Angela Ngiam

Latest News

23 Apr 2013

Many things happened since my last newsletter.

1. We received my step-brother, step-sister and a friend from Brazil during Christmas holidays:
Michel, Nathalie and Alysson came over to Australia to spend some time with us. We loved having them here with us and we had a lot of fun together. We went everywhere around Sydney and walked a lot.. heaps of exercise! I am sure they enjoyed their trip.


(Michel, Alysson e Nathalie)

2. I am pregnant:
We are expecting our first baby! U-Don and I are really happy and thankful to the Lord for this blessing in our life. It is very exciting to follow the baby's growth via scans and kicks in my tummy. We are anxious to have him in our arms! I am now 23 weeks pregnant and our bundle of joy is expected for end of August. Please pray for baby's health... and mine too!

3. My service with SIM is a blessing:
Some of the missionaries that I helped to send to the mission field as short termers returned early this year. I had a whole team coming back from Bolivia, people returning from West Africa, Bolivia and Paraguay. It was lovely to meet with each of them to debrief their experience in mission. It is so encouraging to hear their stories, their experiences, their growth, their increased passion for missions and their plans to continue to serve the Lord and consider missions long term.

Early this year I helped to send 3 people to countries in Africa. And I have another 3 going also to Africa before July this year. And I am working on a few long termers going next year. So encouraging!

My love for missions is multiplied by those missionaries who are willing to go and serve. I thank the Lord Jesus for allowing me to be part of the team who sends those guys overseas and help to care, mentor and provide training to them. It is really a blessing and a privilege  to be part of God's missions in this way.

Please pray for SIM Australia - that we will be able to continue to send out missionaries to many places in Africa, Asia and South America.

4. I will be visiting Brazil in May:
Omar (SIM Australia director) and I have been invited by SIM Brazil to be the speakers of their annual missions conference from 24 to 26 May.

The theme of the conference is: The Mission to Send.
I will be speaking about sending, challenges, needs and importance of having people serving in support roles so the missionaries on front line can do their work well. Omar will be speaking on challenges to send people to unreached people groups, focusing in Asia. He will be challenging Brazilians to think of serving in Asia.

During our visit to Brazil Omar will have a chance to preach in some churches and speak in meetings with pastors and leaders of many denominations in 4 different cities. This is a great opportunity for the Brazilian church to get to know SIM a bit more and partner with us in sending missionaries to our fields.

I will also visit my home church, I will be speaking at their Bible study groups, with the people preparing to go overseas in missions and other like minded people. It is a great opportunity for me to encourage Brazilians to go, learn a language, adapt to a new culture, serve in whatever capacity God asks them to.

Please pray:
For the baby's health;

For the SIM missionaries in many fields around the world and for more people to be challenged to take the call into serving in mission overseas;

For the trip to Brazil, for health, safety, for the many meetings we will be involved with, for the conference and a great response from the Brazilian church to our opportunities of service especially in Asia.
 

Reflections from 2012

22 Nov 2012

2012 is almost finished. I can’t believe how fast this year has gone!

I have been serving with SIM for about 10 months already. So much has happened, so much has changed, so much has been learnt, so much still to do.

I had such a great year! It was very different from anything else I have ever done.

I had great moments serving at SIM but at the same time personally I had some very hard times emotionally.

God has been teaching me a lot about himself and about myself.

So I thought it would be nice to share with you the highlights of this year so far:

What I have learnt about myself:

-          I don’t have to control everything; in fact, I quite enjoy not knowing what will happen tomorrow. If you know me well this is shocking to you!

-          I can let go of structure at times! I know... you don’t believe it!!!

-          I am quite creative when it comes to serving God, I have exercised my creativity and I really enjoy it.

-          I am a relational person, I love spending time with people, getting to know them, their story, their ideas, their dreams.

-          I truly believe that God has called me to this ministry at this point in time. Every day I reminded myself of his call, the value of this ministry and the joy I have in serving him.

What I have seen God doing through my role in SIM:

-          I had the pleasure to speak to many people who love the Lord Jesus and are willing to serve him overseas. As I heard those people’s stories, each person reminded me of God’s goodness, His mercy and His transforming power in their lives. He did incredible things in their lives.

-          God raised some of his people to go overseas in places where no one would really think of going, but because of their servant heart and their love for Jesus they are willing to go and serve the people far away and show them who God really is through love, words and deeds.

-          As a mobiliser I facilitated the sending of some people to some countries, 4 of them already are in the field while others are in the process of going. To know that lives of many will be impacted because of the message those missionaries bring with them and their service to others is a wonderful thing. To know that I have helped them to get there somehow is a great joy and pleasure.

-          I definitely believe that God has all under his control. When something came up that I had no idea what to do about, He guided me through his plans and I am confident that all results are according to his doing not mine.

-          SIM Australia had a wonderful year of changes and at times I might have been feeling left blind in the midst of uncertainty but God has carried us all through it and helped us to see light as we trusted him for the results.

 

What I have learnt or was reminded about God:

-          He is faithful, he does fulfil his promises.

-          He is in control, even when everything seems chaotic, or even when suffering hurts, He is always there.

-          He loves me, even though I don’t deserve his love, yet he calls me his daughter.

-          I don’t have to do anything to please him because the Lord Jesus has done it all for me. I can just enjoy the best ever relationship I can have with God.

 

As I reflect back, I remember saying to God a few years ago: Please, send me!

And his answer was: I sent you to Australia to send others to many places. You are one person in one field but through your willingness to serve me we can mobilise many people to many fields.

