Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Outreach Monteiro: Week 1

We have completed our first week of outreach! We are actually staying right outside of Monteiro in a smaller town called Sumé, a town of only about 15 thousand people. We are working with a small Presbyterian church (not Baptist, as we originally were told) in Sumé that is being planted by the pastor of the church in Monteiro. Sumé is a very small town, in fact, you can walk the distance of the city in about 15-20 minutes. We were also impressed with how nice and clean this town is compared to the one in which we live.

We've spent this first week getting acquainted with the layout of the city, meeting the people, and getting into somewhat of a routine. A lot of time is spent forming relationships with the people who live here. Several mornings and afternoons we took time to visit the residents at their homes to talk with them, pray for them and personally invite them to the church services. So many of the citizens of Sumé are Catholics and for them the word "evangelical" automatically causes them to close their ears, so we have to be careful about the way we approach them. Here's the beautiful, large, local Catholic Church in Sumé:

We are living inside the Presbyterian church that we are helping during this time. It's a four bedroom house in which another missionary, Adenice, lives as well. She has been working with the church for one year and has such a heart for the people of this lovely town. The church services are held in the garage of this house.  Judging from this past week, there aren't many people who attend the services on Sunday evening and Wednesday night, but there are quite a few children that attend the Sunday School which is held on Sunday morning. Adenice has said that from her experience she believes that the way to reach these people is through the children.  Because of the strong roots of the type of Catholicsm that exists here in Brazil, many of the older people have such hard hearts for any new-to-them ideas, but the children are full of questions and eager to listen.

We are also drawn to children, and have already started forming friendships with the children we've encountered. It didn't take long for the children in this town to discover that there was a large family from the United States living here, and they've been visiting us at the house ever since. There is also a Central Park nearby, just a couple blocks from the house, and a lot of the children and youth from the town congregate there at night. We've gone there several times, using various games and magic tricks to draw the attention of the kids, then playing with the children and inviting them and their families to church.

It's amazing to see so many young children awake, running around the park at 9-10 at night. I had a little girl ask me why we were leaving at 9 pm and I told her that the children needed to go to bed. She responded that it was early and that for her 11 was still early. 

We're excited to see what this next week will bring, and pray that God will continue to give us direction regarding how to reach the families in Sumé.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

21 Days of Prayer - Day 21

"If my people pray and cry, I will hear their cry and heal their land."
- 2 Chronicles 7:14

*Please continue with us in prayer for the upcoming Impact Carnival*

Feast of Redemption and Praise God

Saving Carnival for the Kingdom of God "For HIM , By HIM and through HIM"

God wants to be glorified through all cultural expression. Every culture, every people, creates its artistic, musical, dancing... and these expressions are expressions of praise in essence, because everything we do is, in fact, a result of our need to connect with the Lord, because we are eternal beings. Like other areas of life, we believe that Carnival can also be rescued, transformed into a cultural event that honors God.

Anyway ... All Praise to the Lord

We finished our fight here. There have been twenty-one days of prayer, six of them on the battlefield. Let's celebrate! Celebrating the seeds that were planted, the lives that were saved, and the testimony that was given. Relationships were created, experiences were lived, and there was more maturity and growth. All this happened because of the presence and power of our God. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To him be all honor and glory. Amen

Prayer Points

  • Thank God with us for the harvest; 
  • Words sown that will spring up in His time; 
  • The protection we received; 
  • For the presence of the Holy Spirit that brought us insight and creativity to preach the gospel; 
  • For victory in the spiritual world.

Monday, March 3, 2014

21 Days of Prayer - Day 20

*Please continue with us in prayer for the upcoming Impact Carnival*

Silent Drums

Night of the silent drums has a secular tradition that harks back to the ceremonies performed by slaves in colonial Brazil. Learn how it all happens ...

