton and Fatima

Delton and Fatima are a couple from São Paulo who moved to Porto Alegre a little over a year ago to plant a church in the neighborhood called "Vila Jardim." This is a crime and drug-ridden neighborhood full of spiritist witch doctors. While they are doing excellent work and God is using them in wonderful ways, they have faced a series of challenges during their time here.

Their latest challenge is that Delton's sister Claudia, who lives in a small city in the state of São Paulo, has a severe case of cancer. They travelled to be with her a few weeks ago. She has tumors in her lungs, around her heart, and on her neck, and the cancer is throughout her entire body. She was wracked with constant fever and could barely get out of bed. The doctors are giving her massive doses of radiation for lack of anything better to do, have given up hope, and have given her between days and weeks to live.

However, many people have been praying for Claudia. Today Delton wrote "thank you for your prayers in favor of my sister Claudia. These prayers have had powerful effects. She had a reduction in the size of the tumor, which has been confirmed by the medical team, and she has gone for 6 days without fever and is eating very well. So, we need to continue our prayers until we achieve the grace of our Lord. Thank you for your support and shortly we will be able to share what God is doing through all of this. May God richly bless you in Jesus name, Delton."

Please join us in thanking God for the healing He is working Claudia's life, and pray that God will completely heal her, and that HE will recieve all of the glory and honor for doing so. Also, please thank God for Delton and Fatima's ministry here in PoA, and ask Him to use this to grow them and to richly bless their ministry and the church plant in Vila Jardim.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Translator Testimonies

Here are some testimonies from some of the Brazilian translators that work with our American volunteer teams.

"It's just wonderful to serve the Lord! I got very happy because I could finally use what God gave me. I'm sure the Lord is going to do muuuuch more in our beloved Rio Grande do Sul....God bless you all."

"My faith is coming back from the ashes. Praise the Lord!"

"First of all, I thank God for bringing people like you and your countrymen from the United States to Brazil do this marvilous work of starting churches and evangelizing. I had already heard about this work, but nothing compares to actually being in the middle of things and participating. I learned a lot and God spoke to me a great deal during the time that I was together with all of you. I want to thank you for the marvilous time that I had with all of you....May God bless each one with blessings without measure. I miss my brothers and sisters here and in the United States. I am at your disposal whenever you need and when I am free, because nothing compares to seeing a person accepting Jesus."

Monday, April 21, 2008

More Team Testimonies

Here's another quote from one of our recent American volunteer team members:

"I really don't know where to start. So I'll just start throwing it out there. I pray to God everyday to thank Him for allowing Lynn and I to have experienced what we experienced in Brazil. I thank our church for the emphasis they put on doing mission work at home and throughout the world. I deeply appreciate what Chuck and Herb do in the field of evangelism and their dedication. But, I have to say that my appreciation of what you do and your family, the sacrifices you all make on a daily basis, was not truly appreciated or realized. This trip was an eye opener for Lynn and I. Even though we are know about these things, we were somewhat ignorant. I am sure that Jesus smiles and is pleased every time he thinks about your family and the other missionaries that are dedicated to spreading His word. I just can not express our gratitude for the 'translator's' and how comfortable and welcome they made us feel. Although I used the word translators, I think that it no longer speaks about who they are and what they meant to us. I am sure I speak for our group in that even in the short time span we had together that we have just expanded our families. One thing about most families is that they come without you choosing who will be in them. This is not the case here. There isn't one I would not be proud of to have as a member of my family." God Bless, Fred

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Volunteer Team Testimony

Here is the testimony of one of the members of our recent volunteer team:

"I had the privilege of visiting Eroni and Lourdes. Our team shared the gospel and they both prayed to receive Christ as their Lord and Savior. After praying to receive Christ they told the team that today they received Christ because they realized the importance of what the team shared with them. They realized it because we had come all the way from America to share Jesus with them and we did not ask them for anything, nor did we want anything from them, but to serve and grow in Jesus. They hugged the team and said we could come back anytime we wanted to!"

Herbert T. Long
First Baptist Church, Oviedo, FL

Friday, March 14, 2008

FBC Oveido Team

Thank you so much for your prayers on our behalf and on behalf of our volunteer teams. Your prayers were both felt and observed in very real ways during the last week. Despite intense spiritual opposition ranging from accidents, sickness, relational problems, and scheduling conflicts, God answered your prayers and showed Himself to be far stronger than the obstacles that were thrown in our way.

