Today was such a great day of ministry. It started when we woke up, ate a quick snack of bananas, and left the house shortly after 7am. We drove about an hour away to the small town of Ouricouri, the location of our morning ministry.
On the way there we practiced our music for the service. In the back of the SUV, William pulled out his guitar and I got out my violin and we started playing and singing together with the girls. When we had finished practicing our songs, we started playing other songs just for fun, and the Reiner’s joined in with us as we sang “I’ll Fly Away,” “When We All Get To Heaven,” etc.
Oh, it was so fun! Guitar, violin, and various harmony parts all together in one vehicle driving down the road. It was a great way to start Sunday. We arrived at the house where we were meeting for church, and we were greeted by the people at the church. It’s not an organized church yet, and there are only about 10 people there, mostly women.
They prepared breakfast for us before the service, so we sat down and ate with them. We had French-style rolls, ham, cheese, tapioca, cake, grapes, mango juice, and chocolate milk. When we were finished we all went back out into main room and had our service.
Yesterday, July 20, was Friendship Day in Brasil, so we decided to carry the friendship theme over into our Sunday services. Our theme was “Jesus, Our Very Best Friend,” and John 15:13 was our theme verse for the first half of the service. We sang songs and the girls gave testimonies, all that pointed toward Christ as our friend because of His sacrifice for us.
After Danae and I finished playing the trumpet/violin duets that we had played just the week before, I preached my message about studying Scripture from II Timothy 3:16,17. My premise is that when you are good friends with someone, you want to get to know them better, and we get to know Christ by studying the Bible.
After I preached, we sang “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” because the pastor requested it. Then we ended with “Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God” which we sang in both English and Portuguese, and the people joined in with us when we switched languages. Oh, it was a joyous time!
Afterward we talked with the people, got a group picture in the front of the building, and looked at two prospective pieces of property. The whole experience caused me to reflect on the church of Philippi, started down at a river with Lydia and other Gentile women.
First of all, the vision for a church in Ouricouri began in part with a couple women, and most of the attendees are women. Secondly, the house where they now meet has purple walls, reminding me of Lydia, a maker of purple. Finally, the pastor comes from Exu every Sunday with a couple men from his own church to help get this work started. It’s so cool!
For lunch we drove up into the mountains near Exu and ate with a family who goes to church in Exu. The family was extremely hospitable, and just visiting their home was a neat experience. They have a home in town, but they spend their nights at their home up in the hills because it is a lot cooler there.
They live in a simple house with a couple rooms and a kitchen, and the house is surrounded by several different sources of food. They have bananas, pineapple, corn, manioc root and several other fruits and vegetables. They also have quail (for eggs), lots of chickens, and even pheasants, reminding me of Iowa.
They rarely get water, so they have to gather and conserve whatever they can after it rains. They have big containers that collect the water when it rains, their sink water runs out to the banana plants outside, etc. They use and re-use the water as much as they can to make it last. There they don’t turn off the water to keep the water bill low; they do it because they don’t have much water.
Even in the city of Exu where we stayed, the water supply is only available every few days, so residents have to plan ahead so that they are not wasting water. We were careful to take few and short showers to make sure we didn’t exhaust the supply at our house that weekend. It’s a great reminder to be thankful for the water we so readily have back at home!
Okay, back to lunch. We had rice, beans, cornmeal, chicken, vegetable salad with quail eggs, lasagna, macaxeira, fried cheese, cake, caja juice, guarana, and maracuija (passion fruit) mousse. So many good things at one time! After lunch we sprawled around on hammocks and on the cool concrete floor in the house to rest for awhile.
Later in the afternoon the pastor showed us the new home of a lady in Exu. The lady is only 29 years old, and a couple years ago her husband died. At the time she had two children and was expecting a third one. Her husband had bought land and wanted to build her a house but he died before he could. So with the financial support of many people in the states and in Brasil, the house was built, and it is almost finished.
It was neat to see the joy of Christ in this woman’s eyes and to see how God had provided for her and her small, young family. Situations like this are difficult, but it is SO encouraging to see what God has done.
We returned to the pastor’s house about 2 hours before the evening service, so the pastor took us on a walk around the outskirts of the city. We walked through pastures and along dirt roads, getting a taste of the Brasilian rural life. Halfway through we took guesses as to what time we would arrive back at the house, and I somehow ended up being right on the minute. That gave us something small to laugh about when we returned.
In the evening we went to the church in Exu. We did the same service as we had that morning, except this time I also played “God Is So Good” on my saw right after the message. We had 30-40 people I think, and they really enjoyed the service. Afterward many of the little kids came up to us and said, “Goodje-bye,” in their Northern Brasilian accents.
After church we had supper at the pastor’s house, eating French rolls, cake, grapes, bananas, goiaba (guava) juice, and cajuina. We washed the dishes together and then Danae, Destiny, William, and I sat in the living room area for awhile and talked while Destiny did some fun stuff with Danae’s hair.
William and I let Destiny do some things with our hair too, but before we went to sleep we made sure everything was back to normal. I worked a little on my blog, but I made sure I was in bed in time to get adequate sleep because another big day was approaching!