Power in Prayer

Over the past month we’ve had people from the states reach out to us to ask us if we are ok. Yesterday I even heard from a sister in Uganda making sure we are healthy. Brazil is the hot spot for coronavirus cases and, unfortunately, deaths right now. People have sent links to us that state our city has been the worst place in the world for coronavirus deaths over the past few weeks. 

It’s definitely been bad. All ICU’s in the city have been running over 100% capacity.  All of them. I didn’t even know that was possible. One reached 170% capacity. We have a brother at our church who is an ICU nurse. He has told stories over the last few weeks of his day to day life which will just crush your heart. Patients dying every day. Containers being shipped in just to hold bodies. He said he has moments where he gets away from everyone and just cries. After one year of not knowing anyone who died from coronavirus it seems like we are getting weekly news of people close to us who are affected by it in some way. Many have had to deal with deaths in their families. 

When we send out our monthly emails we, obviously, try to send out the things that happened in that month. We share the good and the bad but it’s usually more good. Benay and I were talking the other day about what in the world we could share from March that wouldn’t be just completely depressing. 

To be honest, not much, in the physical, happened in the month of March. 

We still wait for city approval to begin working again on Hope House. City governments have locked down cities which meant we went to the rehab farm only one time in March. Our church wasn’t allowed to meet in March. All our weekly Bible studies continue to be online. Anderson and Giovanni continue to study online. It’s a broken record that we know you all understand. 

Benay and Anderson were sick during March. Benay got tested for coronavirus last week. It came back negative. They both are doing much better. 

So not much for a “ministry” update or monthly newsletter in March, so we decided to go ahead and mooch into April. 

I mentioned that not much went on in the physical during March. Last week the spiritual made it’s presence felt strongly. 

On Good Friday our church, along with lots of other churches in our city, physically surrounded hospitals, and prayed over them for an hour. We had signed up to go but Benay did her coronavirus test the day before. We had no idea when the results would come out so it looked like we were out of luck but during the night the lab posted the negative results. We woke the boys up Friday morning and we headed to the hospital. 

It was an amazing time together. There are two hospitals right across the street from each other close to downtown. Those were the ones our church prayed over. So we broke up into two big groups. One group surrounded the entrance to one of the hospitals and the other surrounded as much of the other hospital as possible. It’s a big hospital. 

As we prayed, some men from our church walked the sidewalks in front of us, back and forth, playing the guitar and singing praise songs. Hands were raised as we called out for healing and protection to the Lord. 

Our family was on a corner. To my immediate left was Juliana. Four days earlier coronavirus had taken the life of her dad. When we saw her that morning she wept on my shoulder. And yet there she was praying for patients and doctors and nurses and staff dealing with coronavirus and all other sicknesses. It was amazing. Click here to read more of Juliana’s story.

Towards the end of our hour a woman pulled up on a bike, parked it in front of me and settled in between Giovanni and myself. Arms raised and calling out to God. As she left I told her, “God bless you.” She looked at me and said, “This is what we need to be doing. Calling out to God.” She said she was late for work, got back on her back and was off. 

I watched as one woman walked by Lucian, our worship band leader, as he sang and walked on the sidewalk. As she passed him she kind of shuddered like she had the chills and looked down at her arm and rubbed her hand over what I assumed were goosebumps. She looked kind of surprised. I felt like I was blessed to witness an unexpected encounter with the Holy Spirit in her life. 

As we prayed Juliana looked at me and said, “Did you hear that?” I told her that I did not. She told me that she and her husband, Alexandre, could hear singing coming from inside the hospital as our men played their guitars. People were singing praise songs with us from inside the hospital. Juliana had a huge smile on her face as she shared. 

When our hour was over we all left together and went to a park next to the hospital. We sang together, praised God together and listened to a few words from our pastor. We then all faced one of the hospitals and, with hands lifted, called out to God for healing of the brother of one of our leaders who was in that hospital with coronavirus. 

Satan is trying to control the world with fear through coronavirus. Open a newspaper, read a website, listen to your friends, fear is all around. But Jesus overcomes fear and sickness and death. Even death brings us, as believers, victory. Jesus has already won against anything that Satan can throw at us or ever will throw at us and I don’t say that lightly. Suffering is around us and will always be a part of life on earth. It definitely isn’t fun to go through but even suffering can be used for kingdom glory. 