The team of 6 from FBC Oviedo, FL left early this morning after five days of ministry. I don’t have exact numbers yet, but they conducted nearly 70 intensive Bible studies in the homes of unbelievers, led in 3 worship services, and trained 12 current and future Baptist leaders in evangelism techniques and strategy. The result of all of this was more than 70 initial decisions to follow Christ, 1 church plant started from scratch, a significant boost to another church plant, and the strengthening of two existing churches. In addition, the team from Belgrade Baptist in Montana conducted numerous sports clinics and opened up a number of long-term ministry opportunities in the public school system for these churches and church plants. The Montana team will be returning home early next week.

We praise God for His faithfulness and guidance during this intense week of ministry. We had the privilege of seeing Him work radical transformations in the lives of many people – both people who received God’s gift of eternal life for the first time, as well as believers who were trained in how to share their faith and encouraged by seeing God’s hand at work around them. It was incredible to see a young woman and her mother rejoicing and embracing for over five minutes as they celebrated the new life in Christ of five of their friends that they had quite literally been praying for and witnessing to for several decades. God is good!

We would ask you to continue in prayer for us and the follow up efforts from the team. The pattern we have seen multiple times in the past is that the forces of evil do not only attack before and during a major push into their territory, but afterwards as well. Please pray for protection and guidance for us, the team members, and the church planters and believers who worked with us, as well as for those who are beginning their walk with Christ. Please pray as well that each one of these new believers would grow and flourish in their walk with Christ, and become strong, reproducing members of these new churches.

Thank you SO MUCH for your prayers and your partnership with us in reaching urban Gaúchos with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The difference when God’s people unite to pray is very obvious to those of us here on the ground – we can’t do it without you.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Prayer update

Here is an update Jeff wrote early this morning before leaving to be with the team:

Thank you so much for your prayers. We’ll write with more details later, but suffice it to say that your prayers are already making a major difference. The team did manage to get to the city where they were working yesterday without major difficulty, and even though we were down two translators, everything ended up meshing together in the end. The team led about 29 Bible studies yesterday, and many indicated a desire to follow Christ, including the president of the neighborhood association, who was like ripe fruit falling off into our hands – it was a wonderful thing to see. The kickoff service for the new church plant was a success, with a number of visitors present to sing and hear a story from the Bible. In short, God turned many of the difficulties on their heads and brought blessings. However, we still need your prayers – there is a lot of week left. We appear to have lost one of our translators for the duration to sickness, and there are still many challenges ahead of us.

Please continue to pray for God’s protection over the team, translators, missionaries, church planters, and the families of all involved. Pray that God would anoint us with His boldness, wisdom and protection, and that Satan would not be able to gain any foothold or have any influence at all in the work that is going on or in the lives of those involved. Thank Him for the fruit that we have already begun to see, and ask Him to bring a great harvest in the next few days of work, for His glory and honor.
Thank you for your prayers – they REALLY DO make a HUGE difference – we can tell.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Urgent Prayer Request

Greetings from Porto Alegre. We would like for you to pray for the work of our volunteer teams from Oviedo, Florida and Belgrade, Montana, who are currently here working with us. They arrived on Saturday, and will be with us throughout the week working to evangelize alongside a number of our national church planters.
We are only one and a half days into the trip and we are already experiencing major resistance from the forces of evil. Translators are getting sick, Jeff is suddenly sick and has barely slept, there are several other major problems going on, and to top it all off, and we just got notice that the main interstate highway which is the only route to the neighborhood in Novo Hamburgo where we will be working to start a church from scratch today is blocked both ways because of an accident. This is interesting, as the last time this same group from Florida came to work in the city of Novo Hamburgo, the exact same road was blocked both ways on the very morning that the team was on their way to the church plant – this is obviously more than a coincidence.
Please pray that the forces of evil would be rebuked by our Lord and would not be able to interfere in any way in what God wants to do here in Metropolitan Porto Alegre this week. Pray that God would protect the teams, the missionaries involved, the church planters, and the people who will be receiving the Word this week – not just physically, but also relationally, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. Pray that God would bring much fruit, and that all of the forces of evil would be pushed back and would be completely powerless to interfere.
We are not ignorant of Satan’s schemes, and we have seen many of these exact same things happen time and time again when there has been a major push to evangelize and bring light to the darkness. People are already being saved, and God has great plans for this week.
Please join us in prayer for God’s light to shine brightly, and ask that the forces of darkness would not be able to stand against it.
With gratitude for your prayers,

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pray for the Cunninghams

Paul and Keri Cunningham and their four children arrived in Brazil on the 25th of this month. They will be living in Porto Alegre and serving as the volunteer coordinators for Southern Brazil after they finish their 6 months of language study in Campinas.

