God is on the move! Even in the midst of strange COVID-19 days, we see God at work. Here are a few examples from our teams across Brazil, the nation with the second highest COVID cases in the world:
Sampa Church was our first church in Latin America. Recently, a cool relationship that God has totally orchestrated is with a guy named Elias and a girl named Mirian. Neither one of them have ever been to Sampa Church in person and they didn’t know anyone who went there before the quarantine.
Mirian found us on Facebook and lives far outside of the city, but has been joining us online. Elias found us through an ad on Instagram. He reached out to (Sampa pastor and Communitas missional worker) Bob and told his story about how he had been running away from God. He recently went through a divorce, has two young boys, and just recently lost his job. He has been attending our online small group each week, and also joining us for Sunday services online. God is working in his life during this time and we have made a great connection! Please pray for Elias and Mirian.
Sampa Church partners with a nonprofit that helps kids who live in a very poor and drug infested area of the city. Even through hard times and a bad economy, God has used people to be generous. This nonprofit has received enough donations to make 100 food boxes for kids and their families.
Many of our Sampa Church family have lost their jobs or have had a reduction of hours. Many need food. Within our community we knew of two ladies who were single moms. We were able to connect with them to see if they needed food. One of the women, Angela, sent us an audio message just weeping and trying to tell us how thankful she would be for food to feed her sons. It was heartbreaking listening to her cry. We were able to deliver several food boxes and will be able to do more in the coming weeks.
It is great to see how God can use a small church in this huge city, to show people God’s love by taking care of real needs, being available, and making connections… even with people we’ve never met or have never been to our church! This is one way we “Transform Lives… Transform Neighborhoods… and Transform the World,” to God’s glory!
Caxias do Sul
Within our church projects in this city we have connected online with people who have been disconnected from church, either due to COVID-19 or other reasons. This moment of isolation has helped many people reflect on the importance of their relationship with God and others. We sense new motivation to connect and to apply Scripture to new challenges people are facing.
One of our members told me yesterday that he is using this time of social distancing to connect with his consulting clients all over Brazil, giving them professional, emotional, and spiritual support as they struggle with the economic impacts of COVID-19 on their businesses. We are delighted with stories like his, demonstrating that God is teaching our believers to witness through practical service in their professional circles of influence. This is a powerful way to see the “church in the world!”
Since the pandemic began, one of our church planting projects in Brazil’s capital city has used Instagram to connect with people and their families. It is amazing to see God at work through a social network. Around 40 NEW people are showing up online when we broadcast our teaching and music! This inspired us to start a 30 day challenge from Monday to Friday with live streaming videos at 6:40 a.m, which inspire and help people change the way they feel, think and act in these difficult days. We asked people to give us feedback on their experience with us online, and here are the words we received: Inspiration, Paradigm shift, Motivation, Love, Hope, Change, Happiness and Joy. Praise the Lord with us for these connections with precious people that might never have happened without COVID-19!
God is on the move in Brazil. Amid pandemic and so much loss of hope among people who do not know Jesus, our churches ARE the hands and feet of Christ among people in spiritual need. As Paul says in Romans (15:14), “may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” With you, our church planting projects across this huge nation are reaching out with the great HOPE of Jesus–and children and women and men are responding!