I thank God for sending me to Australia and for sending people out of here to the world; and for allowing me to have this pleasure of participating of what He is doing in the world.

As I look at the future, there is nothing I can affirm that will happen. There is nothing I can plan on my own strength. There is nothing I can control.

But one thing I know: that I will continue to serve the Lord Jesus, who gave his life for me, for the rest of my life until the whole world knows him or he calls me home. There is no greater plan that this!

:-) Please continue to pray for U-Don and I as we serve the Lord day by day, that we will rely on Him always for decisions.

God is Great!

16 Aug 2012

God is great!

No matter our circumstances… God is good!

I have now completed my first 6 months as a missionary of SIM and I have been reminded daily that God is faithful to his promises and his plans are perfect.

It was pretty hard to leave my job to join SIM as a missionary but I am glad I made that decision to serve the Lord as a mission mobiliser of SIM.

I have been learning a lot and stretching myself in areas that I never experienced before. And I am loving it!

In July we had our SIMWorld Annual conference and I had so much to do in organising the whole event, but I am glad that my efforts and hard work did pay off.

I was sure that the Lord was asking me to have a theme for this conference that would be around his name and not our name. So with that in mind I have planned to show people what the Lord has been doing everywhere in the world through the ministries of SIM.  And it was a great day when we all glorified him for what he has been doing in many other countries, in many people’s lives.

It is a blessing to be a part of an organisation that cares for people, that loves people, that connects people to each other and most importantly connects people to God.

People who attended the conference could hear from lost of missionaries what ministries they have been involved in and how the Lord has been changing lives everywhere in Asia, Africa and South America.

We had more than 150 people attending and lots of them decided they also want to get involved with what God is doing. It is a blessing to get alongside them and walk with them in this journey to discover what they will be doing in the future. I had great conversations with people who also want to step out of their comfort zone to reach out to people who are disconnected to God.

Then 2 weeks later we had the ReachOut Conference, the Australian Annual Mission conference, the biggest event for missions in Australia.

As a part of the organising committee I had a very busy semester getting things done to make sure we would have a great conference. And the team deserves a huge thank you as we all worked well together and had a great weekend in the Blue Mountains learning more about missions and being encouraged by the speakers to participate in missions in the world.

Many people came to our SIM stand and they were very engaging and serious about going overseas to serve the Lord.

It is very encouraging to see many people willing to leave behind their own selfish dreams so other people will benefit from their presence, work, skills, time, knowledge, etc in other less fortunate communities. And even better to see that those people love the ones who they do not even know, that they want to bring to people far away from here a message of love and salvation.

As to the next 6 months of my service I am looking forward to following up with each person who said they would like to go overseas. I love to hear their testimonies, their passion to serve others, their willingness to go, and it is very rewarding to help them to get where the Lord wants them to be.

Serving the Lord is what I love to do, and he blessed me as he called me to serve as a mission mobiliser with SIM at this point in time and I am thankful that his plans are perfect.

As to our family, U-Don has left his job and he is searching for a job that will match with the purpose of glorifying the Lord. We are praying for the right opportunity to come and for his purpose to be aligned with God’s purpose for his life. Please pray for us as our finances will suffer for a while as I raise my own support in this ministry and he is now out of the job.

We are sure that we are going through a time of change, of learning how to trust that God will provide for our needs, and to develop new skills so we can serve him in the future somewhere else, together in mission, to bring the message to those who never heard.  

But as I said earlier, God is great and his plans are perfect. We trust him! There is nothing to fear.

Doing...doing...doing...Resting?

26 May 2012

It has been a long time since I wrote to you last.

When I started with SIM in February I thought I would write newsletters every month so people would be able to know what is happening here in ministry and in my life, so they could pray for us. I also wanted to use the news to show how much the Lord is at work here in Australia where most people don’t want to know about him, but he still wants to know about them.

But since that first month I just did not manage to sit down and write a letter.

Why is that?

I am a very organized person, I love planning things and making them happen as per plan. I marked in my calendar the days in which I was going to take time to write my newsletter but they didn’t happen at all until today.

But today I said to myself: drop everything else and write the letter!

The reason why I have not written the letter is not because I don’t like to write. I love to write! It is not because I have nothing to write. I have plenty to talk about!

I am thinking that I have not been able to write it because I got my priorities wrong.

I have been pretty busy with work, trying to learn as much as I can at the same time as working hard on what I need to do. There is always something to do: attend an event, plan an event, interview people who are enquiring about missions, encourage people to consider missions, speak in churches, or colleges, or schools. There is a lot of paperwork to do and organize, procedures to write, ideas to consider, changes to be made. As long as I have time I can find something to do.

I think this is exactly the issue for me at the moment: I realized that my mindset is that as long as I have time I “must” find something to do. And even when I don’t have time I must multitask so more things get done. I don’t usually rest and I actually don’t really know how to rest.

So instead of using my time for what is priority I fill my time with lots of things to look busy and I don’t end up paying attention to what is important.

I have already been warned about this issue many times. People who know me well have told me that I must learn how to rest and maybe re-evaluate how I prioritise my tasks.

But there was a difference when the Lord himself spoke to me about my attitude towards doing things. I was in Brazil last time doing a lot of things for the local ministries, getting involved, and filling up my days with visits.

But the Lord challenged me by saying: My dear daughter, I love you so much! I love you exactly the way you are because I made you that way. I know that you can do lost of things for me and I am pleased to see how much you want to do for me. All those things are good but I want you to “be” instead of “doing”. I want you to “be with me” instead of “doing things for me without me”.

