Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sunday, June 10th - We are in Houston!

We all made it to Houston! Now we are waiting on our connecting flights to Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville. The Delta group should be arriving in Nashville about now. Let me take one more opportunity to thank everyone for your prayers! God has changed all of our lives and we will never be the same! Check back here later for some great photos from our trip. We can't wait to see everyone! We love you all, God bless

Friday, June 8, 2007

Friday, June 8th

Dogs, pigs, and the gospel! How different it is in Brazil! Today, as I was leading someone to the Lord, I heard dogs barking behind me. I kept on praying with this woman. When we finished, one of my team said, "You just missed it!" Two dogs ran by chasing a pig right behind us!" Praise God, the noise didn't bother Him! We didn't do as much door to door evangelism today. After getting to go walk on the beach, we ate at a great restaurant across the street. YUM! Then we went to the favella and had a big day in an open soccer field. I'm not sure how many children were there, but the Brazillian estimation was 600-700. We played games and sang songs. At the end of our time, we tried to split into smaller groups and share the Gospel. Many more came to know the Lord. We don't have a number, but you could hear children praying for their salvation all across the field. It was beautiful! Along with the young children we had many older ones as well. One girl prayed with a 91 year old woman. Our God has used your teenagers in so many ways! They have been changed! There were many tears tonight. As we left the church, the children from the area were crying and our kids were crying. It was so moving. It is a blessing to know that many will spend eternity with us, but leaving them in a place that is poverty stricken as we go home to warm beds and a refrigerator full of food, is tough.
This will be our last blog entry! Tomorrow, we will head out to the Christ statue. It will be fun day. We have to have our suitcases down by 7:30. We ask you to pray for us as we travel home tomorrow night. We love you and truly do appreciate your prayer support! God has answered your prayers!
Shawnah

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Thursday, June 7th

OK, I know that yesterday's post was pretty short. We purchase time on the internet and I only had a few minutes left before my time shut down. Sorry! I really don't know where to begin! Each day we are all more and more convinced that our God is bigger and more real than any of us have every imagined. Today I was blessed to have a very long conversation with a 60 year old man. His wife was a believer, but he was not. He told me he believed in God and he often read the Bible. He told me that he even knew that God had answered prayer as he had recently had heart surgery. Yet, he still would not call himself a Christian. He knew the significant cost that it would require for him to make this step of faith. After about 45 minutes of conversation and time sharing scripture, we saw God at work before our very eyes. The man began to weep as he came to the point of admitting that this was to be his day of salvation! Words cannot describe what we all experienced in his small home. This is just one of 58 recorded decisions of people who prayed to receive Christ today! The stories are all amazing. As a father, I have been blessed this week by watching as my children share the gospel. God is so good to allow our entire family to serve together in Brazil. All three of our kids already want to know when they can return...and we have not even left yet!!! Two of our teams started to build the house today. The home is for a single mom with five children. They had been sleeping near a river full of sewage in the open air. When the children saw the team arrive with the building materials and volunteers they just started jumping and cheering non-stop. This is what living out our faith is all about! We all will return home with a transformed outlook on life. There is no way to spend a week in the slums of Rio and not be forever changed. We ask you to keep praying! Tomorrow is a big day. We will have an event for all of the people in Park of the Mission on a large soccer field. My guess...it would not surprise me if 500-700 children show up! Pray for God to give us strength, unconditional love, boldness, and wisdom and clarity with our words as we continue to share the love of Christ with Brazil. We love you all! God bless, Kent

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Wednesday...

Here is your daily update! Another great day with so many amazing stories and so little time to tell you about all of them! We started the day again in prayer with a focus on sharing our personal testimony. We took time to learn how to better share our personal testimony before leaving for lunch and then heading out for ministry. We had a great lunch today at the Rio Hard Rock Cafe. Everyone had a blast. This afternoon we again saw a great harvest! 99 people prayed to receive Christ as Savior! PTL!!! Some amazing things happened. One of our teams "happened" to run into a man who runs a radio station. He invited the team into the studio, put them on live radio, had them share a testimony and asked two of the girls from Grace Baptist in Tullahoma to sing live on the air. They have invited them back again tomorrow to share a gospel message live on the radio. We also have been led to mobilize one of our teams to build a home for a homeless family. For $350.00 you can buy enough lumber and plywood to make this happen. That project begins tomorrow! Wow! Keep praying, all is good! More stories to come later. God bless, Kent

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Tuesday was another amazing day!

Our day started as usual with a wonderful breakfast in our hotel restaurant overlooking Copabana beach! No one is going to loose weight on this trip! Each day after breakfast we meet together with Ray and Sharon Fairchild (our missionaries). We pray together, share testimonies of what God is doing, and then Ray shares from the heart about what it means to be a true disciple of Christ. This morning was especially great as He focused on the significance of the blood of Christ and the forgiveness we have because of God's great sacrifice. Many of us (myself included) were moved to tears and a spirit of humility. After this time together, we loaded up and went to lunch at McDonalds. Yep, tastes the same in Rio just like in USA!
Then, after picking up our interpreters, we arrived at our mission church to break up into teams and begin to go door to door. We give out Bibles, share the Gospel, and interact with tons of children! In my previous trips to Rio I have never been in a community where I have seen so many children! They are everywhere! It is such a blessing to see our team love on these children. Today was another day of harvest. At the end of our time on the streets today, there were an additional 93 recorded salvation decions. Amazing!!! When it gets dark (6:00 p.m.) we all head back to the mission church for fellowship and supper. Tonight they made us chicken, rice and black beans. They had fresh fruit for dessert and some of the most amazing chocolate/fudge-like/carmel gooie things I have ever tasted in my life! Again, everyone is doing well. We are blessed. Please know that we are overwhelmed with your prayer support. Please do not stop praying! Please pray that the people who have accepted Christ will follow in baptism and get involved in the church or a home Bible study. Tomorrow we again look for God to be glorified as we do our best to obediently serve Him. God bless, Kent

