Friday, August 9, 2013


We are entering our final day at Kid's Place today.  This week has been eye opening to me (Tim Brock) of the fences or barriers I place in my life.  Every afternoon at Kid's Place there is a group of kids that come and stand at the fence that separates Kid's Place from the outside world.  They all have different stories but similar backgrounds.  In appearance, our background and circumstances, their lives look completely different than mine.  But being here this week I have found that we all have one very fundamental thing in common.  Everyone in this world has a need that nothing in this world can satisfy.  That need is the good news of Jesus Christ.

Yesterday was a great example of The Lord using the body of different backgrounds to accomplish his purpose.  Josh and Amy Burgess are on their 3rd trip to Recife.  Each year they have spoken with a woman named Rita and they have shared the gospel with her and her husband.  While meeting with her yesterday, Rita began telling us that she was just not ready to commit fully to Jesus and give her life to God.  She told us that she didn't feel like she could be good enough or that she deserved heaven.  We agreed with her that no one could be good enough to deserve heaven.  But we shared about the saving power of Jesus' grace. The entire time that we were speaking with Rita, we were talking through our translator Erika.  She we relaying everything we were saying to Rita and giving us her response.  Erika could sense the hesitancy that Rita was feeling and stopped the conversation and looked at us.  She asked if she could say something.  We of course wanted her to.  She then launched into the most beautiful 5 minutes of dialogue that I have ever heard.  I could not understand a word she was saying but I knew what was being communicated.  At the end Rita gave her life to Christ.  The joy on her face was overwhelming.  We hugged, we cried and we prayed together.  A group of people from very different backgrounds rejoicing in the one thing that makes all things new.

There are "fences" in all of our lives that keep us from sharing the one thing that can unite us all.  We are all different and our struggles are not the same.  But if we can just open the gate then we will be able to watch God heal our land.

Too busy to blog!

As a general rule, I like to keep a journal for myself (Josh).  However, I find that during the days I have a ton going on, I don't have time to do it.  I fear that much the same is happening to our team in Brazil.  Our lack of regular updates is NOT due to lack of great ministry and growth.  It's because we haven't had the time to write.  Sorry.

Yesterday was another sweet day.  We were with the kids in the morning and then visits into homes in the favela in the afternoon.

In the morning, during games we had a boy throw a fit.  Not just angry, but in the sense of being a danger to himself and others.  With the help of staff, they were able to get him calmed down.  Later, one of the teachers took a few of us aside to share his home background.  I won't go into details, but suffice to say he has been dealt one of the worst hands a kid can have.  We were reminded that there are likely another 100 stories like this at KP and that for many of them, their hours at KP are a calm oasis of hope away from a home of despair.  Pray for them.

In the afternoon my family visited a family we had seen the previous 2 years.  The father wasn't home, but the mother was and it turned out that she had not accepted Christ before.  After sharing the gospel through a translator with limited success, our translator asked if she could talk to the mom.  What followed was nothing more than heaven shining down on that room as this 17 year old translator shared from her own heart, in Portuguese, the woman's need for a savior, resulting in the woman accepting Christ.  We were there to ALLOW the translator to be there.  She wasn't there to let us speak, She was there so God could let her speak.  So neat to see God work.  Praise God!

This morning we finish up with the kids and then head to a KP camp with the teenagers for the afternoon.

We fly back tomorrow, Lord willing.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

God's intricate plans

I wanted to share with you a wild story of God's sovereignty over decades. It's a story that stretched from Recife, Brazil, to Fort Worth and back again several times.

In the 1950s, an American family lived as missionaries in Brazil. One of their ministries was running Christian camps for Brazilian children. Busloads of children attended these camps year after year in São Paulo. One of those buses came from Recife with a young boy named Homero Lecio aboard. He accepted Christ that week at camp and returned to Recife on fire for the Lord.

That boy's faith grew as he got older, and God called him into a life of ministry. The boy moved to Fort Worth, Texas, to attend seminary at Southwestern Baptist Seminary with the goal of opening a Christian camp near Recife so more children might have the same opportunity he had as a child, and might come to know Jesus as he did. While at Southwestern he developed relationships with many families at Christ Chapel Bible Church and McKinney Bible Church. Those families and those churches supported him when he returned to Brazil to begin his ministry, which eventually took the name Volunteers for Christ.

