MissionsInterstate traffic on the way back from Taubaté wasn’t as bad as expected, even though 150,000 pilgrims went to see the Aparecida idol down the highway from us. Traffic was worse than normal, but not by much. Maybe the cold front discouraged people from getting out this holiday weekend.

• At Taubaté, I’m teaching Bible school using J.S. Williams’ book, What Is Christianity? as a base. Just finished up the section on the church. Next week: “Service and Evangelism.” I’ve been at this for a while.

• Speaking of service (including edification), the Vale churches are good at this, attentive and helpful. A brother in Christ from another city had two auto accidents near Taubaté. The first one, several years ago, killed his wife. The second, just a few months ago, put him in the hospital for surgery. Brethren from here visited and helped him both times. Humberto visited with him in his hometown and he testified how much he appreciated help from the good saints here. Continue reading

During the Lord’s supper today, John 18:1 caught my eye: “When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it” (NIV). Prayer doesn’t often change the challenges we must face, seldom does it improve our situation, but rather by prayer God prepares us to meet the trials or temptations with self-control, purpose, and faith. Then, we can glorify God. Jesus prayed and went into Gethsemane where he was betrayed. He knew all that was going to happen to him (v. 4), and with the power invested in him through his prayer, he walked straight to the cross. We can do the same. Continue reading

Timing. No good word for it in Portuguese (a friend said people here use the word agenda), but that word is the reason I’m backing out of a project that I’d said I’d do. I’ve not been able to get it off the ground, what with trips to the U.S., and now getting back into the swing of things here, so I’m sure the directors aren’t happy with that. Not seeing any opening any time soon, I’m going to let them carry it forward without me.

• This is a long holiday weekend, Oct. 12 being a religious celebration with tens of thousands of people coming just down the road from us. (The same day is also Children’s Day, so the toymakers are making a killing. Toys here don’t have great quality and the prices are astronomical.) Going to church in Taubate, we saw lots of pilgrims walking to Aparecida, where the basilica is located. A couple of people were carrying crosses. Continue reading