Friday, August 31, 2007
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Walking into a Brazilian Favelas (slum town) is an all together different kind of experience. The level of poverty is just like nothing I have ever seen. Having travel throughout Brazil I felt I knew what to expect. I have "driven by" many times. I thought that I would know what to expect.
But reality was very different. First off, we had to try two different "entrances" into the Favelas. There had been heavy rain in the Favelas the previous two days, so many of the "streets" were flooded. The water was dark, cold and filled with trash.
Once we made our way in, I could not help but notice all the destruction. Because of the heavy rains, and consequently the flooding, many of the plywood homes had been destroyed. From talking to some of the people who minister in the Favelas, this is very common experience. Any time it rains, the people of the slum cities stand a good chance of losing their home.
So a midst all this destruction, I would expect to find depressed, worn out, and disillusion people. While that is quite prominent, we also found many believers, people with the joy of Christ in their life. We found people willing to talk with us and share their burdens. They readily accepted our offers of pray and which in many ways, was all we could offer them.
Walking into a Favela is a test of our belief in the power of prayer. For the most part, we were tourists in the Favelas. We handed out stickers to children and offered prayers to the parents. Our time there was probably less than 3 hours. Walking out, I could not shack the nagging question, “Did I do any good today? Are any of those people better off?”
Granted, our time visiting this slum was in part to scout out future ministry opportunities. But the reality is the same. The fact is, apart from prayer, we can do very little to “change” the physical and spiritual lives of a person living in abject poverty. But how mighty are our prayers! Our prayers are powerful, not because of whom we are, but because of Whom we pray to. Our prayers are able to do mighty things because the God we pray to is able to do mighty things. In fact, it is sort of His specialty.
Do I truly believe that? I’m not sure. I caught myself thinking that my prayers were insignificant and petty. I caught myself thinking that nothing would change. But that is more a statement of me faith and not on God.
I wonder what other things are in our lives that seem so big and insurmountable. I wonder if sometimes I am afraid to pray for those “biggies” because I am not sure that God really will do anything about it. I also wonder what would happen in my life if “in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving” I took my request to God.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
You can click on the flag to see a larger version that is easier to read.
Friday, September 01, 2006
No this is not a post about the infamous Walled Garden of AOL, rather, I found this picture online and found it both fascinating and heartbreaking. A brief description, what you are looking at is Sao Paulo, with around 20 million people, it is the largest city in Brazil, South America, and I think, the Southern Hemisphere.
On one side of the photo, you have the manicured lawns, gorgeous pools, and breathtaking architecture of the extremely expensive high rise condos. On the other side, the trash filled dirt streets of the “favelas” or slum towns of Brazil.
Looking at this photo, I can’t help but wonder what the people on the right side of the photo think every time they look out of the balcony? Have they ever witnessed some being robbed or killed? Do they long to help their fellow countrymen? Have they grown numb to the images and sounds that must rise up from the shacks below?
What about the people who literary live below those ivory towers. Do they look up and long for a better life? Do they dream of better days? A day where they no longer need fear for their safety and that of their children? Are they resentful and bitter?
This picture sort of reminds me of the parable of the banquet in Luke 14. Not that heaven is like a high rise condo, but that the doors for the greatest party ever have been thrown open to the cripples, poor, and homeless. In other words, to people like you and me.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
We had our first monthly World Missions Prayer Breakfast this past Saturday and 30 people came. Most were between 10 and 25. Café Missões (or panquecas e missões, we're still deciding on the name) is a monthly gathering where we pray for World Missions. Anyone who has studies the history of missions knows that no new missions movement begun apart from prayer. From Luke 10:2 where Jesus instructs his followers to pray for more workers in the harvest field, to the "Cambridge 7" a group of college students whose prayers and passion for missions led to one of the largest missions mobilizations in American history, Prayer is the foundation for a strong missions movement.
We gathered together, ate pancakes and had fun talking. Later, we broke into three groups. I prepared material for the groups to pray over. We prayed for the continent of Africa, the country of Lebanon and a missionary from the church's denomination working in Thailand. It was the kind of group I enjoy working with ; informal, lively and full of potential. We look forward to hosting these every month and our pray is that these meetings would be a catalyst for a growing passion for the world in our church here in Bragança as well as Brazil as a whole.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
With the massive worldwide popularity of the World Cup, I thought that it would be a good idea to create a Prayer Guide for the 32 participating nations. As Christians’, prayer is perhaps the most crucial thing that we can do to impact our world for the Gospel.
My challenge is that each of you would take the time to pray for the 32 countries participating. A few general ideas of things that you can pray for:
- Pray for the missionaries serving in these nations. In many of the countries, missionaries face various hardships and obstacles.
- Pray that more nations would take up the call to missions.
- Pray for the churches of the nations, that they would be strong and unified.
- And above all, pray that Jesus would be glorified in our lives, our churches and our ministries.
This may sound like a silly idea to some of you, but I assure you that the World Cup does have an impact on the World. During the 1994 World Cup, 4 Brazilians become Christians. This year, warring faction in the Ivory Coast have declared a "cease-fire" while their country plays in the Cup. You just don´t know what impact the power of prayer could have!
There are two translations, one in English and the other Portuguese. You can download either the PDF or MSWord file.
Click here to get your copy.