We arrived safely in Rio after an all night flight from Atlanta. I did not sleep at all so it made the next day a bit difficult. I got a nap and made it through okay. The missionaries that we are working with are such great people. It is a privilege to work alongside them. We had a great time getting reacquainted on Friday.
On Saturday, Mike and Linda, our partners who were missionaries here for 20 years, took us around Rio and showed us the sights. It really is a spectacular city. We rode the trams up to the top of Sugarloaf, a large boulder like mountain, and looked out over the city. Across the way we could see the large statue of Jesus that looks over the city from another mountain. The statue kept appearing out of the clouds and reminded me of what it might be like when Jesus himself actually comes in the clouds. It is a pretty dramatic scene seeing the statue with outstretched arms looking down over the city. I imagine Jesus really is looking down offering himself to all. Unfortunately most here see the statue as a good luck charm rather than a reminder to look to Christ.
Today we visit two churches, the first is a Free church that Mike and Linda helped plant. Then tonight we will visit a growing church in one of the dangerous slums. We are excited to worship together with our brothers and sisters here in Rio.
We are learning that the Lord is at work here in this country. There are almost as many Christians here now as in the US. The church is being much more aggressive in leading people to Christ than we are in the US, so the numbers may exceed us soon. There is still much need for what we do in our training here as many pastors are not being trained to study the bible well. We have a number of significant leaders coming to our training next week. Please pray with us that they will catch the vision for training and that many in Brazil will profit. There is a missionary movement starting here and we hope to influence them to take our training to many parts of the world. Brazilians are welcomed in many places that Americans are not, so there is great opportunity here.
Thanks for your prayers,
Al & Edie