Please pray for them now - they are having a hard time of it. Immediately after arriving, one of their twin baby boys got sick. He is running an extremely high fever and has sores on the top of his mouth that make it painful for him to eat or drink. They have been in the country for just two days, and they have already been to the hospital with him two times. Because he is in pain, he's not sleeping, and when the baby doesn't sleep, nobody sleeps!

On top of that, they are dealing with all of the "normal" culture shock things - not understanding anything anyone says, a feeling of being locked in behind burglar bars, new food, culture, etc.

Please pray for the Cunninghams - ask for God to heal Pierce and help everyone rest. Ask Him to watch over and protect them and to give them His peace. And thank God that he has brought them here!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Star Party

Here is a report from Don and Karen Winget, who are astronomers on sabatical in Porto Alegre and helping Team Gaúcho with evangelistic "star parties."

"Our friends, a missionary family, Marla and Larry Green, hosted an Eclipse Party at their house. We are helping the Green’s host monthly Star Parties at their home to gear-up for the United Nation’s International Year of Astronomy in 2009. We have found that observing the natural revelation of God in the night sky is fertile ground for discussions about God, Creation, Christ, why we are here, what is wrong and what is right with us, etc. Star Party events have brought believers and seekers to the missionary’s home where they have developed relationships with the seekers and non-believers and solidified allegiances in Christ with the believers.

The day of February 20 was cloudy and very humid but by evening the clouds vanished and the full Moon was blindingly bright in the telescope. As an added treat, the bright star Regulus was occulted by the Moon (the Moon passed in front of Regulus) and at 8:34pm the blue/white-hot star popped back in to view on the other side of the Moon! Very impressive, especially since the brightness of the full Moon obscures most stars. That is why you can see more stars at night when the Moon is not visible or is much less than full.

Now for the eclipse. First contact of the Moon in the Earth’s penumbra shadow was at 9:36pm and at 10:43 the very dramatic darkening of the Moon began. It was easy to see that the Earth is a sphere as the Moon moved into the Earth’s curved shadow. By 12:01am the Moon was completely in the Earth’s shadow and for 50 minutes the Moon glowed dark red before it began to move out of the shadow and return to bright white by 3:16am.

Why was the eclipsed Moon red? It is best explained like this: Imagine yourself standing on the Moon. Face the Earth at eclipse time. The Earth is now between you and the Sun and the light from the Sun’s disk is now covered by the Earth. The Sun’s blue light is scattered in all directions by Earth’s atmosphere (That is why the sky looks blue to us on Earth during the day) and the Sun’s red light is refracted and bent around in the Earth’s thin atmosphere. As you are standing on the Moon, the Earth looks like it is ringed in a red fire. It is that red light that is now shining on the Moon. If you looked down at your feet, the surface of the Moon would look red, instead of white, and that is what the rest of us on Earth see…a red Moon.
Knowing what you know now, see if you can you answer these two questions? If you were standing on the Moon on February 20th, what kind of eclipse did you experience: solar or lunar? And, during a normal day on the Moon, is your sky blue?

Let me know.

Now back to the eclipse in Porto Alegre. Trent, a non-believer and not a seeker, yet, remarked that it is hard to believe that we actually went to the Moon. Belief in something that happened long ago, to someone else, and in a different place is often difficult to believe or even remember. Did we really go to the Moon? How do we know if we did not go there ourselves? Trent knows we went to the Moon but in 100 or 1000 years from now how could someone believe him and who would care anyway?

There are people today, just less than 40 years after the fact, who believe that the manned Apollo missions to the Moon were faked in Hollywood. Isn't it amazing, the human capacity to doubt?

I remember sitting on our couch watching television with my mom and brother while my dad, who was a journalist, showed films of each of the Apollo Mission liftoffs. Until a few years ago, I still had copies of those events on brown, brittle 35mm films in my refrigerator.

