|I’m typing this as I sit on my last flight (Dallas to Dulles), heading home from our training in Anapu, Brazil.
This will be a longer update than usual. A number of you have expressed a desire for more details about the teaching trips. I am hoping to accommodate these requests. (Others can always skim. ?). If you ever want more information/details than I provide, please write to me. I’ll be glad to correspond with you individually.
As is usually the case with traveling to Northern Brazil, the trip had its highlights and its challenges.
Immediately upon arrival (see “Challenges” below), we were taken to a countryside community, approximately a 40-minute drive on mostly dirt roads. We arrived to a crowd of about 150 people. I had the privilege of preaching on “Not Ashamed of the Gospel” from Romans 1:16.
We began the training module on Friday evening. We then taught Saturday afternoon, Sunday morning, and Monday thru Thursday evenings. Pastor Larry Meers (Abilene, Texas) led the entire “heart” section of the training, primarily focusing upon the spiritual discipline of prayer. Larry and I shared the teaching of the New Testament Survey. Larry taught on the four Gospels, and I covered the remainder of the New Testament books. We were extremely encouraged by the attentiveness to the teaching and the eagerness for more.
On Saturday night, the church in Anapu celebrated an anniversary. I had the privilege of preaching on Ephesians 2:19 — ” The Church Is a Family.” There were between 400 and 500 in attendance.
After our time of teaching on Sunday morning, everyone walked down to the river (Rio Anapu). The church baptized seven people – two couples and three young men. What a blessing to be able to witness this! After the baptisms, the church celebrated with a great feast.
Sunday night, Larry preached on prayer from James 5, again to an audience of about 500 people. The response to his message was extremely encouraging.
Each day, we were welcomed into different homes, some in Anapu and some out in the countryside, for lunch and dinner. These believers take seriously the opportunity to practice hospitality. Let’s just say we ate very well. Think Brazilian steakhouse — daily. ?
As usual, the primary challenges surrounded travel. First, due to some misinformation from the airline, I almost missed my connection. Then again, I did arrive at the gate about five minutes before Larry, who came in from Abilene (through Dalles).
We made it to São Paulo; however, our luggage did not. We left our homes on Tuesday, and we received our luggage Friday night. The airline sent the luggage to Altamira. A friend who is a pastor there (his daughter and Amanda have become good friends) picked up the luggage at the airport. He and his family made the two- to three-hour drive to Anapu to deliver our suitcases in person.
Our last flight on our way there Wednesday evening was from Belem to Altamira. The flight was delayed due to some ventilation problems. Just before midnight, we finally boarded. Without exaggeration, the temperature on the plane was at least 110 degrees. We sat on the plane for about ten minutes; then they decided to cancel the flight.
The airline took us to a hotel, where they provided lodging for us. It was good to get a couple hours sleep in a nice bed. The next day (Thursday) we were able to make it to Altamira. IMB missionary Jonathan Edney met us at the airport and took us straight to Anapu. Within minutes of arriving in Anapu, we were picked up and taken out to the countryside church for the service.
Some of our teaching times were cut short, primarily due to festivities surrounding the church’s anniversary celebration. We had to make some significant adjustments.