We praise God that we are blessed to be a part of a church family who is attacking enemy territory and is not being dominated by fear. It’s a powerful thing to pray bold prayers like we did with our family. It’s a day none of us will forget. I have no doubt God used that group to bring all kinds of healing and to shake the very gates of hell. 

Below are some pictures from that day. Focus on the first picture with the woman with her hand raised up. It’s our sister Cinara. One year ago her 32 year old husband died in the very hospital we were praying over. I loved watching her faithful strength in Jesus to come back and pray for those suffering. Jesus definitely was victorious that day. You can read about Cinara and her husband Douglas by just clicking here. We miss our brother.

Here is a fast motion recap video of the day that Giovanni made. Our family is at the end of the video and the line kept going around the corner. It was amazing.

Spiritual quarantine

Our city went into lockdown in the middle of March of 2020. We knew very little about coronavirus and our city leaders said we would quarantine for two weeks. After the two weeks we’d see where we were and if things could open back up. As the coronavirus has spread around the globe it seems that the average time of quarantine, for those who get it, is two weeks……..fourteen days.

A few days ago our governor announced that we were now under a “black flag” for the first time ever. Our leaders have used flag colors to let the public know what the situation is based on number of cases, number of ICU beds filled, etc. and then what rules we need to follow under each one of those flags. Yellow flag is the mildest followed by orange, red and then black with black shutting down the city except for essential businesses.

And that’s where we are today. Our hospitals are full, schools are closed, churches are closed and Benay said she read that our cases have doubled in the last month.

I think of how damaging this vírus has been in so many different ways. People dying, people sick, businesses closing forever, loss of jobs, unable to pay bills, kids not being able to interact with friends face to face, adults also missing lots of interaction with people. We love to have people in our home. This last year has been tough for us but we are adults. We can understand and deal with this better than our kids. Our kids have been to school only four weeks in the last year. Four weeks!!

I hear of people being worried about churches and how this will affect things after the pandemic is over. What will the effects of this be for church families? I praise God that we have not worried about that here. From day one our church has been so active. Amazing online worship services every week with hundreds of families watching. Weekly online leaders meeting. Weekly small group meeting. Special online worship/praise meetings on Friday nights. New ministries starting. Eighteen worship services, on multiple weekends, when the government would only allow thirty people in at a time. Blessing families and the rehab farm with so much donated food and clothing. It’s been a blessing to be a part of an active, vibrant faith family in the middle of the chaos.

I spoke with our pastor last week and just thanked him for leading with faith and not fear over this last year. So many challenges and changes and yet the strength shown by all our pastors to remind everyone that God is in control, that the coronavirus doesn’t take anyone before God’s timing, that God knows all the days of our lives and the numbers of hairs on our head has brought a peace to the church family. God has the final word. Not man and not the coronavirus.

A couple of weeks ago, on a Friday, our governor announced that we would be entering the black flag the following Tuesday. The three worship services we had on the Sunday in between were full to the limit we were allowed…..one hundred and fifty people each. I smiled as I looked at our “full” church and how everyone was so very happy to be together praising God together. It was amazing.

This last Sunday our pastor announced that he felt led by the Spirit to begin, on Monday, a quarantine, fourteen days, of prayer. A spiritual quarantine. So every day for those fourteen days the leaders of our church are doing online prayer/worship time for an hour each morning.

If you think that the enemy isn’t involved with coronavirus, that he isn’t using every bit of it to try to steal and kill and destroy (John 10:10) God’s family then I’d like to share what happened on day ONE of the spiritual quarantine.

A link is sent out before every Sunday worship. One for people to watch on YouTube. These spiritual quarantine mornings have been no different. About fifteen minutes before the broadcast was supposed to begin we received a note saying there was no power at the building. Why? Someone had, during the night, hopped the high fence and stolen our electrical cables. Did everything get canceled? Nope. Someone grabbed a cell phone and the worship time was all done live on Instagram. I love our church family.

So many people prayed and prayed specific prayers. Our amazing worship leader led songs. It’s been powerful, it’s been uplifting, it’s been spiritual warfare.

This coronavirus hasn’t been easy on any of us. It’s been especially hard on those who have lost loved ones. Our prayer is that in the middle of it all you can still know, really know in your heart, that God is in control and that He is moving and working and bringing peace and victory.

The Bible talks of faith with action. It’s not enough for us to have faith that God will do something. He asks us to partner with Him in faith and move forward, attack the enemy territory, and praise His name no matter what. Our prayer is that you go to war against our enemy and start your own spiritual quarantine.

