Áudrey and Andréia told us about what was happening to one of the kids we baptized in July. Jackson is almost 14. He is smart as a whip and this little fellow is absolutely in love with Jesus. He is always at every service, he helps with the younger kids, he can’t get enough of the Word, he’s telling everyone about what has happened to him and has become one of the youth leaders simply because of his growth in his faith in just a few months.
Andréia recounted how his stepfather makes charms and spiritual trinkets and has a little business where he sells them. These are imbedded with spiritual power of the macumba variety. Over the last couple of months his business has fallen off dramatically.
He blames Jackson.
That “stupid Jesus” he is following has “cursed” his business and people are learning they don’t need the trinkets to assess the power. And, since Jackson is always going there, and seems so enthusiastic about his new faith, it is obvious to anyone that Jackson is spreading this Jesus’ influence and therefore destroying his business.
Last week Jackson got an ultimatum from his stepfather by way of his mother: he was to choose between being her son, and therefore could continue to live in their house, or, he could choose to follow “that” Jesus and let him take care of him.
That would be tough for an adult; Jackson is yet 14.
Andréia said they tried to consol him and prayed with him. She said that he was distraught and couldn’t understand why this was happening. Her primary reason for telling us about Jackson was so we could begin to pray for him.
When the worship started last night, who did I see up front, dancing, singing, praising AND smiling?
Please be praying for this brave young warrior.
Going to Ubaúna used to mean that we went “dark,” out of communication with the outside world while there, especially where the internet is concerned. Last summer, the internet made its way into the boonies and Ubaúna actually came into the 21st century with real, live internet connection.
Unfortunately, it seems to have been short lived.
It went out last week and there is no anticipated date of it being fixed. I talked with the technician who was in town to try to repair it and he said it had been struck by lightning. They were trying to figure out how it might be repaired.
So, all posts are being delayed until we can make a trip to Sobral, about 30 minutes away.
As is typically the case, the moment the tires of the car turned onto the main road into Ubaúna, the word spread quickly that we’d arrived!. Within moments of pulling up at Áudrey and Andréia’s home, kids were already appearing. Paul noted that “everyone was staring at us;” and indeed they were. He quickly had the opportunity to put his Portuguese in practice (hint for those of you going in July: learn as much as you can of the Portuguese phrases!).
We learned that Friday nights at the church was the equivalent of Wednesday nights at many American churches and that there would be a service. That was an added bonus we hadn’t anticipated!
A rarity in my experience of living in Brasil, folks began arriving early. Thirty minutes before starting there were over 30 kids present and ready to go. And, much to my surprise, they were relatively calm and controlled! Wow! I wondered if Andréia had been putting Ritalin in their refreshments over the last couple of months. I was very impressed.
When the service began, it REALLY began. The kids have a dance “troupe” that interprets the songs being sung through motions and movement. Remember, these aren’t older kids, they are from 5-13. To see them so intently expressing what they were singing tugged at the heart. I couldn’t help but think of all the trips and all the effort that has been expended over the last four years… what I was seeing exceeded what I could have hoped for.
It happened to be Andréia’s birthday, so all the kids huddled up around her at the end of service and sang “Happy Birthday” to her (this part is a secret, so don’t tell – tomorrow afternoon they are throwing a party for her during the kid’s worship and our job is to keep her occupied while they put up all the streamers and balloons).
They also called me up and the kids presented me with a large, hand-made scroll thanking me for helping them find Jesus. Do you have any idea what it took to be strong and not ball my eyes out like a little baby? Sheesh!
We just had breakfast with Audrey and Andreia and are loading up to head to Ubaúna.
Today is Andreia’s birthday so we’re giving her a hard time about almost turning 30.
Last night at the Refuge Grace church we had a “barn burner” of a service. Paul rocked out with the band, switching from guitar to electric guitar to keyboard like he was a professional. It was good to see another old fellow wowing the youngsters!
The folks were fired up! It’s easy to preach when the whole place is continually coming to their feet and shouting agreement at what you are saying. We didn’t get back to the hotel until after 11! After 42 hours on the go, sleeping wasn’t a problem…
Now the real fun begins! Stay tuned…