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Thursday, March 24, 2005
I was able to sleep in until 10:00 this morning. It was a good thing because I needed that extra energy since I would be sharing my testamony in front of about 800 people later that day (I didn't know it at the time though). I'll talk more about that later. But to start things off I didn't have to be at the church until 12:00 so I had a good slow morning to get ready and spend some time with my host family. The ironic thing about that was however that Felipe needed to be at the Easter play practice at 8:00 that morning, so I had to work through the language barrier all morning with the family. It was quite fun though. My ride ended up being 45 minutes later then he had mentioned before, but during that time I got to know Renata (Felipe's Sister pretty well). It was cool. Anyway, Theo finally ended up getting to the house and I hopped in the car with him and we headed over to the church. After getting to the church we loaded up everybody into the bus and we went to our concert location for that day. The place today was up in a small town up in the mountains of Brazil. It was georgious up there. The drive was about 2 hours from the city though, so it was quite a trip. After we got to the town, we met up with the pastor that setup the concert there and he wanted to take us out to lunch. There was a very nice restaraunt close to town that was located basicly on the top of a mountain surrounded by other mountains on three sides. I have lots of pictures of it but it was a beautiful place to eat lunch thats for sure. The food however wasn't really all that great, but when you factor in the view you saw while eating... that brings up the points quite a bit. Also the restaurant only had two other people there at the time so our group basicly had the entire side of the mountatin to ourselfs. A lot of the guys did some crazy stuff just to play around, like roll down the side of the hill, Wrestle, fight.. you know all those things guys do when thier in those moods. But after awhile it was time to gather together and go back to the town and setup the stage for the concert. We were technically affiliated with the church there in town for the night, but we actually setup the stage in the town center basicly. It was a huge open arena all around with only a roof on top. It had enough room to seat probably everybody in that town. This concert was probably my favorite one out of all because it was open to anybody in the town and in walking distance from almost all the houses. So there were little children that were able to come even if thier parents didn't. The crowd actually started out rather small for the first song or two, but once the people started to hear something going on, they left thier houses and showed up in the arena. By the time it was my turn up to share my testamony I would guess about 800 people were there in the seats. Now public speaking I absolutley hate, I decided that I would rather get my teeth pulled in Brazil then have to stand up and talk to people (and I actually know this because I had my tooth pulled in Brazil). Even worse though, Jacob decided he was going to tell me I was the one doing my testamony that night about an hour before it started. I was stressing out sooo bad. When it was my turn up, I walked up on stage followed by the Missionary who would be translating for me. Then the missionary ended up talking in portugues for what felt like 10 minutes. So I was stuck standing there looking at all these people for a really long time with no idea of what the missionary was saying. That made me even more nervous. With God's help I made it through though, and apparently I did alright because people complimented me afterwards. Could I tell you what I said up there.. probably not, it was all a blur and my time up actually is more of a blank in my mind looking back on it. When I think about it I remember standing up there for a long time.. then he stopped and nodded at me indicating it was my turn, then I said "Oi Boa Noite".... and after that I have no memory of the next however many minutes. The next thing I remember was walking to the stairs off the stage right and sitting on those until the next song started. Its actually pretty weird.. But on the bright side, when the concert was all said and done we had the report of 7 people coming to Christ that night. It was good to know I was a part of that. The Lord does great things, even in small towns up in the mountains of Brazil. After the concert was over was when I had the most fun. As the people were cleaning up and taking down chairs I ended up finding a mass of kids and started playing with them. It kind of turned into a big game of Tag where I was It.. and even if I tag somebody I was still It kind of game. I think you know what I'm talking about. But it was a great time running around with I would estimate about 18 little kids (between 4 and 7) weaving in and out of the chairs being put away. I was pretty tired by the time we had to leave. One of the little girls took a liking to me and grabbed on to me and wouldn't let go for awhile. I ended up carrying her with me down to the church where we would grab a drink then pile onto the bus. I got some good pictures of me with the kids, and this girl wanted to be in every single one of them. She was pretty cute and I had a good time with her and the others. But the time came for us to go and it was sad to leave her behind, we however had a long trip back home. We finally got back to the church in the city around 12:00 and Felipe came to pick me up and bring me back home. He and I didn't really do too much that night, we were both exausted.

