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Thursday, August 17, 2017

In spite of our plans, God moves....

When we moved here in October we had a plan, so did God....they just weren't the same.

‘We Don’t Want to Be Here, We Need To Be’


It’s a phrase we hear often now, a prayer request to be freed from the life they are living.  The women we are praying for twice a week have begun to open up to us more and more since we were robbed.  What used to take about an hour now takes more than two as the women want to spend time and share their hearts.

When we introduce ourselves to girls we haven’t met before (and there are ALWAYS new girls) one of the first things they often ask is, ‘was it you guys who got robbed?’  The story is making it’s way around and, we believe, that because we have come back they are opening up to us more easily.  

What could have scared us away has actually opened their hearts.

Before we go down we always spend time in prayer.  We pray for protection for them and us, we pray for God to go before us and we pray for words of knowledge, things that only God can know about them.  If God knows of any physical pain or illness or emotional need we ask that he would show us so that we can pray for them to be healed.

It’s always fun to see the look on someone’s face when they have been physically healed.  There have been many of these in the past month and each one immediately goes and tells someone else what just happened. There is something spiritual that happens when someone is physically healed, that persons faith is increased immensely almost instantly and their trust in God and us is strengthened.

The walls they have built begin to tumble.
 
One particular story stands out.  One of the days we went down I felt like someone was suffering from some kind of lower abdominal pain or infection.  When we arrived we asked the first group of girls if any of them had this issue.  They immediately said no, but that one of the other girls who usually waits with them has been in a lot of pain in her abdomen from a surgery.
But she was out with a client.  We said we would make our rounds praying for the other girls and come back.

When we came back she was there and she explained that she had had a c-section three months earlier and that the incision still gave her pain, she had to start back to work soon after the baby was born.  It was her second c-section in less than two years.

I asked her to put her hand where the incision was and prayed for it to be healed.  After praying twice she poked around and said the pain was gone.  This girl normally is very cold, she tolerates our presence there and usually allows us to pray for her but as I pray she usually stares me directly in the eyes, like she’s looking for the real reason we are there.  There was a strong distrust.

After her physical pain left her body she started to share her emotional pain with us, she opened up her heart in a way she hadn’t before.  She said she often feels that people are either hurling abuse at her or she feels invisible.  We prayed again, this time for her emotional healing, we assured her that she is not invisible to us and definitely not invisible to God.  

Before we left we gave her a copy of the Father’s Love Letter that we give to all the girls we haven’t met yet.  She said she would read it when she got home.

When we drive home we have to drive down the same road where they work.  As we passed her she was reading the letter.

The next time we saw her she looked like a different person, her face was lit up and she smiled at us with a warmness that I hadn’t seen before.  

‘I loved the letter you gave me! Thank you!’ she said beaming.

I’m not a psychologist and I don't pretend to be an expert on what these women face every day, but I believe that they have to create an armour of defence mechanisms and that trusting people must be very difficult.

Before I left for our annual conference in Altamira Phil and I went down again to pray for them.  As we were praying for one of the girls we met on that very first day, a car stopped and someone got out.  It was another of the girls we have gotten close to.  Her face lit up and she ran over to us.

‘I didn’t miss prayer did I?  Because I want to pray for my enemies, the people who speak bad about me and who I have conflict with.  I want God to work on their hearts, and our relationships.’

We often are asked, ‘where is your church?’  I have begun to tell them we are standing in it.

Our church right now is with these women, hearing their stories, praying for them and with them, sharing the gospel with them and seeing God begin to transform their hearts.  

We are so grateful for how God is using us and blessing us with their trust to open up to us and how he is already moving in these women’s lives.  

We are praying about next steps and how we can spend a bit more time with them, somewhere away from their work environment where they are often distracted.  

One idea that the Shores of Grace project does in Recife is a banquet. Once a month they host a dinner, in an upscale hotel with a full buffet, the women and men are invited to take part and feel special.  There is worship time, someone shares a testimony and there is lots of time for prayer and conversation.  We had the blessing of being invited to one of the banquets last month.  The thing that stuck out the most to us was listening to women who have left the streets pray for and speak into the lives of girls still in that world.

We hope to have the resources to some day host this kind of event here.

We are praying for knowledge and connections and ideas for how to help those who truly want to get out.
We appreciate your prayers along side us!

Right now we feel as though we are supposed to keep doing what we are doing, keep showing up and listening and praying and showing them the unconditional love of the Father.

NO PICTURES PLEASE


You may notice that our updates are a little void of imagery these days. For obvious reasons we don’t bring anything valuable to the streets when we go, just ourselves and our prayers.  I also don’t want to, in any way, disrespect the women we are working with who are quickly becoming people we love.  One day, when they are on the path to freedom I hope to have photos of their graduations or weddings or other triumphs.  So for now, you’ll have to paint the images in your heads.  I hope you understand.

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Intervinha 2017 Regional Conference with Gary and Joy Best


I had the joy and privilege of spending a week with my Brazilian family and friends in Altamira last week.  The only down side was that my family stayed behind in João Pessoa.  We are finding the cost of flights makes it difficult for us to stay connected physically with the rest of our mission and church as they are more than 2,000km away.





This years theme for the conference was ‘Naturally Supernatural’ and we were so blessed to have Gary Best and his wife join us as the speakers.  Gary was part of the founding fathers of the Vineyard in Canada was was the national leader for many years.  He shared with us God’s desire for us to partner with Him in what he is doing, looking for where heaven is already breaking through and joining him in his work in those times and places.  He spoke too, of servant leadership and that our whole point as Christians is to ultimately be ‘little Jesus’’ here on earth.

It was a pleasure to meet and spend time with him and his wife and my beloved Brazilian and missionary family.

Prayer Requests

Prayer Requests
Please pray with us for....
A team!  We need people and resources here in Joao Pessoa to help us move along with our ministry and church plant 

Pray for our kids as they continue to transition and study in a foreign language

Pray for provision for our ministries and in country travel to remain connected to our Vineyard family