“God is moving mightily all across the nation through Minha Esperança Brasil!”
Thus began the joyous report from Bill Conard, Vice President of International Ministries for BGEA. The excitement in his voice was palpable, even as he spoke over the phone on location in Brazil.
“National leaders say this is the first time anyone has ever attempted to simultaneously reach all regions of this great country–and they are thrilled at what God’s Holy Spirit is doing in every state, every city, and in tens of thousands of homes and hearts.
Every leader says, ‘Please thank Billy Graham and Franklin Graham for their great vision of helping us get the promise and hope of the Gospel to millions of Brazilians!'”
Even though the official launch weekend is over, the work of My Hope Brazil (Minha Esperança Brasil or MEB) will continue for many months. Over 53,000 churches were equipped to do “Matthew and Friends,” with more than 850,000 Matthews trained.
Conard reported that, “We are receiving hundreds of early reports that represent thousands of decisions for Christ, some from Europe, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere by internet viewers.”
In fact, one of the most striking elements coming out of this past weekend is the use of multiple forms of media to help inform people about My Hope Brazil. These included TV, DVD, radio and the internet. Those media outlets were then also used to broadcast the good news of Jesus to all within reach.
As a means of encouragement and to continue to ask for your prayer and support, we’ve compiled just a few of the stories that are being told as a result of My Hope Brazil. Thanks be to God for His work in the hearts of the people in Brazil.
Transmissions of Hope
The TV coverage on the Bandeirantes nation-wide TV network came off just as contracted–Praise the Lord! We have received no reports of major TV transmission problems. In some cases rain blurred the signal, but in all cases the programs came through quite well.
In a few cases we purchased time on local or regional TV stations where Bandeirantes has limited coverage; and in other cases we pre-distributed thousands of DVDs of the MEB programs so that people can use DVD players to show the programs to their guests.
On Amazon jungle rivers and remote cattle plains, teams are carrying projectors in canoes and trucks so that even remote villagers can see the MEB programs–this will go on for at least another month.
Free Hot Dogs for the Gospel
In São Paulo, a hot dog salesman who is an elder in one of the churches, put up a sign offering free hot dogs Friday night from 9:00–9:30 pm, when the Franklin Graham message of The Prodigal Son would be on TV. His hot dog cart is in an area where many young people congregate–on Friday night scores of young people came for free hot dogs, then watched the MEB program on a large screen TV that this church elder had set up. He invited many to receive Christ!
Plane Crashes Can’t Stop the Word
In the state of Amazonas, Bandeirantes TV has only satellite coverage. So the MEB state coordinator had DVDs of the programs shipped on a small airplane to remote areas–but the plane crashed and the DVDs were lost in the jungle. The coordinator quickly changed plans, and asked the Christians in villages all across the state to go to every home that has a satellite dish, and ask the house owners if they could bring friends in to watch the MEB programs via the satellite channel. In every home 3 or 4 people are coming to Christ with each program, and in some cases the home owners are themselves making commitments to Christ!
Freed from the Demonic
In North East Brazil, a priestess of “macumba” (a demonic religion), who had been a priestess for 30 years, came to Christ a year ago when a family prayed consistently for her. She burned all her demonic paraphernalia, and turned wholeheartedly to the Lord Jesus. When the My Hope training came, she participated enthusiastically, and in these past days she has held My Hope meetings on the very site where she used to practice macumba–and she is leading people to Christ!
Leir and Lourdes
This story comes to us from Steve Starr, a photographer who spent time covering MEB over the past weekend:
Forty minutes and two miles across the Rio Negro by ferry from Manaus in the Cacau neighborhood of Careireio we visited Leir Silva. She lives with her mother, Luiza, and brother Jair. Leir runs a tiny store with her mother from their weathered wood home, The Crystal Voice Jose Pier Market. Leir says, “We sell essentials. Beans. Rice. Cooking oil. Sanitary paper.”
The rainy season has started in northern Brazil and Leir was busy trying to keep the palm frond covered patio in front of the store clean. Men from her church arrived with rented plastic chairs and carried them into the patio, across a plank that sank into red mud. Leir lined up the chairs in her patio.
Leir leads a six-woman cell group in her Assembly of God church named “God’s Gift.” With her cell sisters she asked to host a “Matthew Home” as part of MEB. Leir hosted 12 neighbors the night before and she was praying for the 12 to return Friday night. No one had accepted Christ the night before.
Leir was also praying for electricity so she could unwrap the plastic-covered television, bring it out and show the evening’s My Hope broadcast. Heavy rains had blackened the power grid in the Cacau neighborhood.
Pastor Kelvy Monterio (my guide and translator) and I prayed with Leir for electricity. By 6:30 pm it was Amazon jungle dark. Leir lit candles and placed them on the counter of her store. I asked Pastor Kelvy, “What are you going to do?”
Kelvy looked at me with the look he gives me when I asked a really dumb, Americanized-question. Then he said, “We will preach the gospel. We are not going to lose this opportunity to share the good news!”
Ten adults and four children arrived and filled the plastic chairs for the evening program. By candlelight Leir welcomed her guests and apologized for the lack of television. She introduced Kelvy as a visiting pastor and asked him to preach. Pastor Kelvy shared his own testimony where, in his words, “My life belonged to alcohol.”
Pastor Kelvy finished with a challenge to find true hope in Jesus, quoting, Hebrews 10:23, “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.”
Then he asked, “Does anyone here want to accept Jesus?” In the dark a voice rang out, translated later, “I want!” Hidden in the dark another woman started sobbing, almost uncontrollably.
The sobbing woman was Leir. The woman who came forward to accept Christ was her sister, Lourdes. Leir herself is only a four year-old Christian and she said, “I’ve been praying for my sister for four years.”
The Work Continues
Please continue to pray for everyone involved in My Hope Brazil. Their efforts will be on-going for the next few months, especially in the more remote towns located on the tributaries of the Amazon River.