March 9, 2014
It is good to hear someone say, “God is good, all the time.” It is a needy reminder to me to reflect on the fact that God isn’t good only when we get a surprise financial gift, or some good health report. He is always good, even when we are struggling financially or when we are suffering terribly from some sickness. I’m as human as anyone else, so it’s easier to recognize God’s blessings when they relieve some lack or ailment we have been enduring. My concern is that by saying that God is good only when these improvements in our situation come is that we dishonor Him before a world that is watching how we Christians live to determine if they are interested in what we have. But with this kind of gratitude and praise only when the extra benefits come, even they would be grateful then. It is when we praise Him for being good while we are still in the middle of our struggles that really magnify how strong our Lord is, in whom we place our faith. So I say it now, God is good, all the time!
That being said, it has been great to enjoy the goodness of the Lord recently in the saving of two more people through our work. Next week we’ll be baptizing a man and his teenage son who professed Jesus as their Lord and Savior. On the same weekend that these two men professed Christ, I had the opportunity to share the gospel with a young man who has been suffering with deep depression for about 7 years. He came to offer to help as a translator for a team of youth from the U.S. who are spending their spring break evangelizing in the public schools in our city. His name is Eduardo. The friend who brought him told me that he was in a separate room crying and that he often would just start crying for apparently no reason. I sat with Eduardo and began to ask him what he thought made him sad and he said that he didn’t know, but that his depression began shortly after a severe auto accident when he lost the hearing in one of his ears. I had supposed that he was a Christian by his coming to volunteer to translate the sharing of the gospel, but in my conversation with him I learned that he had never surrendered his life to Christ. I used that information to let him know that he could not know true joy or overcome his sadness until he given his life to Christ. It was a simple thing for his friend to bring him to participate in our spring break evangelism, but the amazing thing that the Lord did was to send us a translator to hear the gospel when his interest was only in improving his emotional state of being. He had imagined that he could be happy if he could just get his hearing back, but the Lord helped me to show him that what he truly needed is a relationship with his Creator.
That team of youth who are here on their spring break brought us two very special presents, our kids, Jessie and Brennen! Jessie is the coordinator for the interaction between the American youth and the Brazilian translators who volunteer to help us each year. Brennen just moved to the U.S. this past December, so it was a treat to us for him to return again so shortly after leaving home. God is good, all the time! He showed His goodness again by allowing us the privilege of working together for a week with our kids in sharing the gospel to a people we love about a God we adore. We still have 6 days to work together with them side-by-side and this is truly a blessing to us.
Yesterday we took the group of youth with their translators to a large and busy park to share the gospel. We started out by handing out cups of water to the joggers, bike riders and walkers. Along with the water, we also gave out tracts that contained a clear presentation of the gospel. It was very encouraging to see some positive reception to our attempts. We saw several people who had accepted both the water and the tract still have the tract in their hand on their next lap around the park, even though they had finished their water and had thrown the cup away. The youth also shared the gospel through skits and testimonies on an improvised stage in the middle of the park to an audience of over 300. It was a great start to an exciting week. We will be in many public schools during the rest of the week where we’ll be able to talk to over 4,000 students and teachers about the love of Jesus Christ.
Thank you for keeping us in your prayers.
In Christ’s love,