Pastor Lecio, as he is now known, is the founder and director of Kids Place in the Coque community of Recife, where some of the city's poorest families live. For years the ministry has rented camp facilities for use in the summer to take children from Coque to camp. Rental rates continually rose, and his dream remained to build a camp that Kids Place could call its own. Thanks to the generosity of donors and a favorable real estate market a few years ago, that decades-old dream became a reality. The facilities at Rancho Pitanga were barely ready (and some areas were unfinished) when the first campers to arrived last summer, but the first session of camp in their new facility was a huge success. Volunteers for Christ also has a church in a fishing village on the coast. Kids Place, Rancho Pitanga, the church in the fishing village are the three arms of ministry in Volunteers for Christ.

Fast forward to a grandson of those Brazilian missionaries. His name is Richard Drummond and he and his wife Aimee are on the YCC mission trip with us in Brazil this summer.  His grandparents ran the camp where Pastor Lecio received Christ.  He is now serving alongside Pastor Lecio with us in Brazil.

So here is Richard, witnessing in person the incredible legacy left by the obedience of his grandparents to the call God placed on their lives, followed by Pastor Lecio's obedience to the call God placed on his life. And Richard and Ammie are in Recife this week because God called them here as well.

I'm sure that description doesn't do justice to the chills it caused all around here when Richard connected all the dots for us last night. Josh and I came here for the first time two years ago, and I remember talking with Pastor Lecio about his testimony and how this ministry started. I remember him talking about the camp he attended as a child. So watching that story come full circle to Richard getting to be here and meet a man who was directly impacted by his grandparents' ministry, and be surrounded by children who are benefitting from that legacy of obedience -- it's just stunning. And humbling.

Our group has talked a lot about the legacy of obedience and service this week. God takes the little we give Him and multiplies it beyond what we we will probably ever see in this lifetime. I suspect there are many of these wild connections around us all the time, but we'll never connect all the dots. None of us became a believer in a vacuum, untouched by the ministry of other believers. We are all indebted to those who obeyed God and poured into our lives. God, in His grace, allows us to play a role in the spiritual lives of others when we obey His call to service.

God is putting on the greatest show on earth all the time, weaving intricate stories of redemption. Service puts you in the front row to see His show up close. We are grateful to all of you who helped put us in the front row this week. Thank you. We are being changed, and we know others here are being changed as well. May God multiply this service for His glory for generations to come.

In Him,
Amy Burgess

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tuesday Evening Update

Wow!  What a great day in Brazil.  Thank you for those of you that prayed for us!  Tomorrow (Wednesday) we are back with the kids in the morning and then having the afternoon with the teenagers to do a scavenger hunt and then watch a movie in the evening with them.  The goal will be to build relationships and share the gospel.

Although there are many great stories from the day, I wanted to share a great one for me (Josh).  This afternoon our family went to visit a family in Coque that has a son that attends kids place.  The mother is a Christian, but the father, Rafael, is not.  We had a great visit at their home and heard about life and were able to encourage them in areas of parenting and grace.

This afternoon, we had some of the dads from KP come play soccer with the guys from our team.  By "soccer", I mean that we touched a ball, and they took us to soccer school!  At half-time, I had the chance to share the gospel with the men.  Rafael was there.  While I shared, most of our team was praying -- one guy actually told me he was specifically praying for him while I shared.

Anyway, he stayed for dinner with us and shared that he had accepted Christ this evening!  Praise God.  What was also awesome was that there was another dad there that had recently accepted Christ.  They both had questions about sanctification -- although they didn't use that word.  Several of us were able to share the sanctification process with them so that as they start off on their new journey with Christ they have a good understanding.

More tomorrow.

Tuesday Morning

Bom Dia!

Hello from our team to everyone back in the states! We are so overjoyed to be in Recife with our brothers and sisters in Christ!  Praise God that we arrived safely and with no troubles when traveling all the way from the US to Brazil.

God has been so faithful to us during these first days in the city.  We arrived at the Recife airport and immediately met our friends from the Volunteers for Christ ministry here in Brazil.  They picked us up and took us to Kids Place where we will be spending the majority of our week, teaching Vacation Bible School and sharing Christ with the Brazilian people.  Once arriving on Sunday, we began prepping our rooms for teaching the children and then organized all of the supplies we brought along.

