Missionary Pulse: Live Like You Were Dying

by Diane D., EFCA ReachGlobal missionary in Brazil

“Live like you were dying…”

I recently saw those words written on a church bulletin, and it reminded me to always be ready.

It says in 1 Peter 3:15, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

I’ve been attempting to be more ready these days. I’ve been keeping an EvangeCube (a Rubik’s cube type gadget that shares the gospel of Christ in pictures) and an extra Bible in my purse and intentionally looking for opportunities to share about Christ.

So in June, while out evangelizing on the streets of Ipanema, a famous beach community in Rio de Janeiro, my husband, Jeff, and I had the privilege of meeting Rosie.

This energetic Brazilian woman was selling refrigerator magnets and key chains while dressed in Carmen Miranda attire. Like the famous Brazilian singer, Rosie was wearing an eye-catching fruit hat and outfit.

After we had spoken for a while, Rosie wanted to give us gifts — key chains with the picture of the Christ the Redeemer statue. We gladly accepted, and I then asked her if she had ever seen an EvangeCube. She said she would love to see it because she is an evangelical Christian.

I showed it to her and told her that I wanted to give it to her as a gift, but that she needed to share it with others. She immediately began to cry. When I asked her why she was crying, she told us that she works at a hospital for terminally ill cancer patients and would love to use it there to share the gospel.

When I saw her a few months later, Rosie told me that the cube helps her share Christ using pictures.  She has held many children in her arms as they pass from this life into the arms of Jesus.

While Rosie is already a Christian, it greatly encouraged her and touched her heart to know that she is not alone as she strives to share the best gift of all — the gift of eternal life through God’s son, Jesus Christ.

Please pray that the Holy Spirit works through Rosie at the hospital and that many people hear the true gospel message.

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Missionary Pulse is a column dedicated to reflections directly from the ReachGlobal Latin America missionaries on the field. See archives.

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CONNECT

latinamerica@efca.org

SERVE

Contact us to find out how you can serve in Brazil — individually or with a team.

PRAY
  • That God uses Rosie at the hospital to bring His life-saving word to those who need to hear the gospel.
  • For Diane and the ReachGlobal team in Rio de Janeiro as they strive to live each day like they were dying, making the most of every opportunity to proclaim the name of Christ.
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The Phoenix Takes Flight

New church plant starts from ashes of another

On July 29, 29 people gathered on a second floor patio in Campo Grande, Brazil, to worship, pray and  study God’s word. Led by Thiago Lehmam, a 21-year-old computer engineering student, more than two-thirds of the group was young adults with the dream of starting a new church out of the remnants of their old church.

Three guest pastors pray over the Phoenix Church at their July 29 worship service, asking for God's blessing and direction.

Eight months earlier, the Free Church that these young Brazilians attended closed its doors when its pastor left. Unable to find a church that both felt like home and aligned with their beliefs, they decided to take matters into their own hands.

“Everything ‘began again’ one afternoon when we talked together and the question was raised: ‘Why don’t we start our own youth group?’” Thiago says. “And why not? One beautiful characteristic of our group is that we seem to have limitless creativity, young people with incredible gifts, and youth who know that they have a strong calling from God.”

Meeting weekly for more than five months now, the group is slowly making the transition from youth group to church plant. They call themselves Phoenix Church, aptly named for the mythological bird that is reborn from the ashes of another.

“We are working together to grow, both spiritually and in term of numbers, and we dream one day of having our own space, with services on Sundays, and a ‘more trained’ pastor leading and helping us to grow,” Thiago says.

Steve, an EFCA ReachGlobal missionary, attended the July 29 meeting and came away impressed with these young adults, many of whom came to know Christ several years earlier through the Brazilian Free Church’s summer English Camps.

“They realize that the responsibility is on their shoulders, and they’re taking that on with full conviction,” Steve says. “They didn’t ask any of the visiting ‘pastors’ to bring the Word. They didn’t ask for a dime for anything. They led us in an evening before the Lord.”

