testimonies galore & glorious

20 May

Each morning, we’ve had the opportunity to share testimonies of what God has done the day before. And they’re beginning to sound like a broken record… a glorious broken record that plays the same song of God’s wondrous work over and over and over!

In other words, God has continued to graciously allow us not only to make lots of first contacts, but also to see those connections lead to additional contact, great conversations, and genuine expectation that many of our new friends will connect with the Christian community here!

He wasn’t required to show us fruit from our faithfulness. But He has.

So the testimonies I can report tonight aren’t all that “different” from the testimonies I reported Tuesday. But with testimonies like those, who wants “different”?

Just a few of the many testimonies from the last two mornings:

(re)telling the story: The first day, Chris met guys in the architecture school, joined their ping pong game, and simply hung out. But on Wednesday, he met them again; this time, he was able to talk with one student who practices Spiritism (a common religion down here).

And as they were talking, this student said actually said he was hoping to be “born again” into a new path of life. So Chris was able to offer that very thing, jumping right into sharing the Good News!

But after sharing a few points, the student stopped him. Why? So he could explain to his friend, who just showed up, what Chris had already explained! So Chris listened as the student shared with his friend – about being lost and hell-bound, in fact – before resuming (once the friend was caught up!).

a team indeed: There have been all sorts of benefits to ministers with each other this week. One American girl had encountered a student who seemed truly interested in spiritual things. However, she was always “attached” to her boyfriend, who seemed much less interested – so conversation was tough.

The team member had mentioned this difficulty to one of our guys. So when they returned to their campus location and encountered the girl again, he “swooped in” and distracted the boyfriend – even though he was still arm-in-arm with the girl – while his team member talked with the girl for 30 or 45 minutes!

Go team!

deep conversations and good listening: Numerous testimonies have simply pointed to how deeply some Brazilians have been willing to share their hearts and discuss their spiritual questions. At Wednesday’s Starbucks gathering, Mike was recognized by a girl: “You’re the one who hugged me!” Then he and Del had the amazing opportunity for a deep, 2-hour discussion. “She was intense,” Mike noted, and she asked a lot of great questions.

And the girl was willing to share much about not only her life but the city in which she finds herself. The lack of friendship runs so deeply for some São Paulo residents, the girl told the two, that individuals will “rent” people simply to go to the movies with them. Mike noted that these are the kinds of things we learn when we’re willing to listen to the people to whom God has called us.

connecting Christians with Christians: A few testimonies have also involved stumbling upon Christians and having opportunities to minister to them. For example, one team member met six students and a professor, studying abroad from the University of Pittsburgh! One of those students turned out to be a Christian, and she said she’d been looking for a way to plug in with Christian community. And several of her classmates seemed interested in attending Zoe with her!

a few quotes from our testimony times:

  • “We went out and gave hugs to people, and it was really good.”
  • “I think this is really one of those People of Peace, because he’s really a ‘collector of people.'” [after meeting a law student and being invited to his home]
  • from a resident of São Paulo: “No, I’ve never been to [a Bible study], because no one’s ever invited me.” [So our team member invited him, and he came!]
  • “So that’s something cool that God did yesterday.” [which very simply could characterize so many of our experiences]

Thanks to Katheryn Pope and Lesa Close for the pictures!

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