Yesterday, however, was our first full day of ministry with the children and their families.  God greatly worked through us and at the end of the day we could already see fruit from His labor.  I would equate it to an analogy of seeing a shepherd calling out to his sheep who are out in a nearby pasture.  Some of them turn their ears towards him and begin to walk forward, while others are still looking towards him and slowly but surely beginning to inch their way to him.  This is the way that we see God working in the lives of each man, woman and child that hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  You can see their hearts changing, their curiosity rising, as they hear the Good News and respond.  It is an immense feeling of joy to see this taking place and a privilege to be a part of it.

The afternoon yesterday was spent playing soccer and engaging in other craft activities for a few hours until dinner time.  This gave an opportunity for many from Coque to come out to see us, and in turn, hear the Gospel.  There were some that heard the Gospel and responded immediately, while others had already heard the message before and had trusted Christ as their Savior.  We praise God and give Him the glory for those that already know Him!

However, one particular part of the day was incredibly encouraging for me.  A young boy, about 11 years old, came up to me as I was sharing Christ and asked me, "I already know Jesus, and I want to tell my friends about Him, but how can I do that?  Do I have to have a Bible? Do I have to be a missionary?" And my heart leapt for joy, seeing this reaction from him.  I could see direct results from God as He has been working through this ministry and in the hearts of each Brazilian.  Not only was this boy interested in knowing more about God, but he wanted to share Him with his peers!  I told him that we are ALL commanded by Jesus in the Gospels to go and share the Good News, no matter who we are, our background or where we live.  And that he can do that right here and now, with or without his Bible.

My prayer is that I hope this example of a life bearing fruit in The Lord would continue amongst the favela. That lives would continue to be changed by God for years to come, and like a spreading fire, the faith would ignite and continue to move through each heart and each life.

Today is day two, and your prayers are greatly desired.  Thank you for reading and following our efforts as we faithfully go each day.  I pray more will come to faith in Christ today and more seeds of faith would continue to be planted.


Michael Truss

Monday, August 5, Evening Blog

The morning began with long a gentle rain, much needed seeing as our host church collects the water for us to wash our hands with. Praise God, because rain was but a quick prayer yesterday, and an answered one today, twice.

We met as a group to read the word of God and commit our day to Him. We continue to ask for boldness, to share His love and truth, the joy of His salvation.

Day 1 at VBS, Brittany taught for our classroom. We have the youngest kids, and such an awesome co-teacher. Our translator, Yohanna, visited Texas and it's so fun to hear her speak English. She reminds me of a friend back home. The kids are sweet and listen vey well. I'm teaching tomorrow about how we are called to love others.

Answered Prayers: For our bus driver, that the schedule at kid's place would work out, for our translators to have their voices, that the teachers would be empowered to share God's word, for safety as we travel, for unity & peace among our team, that we would have opportunity to share the story of God's salvation, that we would speak up when God shows us those opportunities. . .  & more.

Being in a different place comes with its own unique challenges & I am thankful for how God helps us move past them and learn from these things. Specifically I am thankful for God's sufficient grace; it's enough. God has enough grace for me to be in a different bed, eat different food, spend my hours differently, wear different shoes, and have different family for the week. I am grateful for God's heart for the nations and that He has shared this desire with His people.

Remind me when we get back to tell you about 'soccer under the bridge' and the glitter fest we had with the kids and about the friend I met!

Deus e fiel. God is faithful.

love you mom & dad : ]

- Ammie Drummond

Monday, August 5, 2013

How can I, unless someone explains it to me?

There is a great story in Acts 8, versus 26-40 about God  telling Phillip to go up to an Euthiopian on a chariot.  The man is reading as he rides.  He's reading Isaiah, and Philip runs along side and asks him if he understand what's he's reading.  The man says, "How can I, unless someone explains it to me?"  Great question.  Stephen proceeds to share the gospel with him and leads him to Christ.

Yesterday, at our church service, I met Leondro, a 10-year old boy that had a Jesus  medallian on his neck.  I asked him about it.  Who was Jesus?  Etc.  He was pretty good until we got to the point of "Why did he have to die?"  I stumped him on that one.  He wasn't able to explain that, so I asked if he'd like to learn.  "Yes!"  So, along with a translator, I shared the Gospel with Leondro.  He accepted Christ, willingly and eagerly.  Praise God.  I told our group, they won't all be reading Isaiah asking for someone to explain it, nor have a neckless of Jesus, but wow, when they do, grab that opportunity!

Pray for us today for more opportunity.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

7 a.m., flight to Brazil

It is 7am on the airplane (still 5 am in TX where we left yesterday at 4:45pm).  Josh here.

