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Johan calls upon all our brothers and sisters today and tomorrow to pray for us. We are in a shantytown full of violence, drugs, adultery, alcoholism, prostitution, crime, child abuse and darkness. On the outside it all seems okay, but the ruler of darkness has his claws in this area. Do not be deceived! We are going to reclaim it for the Kingdom of God.

We will retrieve people from the darkness and that will not be a piece of cake. We entreat all our brothers and sisters to rise today and tomorrow to pray for us for direction and protection, and for a mega harvest of souls for the Kingdom of God!! Thank you so much for your support and love and prayers. We love you all! 🙏❤🔥

Today we visited the rehab center in Adriano. What a special place it is, and how the sight of beautiful people like Adriano makes me happy, i.e. people who rise to offer this group of people a chance. A chance for recovery. A chance to deal with their addiction. But even more so, a chance to get to know Jesus’ love and to know that He will not forsake them. My prayer is therefore that when these people go back to where they came from, they will tell their family and friends about Jesus’ unconditional love.

Some of our group have shared their testimony, we were privileged to be able to pray for the men, we saw beautiful things happen and we enjoyed their hospitality.

The suitcase falls open and little hands greedily grope for the bubbles and horns, which five seconds ago were still in there. Toy fever. Chaos. In the distance wooden planks and makeshift roofs, which we call housing for the children. Shantytown. Chaos.

Clothing, toys, sandwiches, cookies, lemonade, makeup, music, ourselves. Many happy faces, a lot of gratitude, but also lots of emptiness. Despite the filled bellies and full arms. Inner chaos.

Jesus creates order in our chaos. He turns dry places into oases. He is the change in our inner and outer chaos. Where do we find Him? In you and me, when we bear witness of Who He is. Yesterday we had the privilege of doling Him out, in full suitcases and loving attention. ‘Jesus te ama’ is the little Portuguese I speak but, believe it or not, that is the very thing these people need to hear.

I see a mountain, you see a miracle

I see a wasteland, you see a garden

I see dry bones, you see an army

I see impossible, you see everything

(Lyrics from You See by Jonathan David Helser).

This morning, after meditation and breakfast, we took to the road again with our bus with 200 ham and cheese sandwiches. And coffee.

Traffic was very busy, many people are relocating for carnival. We are happy with a good chauffeur like Hennie, who maneuvers us safely through the hustle and bustle and along the bumpy streets.

Cars are flying past left and right of us, not to mention the honking motorcyclists, who seem to show up from everywhere. We had a destination in mind, but God had other plans.

The congestion made it very hard to find the location and we drove through a street lined with a group of men. These people have been on the road for days because they expected to find a job here, or at least heard they were hiring. They had spent their last dimes on this. And then there is no job. No more money for the trip back home, no place to sleep. And then …

Then suddenly a bus full of people pulls up in your street, who bring Jesus in Word and deed. First there is a sandwich and a drink. Then the Word of God. Our team had hardly left the bus when a long line of people queued up behind the bus. Two by two they came. They came and were fed: 200 sandwiches gone in a second. One gentleman told that there was so much turmoil in the street. It was not safe. And the moment the love of our God was shared … boom … no more turmoil, changing faces. I was so touched. We had an opportunity to pray for many. We had a plan but God wanted us here. 

Johan and Brenda are coming here again next week, and again and again … Because God is leading them here. Then we had lunch and spent some time together.

We had a service in the evening where Hennie shared a great word from the book of Numbers, where Moses sends the spies forth to explore the land of Canaan. Ten only saw the mountains and the giants. Two stood on God’s promise. How do you deal with mountains in your life? Are you gripped with fear, do you walk away, or do you give them to God? Trusting that no mountain is too high for Him, that He is the One Who will gain the victory. Always. You can take Him at His Word. Again prayed for people.

I’ve experienced that God uses each and every one of us. That you can speak words of encouragement that do not miss their mark. Not out of us. Everything is of Him. Roupen and Johan gave their testimony in another church and there too our God was at work. And then mighty things happen.

God is good!!! How great that it is possible to share His love together with One In Him Foundation.

Wishing you a blessed day!

This is our second day at the One project. We started with a meditation by Brenda and a grilled cheese sandwich by Johan. We are planning to visit a rehab center and then go to the shantytown. No idea what that will bring.

Being touched by the warm welcome we received, I realized how important it is to encourage and love one another with the love of Jesus. For the first time I stepped out and told about Jesus’ unconditional love. Mighty beautiful and so supported by our little group. 

Then Quincy and Roupen ministered and Jaël sang a beautiful song and played the guitar. What stunners! We also prayed for all the boys and they were so touched.

It is awesome to be able to do this together. After a delicious meal we went to the slums. We were impacted by the innumerable impressions we got.

One thing tops everything: if we follow Jesus, go in His footsteps, there are signs and miracles and lives are forever changed. What a day!! What a blessing and privilege to be a part of this. Be blessed to be a blessing!! 🙏🏻

Today, after meditation and breakfast, we proceeded to prepare 600 sandwiches: tasty, fat white-bread sandwiches, each with a slice of ham and cheese, enough for 600 children to be invited to a children’s event in the new favela.