Monday, June 4, 2007

Our first day in the favella

God is good! I cannot even describe how amazing today was. There were 73 professions of faith! Your kids (and mine!) were the ones who were blessed to be the ones leading others to the Lord! We split up into 16 teams and went on different blocks to hand out Bibles and share the gospel. The first person my team shared with was a woman. She ended up accepting Christ. After we prayed, she told us that she had been thinking about killing herself. She said she did not feel like she would ever do that now! Another team visited a home where they met a deaf man. The team really did not know how to respond and were completely overwhelmed when they realized one of the students on their team (Lacie) knew some sign language. The man understood the gospel and prayed to receive Christ as Savior! There are so many other stories that are just as moving. When I got back to the church the teams all started coming in. Jared's team came in and he began telling me about all the children that he had played with. He had taught them all the story of Jesus through the evangecube and by the end of their time together the children he was working with had all learned the message of the gospel. Jared also had the opportunity to lead 4 teenage girls to Christ. Then Maci came in and told me that she got to lead 3 adults to the Lord. All of the students have similar stories! God is so faithful.
Please keep praying! We are so excited about the next four days of ministry. God bless, Kent

Parque das Missoes

Today we are going to Parque das Missoes or Park of the Missions in English. This is an area that is VERY poor. Ray has prayed for this area for a long time. God has finally opened the doors! There is a very small church in the area. They are the ones who will host us, although that is why we brought silverware. They didn't have plates or cooking utensils or anything. Now all is provided. The area is flatter than what we have been in before. That is a blessing. Won't be as hard on us climbing hills. Pray for God to open the hearts of the people and for our group to have a boldness and the words that come only from our Savior. We will be given our groups for the week at our training meeting this morning. Pray that all personalities work together for the good of the Lord. We are excited to get started. We are going to have a great lunch at a traditional "shuhaskaria" (sp?). It will be amazing!! Then off to the favella (slum). We will eat dinner at the church and then back to the hotel around 8:00. More later! Love you all and thanks for the comments. I will read them to the group this morning!
Shawnah

Sunday, June 3, 2007

First Full Day Together!

We thought it would be fun to have a little different perspective, so we are going to have students blog every once in a while! Ta Da!! This is Heather Tompkins from Union Baptist in Knoxville, TN.

WOW!! What a great day. After a little sleep everyone seems to be in a great mood and really enjoying thier stay in Rio. We went to a large church about thirty minutes away from our hotel. It was definately a great way to get everyone excited about the upcoming week. It was amazing to see everyone happy and excited, raising their hands to sing praises to the Lord. We had a few interpretors spread out among the group helping us understand what was going on, otherwise we would have been completely lost! Those of us who are used to quiet baptist churches were alittle concerned about all our noise bothering the brazillian people, but they were just happy to have us there :) After church and some more wonderful food, we headed out to one of the largest Hippy Fada's (flea markets) in the area. Everyone had a ball. I'm suprised at how well some of your children bargain, they must have learned that from their parents. To end the night, we met back at the hotel and had a witness training session with Ray. He did a wonderful job easing everyone's fears. Sorry parents we are running out of time. Don't worry there will be plenty to read tomorrow. Good night and remember God is in complete control so sleep knowing your children are in His hands.
Heather

Off to church!

Well, we all had a great night's sleep. Everyone woke up to freezing rooms! The weather is much cooler than we expected. I think it was probably around 60 last night. The Brazillian people all had on heavy coats and scarves when we went out for ice cream sundaes last night. Funny! I must admit, we were a little cool in our summer clothes.
We are going to a larger church this morning that will hold us all without overwhelming them. The students will fall in love with the people. The service at this church is pretty modern with screens and a band. The kids will get to try to sing with the Portuguese words on the screen.
It is still rainy today. We are hoping for the weather to clear up before we go out to work tomorrow. The forcast looks like it will be better. (Well, that is my English interpretation of the weather man anyway).

We are all in great spirits. No one seems homesick or nervous. Maci, (my daughter) was really nervous about the trip, but has already said that she can see that she is not going to want to go home at the end of the week. I think they are all getting to know each other and looking comfortable! Praise God!

We are going to a great place for lunch that is right on a beautiful beach! Hopefullly the rain will be gone and we can walk down on it. We will update later this evening!

Shawnah

Saturday, June 2, 2007

We're in Rio Safe and Sound!

Wanted everyone to know we are here! The Delta air group made it in on time but the Continental Group was delayed two hours in Sao Paulo. We had to wait on a group from Newark to get on the plane. However, we are all here now! We just had a huge lunch buffet in hotel restaurant. It was delicious! Everyone now is going to their rooms for showers and a little break. We have our first orientation with Ray and Sharon (our IMB missionaries) at 7:00 and then a pizza party at 8:00ish. The time here is two hours ahead of central time.
No one had any problems at all going thru customs! God is good!!!
To all moms and dads reading right now, your kiddos seem to be doing great. I'm sure some are still a little overwhelmed but I know everyone will have a great week.
Weather today is overcast and light rain. We will all go to church together in the morning, have lunch together, then a little R&R and then more orientation. Our first official day of ministry begins Monday.
Thanks so much for your prayers! Keep praying as we prepare to share the gospel with the wonderful people of Brazil. Tomorrow's post will probably not be until evening. God bless, Kent

Christy...Holland is doing great!