"Behind the stage where the ceremony is held in a tent with security escort at the entrance, the babalorixá begins preparations for the ceremony.  The babalorixá puts on ornate white clothes, necklaces and a turban on his head, always supported by young people dressed to the rigor of the ceremony. Sitting in an ornate chair, he receives officials and celebrities who come to attend the event. All who are allowed to enter the tent, head to the babalorixá and kiss his hand, which is reciprocated with mysterious phrases that only the holy father seems to understand. At 15 minutes to midnight, he stands up and starts to sing praises and invoke a spirit by which calls him father. The eyes are fully rolling. His assistants lead the people to the stage. At midnight the lights go out. The crowd around the stage is in euphoria. In the darkness, even with rolling eyes, he is driven to the center stage where it is surrounded by people with torches and lamps lit. They begin to dance and sing making invocations for the spirits to rule that year. The babalorixá then makes use of various condiments, beverages and blood. At his signal, there is a minute of silence in honor of the "egus" (spirits of ancestors in African belief). A loa breaks the silence. It is a song of praise sung by the babalorixá invoking the ancestors. The lights are lit and presentations of famous bands and singers entertain the audience."

A missionary was present during this process in a prior year and nothing happened. Angry, the people said that the spirits did not want to "come down" because there was a "strange presence." It is this "strange presence" of the sons of light that we will bring tonight.

Prayer Points

  • Pray in the name of Jesus rebuking all the negative influence this time can bring to the people and the city; 
  • In the middle of the event the lights go out bringing darkness, and in turn spiritual darkness. Pray that the Lord will bring His light, dispelling the darkness in the hearts of many people who go to this type of event; 
  • Pray for an end to this tradition that began with the slaves who came to Brazil. There are things in Brazil's history that need to be washed with the blood of Jesus.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

21 Days of Prayer - Day 19

*Please continue with us in prayer for the upcoming Impact Carnival*

The Carnival of Olinda

Along with the carnivals of Rio de Janeiro and Salvador, the Olinda Carnival is one of the most famous of Brazil. However, it can be stated that the Carnival of Olinda is the most popular in Brazil, in the sense that the festivals are promoted by people.

The Carnival of Olinda boasts dozens of giant puppets , being the best-known man of middle night , standing in the streets desde1932 and is responsible for starting officially at midnight on Saturday Zé Pereira , the Olinda carnival for almost eighty years. He is the symbol of the city which is the capital of the Brazilian culture.

Carnival in Olinda no censorship of any kind, political satires are absolutely normal and streets and narrow alleys can witness every type of scene, whether drug use or whether heterosexual or homosexual explicit sex. Everything is unofficially, of course, permitted.

Prayer Points

  • By owning an extremely liberal carnival, Olinda attracts many people willing to commit all manner of sin. Pray for holiness.  
  • Being the first National Capital of Culture, the city attracts various artists, which influences the population in general. 
  • Pray that this influence is as positive as possible; 
  • Pray for the many young people who are attracted by the freedom Carnival of Olinda; 
  • Pray for users of prohibited drugs that are in the carnival city a good opportunity for their indiscriminate use.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

21 Days of Prayer - Day 18

*Please continue with us in prayer for the upcoming Impact Carnival*

Rei (King) Momo - He is the "Owner" of Carnival

Momo, son of Sleep and Night, comes from Greek mythology, as the god of mockery, sarcasm, delusion and irreverence. Before his habit of criticizing and ridiculing the other gods, the highest deity of Olympus lost patience with him and deported him to Earth, where the divine deported one was represented by a young man taking off his mask and showing the mocking face while at the same time shaking rattles and presenting the banner of merriment.
The crowning of a King Momo on Earth has been celebrated since ancient Rome, during the performance of certain festivals, a soldier chose the most beautiful person to be chosen to receive the crown of the playful monarch. This most beautiful person was given the right to eat, drink and play without anyone to stop him from doing anything. For three days, he was indeed the King. After ending the spree, and contrary to what happens today, he was then led to the altar of the god Saturn and there sacrificed with all the honors he deserved.

The figure of King Momo came in 1933, in Rio de Janeiro. Today, in many cities in Brazil, there are elections to choose and crown the King Momo, who is always given, by the Mayor, the keys to symbolically govern the city for three days.

We know that even though it is a symbolic act, the fact that the Mayor delivers the keys of the city to a supposed king, a god of mockery, sarcasm, delusion and irreverence, brings a weight and a spiritual legality of the city to which he grants this temporary "authority," but that produces lasting effects on people's lives.

Prayer Points

  • For awareness of Mayors of the cities of Recife and Olinda (and all of Brazil) about the importance of the act of handing over the keys of the city; 
  • Pray against every evil influence that can be brought about in cities that deliver their keys to King Momo; 
  • For the true King of Kings to be enthroned in every Brazilian city.