Johan and Brenda have gained entrance into a new favela. A gang leader opened up his heart to the Lord Jesus after a lengthy time in jail. He has developed gentle eyes and a warm heart, a heart for the community. He wants things to change for the better. He does not want delinquency and drugs, which are used to lend color to life and alleviate the pain. But if we want to bring about change and offer the necessary relief, the Holy Spirit’s help is needed, but also support and finances, which are sorely missing.

Johan and Brenda are going to do something about that, motivated by the love of Christ, Who Himself came to visit us in our darkest hour. Jesus wants them to get to know Him and develop a personal relationship with Him.

Then wrong habits, like addiction and violence, will come to an end. Because security and intimacy with Him provide so much self-esteem and joy, so drugs are no longer needed. Jesus offers hope!

I was again quite impressed when I saw the small plain housing built one upon the other in the shantytown. People have so little privacy. A family of 7 will sometimes share living quarters of a few square meters.

A girl who still goes to school also told us how hard it is to do homework in such conditions. I was taken aback when noticing that most youngsters hardly understand and speak a word of English. All those sandwiches were appreciated, as a gift. A ham and cheese sandwich is a delicacy, for young and old.

The money we brought with us, sponsored by a number of readers — thank you so much, dear people — has given the 300 children present a fun afternoon. The first event in ages!

There was another one of those on a piece of land, after it had been cleared of big, sharp rocks and tree trunks. People from the shantytown and team members braved the heat of the day, chopping with axes. Those men really worked up a sweat! The rough ground would have done the air cushions no good.

There were several of those and the children had the time of their lives playing on them with us joining in. We had ball pools, slides, and an air cushion shaped like a football field with water and soap, where the older children had a perfect time. There was also popcorn and cotton candy.

I am always taken in by the Brazilian expressive eyes and happy faces, and they were so grateful. We had a merry afternoon. We enjoyed the water fights tremendously. They cooled them off nicely.

When I look at the favelas I realize how spoilt we are in the Netherlands when it comes to living space. But those happy and friendly faces, despite so much misery, can teach us a lot.

Jesus, Who is moved with compassion, sees and knows all those people in the slums. He knows what they really need, genuine love, warm words, but also enough food and improved means of living.

Isn’t it wonderful that Johan and Brenda provide help with the support from the Netherlands and other places, and are preaching the Gospel, talking to people in their brokenness and poverty, comfort them and afford better prospects.

As a team we have delivered a little love and attention and some laughter by allowing children to have a wonderful time with games. That is the way it should be: children who can play carefree.

But when people learn Who Jesus is, the slums will turn into a safe neighborhood full of light and peace. The power of God, in Whom Johan and Brenda trust, will surely make a difference. Doesn’t that make you happy?

Let us keep them in our prayers and, out of our relative abundance, provide them with the means to dole out help where needed. 600 Sandwiches today, but even more in the future. Jesus will mention it and say: ‘You have fed Me and shown Me mercy’ (Matthew 25).

What all has God got in store for us?

God has given us a magnificent calling to Brazil. God’s call on my husband’s life is so very clear and he is so bold about it too! And I am so happy to be a witness to everything that God is doing through his life. Being an evangelist is the passion of his life. For a very long time I ‘hitched a ride’ on his calling, on his hearing God’s voice. However, there was always a question in the back of my mind: ‘Am I called to follow my husband, to be there for him, to ‘arrange’ everything he needs so he can follow his calling?’

And of course, that is true, for it is not for nothing that God brought us together! It was really God Himself Who told me at our first encounter: ‘This is the man you will grow old with.’

But yet, I was not quite happy with that. I wanted a call from God on my own life, one that is separate from his calling, but on the other hand has everything to do with his.

I started investigating my own calling, looking for what fitted my and his personality best, suited to what we are doing … completely overlooking the fact that, of course, God has put a calling on my life too. But I was so taken up with interpreting things and searching for myself that I completely forgot that I had to go to God.

How I struggled, for I was only looking at Johan and what he was doing, and I thought I had to live up to his standard, speak the way he speaks, minister the way he ministers. It was so often that I felt such a failure. I could not be like him … 

Until God started speaking to me. Or more accurately, when I started listening to Him, because He had been speaking to me all the time.

‘You are my beloved child,’ ‘I have put a calling on your life,’ ‘You’re good enough the way you are,’ ‘Do not look at others, look at Me.’

Now I have my own walk with Him, and by stepping out further and further each time, He shows me more and more of His plan.

And do you want to know what is so special? My own walk with God is such a good match with Johan’s. Each in our own way, our personal relationship with God, our relationship with each other, and thus we are a triune unity with Him!

And then I am so amazed at God’s perfect plan on Johan’s life and mine together! From the very first day!

‘For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ’ (Galatians 1:10; KJV).

This morning I opened up my Bible and read this text. It got me thinking.

What am I doing? Who am I trying to persuade that I really believe? Why do I behave ‘more piously’ in certain situations than others … who do I want to prove myself to? Other people? God? Am I trying to prove that I am really worshiping Him?

To people? Who do I want to please? Other people or God?

God sees my heart. And He wants me to worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23).

By acting normal! By being who I am in Him. By being who He says I am. I have learnt that it is okay to be who I am!

I do not have to be what people expect of me, I do not have to behave the way I think others expect me to behave, I do not have to conform to others.

Knowing who I am in Him, I can be who I am, His child. I can follow Him, and I can come to Him just as and precisely the way I am!

Brenda