Thursday morning: I leave the house at noon for a 2:00 p.m. departure. It will take four flights to get to my first destination, which is Cascavel, Brazil. Two flights will get me to Sao Paulo, and then two flights internal to Brazil will get me to Cascavel. It’s my first time to this ministry, the pastor is a regional presbyter for the Foursquare denomination. I’m assuming they connected with my ministry via my books, I’m not sure, but they reached out and now the trip has come together.
I am scheduled to minister once daily on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The weekend theme is “the power of the cross.” Then on Monday I go to Sao Paulo for other ministry — more on that later.
Friday 8:00 p.m.: Greetings from the airport at Curitiba, Brazil. This has been the day of mechanicals for me. A mechanical on the plane from Atlanta meant we had to deplane and get on another plane. The delay ate up 4 hours. Thankfully I had a 6-hour layover in Sao Paulo, so I did not miss my flight from Sao Paulo to Curitiba. And neither did I miss another mechanical. In leaving Sao Paulo, we pulled out, and then pulled back to the gate because the ice sensors were acting up. (Believe me, there was no ice on the plane, ha, it’s quite warm here.) That delay meant that I did not make my connecting flight in Curitiba, so I suddenly found myself with a 4+ hours layover in Curitiba. Which also means I didn’t get to Cascavel for Friday night's meeting.
I sort of found myself in the mix with four other passengers who were on my plane from Sao Paulo, and who also suddenly found themselves with a 4+ hour layover here because we all missed our connections. One of these is a young dentist who happens to speak English, and he became my advocate by default. He helped me get reticketed, and by the time all that happened, the five of us had sort of become a unit. The two young men were going to the same city, and the older couple and I were both going to Cascavel. So they pulled me into their space and told me to follow them. I thought we were going to our next gate together. But no, it turns out that Azul Airlines buys a meal for passengers who have an inconvenience or delay that is over 4 hours, so we were off to an Azul office to get our meal vouchers. We exited Security, found the office, got our vouchers, and sat down together at an airport restaurant for a meal. I told them, this kind of thing NEVER happens in America. Five passengers who just happened to encounter the same delay simply do not join together to do a meal. Only in Brazil. They acted as though this is the normal, rational thing to do. So we got ourselves a meal and enjoyed some fun visiting time. I did my best to draw them out, using my notepad, and Victor served as the table interpreter. I have a photo that I am attaching to this email, from the left: Joao (John the baker), Nilsa (they’ve been married 48 years) Mayck (Mike, a physical therapist), and Victor. Victor is a dentist on a temporary assignment to Switzerland, and is making a trip back home right now to see family.
I don’t know why the Lord didn’t pull to have me in Cascavel at tonight’s meeting, and I don’t know why he threw me into a dinner with four other passengers, but I kept leaning into the Spirit, wondering if this was a divine appointment of some sort.
Saturday 9:00 a.m.: Upon arrival, I learned that a couple other ministries were also invited in for this weekend. One of them is Luca Martini, a young man from Naples, Italy, who is speaking at this event, and who also will serve as my translator when I speak. They said he did an amazing job of speaking last night in my place, they were raving about it. So the Lord covered! The other is a worship leader from IHOP Brazil in Florianopolis, named Laura Souguellis. They also spoke highly of her ministry, even though I arrived too late to enjoy it. Another brother from IHOP Brazil was also with Laura, it was great to meet them, and to see how IHOP Brazil is touching the nation here. Wonderful!
Cascavel is very beautiful. Semi-tropical, so you have year-round flowers. The coldest it might get in winter is 4C. In summer it can get up to 39C. They grow mangos, oranges, citrus fruits, there is lots of greenery. And lots of wind. Except for its remote location, it’s a very desirable place to live. I was told 300,000 people live here.
Sunday 5:00 p.m.: The conference in Cascavel is now over. Briefly, Saturday night Luca spoke in the first session, and then I spoke in the second session that started around 8:30 p.m. Doing two sessions at a meeting seems common for these folks. Luca also served as my translator, he seemed to do an excellent job. The Lord graced the ministry of the word, it was a great evening. Then Sunday morning we were collected at 8:30 a.m., and I spoke in the two sessions of the Sunday morning meeting. I offered to speak twice because of missing the Friday service. At the close of the first session around 30 people came forward to express a first-time public stand of loyalty to the cross. At the close of the second session we had an extended time of prayer and ministry around the altar, the saints were very eager to give themselves to the Lord. The sessions have been good, and already they are asking if we can do this again next March.
The conference continued into Sunday morning. So this morning’s services were attended by people from many area churches. But they will all go to their own respective churches Sunday night because here in Brazil Sunday night is the primary service of the week.
Tomorrow (Monday) Luca and I travel, it so happens, on the same flights to Sao Paulo. We leave here 2:00 pm. I will be collected by my Sao Paulo hosts, for ministry that will happen in the S.P. metro area Tuesday through Saturday. My host is Mauricio Marques, and his ministry is called Instituto Shofar. Tuesday evening I will be speaking to a group of intercessors, and Wednesday to a group of students. Then Thurs the weekend conference begins.