I am trying  to think of a good analogy for what to compare this feeling to right now.  We have been praying over this trip for months -- for some of us, over a year.  And now, we are "here."  I suppose we'll be "here" when we get to Kids Place, but you get the idea.  Is it like a long-planned vacation?  No.  It's not a vacation.  The olympics?  We haven't trained that hard!  But, we are on the cusp of something very exciting.

Amy and I are leading this team of young couples for the second year in a row.  For family members that entrusted them to us -- thank you.  You should be incredibly proud of these very mature men and women that are coming to do something that hadn't even crossed my mind at their age!  They are taking valuable vacation time to spend their days in a slum.

Why?  Why would any of us do this?  Why would we have asked friends and family to give money so that we could take an 'exotic' trip to Brazil to work among the poorest of the poor?  Because many of these people don't know Jesus.  And without Jesus, they will die.  I suppose I could fluff that up some way, but I won't.

The people of Coque are somewhat forgotten to the people of Brazil.  They are ignored by all quarters.  Many feel they are beyond redemption.  We are here to tell them that we were ALL beyond redemption.  None of us were righteous, not one.  Yet Christ humbled himself to the point of the cross to save us, and he offers them the very same opportunity.

We will play games with children this week.  We will engage in relationship.  We will be changed in our own hearts.  But, as you pray for us, pray for those who hear the gospel, many for the first time.  Ask that it would penetrate their hearts, and like us before them, they will be saved!  Thanks.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Delayed in Recife

Our flight out of Recife has been delayed by several hours, so it is uncertain whether we will actually arrive home tonight or not. We've been hanging out at the Recife airport, where we were graciously given phone cards, food vouchers and free internet access to use while we wait. The flight is currently scheduled to leave at 1:45 p.m., which would put us in Miami awfully close to the time for our connecting flight to DFW. We're praying that somehow it will work out for us to make that flight, but we are trying to prepare mentally for an overnight in Miami! American Airlines has said they will put us up in hotels if necessary, even though the delays are weather related, which means they are not obligated to do that for us.

We have two couples on the trip who have babies at home, and one member who has a wife at home, and they are especially eager to get home ASAP. So please join us in praying for an on-time connection in Miami that allows us to make our flight home tonight.

Everyone is holding up well and going with the flow. It's an incredible group we have here. Thank you so much for your prayers. We will keep you as updated as possible!

Friday: Josh

I (Josh) am writing this blog from our bus as we drive back to our hotel to shower before heading to our final dinner.  Earlier today we said goodbye to the children of Kid’s Place.  It was hard to say goodbye, but we leave excited for what was accomplished in Coque this past week and what God will continue to do in this city.

Praise God that aside from one sore throat, we have been free of illness the entire trip.  Nobody has been hurt.  We’ve slept relatively well and the team has been unified.  This would not have been accomplished without the prayer support from each of you.  Thank you.  Thank you. 

I wanted to share a story from yesterday.  Our daughter, Grace, is 9 years old, and was on this trip last year. One of her friends from last year (Mariana) was not at Kid’s Place this year, but she would come around and spend time with us. Grace was not sure if Mariana was a Christian, so she invited her to be part of a group of girls who were hearing the gospel story with the help of the Evangecube. During this presentation the said she was not a Christian, but did not indicate that she wanted to be. Grace's heart was burdened for her friend and she asked the team everyday to pray for her. Yesterday Mariana came by and joined in helped Grace and an adult team member (Jen) make cupcakes for a special Kids Place snack.  While talking, Jen, asked Mariana what her favorite book was.  It’s Harry Potter – also Grace’s favorite books!  To make a long story short, Jen drew comparisions between the two books -- with the girls drawing pictures to help with the language barrier -- and was able to show how Christ had died for his friends. The story finally clicked for Mariana and she accepted Christ.  Praise God!

This was just one story of the week of people working together and using their spiritual gifts to advance the kingdom of God.  Once again I was reminded that the “dirty little secret” of short-term mission work is that those that go are the lucky ones. Thank you to those of you that supported us both financially and with prayer.  We were blessed beyond measure and your gifts were put to great use for the kingdom.  We used many sporting analogies this week and I can vouch for the fact that this team left everything on the field. 
Please pray for our safe return to Texas tomorrow and that all of our bags make it back with us.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

More photos


Keyse brought her picture of last year's CCBC group with her to Kids Place on Monday!