I thought to myself: This is interesting! I can do lost of good things for the kingdom of God but what my Lord wants me to do is to be with him.  What a revelation! The Lord is more concerned about me walking with him, talking to him, relying on him, worshiping him, glorifying him than all the hard work hours I can put on to do lots of things in his name. Because if I do things for him without him…. Is there any meaning for doing it?

I think it is remarkable how this experience I had translates what salvation is all about.

Lots of people think that to go to heaven, or to climb the ladder of spirituality, or changing bad karma into good karma, or to be a better person we need to do lost of things.

We have to pray, we have to fast, we have to go to church, we have to do good acts to others, we have to help the poor, we have to use kind words, we have to eat well, we have to respect the environment, we have to meditate, etc.

All those things are good, but that is exactly the point. To go to heaven we actually don’t have to do anything like that!

In reality, even if we did lots of good things how can we know when we achieved the perfection? Let’s not deceive ourselves, we can never be perfect.

So then, how can I be assured that I will make it into heaven?

 

Well, surely I won't make into heaven by working with SIM, it is not by being busy in ministry, it is not by doing good things to others, it is not even by doing good things to please God.

I just have to be with him. I just have to accept the reality that I can’t make it on my own. No matter what I do I will not gain a space in heaven. I need Jesus.

That can only happen because God himself has already made a way for me and for you. He is the only one who is perfect and can make a way for anyone to get there.

He sent his only son Jesus to live on earth, to die on my place, to resurrect in his perfect body so by his blood we can be accepted in God’s family.

We only have to accept that. Just realize that without him we can’t make it.

He is the one who has done it all. And that is why I don’t have to do anything.

And that is why he told me he is pleased with my willingness to do things for him, but he reminded me that he has done it all, so I don’t have to do anything, I just have to enjoy my relationship with him. I just have to be with him, to walk with him, to glorify him every day of my life. Until he calls me home to be with him forever.

Isn’t that great? That my boss (Jesus) has asked me to be less concerned about being busy doing things to be more concerned about walking in friendship with him?

No wonder I am feeling tired: I will never do enough! It will never finish!

No wonder I can’t find time to do anything else: I have got my priorities wrong!

So as I change my priorities and concentrate on walking with Jesus I can experience a great relationship with him, the one who has done it all so I don’t have to do anything.

And what about resting? I am not really good at that. But that is exactly what Jesus is asking me to do. Rest! Rest in him for he has done it all. Enjoy life with him and balance my daily activities so my priority will be my relationship with him. The other things will be done…. somehow…. one at the time.

Praise the Lord for calling me to work with SIM. I completely love this ministry.

Please pray that as I walk day by day I will not forget that being with Jesus is more important than doing things.

Pray for the work of SIM so that all of us will continue to be guided by Jesus in all we do, so his will might be done through our work.

Pray for my prioritizing of tasks and hold me accountable for it. You can write to me to ask where my newsletter is…. and I will be happy to hear that you are praying for me and holding me accountable with what Jesus asked me to concentrate on.

Lots of love,

Angela & U-Don 

Back in Australia

14 Feb 2012

I have been back in Australia since 25 January. I know it is only 3 weeks since I came back home but so much has happened in such a short period of time!

I have started my role with SIM as a mission mobiliser and after only 2 weeks on the job there is already so much I have learnt!

I still have to understand more about SIM, about mobilising people for missions, about working in a Christian organisation, about how God can use me in this role, and much more. But I am enjoying every bit of it!

For the last 5 years I have worked in a different type of office, with different priorities and goals. I miss the structure and the organised way of working like that. I am comfortable doing that, I like to control my environment, I like to be given a task and work on achieving it with a perfectionist approach.

But God did not call me to stay hiding in my comfort zone for too long. He has called me out of my comfort zone before when I had to leave my country, my culture, my family and friends, and step into something completely different and unknown to me.

I had a tough time when I first arrived in Australia but God kept me safe, under his wings, and sustained me through every step I took. I learnt how to trust him for everything I needed. He taught me that he is my refuge and my strength.

And recently he called me out of my comfort zone again to step into full time ministry, to stretch myself even further, to trust him even more. I am so happy that He has done that and that I obeyed him! I am really happy to serve him with my whole life. I am very excited to be a facilitator for people who are stepping into world missions. To see people taking up the call into mission and to help them to get there is such a joy and a privilege!

But all of this is still unknown to me and I feel like I need time to process all that has been happening to me and what God has planned for the future.

It was not long ago that I was in Brazil visiting my family and participating of local ministries.  I have seen many things that God has been doing there through his faithful servants.

I actually did not expect to be surprised by the ministries because it is my own culture. But for my surprise I was really challenged and encouraged by it ! I think that living in Australia for the last 6 years opened my eyes to my own culture and made me see my own people with different eyes, more critical of the culture but also much more loving towards the people. I am still trying to process my emotions and how I have changed since.

Some of the stories I heard there changed the way I think about others, about suffering, about myself and about God. I loved the fact that I could relate to people, hear about real life stories, cry with them, laugh with them, share testimonies of how their lives have changed, and pray together.

Probably the most impacting ministry for me so far was the project called “Nova” (New) that brings the gospel of Jesus to girls who are working on the streets as prostitutes.