It’s warfare. No matter what happens, God gets the honor, glory and victory. Faith wins…..every time.

Bocha. Gabriel. God’s timing.

Every February, for the last 4 years, our family has been blessed to rent a friend’s house at a beach city a couple of hours to the north of where we live. He charges us very little compared to what it would cost anywhere else. Every year we invite some people to come spend a few days with us. We have fun together, relax together, laugh a lot and do ministry planning for the new year. It has become one of our favorite times of the year. This is where we go.

This year we were blessed to have two families come and spend time with us. This is one of them:

It’s Vanderlei, Luisa and one of their sons, Caio. Vanderlei is one of the pastors of our church and I can’t even begin to tell you how much this family has blessed us since we first met them in 2015. We are blessed and happier and closer to God because of this family. We laugh all the time together. That’s something we were definitely needing when we met them.

Anyway, back to the beach. One day Vanderlei and I were playing a game called bocha. I won’t explain it here but it’s a very simple, very fun game. I had never heard of it before we moved here. I love it. Vanderlei is very good. We have some good battles which I usually lose. As we were playing a little boy, around 2, showed up. He started watching us. We said hi to him and that brought him in even closer. We were playing right in front of two younger couples. The beach was full so we assumed one of those two couples were his parents as they watched little Gabriel and smiled as we played.

The more we talked to Gabriel the more involved he became in our game. The more involved he became the more he began to help himself to the game pieces. In the middle of a tight game little Gabriel began grabbing things and walking them back to us. In his mind he was being an amazing helper but I confess that I was getting frustrated at this and wondered why his parents weren’t coming to let him know that he could watch but couldn’t grab everything. They never came. I continued to talk to Gabriel. He was super cute and kind, but he was, at least in my mind, messing up our game and it happened to be one in which I was actually beating Vanderlei. I’m sure I would not have minded his help as much if I were losing. Vanderlei just laughed through the whole thing and kept conversing with Gabriel. Vanderlei has the best, easy going, God centered in all things attitude of anyone I think I’ve ever been around. As he and I drive in a car he will often softly say, “All praise and honor to your name Father.” Never for show. It’s just because he loves his Dad so much and he can’t help it. Distruptions rarely rattle him. I learn much just by being with him.

As we played and continued talking to Gabriel in the middle of our game, a young woman suddenly appeared. She asked if the little boy was with us. We told her no and Vanderlei said, “But his parents are right over there” and pointed to the couples that were smiling as they watched us play and interact with Gabriel. The young woman said, “Ok. A family has lost their child and we are looking for him.” As she started walking away I said, “Vanderlei are you sure he belongs to them?” He called out to the families. They both said they were not Gabriel’s parents. Vanderlei scooped up Gabriel and called out to the lady to let her know Gabriel’s parents weren’t around.

Vanderlei and the woman set off with Gabriel to find his mom. I stayed behind to clean up the game and tell our families what was going on as they were looking on at a distance and had no clue. Caio heard and then caught up to his dad and the woman to help as well. They were gone for a while. When they came back they told us that they had reunited Gabriel with his mom. Gabriel only wanted Vanderlei to hold him the entire time. When they found the very distraught mom she was so very thankful that her son, who had been missing for 45 minutes, was ok. By that time a big group had surrounded them. Vanderlei told the mom that the Lord had brought her son back to her and that it was a time to thank Him for doing so. Vanderlei then led a prayer on that beach thanking our Father. Caio said there was a hush over the group as he prayed.

Later that night Luisa began to talk about how present God was in that whole thing. How he led Gabriel to a pastor and a missionary to watch over him and take care of him. To keep him safe. She talked of all the people in this world who might have taken Gabriel when they realized no one knew he was there but God had brought him to two protectors.

Those thoughts humbled me greatly as I thought about my brief moment of frustration that this little guy was messing up our game. At that moment I was seeing with my physical eyes and defintely not my spiritual eyes. Vanderlei, on the other hand, was kingdom focused all the way. He’s an incredible role model to me.

When he and Caio finally got back to me he looked at me and said, “I owe you a game piece.” As he walked with little Gabriel to find his mom Gabriel clung to one of the pieces of our game. Vanderlei said he could not bring himself to take it back.

We talked about that piece later that night. Our prayer is that it will be kept in that family for years and every time they look at it they will remember God’s faithfulness and protection in taking care of Gabriel that day. Having one piece missing from our game set will also be a great reminder to our family of God’s faithfulness and protection.

