A Canadian family follows their calling to Brazil to serve as full time missionaries with the Xingu Mission.
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Thursday, November 16, 2017
Home For The Holidays, Beach Church and Film Crew
We'll Be Home For Christmas!
We Are Dreaming of a White Christmas!
We are coming to Ontario for Christmas! Now that our kids are in school, furloughs will need to line up with our kids’ school holidays, and in Brazil the school year ends in December. We are cold just thinking about it and you may see us wearing ‘suvets’ (see photo) to keep warm! But we are also very excited to spend Christmas with our friends and family. Being Canadian, a warm snowless Christmas always feels a bit odd.
We are looking to connect with as many of you as possible while we are back but due to our limited time (7 weeks) we will be trying to do some group gatherings as well as one on ones.
We will be sharing at the Cambridge Vineyard Sunday December 10 just two days after we land. We will be the ones with our teeth chattering! We will also be having a lasagna lunch after the service for all of you who have supported us financially and in prayer and for those of you who want to hear more and maybe even join the team, we will be there to eat, talk and hug you all.
In addition to lunch we will be holding a silent auction withsome lovely items from the tourist market here that would make great Christmas presents and will help us to update some of our limping technology. If you can help by making a lasagna or caesar salad or garlic bread please get in touch!
We are also in need of a car to borrow during our time in Canada to facilitate all the visiting we will need to do. If you have a car available for all or part of the time we are in Canada (Dec 8-Feb 4) please let us know!
If you are part of a church or small group, please let us know how we can share at your gathering. It has been an incredible year full of stories and we would love to share them with you!
We hope to see you at one of these gatherings or contact us to set up a time to chat!
Quick Look At Snell Christmas Schedule:
December 10-Speaking at Cambridge Vineyard followed by Lasagna lunch and silent auction
December 12-15- Vineyard ‘Genius Bar’ Kelowna B.C. (with national Vineyard leaders David and Anita Ruis)
January 12-14 -Ohio- Vineyard Church of Delaware County (VCDC)
January 21-Living Water Christian Fellowship, New Hamburg
January 28- Mapleview Mennonite Church, Wellesley
Church on the Beach
Early on when we started this ministry with the women in prostitution, as we prayed for wisdom, next steps and basically ‘what do we do God!’ he showed me a picture of a tent on the beach, laying out all the details for us. It was to be white, with three sides closed in, a carpet on the floor, flowers and music. We were to create another environment entirely different from the street where we normally pray.
The three sides were to be closed in so that their only view was of the beach in front of them, away from curious eyes. We are so often stared at as we pray for and with these women that I no longer even notice it.
We found the materials and began to plan when we would do it, talking to the girls about it and handing out invitations.
The day of the event felt like the first day we went to pray for them, we had no idea what to expect. Would anyone turn up?
As it turned out, 5 of the girls turned up early, a very rare thing in Brazil! We weren’t completely set up so we had to ask them to come back.
When we were fully ready they came back, entered the tent and sat down. I handed each of them a small card I had written up that said we are all hurting, broken in some way and that the world puts labels on us but that we have another identity in Christ. I asked that they close their eyes and ask Jesus to show them how he sees them while I washed their feet.
Earlier that week both Phil and I had suffered from a major crisis in our spine, him in his lower back and me in my neck. I was awake at night because of the pain. When the day came for Phil and I to go pray he asked if I still wanted to go and I said without a doubt, yes! I wanted to take the opportunity for the girls to pray for me.
As it turned out only one of the girls was there, she asked how we were and I said ‘mais ou menos’ which means, ‘so-so’ I explained what was going on with my neck and asked if she would pray for me this time. Her eyes got wide and then she looked at the ground and said, ‘oh, I don’t know…’ her voice trailing off.
I looked her in the eyes and asked if she had given her life to Jesus before. She said she had. I explained to her that she had the same authority in Christ to pray for me as I did for her, that we were no different. Jesus told his disciples that they would do everything and he did and more, and that means her too.
She agreed to try. I told her to put her hands on my neck and just simply tell the pain and inflammation to go in Jesus name. She did and I felt a warm sensation run through my neck. I also felt I heard the Lord say that he had given her a gift of healing. Afterwards I tested it out, the pain had diminished slightly. I encouraged her that sometimes we are healed completely and instantly and sometimes it takes time, and sometimes it doesn’t happen. But what is important is that we try. I also told her what I thought I heard. A smile crept across her face and she said, ‘that’s not the first time I’ve heard that. Another missionary in a church prayed over me once and told me that God gave me a gift of healing.
The next morn I woke up and my pain had almost completely disappeared. I messaged one of the other girls and asked her to tell the girl who prayed for me what happened.
Back to the beach church.
As I was washing the girls feet, behind me was the girl who had prayed for my neck. She was quietly sobbing as she read the Father’s Love Letter. I made my way around the chairs praying and washing their feet and finally came to her. After I washed her feet I asked her what was going on. She said she felt as though God was pursuing her, that she had once been very close to Him had been baptized in the spirit, spoken in tongues and other experiences but now, because of her shame she is afraid to face him. The other girls began to encourage her and she then started to passionately talk about how this life they are living isn’t pleasing to God, that they need to get out, that she would rather sell food on the beach than her own body. She had been to church the week before with her mother and she said she felt as though the sermon was directed at her, she said she could barely lift her head because she felt as though she would see the face of God and her shame was so heavy she couldn’t do it.
I spoke to her about the fear, that it is a tool of the enemy to keep us far from God and that her sins are no different from my sins, that not one of us is perfect and capable of living a sin free life, the only one who ever did that was Jesus and then he paid for all our sins when he died for us, so that we could be free. The important thing is that we recognize that we are not perfect and always lean on the only one who can free us.
One of the girls then suggested we all stand and pray together, we held hands and asked God to show them what he created them for, how they can leave the life they don’t want to live, that he would fill all of them with his unconditional love, that they could all feel that they are loved no matter what they have done, they can always turn to their father.
To say Phil and I were overwhelmed would be an understatement. In such a short time we have come to love these women and feel privileged that God has invited us in to what He is in the midst of doing.
We are now working on how we can begin to help these women takes steps forward to a new life. Explaining to them that the change will not be fast, but that in the end it will definitely be worth it.
This is just one of the stories that have come out of this ministry this month. There are so many more and we look forward to sharing them with you or your small group or congregation while we are back in Canada.
Documentary in the Making
Creative Impact Ministries is comprised of an American couple and their son, making documentaries to help missionaries tell their stories. This month we were blessed to have them with us for six days, filming interviews with us and documenting our story as missionaries.
It was a fun, busy few days and we are looking very forward to seeing the final product!
In the mean time, you can watch this scene...we might have had a little too much fun with them!