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."