International Ministries

He had a dream ...

July 17, 2009 Journal
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Pastor Marco Aurelio stood on the barren hillside surrounded by our students speaking passionately about his church’s dream to build a college campus for his community. We were standing on the hill above one of the poorest bairros (neighborhoods) in Belo Horizonte near one of his new church plants. It all started with a dream that Pr. Jefferson, the senior pastor had.  He wanted to make a difference in the community, to bring hope to those whose hope had shriveled. We were there with our students to visit his church, Igreja Batista Shekinah, during our Missão Integral (Holistic Mission) course so that they could experience what it means to take “the whole gospel to the whole person”.

Shekinah offers before and after school classes daily to over 250 kids from 3 to 14 years of age.  Among the church’s many ministries, they also teach computer skills, host a young people’s after school program, and help addicts to enroll in recovery programs.  As a result of their ministry, the bairro has gone from being one of the most notorious in the city (for homicide, drug trafficking, etc.) to one of the more peaceful.  The sense of hope is palpable when you talk to folks who live in the community. 

Our students saw evidence of how the good news of Jesus transforms people from the inside out.  As they prepare to serve in Angola, D.R. Congo, Niger, Peru, and in the Brazilian Amazon, our students will go with a dream, a vision of what is possible when God’s people are mobilized to reach out to others in practical ways. 

Each morning during the Holistic Mission course one of the students shared their reflections on how they understood “the kingdom of God.”  We taught modules on community needs assessment, helping people to recover their dignity, community based health care, cooperatives, appropriate technology, micro-business development and project planning. 

Later this month, our family will put many of these concepts into practice as we lead a short-term mission team from our church to minister in a very poor community about 14 hours north of Belo Horizonte. Our group of 12 people is planning programs for the children, and evening gatherings featuring drama and films to share the good news of Jesus.  Our team includes a dentist who will provide much-needed dental care, and we also hope to bring in a nurse and a team of doctors.  The houses in the community are in desperate need of repair so we will demonstrate how to make super low cost soil-cement bricks.  Our dream is to share the good news of Jesus in both word and deed. 

What is your dream for your community?  How is your church announcing that “the kingdom of God is near”?

Good News Flash: Thanks to sacrificial gifts to International Ministries from many of you (including 16 people who gave toward our support for the first time and qualified for IM’s matching grant!), as of the end of June we are slightly ahead of our support goal for the year to date.  Praise the Lord!  Your gifts and your prayer support make it possible for us to continue in ministry here in Brazil.  We thank God for you!

Please join us as we:
- Praise God for the ministry of Igreja Batista Shekinah that brings hope to so many.
- Ask the Lord to protect our church’s short-term mission team on its 14-hour bus trip and use us to bring hope to the people of Batateiras.
- Praise God for the amazing way he has provided the people and equipment we need for the trip – everything from the bus and the brick press to the sound system and teaching materials.
- Praise God for all of you who support us so lovingly and faithfully.

Que Deus te dê sonhos de acordo com o coração dEle,?
(May God give you dreams according to His heart),

Ann, Bruce, and Asa
Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil