For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. Isaiah 44:3If your mental image of Brazil is the vast Amazon rain forest, or the huge megalopolis of Rio de Janeiro, think again. We just returned from a trip to the semi-arid northeastern part of the country, called the sertão (sehr-táhw). We visited several towns near Montalvânia in Minas Gerais state and Carinhanha in Bahia state. It is a place of struggle, poverty, and survival - a place where God’s words through the prophet Isaiah take on a special meaning.
New Hope in Batateiras
A highlight of our trip was returning to Batateiras. In 2009 we led a short-term mission team to this remote rural community. It was a tremendous experience that blessed the families there, our home church Igreja Batista Reviver in Belo Horizonte, and our partner church Igreja Batista Paz e Vida in Montalvânia (read more at http://www.internationalministries.org/read/14008-the-forgotten-ones).
After a bumpy hour-long drive along back-country dirt roads, we arrived in front of Senhor Antônio and Dona Rosa’s house. They greeted us with warm hugs, exclaiming: “Pastor Marcelo, Sérgio, Filô, Ana, Bruce - you came back! Where’s Asa? Where’s Aline?” To our delight, we discovered that we were still fondly remembered, and even more important, our team had indeed been used by God to spark new hope and action.
We witnessed the final organizational meeting of a new community association, and encouraged
them in their first development project: a cooperative cassava meal processing business. Our team reminded them that they are no longer “the forgotten ones”, and that all these things are evidence of God’s love and plan for their families and the community. After a closing prayer and lots of farewell hugs, we returned to Montalvânia full of gratitude for the wellspring of hope we saw starting to flow in Batateiras.
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Thank you for your generous gifts to the World Mission Offering that make this ministry possible!