 Playing guitars and sharing the gospel while the soccer game goes on nearby.

(There are much better photos taken by the "real" photographers on the trip, but we are having some issues with uploading -- we'll keep trying!)

Wednesday: Sarah

 Each day that we are fortunate enough to spend here in Recife, Brazil, is an incredible blessing. God has not only been doing amazing works in the lives of the Brazilian people, but He has also been changing the lives of the Young Couples' Class. In these few, short days, we have learned so much about the power and plans of God.

I know that many of you are familiar with the verse from Romans 12:4-5.

Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:4-5

I've read this verse many, many times. Today, I experienced this verse in a very different way. Our team was able to see this verse in real life. Our story starts this morning at Kid's Place. The mornings always begin with a worship service with the children which is such a blessing! This morning, though, something unexpected happened. A little boy named Wendelson came up to me and matter-a-factually said, “What do you know about Jesus?” Crazy, huh?!?! I had never met him before! I felt so blessed to have the opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus with Wendelson. He asked so many great questions like, “Why did Christ have to actually die?” You could see he was just soaking up information. It was so beautiful!!

Afterwards, he pulled out his own little Bible. He told me he had a relationship with Christ! When I asked if I could pray for him, he replied, “Please pray for my mom. She isn't a Christian.” Wow. This eleven year old seemed further along in his faith than many adults that I know. Next, Wendelson asked if I was going to come to his house that afternoon. I wanted to tell him, “Yes! Of course I am!!” Unfortunately, I didn't know the answer to that question.

After our conversation, I went to find out if we were on the team to go to his house. My name wasn't on the list to go visit his house. I almost just “threw in the towel,” but I really felt that God wanted me to go to his house to visit his mother. So I very hesitantly asked to have plans changed. We were going to Wendelson's house!!

Fortunately for our team, God always has the perfect plan. God had already prepared the perfectteam to go visit Wendelson's home! There were nine of us all together: the Sanders, the Luensmanns, Cindy, Wilson (our translator), and three wonderful Brazilian women!

On this very rainy day, we trekked through the muddy streets of Coque to find Wendelson's home. When we arrived, Jailza (Wendelson's mother) warmly invited us in to her home. There were 13 of us (including her older son and daughter) crowded in her little, living room. Normally, my plan is to make small talk for a while and then transition into spiritual topics. That wasn't God's plan. We all greeted each other, sat down, and Wilson asked, “Well, do you wanna share your story?” Well, how could I argue with that?

So I shared my testimony that is filled with ups and downs. I shared and I cried. At one point, after I shared something intimate from my past, Jailza opened up and told us that she didn't realize that other people (especially Americans) suffered like she did. We actually witnessed shock on her face when she realized it. I thought once my testimony was over, that would be the end of it. Boy was I wrong. Throughout the next hour and forty-five minutes, we talked about the grace that God has given us and the love He has for us. We must have presented the gospel in about six different ways. Jailza seemed to be soaking it up.

During this time, Cindy was able to share and relate to Jailza and her children in a different way. Michael was also able to share part of his childhood. Behind me, Matt was praying and took the opportunity to say some powerful words. One of the Brazilian women from our group started sharing (in Portuguese) so passionately about the Lord that I was almost brought to tears. It was so evident that we were ALL coming from different places, with different gifts, and even different languages, but we were all working for one purpose.

As soon as we stepped out of her house, I realized what a powerful scene I had just witnessed. I just saw the living, vibrant, body of Christ at work! If I would have gone there alone, I would have failed miserably. God had planned for everyone in that group to be there.

How did our visit end, you ask??? Unfortunately, Jailza did not become a follower of Jesus Christ today. We aren't discouraged though! I felt the Holy Spirit at work in that home and in that family. Iknow that a seed was planted! Please keep praying for Jailza and her family!  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday: Brittany

Today in Coque, we visited a family of a single mom and 9 children. We planned on telling the family about Jesus Christ, but much to our surprise we left feeling more encouraged by her faith in Jesus Christ. The Cunninghams and Hunnicutts were able to witness a Brazilian sensation singer in this home. Zoaria the mother we visited, her daughter encouraged us so much through the gift of song God clearly has given her. We as a team have seen all week that this community desperately needs a church that is welcoming to anyone.