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CONNECT

latinamerica@efca.org

SERVE

Contact us to find out how you can serve in Brazil — individually or with a team.

PRAY
  • For God to lead these young adults in planting the Phoenix Church.
  • That the youth in Brazil would continue to experience the life-changing power of the gospel and that they would help spread the gospel throughout the country.
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News Update: Pastor Johny Writes From The Flood Zone

Pastor Johny Stutzer, church planting secretary for the Evangelical Free Church of Brazil and an EFCA ReachGlobal Latin America ministry partner, feels fortunate that the flood damage to his church was relatively minimal.

Although the water rose to 4.5 meters (over 14 feet) in some parts of the church, a group of church members worked together to move everything to the second floor of the building just as the flooding began on September 8.

Many others were not as fortunate.

“We arrived in a poorer region… an entire neighborhood completely inundated with mud,” Johny writes.

His team from the church went to help at the home of an elderly widow, Leonora, and her daughter-in-law. They were trying to clean out their home and salvage whatever possessions they could.

“When we arrived with a team carrying brooms, squeegees, a submersible pump, and buckets, her eyes lit up and she said: ‘You are the church…I just went there!'” Johny writes.

“In the midst of our cleaning we talked, consoling her and offering counsel. [Leonora and her daughter-in-law] saw in our volunteers the Lord’s love as we worked,” Johny shares. “It was difficult to create a mountain of mud, furniture and personal items in front of her home — the ‘history’ of this woman — but she was impacted by our attitude.”

“In the middle of the afternoon, with everyone dirty, wet, and muddy, all of a sudden we were praying with her as she confessed her sins and asked Jesus to come into her life. A small home, with most everything destroyed by the flood, now had a new shine — the presence of God began a new work there because of the impact of the love of God in action.”

Keep up with the latest recovery efforts at www.touchglobal.org/brazil

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CONNECT

crisisresponse@efca.org

PRAY
  • For Pastor Johny and his church as well as ReachGlobal missionaries who have traveled from Rio de Janeiro to help with the recovery efforts.
  • That the people of Rio do Sul — an area that has been resistant to the gospel — would have their hearts and minds opened to the truth of the gospel.
  • That not only the immediate physical needs but also the spiritual and emotional needs of the people would be met.
GIVE

Make an online donation to Brazil flood relief efforts.

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News Update: Brazilian Partners Respond to Flooding

In Santa Catarina, the southernmost state of Brazil, flooding and landslides have affected nearly 1 million people in 96 cities throughout the region since September 8.

TouchGlobal Crisis Response and EFCA ReachGlobal are working with the Evangelical Free Church of Brazil (CIELB) in Rio do Sul to mobilize relief efforts. A mission field is born in the wake of every crisis, and the CIELB expects to not only provide for the practical needs of the people, but to minister spiritually to the victims of this natural disaster.

Keep up with the relief effort on the TouchGlobal Crisis Response website and find out how you can support the efforts through praying or giving.

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CONNECT

crisisresponse@efca.org

PRAY
  • For the CIELB, ReachGlobal’s partners in Brazil, as they respond holistically to the affected people.
  • That more funding would be sent to help our Brazilian brothers and sisters respond to this need.
  • That Jesus will be exalted by those responding in this crisis.
GIVE

Make an online donation to Brazil flood relief efforts.

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“Transformation Begins in the Heart of One”

The world versus God.

In a culture characterized by sensuality and promiscuity, where evangelicalism often carries a stigma and many people are looking for a “quick fix” or a “feel good” religion as opposed to a long-lasting commitment to God, Brazilian youth face competing messages.

So, when the Brazilian Free Church brought 350 young people together for their second-ever youth gathering in April, the theme focused on transformation — a transformation that begins in the heart of one but grows to include the community, the nation and the world.

Conference keynote speaker, Olgálvaro Bastos Jr. (Latin America coordinator for Tribal Generation), challenged the mostly high school-age youths to adopt a biblical worldview.