I have met a girl who is in the phase 1 of the project (meaning she just heard the good news about Jesus). She told me a little bit about her story:

(This is not the photo of the girl from the story but please do not reproduce this)

She started in the prostitution when she was only 9 years old. She became a drug and alcohol addict. She sold her body to pay for her addictions.

She became pregnant 3 times and her sons grew up being looked after by her colleagues in the brothel until 2 of the fathers took the kids from her and she was left with one son. The son who stayed with her also became a drug addict and a drug dealer by the age of 10.

All she ever knew was how to be a prostitute. She did not have a good self-image at all. She saw herself as rubbish, as an object, as someone who has to please others and is never satisfied. She always thought she was worth nothing. She has been infected with the HIV virus and she needs daily medication to keep herself healthy.

She is in her mid 30s now and she just heard about Jesus. She heard for the first time that she is worth a lot, that Jesus had died on the cross for her sins so she could be reconciled to God and not suffer punishment for her wrong doing.  This was a “set free” message that touched her heart deeply.

She wanted to know more about this man who was God and gave his life to save her. So she started learning about Jesus and she left prostitution. She has been clean from drugs and alcohol for a few months now. She is still taking the medication for Aids.

I spoke to her before Christmas when she told me this amazing story of transformation she experienced in her life.

But her walk of faith is just at the beginning. She has ups and downs and life has been really hard for her.

She just realised the sins, the abuse, the lack of worth, the addictions and all the bad things that happened to her. She needs healing from all the wounds that she has in her body, in her soul, in her character.

She still does not know what else to do to earn her living. She has been baking cakes to sell in front of the church to pay for her rent. The project is providing workshops for her to learn a new profession so she can sustain herself.

During Christmas she had a tough time and she tried suicide. But God once more protected her and gave her inner peace to stop harming herself.

I met her again after New Year’s Eve and she told me about the struggle she went through and the pain that was all too hard for her to take.

She told me that as she tried to end her life she remembered Jesus and his suffering. Her own-self kept telling her how much she is worthless and she should end it all, but a small sweet voice told her that she is worthy and that there is a purpose for her life. So she decided to stop trying to end her life, listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice and pray. She prayed for the next 4 hours without stopping asking God to take her away from that dangerous place she found herself in. And he did.

During our meeting, as she told me this story, both of us with tears in our eyes, started to pray together. We had the most beautiful moment of prayer and dependency on God to sustain us. We were praying for her to be able to be alive. There was nothing else we wanted more than one more day for her. As she prayed she asked God that she would have one more day not so she could live, but so she could share his love with at least one more person.

I thought this was beautiful. There we were, realising that we depend on God to be alive the next day.  That without his provision of the next breath we die. And all we want to do is to have another day so someone else can hear us talking about Jesus.

I still keep thinking about her prayer and what it means to follow Jesus that way, to remember daily that I depend on God for a next day. That nothing really matters if we do not have a relationship with God. That the next day is not for myself so I can live, but for him and for the glory of his name. I did learn big lessons from the people over there who have nothing else left, but they have what matters the most: Jesus.

And I must say that I was not expecting this, but I experienced a confirmation from God that what I am doing at SIM is really something he chose for me to do right now. I thought that being in my country and involved with local missions would make me prefer to stay there and work in the field myself. But surprisingly, even though I did love everything about it, I know that it is my job now to mobilise people to go from anywhere to everywhere. There is so much need everywhere!
With God’s help I will be able to pass on to others my contagious excitement about missions and I will facilitate sending people out to the field to fulfill God’s mission to all nations.

I am very happy to be back home and re-united with my husband U-Don.

We are looking forward to seeing what God has prepared for us this year and we will be happy to share our journey with you.

May you also remember that you depend on God to live one more day.

And when he gives you the next day, may you use it for the glory of His name.

“Cia da Graça”

10 Jan 2012

I have visited a Project called “Cia da Graça” (Grace Company).

This is an interdenominational project that involves a few churches working together among the less fortunate people who are living below the poverty line, in the surroundings of the dumpster area.

The families build their own houses from material that they find in the dumpster, such as pieces of wood, pieces of plastic, etc.

The living conditions in this area are really poor. The families live from the money they make from the sale of materials that they collect in the dumpster.

The dumpster smells so bad that it is even hard to describe it. It is like the worst putrid smell, a place that smells worst than sulphur.

All kinds of rubbish are dumped there and stay there for a long time, which causes a constant smoke to come out of it.

When I looked at the liquid that comes out from the rubbish and stops on the ground forming a little pool I could see little bubbles that are appear constantly probably because of the chemicals and rotten food.

  

And it is in this place that the people spend their whole day, searching for materials, collecting what can be sold to get some money to survive, to feed themselves.

The conditions in which they collect the materials are depressing to see. Some people walk there without shoes, they do not wear gloves, they use a stick to move the rubbish around to see if there is something deeper than the surface to be collected.

One man had his foot wounded, wrapped in some kind of fabric, and he was still walking there, putting his foot in the rotten bubbling water, probably catching a huge infection because of his wounds being opened and in contact with that water.

As they collect the rubbish they place it in the big bags to be sold to the recycling industry.

The local government does not have interest in solving this problem. But it has done something to make their lives a little bit better. They have built 2 bedroom houses in the area for the families to live in so they could leave their shanty houses.

The houses are not bad but it did not solve their social problem. They still work on the collection of materials from the dumpster because even though they have a house they still do not have a job to be able to leave the dumpster.

