Our first week in Brazil was full of commitments with the youth ministry of the church.
The Youth Pastor Rafael Fogaça brought us to see part of his ministry with the youth in the church and outside the church. Besides the jiu-jitsu classes to the disadvantaged kids in the suburbs, he also teaches jiu-jitsu in the church as a way to connect non-christians to the church. Many people join the classes because of the sport and then end up joining a Bible study group, start attending the youth service and accepting Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.
U-Don went to one of their classes to check it out.
The classes are divided by age and levels. Some of the guys even compete in the local competition against other gyms. They learn discipline, respect for others, self-control and discover how valuable there are in Jesus’ eyes. They learn proper jiu-jitsu techniques and how to apply their strength in a sporting context and not in a street fight. Rafael emphasises on the relationship building and bonding between the students.
And even when they participate in local competitions against other jiu-jitsu practicioners, their team is different because they pray at the start as a group and show love and respect for their competitors as they compete.
At the end of each class they pray as a group to thank Jesus for the opportunity to be together at that place and to learn the sport. They ask that they might use this opportunity to show Jesus’ love to the world and to be used by God wherever they go.
Our prayer is that this ministry will continue to reach out to so many kids and adults who do not know Jesus yet. There is a great opportunity to build relationships and encourage each other in their walk with God. We ask God to bless Rafael, Aurinho and other teachers so they will be used by Him to bless others.
But the fun was not finished yet!
The other ministry that we participated in was the youth service that happens every Thursday night. Their service is very exciting, there is dance, music, testimonies, baptisms, the word of God and a lot of prayer.
Rafael invited us to share our testimonies during the service. We spoke a little bit about who we were before knowing Jesus, how we gave our lives to Jesus and then what changed since. We told them about how U-Don and I met and what God has been doing in our lives.
God blessed the church with Rafael and his heart for the youth to know Jesus. We pray that this ministry will grow even more to reach out to many who still do not know Jesus.
It was a blessed night and we enjoyed being part of such a great service.
We also had the privilege of participating in my sister and my brother-in-law’s graduation from a chaplaincy course in the church. They both studied and prepared themselves for 4 months to be able to volunteer in hospital chaplaincy. We were happy to be there to see them receive their certificates and celebrate the end of the course but the beginning of a life of service to our Lord. They are looking forward to visiting patients in hospitals to bring them a Word from God, a prayer, some music, someone to talk to, or whatever else God asks them to do.
We pray for all students who just graduated from this course, that they will be used by God to bring hope and love to the sick that they will be in contact with at the hospitals. For Marina and Gustavo we pray that they will serve the Lord with all their heart and that they will be able to show Jesus’ love to many and be transformed by this experience of wholehearted service to the needy.
At the end of the week we had Marina and Gustavo’s wedding and it was a blessing to all of us. Many guests were non-christians and the word spoken by the pastor touched many hearts. We had a great time together and we pray that they will have a blessed life together and that their marriage will be a testimony of the love of God to others.
This week we are having holidays in Bahia with the whole family and more photos and adventures will be posted in this blog soon!