I read a commentary from Tony Evans on Psalms 90:12. It’s powerful, woke me up and reminded me of how Vanderlei lives his life. Dr. Evans said, “Ask the Lord to make the brevity of life sink in to your soul so that you are convicted to make godly choices during your short stay on earth. Life is like a coin. You can spend it any way you wish, but you can only spend it once.”

May we walk with our eyes open, not missing God’s working and timing and may we spend our coins well.

Our Kids

We’ve got 6 kids of our own, 2 waiting for us already in heaven and about 20 more Brazilian kids. Kids that have grown up with our kids in school and at our church. We are blessed more than you can imagine.

One of our daughters is Anna. Oh how we love Anna.

She is one of Carys’ best friends. Her laugh is infectious. Her love for God and all people is amazing. She is one of the best people we know. We call her our daughter and she, even though she has incredible parents, blesses us by calling us mom and dad.

Last night she dropped by our house. She wanted to give us something for Christmas. It was 3 Christmas tree ornaments that had the special touch of Anna.

On one it said, “Christ the Savior was born.”

On another it said, “We are family.”

On the last one it had the names of all our kids on it including Anna and her sister Maria. We love Maria as much as we love Anna. They are both salt and light. Needless to say, we LOVED our gifts.

Benay and Giovanni put up our tree a couple of weeks ago because Giovanni is a very big Christmas person. They agreed to not put any ornaments on the tree until Carys got home from college because, well, Carys is also a big Christmas person. We, however, had to make an exception. Now our tree is filled with the love of these 3 ornaments.

We moved here in 2002. We had no idea we would even be here in 2020 but if you had asked us then what our lives would look like now we sure wouldn’t have guessed it would be this amazing. To have been blessed by adding 2 more kids of our own to our family. Incredible. To be loved by and to love so many Brazilian kids just blows us away.

Over the years our kids have grown up and moved away. It’s part of life. God, in His goodness, keeps putting more kids into our lives. Kids who we love and call our own. Kids who love and bless us and call us mom and dad. Kids like Anna.

Educating for Success

When we first started working with guys in drug and alcohol rehab, I, Benay, was a little bit….. scared. I had never been around “drug addicts” before. However, it didn’t take me long to realize that “drug addicts” were guys who were just like my own sons. But they hadn’t had the same advantages that my kids were blessed with. So, when we began planning the ministry of Hope House, I wanted to be able to offer to these guys exactly what I would want offered to my son, if he were in the same situation.

One important way we are offering the best we have to these guys is through our classes. The first 8 weeks of a person’s stay in Hope House will be an intensive time of training. Classes on important topics such as the life of Jesus, managing emotions, financial responsibility, family relationships, overcoming addictions, work ethics, health and wellness, and sexuality will make up that time of teaching and training. We won’t be able to cram a lifetime of “parental advice”‘ into 8 weeks, but we want to do our best to equip these guys to have success in their new life.

Because these classes are tailored to a very specific population, we are writing most of the curriculum ourselves. A lot of time has already been spent preparing classes and there is still so much to be done. Our goal is to have every class prepared and written in Portuguese so that this material can be shared with other groups who may be interested in opening their own “Hope House” using our materials. It is a big goal, but God is good at big goals.

While we are still in the waiting stages regarding the opening of Hope House, we are actively involved already in establishing a rehabilitation program at the rehab farm, Desafio Jovem. You can click here to read more about Desafio Jovem. The men in this program have a 6 month stay. During this time, classes and training for them are essential for them to understand what a new life in Christ means and how they can live in freedom. Very soon we will begin offering small group classes with these goals in mind. Because the nature of the rehab farm is different from Hope House, the teaching will be less intensive, but just as important.

I am a former teacher. My favorite thing to do in ministry is teach. Preparing and planning curriculum for the rehab center and for Hope House gives me great joy.

We ask that you pray for us as we move forward in this ministry. We need wisdom from God as we prepare this very important material.

Baptism Sunday-Part 2

Our family started being a part of our current church family in 2015. We can’t express how much God has used this group to bless us, encourage us, cry with us and celebrate with us. God knew exactly what we were needing and led us to this family at just the time we were needing them.

With joining any new, big church family it takes time to get to know everyone. Our church is really growing so we are still constantly getting to know new brothers and sisters in Christ.

Not long after we became members we got to know these girls.

This is Sibeli and her daughter Betina. We can’t tell you how much they mean to us. They are definitely the salt and light of Jesus. We LOVE them deeply.