And many of them keep what we call “culture of the miserable” which means that their thinking is as if they were still miserable, as if they were living in the shanty houses, they act like miserable people. Many brought back inside the houses all the materials from the rubbish. Even though they have a brick house, they keep the wood walls and the plastic roof inside the new house. The dirtiness, the lack of hygiene and the miserable living conditions continue the same. They brought the shanty house inside the brick house! They still work in the dumpster and not much has changed for them.

The project “Cia da Graça” is pretty much their only hope for change. Their uniform T-shirt says: Cia da Graça, Compartilhando o maior tesouro da vida (Grace Company, sharing the biggest treasure of our life).

The project includes many ways of help (I had visited the project during 4 days to see a little bit of each area):

Weekly visits to the families for counseling, praying, talking, encouraging, etc.

Workshops for women every Saturday morning to teach them a new way of earning their money, such as making floor mats, making tea towels, making fridge magnets, etc.

Kids program every Saturday morning to teach them about Jesus, and also talking about hygiene, about respect, about obedience, etc.

Reading club for children every Friday afternoon to encourage kids to read books and to make them understand the value of education.

Preaching the word of God, praising God with music, praying together, witnessing the love of Jesus to them, walking with them through life.

Giving away a monthly basket with basic food and materials (rice, beans, flour, oil, salt, sugar, milk, etc).

One of the visits that I have participated of was to a lady’s house to give her a new oven which has been donated by a Christian person to the project.

This lady has been part of the project for a while, she goes to every workshop on Saturdays, she does not work in the dumpster, she attends church every weekend, her kids are in the reading club program, they are followers of Jesus and they are a testimony of the love of Jesus to those people around them.

A long time ago she told one of the leaders that her dream was to learn how to bake bread so she could bake it for her family and also sell the bread to earn some money.

And the day arrived when she received a new oven so she could bake bread at home.

The leaders also brought ingredients, a recipe and taught her how to make the bread.

It was such a happy day for her and for us.

She had a stove that had a broken oven. With the replacement for a better one, she donated her working stove to another lady from the community. She was blessed with a new stove-oven and she decided to bless someone else with her old stove.

And I also went there once more for the Christmas celebration, when we have gone to each of the houses to give a Christmas present, food for their Christmas supper and a word about the love of Jesus.

The youth group from the church has organized the purchase and packing of children’s toys to give away for Christmas.

A big group of volunteers went there to help giving away the presents to 100 families.

One thing that you can see from this project is that Brazilians do not wait to have all resources and circumstances to start doing something. Other cultures prefer to have everything organized before starting something but our culture is different, we are people who like doing things. We start working even though everyone else would have said that there are no conditions to start working because we know that God has called us to do it. Then while the project is going on we pray that God will provide the rest and we do not stop if it takes a while to be organized.

That is how it happens. This project has been running for quite a while without a land or proper place, without water or electricity, without financial support, without lots of volunteers, without materials. But the few volunteers there know that God has called them to do this work and they love the people there. It is more important for them to share the love of Jesus with the people under a tree than to wait for some bureaucratic process of getting a room to teach them.

 And God has blessed them so much! They have helped and saved many lives there. Many people are out of the dumpster, out of alcohol and drugs, living a life of dignity and respect for themselves.

And recently they have been blessed with a donation of a land nearby for them to build an area to teach, preach and keep the project going. Even the fence has been given to them.

It is very important that this project continues because the needs are huge.

Please pray for financial resources for the building of the centre, for purchase of food, books, medication, for the maintenance of its volunteers, and other needs.

Please pray for more full time workers because there are only 4 people able to give their half day to this project. All of them are praying to be able to give full time to this but they need financial support to be able to leave their jobs. At the moment they look after 100 families, but there are 400 families living there, so they need many more people to help looking after them.

Please pray for the families who are in the program because many have suffered a lot and still suffer because of poverty, family issues, health issues, violence from drug trafficking , domestic violence, and other problems. Many have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior and they have been transformed. Praise the Lord for this!

But there is a lot to do!

They have many plans for this year, such as offering medical and dental services, seminars, offering service of taking people’s IDs (many do not have any documentation at all), helping the families to put their children in schools (many do not go to school), teaching them to grow food, offering sports classes, teaching adults to read, and other dreams they have for those people.

They know that their dreams come from God’s heart and they ask us to pray for them to see those things happening in Jesus’ name.

I believe in the transformation of this nation and every other nation in the world as we put them in God’s hands. Keep praying!

God bless you and thank you for praying for us.

Bringing hope to the hopeless

05 Jan 2012

It is 2012! Happy New Year!

We are looking forward to the new step we are taking in service to our Lord Jesus this year.

But before that, there are more things to tell you about my experiences with missions in Brazil.

I visited the ministry in the prisons with Pastor Marcos Ricci.

The program includes visiting the prisoners, preaching the word weekly in the hall, talking to the families of the prisoners and also witnessing to the guards that work there.

There are many different prisons that are visited by the volunteers. The one that I have been to is the military prison where the policemen who disobey the law can stay. (Obviously they can’t stay at the normal prison where their lives would be at risk).

There is a small chapel in the main entrance of the prison where they have a church service twice a week.

The service includes the prisoners and their families because it happens during the visit time.

There is music, prayer, the Word of God, testimonies, and worship.

The day when I was there they had a Christmas celebration. One of the prisoners who accepted Jesus in the prison shared with us from the Word of God. It was nice to hear him explaining the Word to others. This reminded me once more how amazing Jesus is. He transforms us from nothing to his servants. In our weaknesses he is strong and he uses us to reach out to others.

