Greetings! Our On-Expedition training team (made up of Phil Graf, Doug Dorman and me) is back after three weeks in Brazil. God did some amazing things, including encouraging and training hundreds of church planters and leaders—as well as seeing people receive Christ in every city we visited. Here are just a few highlights:
FIRST CITY (BALNEARIO CAMBORIU)
- We had over 100 participants in the training—young, teachable, passionate, engaged, and potential leaders. Pastor Natanael commented that those who came to the training initially had a resistance to the workshop format. As the days went by, however, the church began to absorb the richness of theology and the way it was presented. The crowd grew each session and people grew in their expectation of what God had next in the unfolding of Romans. They had a heart desire to reach out before, but now have a plan for evangelism outside the gatherings of the church.
- This was the second time through Phase 1 for our translator pastor Sammy. After the first time through he wanted to take the training to the nation (Brazil). This time, he said the material embedded deeper, as he grasped the flow of Romans from Lost to Rescue to Restore to being Rescuers to being Restorers to being Reproducers.
SECOND CITY (BOM RETIRO DO SUL)
- Over 100 attended our Phase 2 training, most having attended Phase 1 last May. Six of these joined us in Balneario Camboriu as Contributors, and are on their way to becoming Lead-Presenters.
- We loved being part of the Mayor’s barbecue and the opportunity to share the Gospel and pray with those attending. The same was true of our visits to several shoe factories in the area.
- In one of the churches planted out of Sammy’s church, Hope Chapel Bom Retiro, a girl came up to Sammy after I preached and he interpreted. She had become a Christian the night before and was moved by having seen a man completely in white standing next to Sammy. She couldn’t make out his face as a bright light shone from it. She wanted to know what it was that she saw. Wow!
- Sammy plans to revisit the Phase 1 training with 50 of his leaders in Bom Retiro in the next few weeks.
THIRD CITY (SAO PAULO)
Following are some comments from Jane Hawkins who organized the “We Serve Brazil” retreat (leaders from seven ministries) we helped lead, and the church where we spoke:
- “I wanted you to know how you transformed Leni’s life through your careful words and responses. She is suddenly aware of a whole new God, a whole new world out there, and a world of potential within her that can be used for His kingdom. Ivani is reading a book on leadership and will meet w/Leni once a week to talk about the Scripture behind the principles.
- “Ivani was very touched that you asked about her kids. She said that was God showing her that he sees, that he is aware. You asked her twice. And that meant you really wanted to know. It was God speaking to her heart of his concern for her. So thank you again on behalf of those two godly, intelligent, kingdom-minded women who deserve to be set free from the shackles of marital abuse and physical pain so that they can be all God created them to be. I hope you will tell Sharon and Joan stories like these so they can be blessed for their part in making your trip possible.
- “At Igreja Batista Alphaville, Linus spoke at the English service and then the Portuguese service. He used a lemon to illustrate all that God can make out of our lives when we allow ourselves to be squeezed. A girl named Tamires had tears in her eyes as she told Linus how God spoke to her through his message (He gave her the lemon). More people raised their hands to receive Jesus through Linus’ message than in the past 2 years at a church we attend. We learned so much from you Linus and Doug!”
We have a short turn around as our GTN On-Expedition training returns to Uganda from April 24-May 8 where we will train leaders in another three cities. Please pray for the following:
- Travel mercies…long flights and long bumpy car rides.
- Funding for expenses in each of the three cities we will train in. About $8,000 still needed (please go to GTN website and click on photo of Phil and me with two African leaders to give to On-Expedition training).
- Work on revising training manuals in the next couple weeks.
- Sharon while I am away.
Thank you so much for your continued love, prayers, and support.
Because of His great grace,
Linus (and Sharon)