Friday, February 28, 2014

21 Days of Prayer - Day 17

*Please continue with us in prayer for the upcoming Impact Carnival*

Galo da Madrugada

The Carnival parade "Galo da Madrugada" was recorded in the Guinness Book in 1995 as the largest parade in the world. In 2013 about 2.3 million people gathered in the streets of downtown Recife. The Military Police who were in the security event recorded hundreds of cases of disorder, several cases of contempt of authority and instances of use of narcotics. The parade of the Galo da Madrugada has been held every year on the morning of the Saturday of Zé Pereira. By tradition, the Galo da Madrugada starts that day at 05:30 am with touches of trumpets heralding the dawn of Pernambuco Carnival, and a shower of confetti, streamers and a volley of fireworks.

We'll be there "participating" with our group. We have our own drums and our songs that proclaim the truth. We will have the opportunity to march like army of the Lord, through the streets of Recife.

Prayer Points

  • Against the spirit of violence; 
  • The people who will be participating, so that their hearts are open to God's Word; 
  • That we are clothed with the whole armor of God, so that we can stand against the snares of the devil (Ephesians 6:11); 
  • For protection for the participants of the impact, because we are in the middle of a large concentration of people.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

21 Days of Prayer - Day 16

*Please continue with us in prayer for the upcoming Impact Carnival*

Part 3 - Defeating the Enemy

Carnival is considered undoubtedly a big party. Fun, revelry and joy to many Brazilians. But we know that behind this beautiful makeup party there is an extremely troublesome essence.
The first official party is the Galo da Madrugada. At dawn on Saturday Zé Pereira begins the parade of the Rooster and various carnival groups. It all began in December, 1977 at a meeting of friends at St. Joseph neighborhood. The main objective of Galo da Madrugada is remembering the old street carnival and its origins.
Night of the Silent Drums begins with the sound of drumming, with several maracatus presentations from different regions of Pernambuco . At a signal, the drums are silent. It is midnight on the Monday of Carnival. The lights are out and silence reigns in this place, as a sign of reverence to ancestors and forefathers. A loa breaks the silence. It is a song of praise sung by a babalorixá that invokes the ancestors. In this ritual, with the presence of several people, the centers of voodoo ask the blessing of these spirits so that they govern the city throughout the year.
The Carnival of Olinda is considered the largest street carnival in the world! A crowd passing through the alleys and hills of the city that is World Cultural and Historical Heritage. The figure of Rei Momo has its origin in ancient Rome, where the most beautiful soldier was chosen as the host of the whole orgy practiced during the three-day Carnival. Later, it was chosen to represent an obese man wealth and extravagance.
Who sees the procession of Maracatu, with all its colors, costumes and characters, can not imagine what is behind this genuinely popular manifestation Pernambuco. The word itself says it all: confusion, disorder and clutter. To maintain the subordination of slaves, the Portuguese encouraged the coronation of black kings, called Kings of Congo. Maracatu is present in all carnival parties in the state.
The carnival is starting. Thousands of people are ready to party. For us, thousands of people are thirsty for the love and joy of the Lord. They come in search of something and we're going to meet them with something wonderful to offer.

We're not working alone. There are many groups involved in making this event happen. There are churches of several different denominations and ministries that are actively participating in the preparation and execution of this project. Some have been involved with Carnival for some time and have extensive experience in the area. Others are joining with us for the first time. All are welcome! There is much work ahead. This diversity enriches and streamlines the work we are doing, thus generating better and bigger results.

Polos of Carnival and Maracatu

Carnival is spread through the city and is in every corner. We will not be present in all of them, but God will. Here comes the procession of Maracatu, packed with the rhythm of the drums. The Queen, King
and the whole court dance, dressed European and feature the colors of the Orishas. The dance and the steps are directed by their symbols and deities, represented by Calungas: dolls that embody the spirit of the deities. It is a solemn and lively ceremony, expressing the people's search for identity and dignity. Maracatu Nation has its headquarters in the center of voodoo. It's a great mix, a fusion of Candomblé, Catholicism, European, Indian and African culture.

Prayer Points

  • For the Lord to manifest his power in each of the areas of Carnival; 
  • Pray that people who go to these areas to "play" Carnival have disgust of sin and have a revelation of the love and holiness of God; 
  • For the release of captive centers of voodoo people; 
  • Against all spiritual blindness. People are involved in this ceremony and they do not know the real background of this worship of the devil.