I was also reminded of what freedom in Jesus really means.  I was there worshipping my Lord with many people who do not have the same freedom to go wherever they want because they are living in the cells for many years, day after day.

But they do not see their lives this way, they know that in Jesus they are free and they are much happier for being there and knowing Jesus than to be outside and not knowing Jesus.

They were policemen who should be working to catch people who do things against the law, but they have done something wrong and ended up in the prison themselves.

Outside they were slaves of sin, many were involved in corruption, drug trafficking, and other issues. They could walk freely but they were not free from wrong doing. Now they are inside and they are not able to walk freely but they are no longer slaves of wrong doing. They had a change of heart and they feel complete even though they are paying the price for their crimes.

Pastor Marcos Ricci told me that there is a huge need of volunteers and missionaries to work in the prison ministry. Thankfully the prisons are open for evangelism and they even invite pastors to start programs with prisoners, but there are not enough people to work with them.

Please pray that God will raise people to work in this ministry because the needs are huge but not many join this ministry.

I also participated of the first day of a new program at the church: “Having Lunch with Jesus”. It is a lunch that is served in front of the church to the homeless.

There was music, prayer, short message and a lot of food.

 

The night before the event the Pastor Marcos Ricci drove around the CBD inviting the homeless people to the lunch.

And on the day he drove around again to find the people, and he drove them to the church.

The food was provided by people from the church. I ate the food and it was really good!

Many people came to the event and they enjoyed good food, talking, singing and knowing that someone cares for them when society disregards them completely.

The majority of the people living on the streets are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Many came under the influence of their addiction and caring for them is much more complex than offering a plate of food. The church is aiming to start building relationships with them to be able to help them to overcome their addiction, get out of the streets, etc.

I had a great time there and the first day of this ministry was a success.

Please pray that the people from the church will support this cause by giving food, by cooking, serving, cleaning, organizing, praying for the people on the streets and offering love to them.

Please pray that Pastor Marcos Ricci will be able to continue the ministry in the prisons and with the homeless. Pray for his wife Marcia and his son Christian who are very supportive of him and a blessing to both ministries.

I still have many other ministries to tell you about and I hope you are praying for each of the ones you saw already in my blog.

If you get involved with what God is doing in the world you can’t help falling in love with missions. I pray that you will be considering serving the Lord in whatever way you can so he can use you to share the love of Jesus with others around you.

Have a blessed 2012!

I will post more news soon.

Christmas

27 Dec 2011

Hi everyone, I know that it is Christmas time and you would like to know about how my Christmas was.

I had a lovely time with my family and friends. I obviously missed U-Don because he spent Christmas back in Australia with his auntie. But it is such a blessing to be here and enjoy time with my mum and sisters that I have been handling well the fact that U-Don and I are keeping in touch only via skype daily.

On Friday 23th December I went to a service in the church that happens every Friday night from 10:30pm to 12:30am. They get together for a prayer meeting. The focus of the service is to praise God and pray.

The message was given by Yuri Breder who just came back from the mission field in Nepal. He spoke about Jesus being our daily bread and as he spoke we could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in that place very strongly. It has been a long time that I did not feel such peace in the presence of God. At the same time there was a fire inside me starting to burn for me to obey and serve the Lord even more. My energies have been renewed and I can´t help smiling because of how much I love Jesus.

We prayed for revival for our individual lives and for the life of the church. There are many people who are hungry for the Word of God and are thirsty to live in the presence of God. We believe that God will answer to our prayers and will renew our hearts to serve him even more and bring glory to his name.

This was a great way to start celebrating Christmas.

Then to the party: Here in Brazil we get together on the 24th December at night to prepare a banquet to celebrate Christmas. We wait awake to celebrate Jesus’ birthday already during the first few minutes of the 25th December, just after midnight.  Then we hug each other and keep celebrating. There are even fireworks.

I treasure the time I have with my family a lot and I am very happy to be close to them for 2 months before I come back home which is so far away from them.

Then on the 25th I spent time with my grandmother and aunties from my dad´s side of the family. It was a blessing to be with them on this very important date.

At night we went to church for a Christmas celebration. The church was full of people in both services at 5pm and 7:30pm. The service was awesome.

They had music, orchestra, choir, drama, dance, the Word and a lot of prayer and praise to Jesus. It was a great celebration. Many visitors accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior during the service.

The Brazilian people are so passionate about things. I love being here because I can exercise my passionate side. I can be myself here and it is not weird. I love the hugging, kissing, laughing, joking, and having a good time despite any hardship. There is no time to finish a party, as long as you are having fun with your friends, you lose track of time and enjoy time together.

New Year´s Eve I will travel to another city and when I come back I will post news about it.

I hope you had a lovely Christmas celebration there. May God bless you even more in 2012.

Project: Equipe da Esperança (Hope Team)

21 Dec 2011

One of the projects that I visited is the "Hope Team" that visits and gives support to the patients and families in the hospital.

The Volunteers at the Santa Casa Hospital have a Mission statement that says:

Mission: to promote the volunteer action in looking after the patient in the Santa Casa Hospital and their relatives, to contribute with the process of humanizing the hospital ambience/ environment.

Since 11 September 1993.

Equipe da Esperança is an organisation that started 18 years ago and has about 80 volunteers from all sorts of professional backgrounds that dedicate their time as volunteers in the hospital for 3 hours once a week.

Equipe da Esperança is not a Christian organization but part of its volunteers are Christians. They offer not only their time to the project like every other volunteer, but they use this opportunity to share the love of Jesus to the people that they connect to in the hospital.

