Thursday: Today I leave for Vitoria, Brazil, arriving there Friday afternoon (it’s a long one). The change in time zones is not big, which helps. This will be a nine-day trip including travel, taking me to three cities: Vitoria, Rio de Janeiro, and Florianopolis. It will be my first time to all three. My original contact is with the pastor in Vitoria, who invited me to do a weekend with him there. Then, he arranged for the subsequent visits to Rio (a house of prayer led by his friend) and then Florianopolis (where my friends Dwayne and Jennifer Roberts have planted the Florianopolis House of Prayer). We have plans for six meetings in seven days, with one day in the middle for vocal rest. I believe the Lord will give me the needed strength.
Friday afternoon: Upon my arrival into Vitoria this afternoon, Victor immediately took me out for seafood. Absolutely amazing! A fish by the name of Badejo, just fabulous. And the fishing boats that catch these fish are docked just several hundred feet away. Wow. Victor said the dish was a local specialty, found nowhere else. Victor already started out on the top floor with me.
Saturday 1:00 a.m.: The Friday night meeting went late, and I’m writing this now early in the morning on Saturday. Tonight’s launch went well. The sound system was tough for me, I couldn’t get enough signal to my monitor, but other than that, it was a wonderful evening. At the end of the message on “illegal prayers,” many came forward to express their bold prayers to the Lord. I was right there with them! Now, Lord, we need three loaves of bread NOW.
Saturday 1:30 pm: I’m just back from a length walk along the beachfront, which I get to simply by crossing the street in front of my hotel. The city has made a lovely promenade area here. There’s a lane for bicycles, then there’s a lane for skateboards, then there’s a lane for pedestrians. And then of course you can walk the sand on the beach if you want. Maybe I’ll try that tomorrow. They have soccer nets permanently installed all along the beachfront, so anyone can come out here anytime and use a net on the beach. They also have what appear to be volleyball nets, but they use them here quite differently. They use a soccer ball. And they’re allowed to use any part of their body other than their shoulders to their hands. So they use their head, chest, legs, and feet, to volley the soccer ball back and forth. It appeared to me that scoring was similar to volleyball. I found it quite interesting to watch how deftly these teams of middle-aged men handled the ball with their feet, heads, and chests. Three men to a team. The server builds up a little mountain of sand, places the ball on the mountain, and then kicks it to begin play. Good fun. (I placed a video clip on my personal FB page.) There are vendors everywhere, most of them serving up coconut-related drinks. Coconuts everywhere, love it. My hunch is that weekends probably see more people using this beachfront area than during weekdays. Lot’s of folks out walking, jogging, and in various ways exercising. And yet not so many folks that my walk would have felt crowded. I was able to read, pray, and walk without hassle. I walked out onto a manmade jetty where a number of fishermen were giving it a go. The fish they were catching were small, resembling perch. The catch was few in number.
I’m grateful to report that with this climate change, the allergy-related dizziness I was feeling in Kansas City has totally lifted, thank the Lord.
Saturday evening’s service went very well. I spoke on the chastening of the Lord. I don’t have that book in Portuguese, but still went with that message. The response seemed positive to me. Thanks for your prayer help!
Monday morning: Well, I got a little bit of a sunburn yesterday. It didn’t even occur to me that I should seek out some sunscreen. There was cloud cover all day, and I had a hat on. But I was out walking at high noon for over 2 hours and got nipped. I have a slight burn on my legs, and a stronger burn on my neck and arms. I’m a bit bummed about that because it means I won’t be able to go walking today on the beach. At least not during the day, because today is sunny. I’ll save it for the evening.
In Brazil, they hold their main weekly meetings on Sunday nights (at 6:30 pm, in our case). Last night’s meeting was graced of the Lord. The room was full (already their new facility is full), with about 200 people, and the sense of engagement and expectation in the group is strong. I spoke on an eye covenant, and afterwards we had a very precious time of consecrating ourselves to the Lord. Prayer teams anointed with oil anyone that desired to receive prayer, and almost everyone in the group stuck around to receive that prayer of blessing. Afterwards, I joined the pastor and his family for an amazing seafood supper, so I got back to my room around 1:00 a.m.
Today (Monday) is a day of vocal rest for me. Then tomorrow pastor Victor and I fly to Rio, to minister at a house of prayer there that is led by one of his friends. (escolaliberdaderio.com.br) I’m expecting perhaps 100-150 people at Tuesday’s meeting. They are in process of purchasing the facility in which they meet, which is one floor of a building. They were able to tackle the purchase because of a $100,000 gift from someone in the USA, and now they are stretching to gather other needed funds. Tuesday’s meeting is doubling as a fundraiser for them. So let’s believe with them for a strong offering that will enable them to keep moving forward in preparing this new facility.
My next email will be a report on Tuesday evening’s meeting in Rio. I’m planning to speak on the persistent widow parable of Luke 18.