“I wanted to bring discomfort to everyone to awaken them to the Great Commission,” explains Olgálvaro.

“He called the young people to think about their values, think about their decisions, think about the way they live and breathe and laugh and cry,” says Steve, EFCA ReachGlobal missionary serving part-time in Brazil. “But mostly they were called to think about who they are in Christ and how that impacts (or doesn’t impact) who they are in their daily lives.”

Break-out seminars challenged the youth on topics such as “Removing the Mask,” “Hearing the Voice of God” and “Revolutionary Thinking.”

“I feel God can use this conference to raise up church planters and leaders from amongst the youth,” says Johny Stutzer, church planting secretary for the Brazilian EFC and the main program coordinator for the youth gathering. “We [the church leaders] need to help them hear God’s call to ministry. It’s amazing to see them respond.”

Olgálvaro agrees that the response of the youth was encouraging to him.

“We could see in the students a growing interest with each day. The participation of the youth was incredibly expressive,” he says. “That shows the great potential of the church in its development both in Brazil and in the world.”

Many of the youth posted their reactions and responses to the conference on the event’s Facebook page.

“The great marvel is that even though we’re separated by thousands of kilometers, we discovered that the love of Christ unites us in a ‘super cool’ fellowship with one common objective: Transform the setting where we live, become the salt of the earth, light that transforms and reflect the love of God through our lives,” wrote one young woman.

More than just an idea

The conference leaders didn’t just talk about transformation. They also presented the youths with real opportunities to put transformation into practice.

  • Serve the country’s indigenous population.
  • Work with street children, prostitutes and the homeless in inner city Sao Paolo.
  • Travel to Haiti in September as part of a Brazilian EFC short-term team partnering with ReachGlobal.
  • Help with church planting efforts in New Orleans, specifically targeting the Latino community, as part of the upcoming EFCA’s biannual youth conference, Challenge 2012.

“Each church was charged with helping the youth continue to grow in their ministry life,” says Johny.

Johny, Steve, and the other conference leaders only want to see the spirit of the conference grow as the Brazilian students commit to a different life — a transformed life that goes against the grain of the culture.

“Our greatest challenge is to maintain the passion for Christ and His work, as we work toward growth in the church, and enrichment to both families and churches,” Olgálvaro says.

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CONNECT

latinamerica@efca.org

SERVE

Contact us to find out how you can serve in Brazil — individually or with a team.

PRAY
  • That the passion for transformation and for serving Christ in Brazil and beyond its borders is maintained among the Brazilian youth.
  • For the leaders in the Brazilian Free Church who are investing in the lives of the young people, equipping them to be the next leaders.
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Moving Latin America Pictures: Service Opportunity

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what about a video?

Help ReachGlobal Latin America strategically tell the story of God’s work through the creation of short promotional videos. Capture the true spirit of the culture, the people and the ministry in places like Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; San José, Costa Rica; or Mexico City, Mexico.

ReachGlobal Latin America is inviting 4-6 video producers to join us on a two-week video production mission trip in January 2012. Producers will each travel to a different city to film for four days — interviews, b-roll, city footage, etc. — before spending a week in Costa Rica editing and producing the final product. 

Who should apply?

Video producers with:

  • 3+ years of years of production experience
  • An eye for composition, an ear for the story, and a heart for God
  • All needed equipment for video production

If you or someone you know might be interested, find out more about this incredible opportunity. Don’t pass up the opportunity to unite your love of video with your faith in the Lord.

You’ve read our stories. Now help us tell them in a new and powerful way.

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CONNECT

Contact movingpicturesmovingpeople@efca.org with questions or to apply.

SERVE

Check out more details online or download the Moving Latin America Pictures Information Packet.

PRAY
  • For God to raise up the right team of video producers to join the trip.
  • For the pre-trip preparation and planning in each location where filming will occur.
  • That God be glorified through the telling of His work in Latin America through video.
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