Last year our family spent about four months in the states. While we were there Sibeli started dating a great guy named Daniel.

When we came back home in December we started having opportunities to get to know Daniel and his son Davi. We loved them.

This year we decided to invite more people to join our bible study with Alexandre, Dani and their girls. Sibeli, Daniel and their kids were some of those people God put on our hearts and, thankfully, they accepted the invitation.

Our study group actually got to meet a couple of times in person before coronavirus. This picture was our last time together the day before everything was stopped in our city. It’s us, them and our Brazilian son Lucas.

Before things shut down, Sibeli and Daniel told us they wanted to talk to us. They came over to tell us that they were getting married and they asked us to be in their wedding, as witnesses. It’s a huge honor in Brasil to be asked to do this and Benay and I were humbled and thrilled. The wedding was scheduled for April but is now postponed until next year because of coronavirus.

With everything shut down in the city we began having our studies online. We had homework every week and it was obvious that Daniel and Davi were studying during the week as they always had really good, thoughtful answers as we discussed our homework. We loved getting to know this family better.

About the same time Alexandre told us he and his daughter wanted to get baptized we found out that Daniel also wanted to give his life to Jesus. So they all celebrated their spiritual birthdays on the same day. It was awesome and we were, once again, humbled to be a part of this celebration day.

I love that smile on Daniel’s face.

And I love the picture our church took of Sibeli celebrating. Above her it says, “He lives!”

This year has been a real stinker for lots of reasons. It’s been hard and it’s been tragic for lots of people. Lots of losses and sadness and depression and heartache. I’m reading a book right now about a surgeon who drowned, went to heaven and came back to life. It’s an amazing book.

I read this today from her book, “In the traditional process of making a Persian rug in Persia, the rug is put up vertically on a frame and little boys, sitting on planks at various levels, work on the wrong side of it. The artist stands on the right side of the rug-the beautiful side that will be seen and used by all. The artist shouts his instructions to the boys on the other side, but sometimes a boy will make a mistake in the rug. Quite often, the artist does not make the little boy take out the wrong color; if he is a great enough artist, he weaves the mistake into the pattern and the mistake enriches and becomes integral to the finished rug.” She goes on to say, “To me, the little scene of a weaver and a boy at work beautifully captures God’s ability to transform mistakes and tragedies into a work of great art.”

Exactly! God can use, and is using, the crud of the coronavirus year and all its heartaches and troubles and tragedies to weave a great work of art. We believe that and we have been so blessed to see some of that great work of art happen right before our eyes in the lives of these people we love so much as they have given their lives to Jesus.

I am convinced that any suffering we endure is less than nothing compared to the magnitude of glory that is about to be unveiled within us. Romans 8:18

Baptism Sunday-Part 1

Our family moved to Brazil in 2002. We moved with a group to plant a church.

We knew very little Portuguese so we, obviously, needed to hire a teacher. God blessed us with a great one. Her name was Dani.

We got to be good friends with Dani. She later invited our group to her wedding. She married a guy named Alexandre. We didn’t spend lots of time together but I always loved his humility and kindness. Both of them were always so warm and gracious and kind to all of us.

Over the years they built a strong bond with some of our teammates and Dani, praise God, gave her life to Jesus.

One by one all of our teammates returned to the states. We stayed and God began to dramatically change our ministry calling.

We, once in a while through messages or social media, stayed in touch with Alexandre and Dani but we rarely saw them. That all changed towards the end of 2016. I had a shoulder that was messed up. It was locked up and causing pain so I made an appointment with Alexandre. He’s an orthopedic surgeon. That visit slowly brought our families back together.

We began going out to eat together. We asked them to be a part of a prayer leadership group for Hope House. In 2007 Alexandre helped me to finish a marathon as he ran the last 10-15 kilometers with me. Without him I would not have finished. In 2018 I got to return the favor as he started running marathons and I helped him finish one of his. Benay and I were amazed at how well our kids get along. Alexandre and Dani have two girls and they are almost the same age as our youngest boys. It was like they knew each other their whole lives. Our youngest kids actually share the same birthday. We began taking trips together. We really look forward to our times together with them. We thanked God for bringing them back into our lives.

Over the last couple of years they began to go to church with us and last year we started a family bible study together. Just our families. Two times a month we would share a meal after church and then Benay would lead our Bible study. As I’ve said before, Benay is the best Bible teacher I know. She has a gift of making things simple. The Bible study, and time together, brought us closer to God and to each other.