After meeting this family we see that this is evident. Zoaria’s family was ridiculed and humiliated in front of their entire church several years  ago, and haven’t returned to church since. We were so encouraged by this family, although they were not an active member in a church they were a family that completely admitted believing in Jesus Christ living in their lives. Zoaria said, “Even though we don’t have a building to worship in, we know Christ lives in our hearts and we can worship him anywhere.” Her words were such a good reminder to all of us that God doesn’t reside in a building, but He lives in our hearts and we can worship Him anywhere.

Those of you back home praying, please pray that God will rise up someone who will plant a church here in Coque , and they will have a pastor and leadership that love these people.  -- Brittany

Wednesday: Josh

Good morning!  Josh here.  I am writing to you on Wednesday morning while the rest of our team teaches the kids in their classrooms.  We just concluded our morning worship, which included some of the kids doing a dance presentation for us.  Really cool.

I wanted to share with you (the parents, siblings, supporters and friends) what yesterday afternoon was like from a leader’s perspective.  After lunch, we had a group of 23 youngsters (ages 11-16) come to hear Cody McQueen give a gospel presentation as it related to his background playing college soccer.  As soccer is HUGE here, he held their attention!  Then, we had the kids break into four groups of five boys each and one group of three girls.  During that time, members of our team shared the gospel with their groups.  From that time, many accepted Christ of for the first time. 

We then headed out to Coque to a soccer “field” made of concrete underneath an overpass.  As we joined in with the Brazilians to play soccer, there were moments where I was able to stop and look around the scene.  Some of group had crossed the street to share Christ with folks standing outside a shop watching the game.  On the other side of the game, clusters of Americans shared the gospel while being surrounded by Brazilians.  Many tools were used to draw them in.  We smiled.  You’d be amazed at how many barriers that lowers.  We painted nails.  We high-fived and hugged kids.  As my heart nearly burst with pride, I was reminded of how our heavenly Father takes great joy in our obedience.  As much joy as I felt watching these young couples being obedient to God, HOW MUCH MORE was our heavenly Father looking down with joy at these moments in Coque.

One of our team talked with a father whose son had been shot and killed several years before under that same overpass.  For several hours yesterday, light penetrated the darkness.  A rough count showed that more than thirty people expressed a desire to accept Christ for the first time yesterday.  Praise God!  Will you join us in praying that the soil would be fertile?  Pray for real growth among these new believers and join us in fervently praying that a pastor would be raised up to minister and shepherd these new believers.

Tuesday highlights: Matt

After another great morning at Kid’s Place, the guys’ afternoon started with soccer.  Brandon has noted that there are a bunch of frustrated former athletes on this trip, so it should be no surprise that we’ve found our way to the soccer field numerous times already.  Nothing like a bunch of Brazilian tweens and young teens to keep us humble!
Around 2:00 p.m., a group of 23 kids (most of them between 10 and 14) showed up at Kid’s Place to teach us guys how to play soccer.  Seriously, that’s why they came.  And if you played a video of their pick-up games next to the video of our initial pick-up game after we arrived, you’d have mounds of instructional material.
After some fun, Cody, who played collegiate soccer, shared with the kids how his faith in Christ changed his view of soccer from an outlet for securing the praise of others for good play to an outlet for glorifying God and proclaiming Christ.  We then split into several small groups to share the gospel.  Several of the kids, many of them alumni of Kid’s Place, had previously trusted Christ for salvation.  (Praise God for that and the ongoing efforts of the Kid’s Place staff!)  But a dozen others professed faith in Christ for the very first time today!  How remarkable!
You’ve already read about what transpired the rest of the afternoon, but this is how it all got started.  With so many people professing faith, our prayer for a church to be established in Coque becomes even more urgent.  Please join us in praying that God would raise up a shepherd to lead his sheep here.
To God be the glory!

Tuesday: Liz

Good evening, good afternoon or good morning to those of you reading,

                This morning we were at Kid’s Place and today we got to have praise and worship time with the kids. It was so much fun! The kids were so excited and energetic, it was a joy to watch and listen to them praise our Creator. Since today was our second day many of the kids remembered us from yesterday and it was so fun to greet them in the morning with hugs and high fives, they are such precious children and I think it is safe to say we have all fallen in love with them.

                After lunch and some time for the men to share with some of the boys from Coque we headed out to a spot to play soccer, hoping to draw a crowd so that we could share the gospel. While some started a soccer game with those that stopped by some of the women painted the nails of the girls who came by that didn’t want to play soccer. It was such an opportunity to not only love on the girls but gave a great way to talk about Jesus. Many of us realized shortly after arriving that a soccer game can accomplish so much! After a little while we had a crowd and there were many opportunities to share about Jesus and there were many professions of faith made! To God be all the Glory! During this time one of my teammates, Heather, and I got the opportunity to share with a girl named Layssa. She told us she was familiar with the story of Jesus but was not sure she had heard the whole thing and had not accepted Jesus as her savior. After presenting the gospel to her we asked her if she would like to pray with us and accept Jesus as her savior and she said YES! We now have a new sister in Christ and that is so exciting! It is a blessing to be able to be present when a child of God makes a decision that changes their eternity. Please pray for Layssa and her family and that she would be able to grow in her faith. There were several professions of faith tonight and I pray you get the opportunity to hear about them in the days and weeks to come.

                I want to also say that I am so thankful for our translators. I am not fluent in the language at all and it is so wonderful to have wonderful translators who have been willing to give up their time to help us and don’t mind when five of us are trying to get just one of them to come help us at the same time. They are so humble and willing to be used by the Lord and it is a huge blessing. Please pray for our translators and that they would be finding rest and encouragement during this week especially because many are in school and studying for exams at this time.

                A big prayer for Coque is that there would be a church home and pastor to minister to the people here. for them. There are so many things that can trap and lead astray those that are believers here and they need a shepherd to lead them and help them grow in their faith.
                Thank you for praying for us!
                                Elizabeth Truss

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Coque Visit: Kayla

First let me say a huge wow! This experience already has been God filled. Today we met the children of Kid's Place that are participating in VBS, there are so many precious souls this ministry works with. They children are learning about "Real Heroes" of the Bible, in our particular lesson we are teaching about Joseph and his coat of many colors. The way Joseph handles difficulties and sticks with what God tells him is pretty cool, making him a true hero but I would like tell you about another hero.

After all the children left we had the opportunity to go out into the local area around Kid's Place to visit with families of the children that are attending VBS this week. The families were supposed to come pick us up but our didn't show up so a staff member from Kid's Place took the lead. My group was the Crumps (that’s me), the Seals, Amy and Thomas Burgess, and two very cool translators. As we got to the house and met with our family our team noticed a spirit of darkness that seemed to be looming. After conversation we decided that the matriarch of this family, Naja, was churched and interested in knowing more about Christ but since she can't read I believe she was under the impression she couldn't really know God. We tried several times to explain, with the help of the translators, but it seemed to be getting lost somewhere in the mix. Later, we found out that several of us were all praying for the darkness we could feel to leave, and that is exactly what happened.

The staff member(Celia) from Kid's Place started speaking and this time our translator was translating to us what was happening and, boy, was it good! She was being moved by the Holy Spirit and the Lord was speaking through Celia in a way that our family member, Naja, could understand. Naja shared with us that her husband is an alcoholic and her daughter is an addict as well and that worrying about those things, had in the past, been what kept her from seeking a relationship with Christ. She said she had other things to worry about but Celia told her that Jesus says to cast all our burdens on Him. She expressed that she wanted to know Jesus and be saved. She thanked us and said us coming was exactly what she needed.

Celia is a hero, she wasn't even supposed to be on our visit but was there as a guide since we had no family member come.  She told me later that she felt God telling her to speak, so she spoke It was really something amazing to watch and listen to. I have love in my heart for a Brazilian woman who doesn't speak English and whom I have only met today because she listen and obeyed the God that we serve. We prayed for Naja and her family, we prayed that the evil in her house would be defeated and we ask that if you feel led to please pray for them also.

I am sure there are tons of stories like mine from today (we had 4 teams go out and visit) and I hope everyone reading gets the chance to hear them all. Tomorrow is a new day and I look forward to what God will do! -- Kayla Crump

"What Just Happened?"

"What just happened?" That's what was running through our minds when we walked out of the home of one of our Kids Place students yesterday afternoon. Wagner was at school, but we spent almost two hours talking with his grandmother, who cares for him, crammed into their tiny home on a small couch/bed and up the stairs. The walls were covered in pictures from calendars and magazines, ranging from Michael Jackson and girly calendars to Jesus on a clock and in a frame. Skinny striped cats swiped at each other under the partially closed door which did nothing to block the music blaring next door. It was probably turned up for our benefit, blasting "America! America! America!" at one point.

