The visit amongst the saints in the Brasilia region brought some encouragements and challenges. A happy occasion was the baptism of three believers. One of these was a man who was saved during the conference in February this year. I guess he must be about 35 years of age. His previous life was one of motorcycles and everything connected with that. However, he is now a new creature in Christ and he has sold the bike and is now in assembly fellowship. Praise the Lord, what a trophy of grace.
Much liberty was enjoyed both in ministry and the gospel. While we were there we were able to visit a favela (shanty town) where local believers have a preaching point. The people who live there originally came from a favela in Belo Horizonte. After a fierce shoot-out between two drug gangs, these people had to flee for their lives. The saints in Brasilia agreed to help and provided homes, hence the favela and the preaching point. Some of these people have now been gloriously saved and are in assembly fellowship. It is exciting to note an obvious change in their lives and a genuine joy in the Lord.
Digging a well manually with local farming believers was also a pleasure, even if we lost the effort put into the first hole at 15 metres when a wrench fell in and could not be removed, thus stopping progress. It was good to see the determination of the workers as a second well was started. However, at 18 metres it was decided to postpone progress as from then on a different procedure would be required, and other activities on the farm needed attention. One morning there was some excitement when a rattlesnake was discovered behind the log cooker. It had come in during the night to feed on a bull frog hiding in the corner. The farm owner dealt with it effectively by the use of a long handled hoe. At such times we sense the gracious hand of the Lord in protection.
In Tupi Paulista we continue to visit the various couples for whom we have asked prayer. One of these, sadly, lost their first child at birth. The most unhappy experience for them was the "doctor" who did not agree to help the mother unless they paid what he was asking. The young lady was in desperate need and her husband, a supermarket worker, in tears, implored the man to accept their little savings. Gladly, she survived to tell the story.
Both are interested in the things of the Lord and are reading the Gospel by John. Nino and his wife Neri have sold a part of their farm and are now living in a distant city. Please remember them in prayer. The Lord has granted some great opportunities over the years to unfold for them the wonderful truths of His grace from His Word. The good seed has been planted.
It is challenging to find how very little knowledge people have of the Scriptures and yet they are religious. Whilst visiting our neighbours across the street, we were able to bring the conversation to the things of the Lord, citing Abraham being justified by faith and Noah entering the ark for salvation. These dear friends knew nothing about either of these Old Testament personalities. The upcoming generation has a similar lack of Biblical knowledge. Visiting people in their homes is time consuming but nevertheless enjoyable as many are keen to learn. Yet another couple were brought to their senses by John 3.16 when they said they believed in God but did not know if they had everlasting life. Their facial expression changed when they realized that one cannot believe and not have eternal life otherwise God is not true to His promise.