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Sep. 7th, 2008

A church on every corner?

Well, I'm from the "Bible Belt" in the south part of the United States where there was a church just about on every corner. It's not quite the same here. But sometimes I do see a lot of evangelical churches, and the thought crosses my (Allison) mind - "What am I doing here?"

Then, just as quickly as the thought enters my mind, I realize that each little church I see, even if it has 100 members or maybe 250 if it's a huge church - I realize that there may be 30,000 people that live within 1 square mile of that church! 30,000!!!

Ok, so even if there were lots of little church buildings with 100 people - there are still way too many thousands of people NOT going to church, NOT understanding that Jesus Christ came to offer them salvation - "not by works, so that no man can boast - but salvation by grace through faith!!! - Faith in Jesus Christ ALONE! - Not faith in a "saint" or a statue of Mary - but in Jesus Christ alone!!!

Please pray that God would direct our thinking on how to best promote HIS Word and plan of salvation among the people of Baixada Santista area!

Jul. 24th, 2008

Safety-Pins

OK - Sometimes I just don't understand why things are done the way they are. The other day the girls and I went to a nearby craft store to buy safety-pins. After locating them, I stepped up to the counter to tell the clerk that I wanted two boxes. I wait for my turn as the clerk SLOWLY types in each number of about 20 paints that the lady in fron of my is buying and then when she gets to the end it doesn't work so she proceeds to start over! (All the while she has not acknowledged me standing there with 2 little girls playing at my feet and one on my hip!) So - I speak up and ask politely for 2 boxes of safety pins.

She glances at my without smiling and quickly hands me 1 box.

So - I take a deep breath - and paitently wait for her to type in the other 19 or so paints into the computer and then ask for another box of safety pins (thinking at this point I would be ready to check out). But I was wrong.

About 2 more ladies step in front of me with questions about other craft products and the clerk acknowledgs them and helps them and finally proceeds to me! Then - again thinking I am almost done - she dumps out the box of saftey pins and proceeds to count each one!

AGAIN - I take a deep beath, try to relax my suddenly tense neck and shoulders, and smile. (Because I don't know how to politely "go off on her" in Portuguese, even if I wanted to!) I pray for her fervently - thinking - OK God - I don't understand why she is counting each safety pin, but please bless her sales today. - [many of the salespeople's salary depends on their sales for that day)

Finally - 80 safety pins in the first box that said it contained 144. She picked up the second box and asked how many I wanted. I quickly said that I wanted ALL OF THEM! And thankfully because quite a line was forming behind me - she charged me for the whole box! - which come to think of it - I believe I paid a whopping $5 for 1 and a 1/2 boxes of saftey pins!!!

So - please pray for us as we often don't know the why's of the ways of so many people here!

Jul. 19th, 2008

Idols

I am continually amazed (and it really gives me the shivers) at all the idols I see around me. They are in the dollar stores, the grocery stores, the hair salon, the restaurants, etc. There are specail stores where they sell nothing but idols, or you can pick up and image on your way home as you stop by the local "general" store.

People offer flowers to saints, burn incense to idols or spirits, have pictures of Jesus with written prayers of protection - yet most often - these same people do not recognize the saving power of Jesus - as the ONLY ONE TRUE WAY TO SALVATION - CHRIST ALONE!!!

Yesterday we were shopping and I passed a spiritist shop (very heavy spiritual wall of evil). There were all kind of statues, magazines to other spirit gods, things to cast spells, ward off certain spirits, use in encantations, cast lots, read the future, etc.

There is a lot of work to be done here. So many people don't even consider their future - especially not their eternal future. Many are just concerned about the here and now and what will make them happy now!

Please pray that we'll be divinely guided into HIS strategy for reaching the most Brazilians for Christ as we invest this season of our lives here!

Jun. 22nd, 2008

Language Fau Paux

We're still laughing at ourselves all the time about our language mishaps. Today, while we were talking with our friends Daiane & Alex, they helped us understand the definition and pronunciation in some of the verbs we use in normal conversation.

Chuck was repeating what he thought was the verb "pedir" (to ask for), when Daiane & Alex busted out in laughter after he'd actually pronounced the word "peidar" (to fart).

Please continue to pray for our language skills!

Jun. 16th, 2008

Saw-Dust Carpets

A few weeks ago, Guaruja held a special celebration. On this specific day, people made "carpets" out of saw dust and a parade was held honoring one of the saints.
Some of the designs were very interesting.








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