The patients usually come from Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia. They have all sorts of illnesses and need all sorts of treatments that are offered in this hospital. The volunteers can offer support, love, attention, prayers, and whatever else they are able to help.

The way in which they help is:

  • Receiving the families and attending the needs of the patients,
  • Visiting different patients in all areas in the hospital,
  • Giving support to the mothers in the maternity area,
  • Playing and singing in all areas in the hospital,
  • Making crafts, telling stories, playing games, presentations with clowns,
  • Providing pumper day with hairdressing and make up,
  • Collecting donations and distributing them to patients in need, etc.

 

They have a room where they keep all materials, clothing, and donations such as nappies, tooth paste, tooth brush, shampoo, soap, and other basics to be given to the patients who do not have enough money to buy such products.

I had the privilege to talk to Mercedes Tavares who is the president of the organization at the moment. She is a lovely Christian lady who has such love for Jesus and other people that she dedicates her time to share her love with people in need at the hospital.

She also teaches the chaplaincy course in church (my sister Marina and my brother-in-law Gustavo graduated last month from this course). In the organization Mercedes’ role is to make sure that all volunteers are offering all kinds of support to all families and that the partnership with the hospital can continue. In the course offered in the church her role is to teach Christians how to give spiritual support to the lost and to encourage people to maintain themselves strong in their faith when the situation is of suffering, loss, grieve, illness, etc.

The day of my visit I followed the team who organised a Christmas celebration to the mothers who just gave birth to their babies and for many reasons the babies had complications and had to be kept in the hospital for further treatments.

There were 7 mothers with their new born babies, the one who has been there the longest has been living there for the last 5 months. The mums have to live in the hospital, they do not go back home, their chair is next to their babies’ beds. All of them stay in the same room and they become a little family to each other. The volunteers visit them regularly, pray together, talk about life and Jesus, help them to keep strong as they suffer because of the unknown situation of their babies. It was an honour to participate of their first Christmas since they gave birth to their little angels. It was an emotional day for all of us.

The volunteers raised funds to buy presents for the mums and the babies. There was finger food, drinks and chocolate cake to celebrate Christmas.

Mercedes gave a message of Christmas and encouragement to each mother. We exchanged presents and all of us gave a message from God to each baby.

I also visited the area where they offer psychiatric treatment. The volunteers also visit the patients and their families weekly. Once a month they offer a pamper day, they offer manicure, pedicure, hairdresser, make-up and at the end of the day they have a celebration where every patient present themselves after the makeover.

I saw photos of the event and I could see some of the patients.

Until 2 years ago the hospital did not have a chaplaincy Christian program to offer to the patients. The programs were focus on financial support, preventing illnesses, social care, etc.

The chaplaincy program started 2 years ago and it has been a blessing to the patients and to the people who work in the hospital because the Christian volunteers not only work in each area of support, but also in the spiritual assistance to patients.

Equipe da Esperança finished the year 2011 with 12 programs in the hospital. Some of the programs are:

Celebrating Life – support for mothers giving birth, for mothers with babies with complications and their families

Hope Circle – visiting patients receiving psychiatric treatment

Telling Stories – visiting each patient to tell them a short story, to bring hope and a smile to them in such a hard time

Friendly Word – visiting each patient to sing and play music, to bring magazines, to talk to them and their families

Clowns and music – visiting children who are sick in the hospital to play games, talk, tell a story, etc

Chaplaincy – Christians who visit the patients to pray, give spiritual support, talk about Jesus, read the Bible together, give a word of hope and encouragement.

Friendly shoulder – offering support to families in the waiting area of the Intensive Care

Visit time – offering support to families in the time of visit

Emergency – offering support to the people arriving every minute in the emergency

Raising funds market – the volunteers produce goods to be sold in the market in the main hall of the hospital. The purpose of this is to raise funds to buy basic products to give to families in need. With the money raised they can buy nappies, hygiene products, baby clothes and any other basic necessity products.

But there are still many needs and work to do.  Every 2 years the leadership needs to be changed. Mercedes has been praying for her succession to be a blessing from God to the project.

She will still be involved with all the programs but someone else needs to get the role of director for the next 2 years.

Equipe da Esperança is not a Christian organization but it is offering spiritual support because of Mercedes’ hard work and influence. Depending on the new director the programs might be changed and maybe the spiritual support won’t continue.

We must pray that God will raise a good leader who will continue the good work and will expand even more the support to all patients in the hospital, its doctors, nurses, families, workers, etc.

They have a list of 80 volunteers but only a few of them are actively giving their 3 hours a week every week.  To be considered a volunteer a person can give maximum of 3 hours a week in an organization. If the person spends more time than this he or she is no longer considered volunteer and payment must be made for work done. They need people who can give time to the programs, if each volunteer can give 3 hours a week they will have a good team in the hospital. But what is happening is that many start the work and then they can’t make it anymore, or they are too busy, or circumstances change. The few volunteers who can give their time to the programs have to cover for others who are not able to participate.

They need more Christians who are willing to volunteer there so the chaplaincy program can expand to attend more areas of the hospital. With the growth of number of Christian volunteers the Christian presence in the hospital will grow and the program will be kept.

There are many who are willing to give support to the sick in the hospital but not many of those are Christians which means that support is coming from the world instead of from Jesus. 

Participating of a day of work there I noticed that it is not hard to do this work. I spoke to some of the volunteers and they love this work, they love the people, they are happy to give something that they have to the ones who are suffering.

