January 30, 2020
We just completed our first Missions Training Seminar of the year with 30 participants. Seventeen of those were from other regions of Brazil. The first week was spent in biblical studies and evangelical missions’ theory here in Curitiba. The next week the group traveled to Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, a 20-hour drive from our base.
You may have heard or seen on the news one year ago about the rupture of a mining dam in the town of Brumadinho. In that industrial disaster, there were 270 people who were killed. Though it has been one year since the disaster, the whole town is still badly traumatized. What adds to the townspeople’s sense of fear is that there are over 300 similar dams encircling the area and it is the rainy season there. Many people moved away, of course, but most do not have enough money to uproot, move and begin life somewhere else.
Our mission team found quite a wide spectrum of attitudes among the citizens of Brumadinho as they sought to share the gospel. On the one hand, there were many who are very angry; angry at the mining company that allowed the disaster to happen, angry at their loved ones for leaving them alone and even angry, blaming God for letting the disaster happen. On the other hand, the sense of loss and hopelessness helped to prepare the hearts of several to listen to God’s word of eternal hope and salvation. Our volunteers rejoiced to have a part in leading many to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. They themselves were moved emotionally by the sight of such devastation, but more so by the joy that God used them to bring hope and salvation where only sorrow dwelt before.
When Charlene and I moved to our neighborhood a few years ago, we thought that it would be helpful in getting to know our neighbors if we visited each home and introduced ourselves. When we visited, we would ask if there was something that they needed that we could pray about for them. No one was outright rude with us, but there were a few who evidently weren’t interested in spiritual things. One elderly lady, though, was very cordial to us and invited us in for a cup of coffee. She not only asked us to pray for her then, but invited us to return as often as we liked. Through that one lady, we met many members of her extended family and often prayed for her and them. During the recent Christmas holidays, we were out of town and received a message from one of her daughters that she had been admitted into the hospital with lung cancer and that she was gravely ill. We wouldn’t be arriving home for a few days, but her family told us that she really wanted to see us before she died. After we returned home, the very next morning, Charlene and I went to the hospital to visit her. She seemed to be unconscious, or in a coma, but still Charlene and I bent near her ear and reminded her of our Savior’s love for her. There was no evident sign that she heard or took in anything that we said then, but in less than a half hour after we left, we got a message from her granddaughter that she had passed away almost immediately after we left the room. I don’t pretend to know all, or even much, of what the Lord is doing in the unseen realm of this world, but I am certain that He was orchestrating the details of this dear lady’s life and death for His glory. As a result of that lady’s love for Charlene and me, her oldest son asked me to speak at her funeral service. During our years of visiting with her we had shared the gospel and she had assured us that she knew she was a sinner and in need of Jesus as her only Savior. She told me that she trusted Him and Him alone to save her. I shared that news with nearly 100 people from her family and friends and let them know that they too could have the certainty of their own salvation if they surrendered to Christ. By the Lord allowing that dear lady to “hang on” for just a few more days and minutes, a door of opportunity arose for us to share the gospel with her family.
We can see that God is at work all around us in huge citywide events, as well as small individual circumstances for us to make His love known to those who are lost. We want to be attentive to His guidance to step in and share the message of grace.
In Christ’s love,
Bobby and Charlene Wacaser
Bobby and Charlene Wacaser
Rua Laudelino Ferreira Lopes, 279
Sobrado 1, Novo Mundo
81050-310 Curitiba, PR. Brasil
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