Finally! The update I’ve been promising is here, and what an action-packed update it is. The title alone makes you wonder what all has been going on, doesn’t it? Since Anna died, God has been doing some absolutely amazing things that is getting us more and more excited about the future. Let’s start where I left off before the “My Hope” updates, right before Ruth and I sang at the National MDA Conference in Santarém.
On Thursday, October 23 both Jeff and Becky Hrubik spoke at the MDA Conference, an annual conference where pastors and leaders from all over Brazil come to Santarém to learn from some of the most successful church planters in the world and be equipped to make disciples in all of the world. The theme of the conference was “The Spirit of Faith that Makes the Difference” and it marked each address. Jeff talked about how a strong spirit of faith in the midst of trying times can allow us to bend and not break when our circumstances get tough. We felt so honored as he used our story with Anna as an example of a godly response to trying times. Becky spoke afterwards about living a life that is worth the living, telling real stories of her mom and dad who, in the end, lived an amazing life with a huge eternal impact. They gave up so much to live how they lived, where they lived, and in the end it was all worth it.
It was in that context that Ruth and I sang a song I wrote two days before Anna died, inspired by Melvin Huber’s life and testimony – a song about living life for the fullest eternal impact. It was a powerful summary of the theme and spirit of the whole conference, and the Lord really used the whole morning (and 5-day conference) to call a new generation of disciples to dedicate their lives to things of eternal impact. We had several people ask us for CDs and invite us to sing at their churches all over Brazil! We better get busy on that new CD!!
Boat trip 1
Each year, the conference ends with a one day boat trip to a nearby river village to see God’s working in the middle of the Amazon firsthand. A person’s first boat trip on the Amazon River is always an extremely impacting experience, whether you’re Brazilian or American. This year’s trip was no exception and involved a bonus: a huge ascent up the Amazon beachhead to a river village that sat atop of the bluff, overlooking the 30-mile wide Amazon River! What a view! No one will soon forget the fish fry we had, or the amazing testimony of how God’s love is transforming that community.
Boat trip 2 with Film Crew 1
Soon after the MDA Conference ended and we said our goodbyes to the 5 pastors who stayed with us during the conference as we prepared for the arrival of our first film crew; a crew hired and sent by the Brazilian Department Store “C&A.” The story of the recent partnership of C&A with Project AmaZon is a very interesting story and an example of God’s great provision to those doing His work – a story I will be writing soon for the Project AmaZon website (so check there in the next couple of days to read about it!). C&A sent their film crew to come and film what we were doing in the area of our health and water filter ministries.
We went to another nearby Amazon River village and set up health clinic with dentists, nurses and personal health and hygiene training, like we do in so many villages. While the clinics were going on, the water-filter team unloaded 50 water filters marked for delivery and installation in the community. That night, Paul Hrubik (my brother-in-law and fellow missionary) gave the informative scoop on the water filters to all those interested in the community. Afterwards, the Pastor Nilton gave a short presentation of the Gospel. God really uses the health and water ministries of PAZ not just to bless people physically, but spiritually as well.
Boat trip 3 with Film Crew 2 and the Great Response
Even before the C&A film crew left, a film crew from Billy Graham’s Evangelical Association (BGEA) arrived. Out of 80,000 churches from all over Brazil, PAZ in Santarém was chosen as one of the two locations for BGEA to film the response to the 3-night, nationally televised evangelical program “My Hope” – a program that has already deeply impacted over 40 other countries around the world.
We once again hopped aboard PAZ’s Portador da Luz (Bringer of Light) to go to nearby river villages. On 2 different nights we set up a large screen with projector and large sound system to play the program in these communities that are outside of the local TV coverage. Everyone in the community is invited and almost everyone comes out just because of the novelty of the event. The Gospel was powerfully sown into hundreds of lives just those first few nights. And in addition to all of that, I turned 30 years old out on the river! I guess I’ll have to grow up now.
The crew continued to film the main 3 broadcast nights here in Santarém where thousands of homes were opened up and thousands of people were invited to watch the program and receive Christ as their savior. In all of Brazil, over 500,000 homes registered as hosting a “My Hope” home. The response of “My Hope” in Brazil is still being tallied, but just here at the Central Church in Santarém we’ve received reports from one third of the homes that hosted the night. The total so far is over 1,000 commitments! I will be updated the PAZ website as more results come in, but you can read about it here.
So now that this is all over, Ruth and I have had a chance to breathe again! There’s more exciting news to come, so as always, stayed tuned! We sure are blessed by your continual prayers and support.
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