Thursday, June 14, 2012

Connections, Porto, Neighbors all a part of God’s plan

2 weeks and then we are in the States. Wow! time goes by so fast it is almost bittersweet. It is hard to leave things here yet we are really looking forward to seeing friends, family our church and much more.

I am excited to see God working in the lives of our neighbors and friends and the people in Porto Esperanca. Our family just returned from a short trip to Porto. We were able to visit families there and reunite some and bring together a little church service and of course some fishing. We went with our neighbors TT and Kayla and their 4 kids.

For all who don’t know the story behind this couple I will bring you up to date. When we moved here to Corumba God opened up a house for us that was perfect. We live on a little Chacarra (farm) in a neighborhood called Cristo Redentor. It’s a beautiful place full of wildlife and tree covered mountains. It is also a poor neighborhood full of hurting families, crazy kids and lot’s and lot’s of mosquitos. It’s right where God wants us too. I met Kayla and TT after a few weeks of living here.

She was pregnant at the time with her 4th child. She lives next door to her parents and their dozens of kids. Their house is very simple 2 small rooms and a kitchen and one bathroom with just a toilet. When we meet TT  he wasn’t very friendly and she was very reserved with me. I had a very hard time understanding her and I’m sure she couldn’t understand me either but I kept coming around and trying. She invited me to her baby shower and then our friendship grew.

She had major problems with her pregnancy. She passed out and quit breathing TT had to resuscitate her and call an ambulance. The baby (Joao) had to stay in the hospital. This brought down many walls with them. We prayed with them in their home for their little baby one night and I knew God was doing a work in their hearts drawing them into Him.  Joao eventually got better and came home.

A few months later I found out that TT  was arrested and in jail. Trying to earn money for his family illegally. Now Kayla was left alone with 4 kids and no money and no job.  Again I believe God draws us to Him in mysterious ways. Kayla ended up with no power and no food. We had a friend from our church come and try to help her with a state program for families with dads in jail. We prayed for her and our friend gave her her testimony and more walls fell down in Kayla's heart. After this she asked me to take her to church. One night our pastor here was teaching on the widow with the little bit of oil and how God used that little bit to make more and more. In the end he asked for people to come forward. right before he was about to pray she pulled my sleeve and said “let’s go Melissa” I lost it and  cried and thanked God for the work he was doing in her. She changed in that moment I seen it on her face Joy sweet Joy only from salvation.

She started going with us every week to church and I began to pay her a little to help clean the house. I knew that she needed more than just money. It is my responsibility to help her grow, to teach her things, to disciple her. I prayed asking God I know my Portuguese isn’t to the point were I can walk her through the bible. I needed someone willing to help her. God answered that and I meet a wonderful friend named Ana Paula who wanted to help. We go to her house once a week and she walks her through the bible verse by verse, very cool!

Four months later TT was home. The judge released him on a sort of probation. He was home and I was glad I couldn’t imagine being alone with our kids. He to started coming to church with us and the children also. We have been trying to help them and be a good influence and Godly example for them.  Anyways back to our trip to Porto. TT grew up in Porto he has family and friends there. His sister attends the Baptist church there where we have been going and helping. Kayla and I thought it would be neat to go there with our families since she has never been there and met his family before. We ended up staying at his sisters Pousada (little hotel) with our family's together.  We did a little church service with some food for the people there. During the service a lady came forward and said she was very thankful to see TT there and that she remembered TT years ago not wanting anything to do with God. I was pleased to know that God is working in his heart.

   I had a good time visiting TT’s niece and listening to all her stories about living on the river for so many years. Stories of hardships and missionary’s coming and going. Medical boats only coming once month, deaths on the river, crocodiles eating her chickens. What a different life there. I’m ready to return there and spend time with the people there again but I know we need time in the States. Time for refreshment and prayer. But we still need to remember those here. Please be in prayer for TT and Kayla that they would continue going to church and continue growing and making friends there. For work for him and that through this her family would come to know Jesus. For Yara her sister who comes with us too to church and for us for safe travels. Bless you all and love you all Melissa