I remember the first crackling words spoken by Buzz Aldrin from the Moon, "Contact Light." He was reporting to Houston the illumination of the signal-light on the control panel indicating that the Lunar Lander had touched the surface of the Moon.
Years later, I met Buzz Aldrin in Washington D.C., shook his hand, spoke to him, and placed in his hand a picture, similar to the ones attached to this email, of a total lunar eclipse I had taken from our back yard in Weir, Texas. The eclipse that year happened to be on Buzz's birthday.

I remember watching the grainy, jumpy images of our astronauts walking, driving, golfing, and taking surface and core samples of the Moon. I have seen and touched these samples, and you can too, at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

I have been in the Mission Control Building in Houston and spent the night on the floor of the space museum surrounded by physical evidence of our space explorations and lunar landings. I have been inside a shuttle and touched an Apollo capsule. Today, everyone enjoys Velcro invented for the Apollo program to hold stuff down in the zero gravity of space. It is on your camera bag or tennis shoes.

All of this eye-witness evidence, all this physical evidence, all the writings, all the reports, all the films, all the memories…and some people still don't believe. Wow! The human capacity to doubt is overwhelming.

Here is where this story gets personal. 8 years ago, I was considering the purpose in life and when I die, and my children die, would we would go to heaven or just rot in the ground somewhere on this tiny blue planet. Don and I explored many religious beliefs and our bias at that time was based on doubt; the same kind of doubt people have now about whether we went to the Moon or not.

While checking out the claims of Christ and Christianity we found eye-witness accounts of Christ in many writings including the Bible. We were in Turkey several times and walked where the apostle Paul walked and we wandered among the ruins of early Churches. People had gathered in these Churches who had actually met Christ, maybe even touched him. I watched people who believed and loved Christ; it was moving.

Considering the technology of 2000 years ago, I had the same evidence of Christ as I have of the truth that we went to the Moon. Suddenly, my human capacity to doubt underwhelmed me and I could believe that Christ existed. No more doubt on that. The next thing I had to resolve: was Christ really who he said he was?

About the pictures

The SettingSun picture is included to remind you of the Sun’s light refracting through Earth’s atmosphere. The CurvedEarthShadow demonstrates the round shadow of the Earth on the Moon. RedWhiteBlueMoon demonstrates the Sun’s light as reflected on the Moon during the partial eclipse. The two TotalEclipse pictures demonstrate the refracted light from the Sun through Earth’s atmosphere. The point of light on the left is bright star Regulus and the object on the right is Saturn."

Thursday, February 14, 2008

It's Just The Way It Is

When people think about how missionaries spend their time, they think about us tromping along jungle trails, witnessing to native chiefs, and holding worship services in quaint thatch huts surrounded by tiki torches, just like in a Hawaiian luau.

While I have actually had the chance to do all of those things (not here in Porto Alegre, mind you, but up North, and never with tiki torches), unfortunately, the reality is often far different. Porto Alegre, is a big, modern city with big, modern problems and big, not so modern bureaurcacy, which is (or should be) linked into the bureaurcacy in the land of the thatch huts. What am I talking about? The Department of Transportation (DT).

My driver's license was issued in Maranhão, where we used to live. Weeks ago, I started the renewal process. I first went to the DT during business hours to find that they were closed. I went back another day, and was handed a list of documents that I needed to get. I gathered the documents, and went back to the DT. There, I was told that they couldn't find me in the system, so they would have to search for me and call me back. They called (which was a pleasant surprise), and told me they still couldn't find me and they would keep looking after Carnaval (5 days later). They called after Carnaval and told me that I needed to get notarized copies of some documents to mail off. I went down to the notary, spent part of the afternoon there, finally got my copies made, and went back to the DT. They stapled my stuff together and told me they would mail it off to the immensely inefficient and unworkable bureauacracy that is the DT in Maranhão (you don't even want to get me started on that) and that they would get back to me.

Meanwhile, my license has expired. Sigh.

If they ever do find me, I'll still need to do a medical exam, a psychological test, and some other stuff - not to mention a few more trips down to the DT.

So, do your missionaries spend all of their time doing exotic ministry? Unfortunately, to do our ministries, we need to spend a lot of time doing things like wearing out the sidewalk on the way to the DT.

