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,