My opinion is that if you love Jesus you love his people. And you can’t help answering Jesus’ call to serve him in serving others in need. I don’t think we can call ourselves Christians if all we do is to attend church once a week. We can’t keep this gift from Jesus to ourselves, there are many people suffering without him and these people won’t hear about him if we don’t tell them.

 It would be really nice to see people leaving their comfort zone behind and stepping into faith and service to God. Many will die without being reconciled to God. It is our call to make Jesus known to all people.

I pray that God will raise people who are servants and who love Jesus to take on this work in the hospital. If people could do this work full time as missionaries the impact in the hospital would be even greater and many would hear the name of Jesus and praise him forever.

Please pray for the leadership, for the relationship between Equipe da Esperança and the hospital, for the 12 programs to continue and grow, for each volunteer, for each patient and their families, and for God to raise missionaries who can work there full time to make Jesus known in that place.

I loved seeing the work they do there and my heart feels the pain and suffering of the people who do not know Jesus yet. This ministry is a great opportunity to reach out to the lost and to share our love for the Lord Jesus with others.

If you are interested in knowing more about this ministry and opportunities 

please contact me by leaving a comment on the blog.

God bless you.

Holidays in Bahia – Brazil

10 Dec 2011

U-Don and I spent a week in Bahia on holidays with my family.

The capital of Bahia is called Salvador and it is the city where my older sister lives.

There are many beautiful beaches over there and the hot weather was perfect for us to stay in the water the whole day.

Salvador tells the history of Brazil as a Portuguese colony. The city still carries the Portuguese architecture from year 1500 when Brazil was colonised.

The people are a mix of races that remind us of their African descendents who were brought from Africa to Brazil as slaves to work in the land.

It was the relationship between the Portuguese and the Africans that gave us our traditional dish called Feijoada, a pork stew with black beans. The Portuguese land owners used to eat the best parts of the pig, but they used to give to the slaves only the bad parts (ears, nose, feet, tail, etc). The slaves created this dish with black beans and the unwanted parts of the pig, which is now one of the signature dishes of the Brazilian gastronomy.

We visited the old city called Pelourinho. U-Don wanted to take a picture of the old buildings to show how they look like – still the same since when they were built.

To go to the old city we have to take the lift to go up the hill (it costs 15 cents per person). The view from the top is beautiful!

In the old city we visited one of the first Catholic churches built in Brazil by the Portuguese. It was very interesting to see how the Roman Catholic Church was introduced in Brazil because up till today Brazil recognizes Catholicism as the national religion.

The church has its finishing touches in gold (gold that the Portuguese found in Brazil).

We went to a Catholic museum inside the church. There we learnt about the history of the saints and the meaning of their symbolic images.

We walked though the old streets of Pelourinho where there are little houses that used to be the town centre where the Portuguese used to live (and today they are shops).

We took a picture with one of the bahian ladies dressed in a traditional African dress that they used to wear during colonial times.

We went to an art museum where we learnt more about how the African religion influenced the Brazilian faith as well. (Catholicism was introduced by the Portuguese and Candomblé was introduced by the Africans).

The statues are human size, dressed up to represent each god. There is an explanation with each name, what they do, what weapons they use, etc.

Still today people worship these gods, they dress up like them, they order and offer sacrifices, and are followed by many people in Brazil. The mediums receive the spirits of the gods and people can consult them and order services from them. People order all sorts of services e.g. : to kill people, to receive power, to make people ill, to make people fall in love with someone, to destroy someone’s marriage, or whatever else people want. The payment to the gods is done in all sorts of ways: money, sacrifices, becoming a follower, becoming a medium, etc.

Salvador is the capital city of Bahia. Bahia is the number one state in Brazil for the number of people who do not attend any church or follow a religion. Even though Bahia is the state where the African religion started in Brazil there are 2 other states that have a higher number of followers of African cults and black magic.

We went to the markets where you can buy pretty much anything. Many items are related to black magic and have spiritual connotations so you must be careful to know what it means before buying something to bring home as a souvenir.

Besides the cultural immersion of the old city we also went to many beaches.

U-Don caught a baby crab on the beach – as usual.

And at night we ate a proper adult crab.

We loved spending time with my niece.

And with my mum and sisters.

We went to the project called Tamar that rescues and protect turtles. They have a very nice program to raise awareness and protection to the few turtles still left.

We learnt about how they breed, what they eat, who their predators are, how to protect them, and many other interesting facts.

 

At the end of the presentation they opened the nests in the sand to release the baby turtles in the ocean. It was quite emotional to see the little turtles fighting for their lives on the way to the water. We just hope that they will be able to survive because out of 1000 eggs only 2 will reach adult age.

 

We are now back from Salvador. U-Don is back home in Sydney and I will stay in Brazil until the end of January. I will be participating of many ministries with the local church.

 

Please pray for Salvador regarding the issues of many religions and the use of black magic, which has become so engrained into the Brazilian faith that people do not even recognize the devil’s trap.

Please pray:

  • that I will be able to make the most of my remaining time in Brazil,
  • that I will learn about their ministry and missions,
  • that I will be able to prepare myself for my new role with SIM (mobilization of missionaries in Sydney),
  • that I will be able to be transformed by God while I serve others around me.

 

Please pray that U-Don will settle back home and at work quickly. That he will know that God is with him all the time. That God will give us strength during the time that we will be away from each other.

We say our goodbyes for now but I will keep you guys updated with more postings.

 

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