Our church normally has 4 baptism Sundays during the year. There is a 3-4 week course before just on baptism. We’ve been a part of this church since 2015. Since that time I’d say that we’ve had close to 500 baptisms.

The coronavirus has, just like everywhere else, shut some things down for a while here in our city. We weren’t able to meet as a church family for 3-4 months. When we did begin meeting again it was only groups of 30 people. On those weekends we had 18-19 different worship times over 2 days. We are now allowed to have 120 meet together. So our church planned our first baptism Sunday on October 18. About 3 weeks before that date Alexandre got in touch with me to say that he and their youngest daughter had decided to give their lives to Jesus and they wanted to do the baptism class. Benay and I were so excited.

On October 18 there were 54 people who were baptized. We had 5 different worship times so that families and friends could come and celebrate. Our baptisms are some of the coolest things Benay and I have ever been a part of. Every time we do those we cry. Every time. October 18 was no different. Seeing our dear friends give their lives to Christ was an amazing highlight to our year.

Before the baptisms we had a celebration party in our house.

Then it was on to the church building so the celebation could continue.

All the baptisms were shown live online so we shared the link with our old teammates, my parents and our kids who all know this family, pray for them and love them. As things happened our old teammate, Sascha, was sending me pictures that he was taking, from his house in Texas, of everything that was happening. He was just as excited as we were.

It was an amazing day. God gave us a huge present by allowing us to be there to witness it in person.

The Bible talks about there being a party in heaven when someone gives their lives to the Lord. We love our church so much because we get that and on baptism Sundays we too have a party.

I’m not sure 18 years ago, when we met Dani for the first time, that we could have imagined anything better than what we experienced on October 18. We came to Brazil to share the love of Jesus with others. I didn’t imagine we would fall so deeply in love with this city, with it’s people, with the culture, with the food and with people like Alexandre, Dani and their girls.

We came to be a blessing but I promise you that we are the ones who are being blessed by our friendships, by our church family, by our ministries, by seeing lives changed and by being a part of days like October 18.

“That’s the way God responds every time one lost sinner repents and turns to him. He says to all his angels, ‘Let’s have a joyous celebration, for that one who was lost I have found!’” Luke 15:10

Sexual Purity

A couple of years ago, in a span of about six months, three different men came to me to discuss the topic of sexual purity. I did not open this topic with any of them but it was obvious that the Spirit was bringing us together to pray, study, encourage, confess and hold each other accountable in this very important area of our lives.

It was definitely a God thing because a few weeks earlier Benay and I had had a converstation with our pastor about this very topic. I know how important it is. How this specific sin can destroy lives and families and how prevelant it is among all men. But it seems to be something a bit taboo to talk about and confess as men. The enemy wants us to think we are the only ones who deal with impure thoughts or even actions. Our pastor also had this subject on his heart. He knew that purity in this area is vital to having a vibrant, growing, healthy church family because this purity blesses our homes first. When our homes are healthy the blessings then flow out to church and community.

Two weeks ago another brother approached me about sexual purity. This battle is non stop.

So last night most of these men came to our house. We enjoyed a meal and lots of good, real, deep, open confessional talk about where we are in this battle. We laughed, we encouraged, we made a game plan to defeat the enemy. It was the best thing that I’ve been part of here lately and we are a part of so many good, kingdom things here.

In my life I always look to surround myself with men who are “the real deal.” Men who aren’t afraid to share their sins and weak areas, men who aren’t afraid to cry, men who aren’t afraid to call sin sin when they see it in my life, men who aren’t afraid to stand up for Jesus.

The battle for sexual purity is real. Satan does an all out attack in this area against men. He doesn’t take a break and we can’t either. When we hide and lie and play church the enemy wins. When we confess our sins, ask for forgiveness, have a Jesus game plan and attack the enemy we win. Jesus wins. The kingdom wins and God’s family gets stronger.

Pray for these guys. Pray for me.

And pray for other men in our church and city who need to be a part of this group…..whether they know it or not.

João Luiz……..home.

Yesterday morning we got a call that one of our favorite guys at the rehab farm, João Luiz, had just died from a massive heart attack.

We drove out there to just love on the leader and the men.

We had the chance to see João before the funeral home came to take the body. His face was so peaceful and happy. It felt like God was giving us a present of the same peace and joy that João had at that moment with Jesus. I can’t imagine how amazing that will be. I can’t wait……..and I can’t wait to see our brother again.

We’ll see you soon João.