Dear Praying and Supporting Friends,
Since our last letter Satan has been hard at work. We have had 2 more families leave the church. One couple let us know it was because we do not have a rock concert enough atmosphere so they can not “feel” the spirit moving. There is yet another family that has not returned and has failed to respond to any of our inquiries after them. We have a fourth family who is teetering on the edge. We now know that the first couple who left is actively pulling the last two families out of church. The couple had opened communication with all of our members in search of those who were weakest in the faith. They have succeeded in finding our weakest links and we are at a bit of a loss as to how to help pull these members back to God. They have also turned the hearts of many members of the church against us. Please pray that we will have wisdom on how to deal with this delicate situation without getting defensive and relying on God to help us solve it.
We recently buried one of the charter members of the church, Carmelita. She has been a faithful member of our church for 40 years. She joined her daughter, Neuraci, our active member who died quiet suddenly last year, in heaven. It is because of faithful support from Godly people such as yourselves that Carmelita and her daughter were reunited in Heaven. Praise the Lord her husband, Senhor Lidio, finally listened to the plan of Salvation with an open heart and accepted Christ as his Saviour just a few weeks after Carmelita’s passing.
Two weeks after the funeral for this dear saint of God another one of our regular ladies was walking to church on a Sunday night and was hit by a motorcycle. Daniella is a young single mother. Our members rushed her to the public hospital. She was declared fine and sent home without so much as a Tylenol. It was later discovered by another doctor, whom she paid, that she may have fractured her spine. The incident has discouraged her greatly and she has been tempted to return to her home city to live with her mother. There is not a good church in that city and we have spent many hours trying to encourage her in the Lord to stay where she and her daughter can be spiritually fed as well as physically. Pray that her faith will remain strong in adverse circumstances. Brazilians, in Sao Paulo, have been so indoctrinated to believe that if you are a Christian nothing bad should happen to you and you should be extremely wealthy, that when something goes wrong or they do not make lots of money they get angry at God and quit church forever. It is a challenge to remove the prosperity gospel from their minds.
Despite the adverse circumstances we are facing right now we have still had visitors at many of our services and we have seen some new souls saved. Pray that we can get these new souls in church and growing soon.
Despite setbacks at first we have successfully printed our first book in Portuguese and are now in the process to get the word out. Praise the Lord ELO is officially in business. Espirito Manso e Quieto by Cindy Schaap is now available for our Brazilian churches. It is a devotional on the women of the New Testament. We received in time to make it available to our church for mother’s day. Pray that God will be able to use this publishing ministry to further the gospel here in Brazil as well as around the Portuguese speaking world. We have two more books ready to go to the proofreader as soon as she is available. Our family is also recording our first two Portuguese CD to help build up the music libraries of Brazilians with God centered music.
It would be a lie to say that the trials of the church have not been discouraging to our family, yet we are determined to keep on going. The boys finished the school year with flying colors. We are now on a mini vacation before we get down to the summer business at hand. We need to finish painting and fixing up the church as well as finish recording three new CD’s. Two are in Portuguese and the third is an English CD of music mostly written by the members of our family. We have a busy summer in store.
In His Service,
Bryan & Rebekah Johnson
Jeff, David and Lee