There were 6 team members, a translator and a Kids Place staffer together, there to thank Naja for getting Wagner to Kids Place 5 days a week. His mother lives somewhere else with her other children by another father, and Wagner lives in this house with Naja, his grandfather, his uncle and aunt, and another uncle who comes and goes. While we were there, one of his aunts and uncles climbed passed us on the stairs to go up and smoke crack. Wagner's father was out on a street corner somewhere in town, squeegee in hand, washing windshields at red lights hoping to make enough money to contribute to the household income. Wagner's grandfather works at a tractor repair company and has been there 10 years, but he comes home to this $100/month rental house and drinks the rest of his day away, making life difficult for everyone in the house.

When we see Wagner's home life up close like this, our quiet little 8-year-old friend with the sweet smile becomes a heartbreaking figure to us. Naja tells us that all the Bible stories at Kids Place inspire him to work hard at learning to read well so that he can read the materials he brings home. His teachers tell Naja he isn't always obedient and she worries about his safety when he's out in the neighborhood playing marbles or soccer, but he is a good boy.

Naja can't read, she explains, so although she goes to church on Sundays, she can't read her Bible on her own. She is confused about some things she has heard in her church about bar codes on foreheads and wrists, and knows other churches teach different things. One of Wagner's uncles sat with us for a while and echoed her questions, saying it was so hard to know what the truth was when all the churches seemed to teach different things. We weren't expecting to answer end-times questions, or debate the differences between Catholic and protestant views on baptism, but these questions ended up being a perfect opportunity to share the beauty of a personal relationship with Christ.

Naja said she'd never raised her hand in church when the preacher asked if anyone wanted Jesus to be their Savior. She didn't feel like she understood everything, and besides, she had so many other things on her mind that worried her in a more immediate way. Our Kids Place staffer, Celia, rescued us from our bumbling attempts to cross a cultural divide (as we saw it) and just preached simple salvation to this hurting woman. Emanuel translated for us simultaneously so we could keep up. Celia hadn't even planned on joining us at Wagner's house-- she was just going to show us the way and return to work -- but she stayed and God led her to speak up. The Spirit spoke through her and light broke into that house that had been filled with palpable darkness when we walked in. Naja said she wanted Jesus to be her Savior and we had the privilege of praying with her. She asked us to pray, also, for her family situation. We prayed again for the salvation of everyone in the house, Wagner's safety and spiritual growth through Kids Place, and the salvation of his mother.

Wagner's mother has never been to Kids Place, but Naja wants her to go there to meet us and possibly be convinced to join the women's Bible study that takes place on Thursdays. Naja thinks she would go if we said we wanted to meet her. We told her we would be there every morning this week, and we hope she will come. We are praying she will and that through Kids Place she could find a relationship with Christ.

We went with sincere hearts and intentions, and saw that God can use even our bumbling efforts to bring Himself glory. We were all blessed to be there and I can say that I learned a lot about evangelism seeing Celia speak straight to a hurting heart.

Please pray that God will continue to open our hearts to His opportunities and that He will prepare the way for the proclamation of His Word. It is a privilege to be here watching His work up close in this beautiful city.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday, Kids Place

Day One at Kid's Place (KP) is in the books!  Josh here.  We'll have guest bloggers starting in the morning, but I wanted to get a post up as soon as I could!

Most of us got a great evening of much needed rest.  Our family slept for 11 hours!

Our morning started with devotionals on the balcony of the hotel.  Great time of worship and focus before heading to KP.  We arrived in time to greet the kids as they came in for breakfast.  We had our first example of being flexible, when it turned out that they had Judo lessons today!  Ha.  So, we interrupted our lessons for a bit and took them downstairs for a Judo show.  It was actually pretty cool.

In the afternoon, we got our first taste of the Coque favela.  We split into four groups and visited four families that have children at KP.  I got to join one of the groups and saw three of our team members share the gospel to different groups.  Three people prayed to receive Christ!  Praise God. Several other teams got to share the gospel as well and at least one other person prayed to receive Christ. They will be connected with Kids' Place ministry, and we are praying for a church to be planted in Coque soon.

After we returned, we got together as a team and listened to praise reports from team members about their time in Coque.  Although each team had a different experience, the reports were all positive.

Tomorrow, we will spend the morning at KP and then spend the afternoon playing soccer in the favela as a vehicle for sharing the gospel.  Please pray for our safety as we play and for our testimonies to be bold.  Pray that many would come to know Christ.

We appreciate your continued prayers.  They are definitely felt.