This sunday was another fairly long day for us, it was however the last day we had for any concerts and once we finished today, we were basicly done with all the missionary had planned for us ministry wise. It was our final stretch and I know God helped us the whole way through it. Felipe and I got up a little bit late, but we still made it to the international (english church) on time. We had our first concert there that morning, but we didn't do the drama there for some reason. Wagner had also come early that morning into town and he was with us all day. It was a lot of fun to see him again and we had a great time hanging out. I still had my duties with the team though so we didn't get to really do all that much together. By this time our routine of concerts was beginning to seem rather mundane and repetitive for us. But God was still using them because through it another person came to Christ that morning. Come to find out later, that was the first person to ever get saved at the International church (they had started it about 6 months ago). That was pretty encouraging to hear. Because it was the "english" service though I have a feeling a lot of the people didn't know what was going on. They just wanted to see us sing. The person that did get saved that day knew english fairly well. Anyway, I do know its not us or what we do, it all comes back to God and he can work through any language or any barrier. He could have touched a non english speaker that morning if he had wanted to. After the morning service, Wagner and I went out to lunch together and had a good time with each other there. That was really the only quality time I was able to spend with him though. The rest of the day we had to hang out together while I was doing all my other duties with the team. It was still cool though. I was really glad he came. The next place our group went was to the Brazil NASA space center. (residents area). We had to get special Brazil military clearance in order to get into the gates. (we got Wagner one too so he could come) That was a fun experience. After we got through we headed into the heart of the residential area inside, and we setup on a small stage in an area where there was an outdoor swimming pool, and a little out door dessert shop. Once we started, the crowds started to pour in. That was more of just a fun concert to get people gathered around. They only did songs and we didn't have any kind of speaker or drama. The main goal of this concert was to draw them in and invite them to come to the church service that we would go to right after it. It actually worked quite well because after we stopped the music and started packing up, all those who could speak portugues that came along with us told the people to follow our bus when we left to the church. We ended up having about 7 cars do that when we left. It was pretty cool how that worked out. The next (and last) two services that night were at the main church building. It was a building that held roughly 2000 people (if I had to guess) and it was for the portugues congreation. These last two services were very good. The first service started at 4:00 and went to 5:30 then the last and final service started at 6:00 and went till 8:00. Both of these services were basicly identical services with only a few more things added into the last service to fill the extra half hour. I'm just going to talk about the second service though because that is the one that more people came to, and its also the one that I could feel the Lords presence in even greater then the first time. For this service the building was basicly packed out and there were even quite a few people lining the walls standing in the back. This was also the service that Felipe's Mom and Sister came to (both unsaved) and also a highschooler that was the Missionaries nieghbor we all had gone to visit a few times during our afternoons off at the missionaries house. This highschooler in the past was very popular and athletic and always had all the girls and things. But then he got in an accident and was paralized. Since then he has slightly recoverd and he can sort of get around using a walker with help from family or friends. THis story even has more to it and its even more amazing how this all worked out, but I don't have time to explain all of that right now. But anyway just by having this kid show up here at the service that night was a very cool thing. You'll have to ask me about the full story some other time. Well because the building was soo full that night the worship was amazing. So many people worshiping God in one place was an awsome thing. Then hearing people worship in spanish, english and portugues at the same time was an even cooler thing. We did our drama that night too and the last and final drama everybody said it was the best we had ever done. Then when the pastor came up to speak, Tom gave all of us a little raido transeiver and he went into a back room and translated the sermon on the fly for us listening in through the transeiver. His sermon talked about dissapointment and how not getting our way can bring us down sometimes. This message touched the struggling paralytic boy because he had expericence great depression with what happend to him. That boy along with about 25 others that service came to Christ. It was cool to see how each person that went forward had a friend there that night to help them. But the paralytic boy had about 7 people come down and help him, but he pushed them off and he wanted to walk to the front on his own.. it was sooo cool to see him. He was struggling but this boy made it all the way to the center of the stage without any help from his friends. When he got there though his friends did close in and hug him and there was great rejoicing in the church that night for this desision the boy had made. His heart had been very hard and closed to Christ ever since the missionaries had tried to talk to him.. but there is even more to this story I don't have time to share at the moment. Ask me sometime. So, yeah I could really feel the Lord moving in that place that night with the many desisions for Christ and the state of worship everybody was in. I was really hoping Felipes family would be a part of it, but they weren't. They never really even brought it up that night either. After the service was over we were free to go back home with our host homes and for once it was early enough to spend quality time with them. I ended up getting back to thier house around 9:30 that night. WE had Pecania (barbecue) for dinner and fries along with beef stroganoff. It was sure delicious. I was hoping for some kind of opportunity to bring up the service to them and talk to them more that night, but the Lord didn't allow that to happen. It was a little difficult having to talk through Felipe to translate all the time. We still were able to bond as freinds and family however and it was a great time of fellowship with that. We took family pictures and once it got late they started to say thier good-byes as I would be leaving early the next morning. It was sad times. I knew I would miss them a lot. They gave me a cool card saying how much they appreciated me and the friendship I had built with them. But anyway.. I"m not goign to talk about that anymore because it makes me sad. I just want to remember the awsome work God did through us that week. It was amazing how he used us.
posted by Jeremy Dillinger @ 11:23 PM 

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