So, when you pray for your missionaries, don't just pray for our ministries, pray for the other stuff as well!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Just in Case there Was Any Doubt, Part 2

As you can see from the above picture of people packed out on the main interstate highway coming into Porto Alegre, the procession for Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes (the version of Mary who is the Catholic patron saint for the city of Porto Alegre) attracted 100 THOUSAND PEOPLE who gathered around the fire truck to watch and worship the statue of Mary. The procession went down to the river, where dozens of boats accompanied the statue on its way to go meet up with the African goddess Iemanjá for the traditional reunion of their ceremonies.

Here is my translation of part of a newspaper article about the procession "Before the end, while the boats passed through the Pool of Pleasures, came the most traditional and emotional moment of the festival of Our Lady of the Navegators in Pelotas, which is in its 77th year. The boats stopped and were recieved by umbandistas (Afro-Brazilian Spiritists) who carried the image (statue) of Iemanjá, providing an ecuminical encounter watched from the shore by hundreds of people, despite the rain."

The procession is the largest religious gathering in the state and is put on by the hierarchy of the Catholic church. That it closes out by meeting up with Iemanjá shows not only the unofficial link between the two supposedly separate religions, but an official one as well. The fact that the hierarchy of both religions sponsor a joint event cements the official mixing of pagan Afro-Brazilian witchcraft with the twisted version of Christianity presented by the Brazilian Roman Catholic church.

On another note, Carnaval is today. For days, the newspapers and TV have been full of pictures of all but nude women dancing in the carnaval presentations with thousands of other dancers and millions of spectators. The damage done to people's lives through alcohol, drugs, violence, prostitution during the few days is incalculable. Please pray for Brazil, and for Rio Grande do Sul, and ask God to open the eyes or our nation and our state and to do away with the moral scourge that is Carnaval.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Just in Case there Was Any Doubt

Just in case there was any doubt in any of our minds of the link between official Roman Catholicism in Brazil and African Spritism, the ceremonies taking place in Rio Grande do Sul this week should put those to rest. Here is my translation of an article in today's newspaper.

"Last night, thousands of people gathered along the coastline to celebrate Iemanjá, the Afro-Brazilian goddess of the sea and of beauty. There were fireworks, traditional foods, and witchraft ceremonies in honor of the goddess. There is a two meter tall statue of the goddess at the entrance of Cassino, the city where the celebration begins.

Meanwhile, in the city of Pelotas this morning, there was a mass celebrated at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church. After the mass, a large group of the faithful began a processional with the statue of "Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes," (Our Lady of the Navegators = Mary). The statue of Mary traveled to the coastline on a firetruck, (an honor usually reserved for dignitaries buring buried or championship soccer teams). The statue of Mary will then travel by boat to meet up with the statue of Iemanjá (who is the parallel to Mary in Afro-Brazilian Spiritism) at the "Pool of Pleasures". The union of the Catholic and Umbanda (Spiritist) festivals is traditional in Pelotas."

In short,Catholicism and Spiritism are inextricably linked here in RS.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Brazilian Wedding

Well, after 2 1/2 years in Porto Alegre, what I have been studiously avoiding at almost all costs finally happened. I wore a tie. For only the third time in our seven plus years of ministry in Brazil (the first two times, I ended up being over dressed), I strapped on a tie. The occasion? Officiating at my first wedding in Brazil.

Now, I've been to a few weddings here, but I've never been asked to help conduct one. It's just never come up. However, this one was a significant one. The couple serve as part of the leadership team in one of the neighborhoods where we are helping with a church plant
(the neighbhorhood that doesn't exist)

Most of the people in the neighborhood are not officially married, and most of the people in the church plant are not married either. Since the wedding, three couples in the church have expressed interst in legalizing their relationship. Even though the church building where the wedding was held is on the other side of the city from the church plant, the building was packed out with people from the neighborhood, both Christians, seekers, and some very lost people as well. From the three pastors present, they heard about God's plan for marriage, family, and salvation.

So, was it worth strapping on the tie? You bet. Pray with us that this wedding will provide the basis not only for people getting their relationships right with one another, but with God as well.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Some of you here may be confused. Of course, the guy posting tends to stay confused, so that's ok.

However, you may have typed in the address for the Team Gaucho website and got directed to Jeff Dunson's blog. It's ok. Do not adjust the settings on your computer. Believe it or not, you're in the right place. We're in the process of reworking our team website, and so you are being temporarily routed here.

So, while you're here, I would like to direct you to my posts for the month of September. In them you will find information about our people group and our team of IMB missionaries.

So, while the site is under construction, enjoy my blog - I promise to try to post more often!