Nearly three years ago during the weeks before the start of Igreja Batista Nova Vida here in Taubaté while walking to a local grocery store, the Holy Spirit led me to a divine appointment with Maria Aparecida Camargo Vianna, age 55. As I was approaching the store, she was just leaving. (I’ll mention more about her trip to the store later in this letter.) As we spoke briefly, I gave her an invitation to attend the inaugural service, and she gave me her phone number and address to meet her family. The next day at her home, we sat in the garage, on concrete blocks for “chairs,” while talking with several members of her family. We soon realized that this family urgently needed not only to know Jesus as their personal Saviour but also needed to have true friends to help them deal with many very real, and seemingly impossible, problems.
Maria and her four grandchildren—Lanay (10), Lauany (6), Eduardo (4), and Lohanny (3)—for whom she has legal custody, were present for the inauguration and continue to attend as often as possible. Praise the Lord! Maria understood that she was a sinner and accepted Jesus as her only hope for Heaven one afternoon while Bro. and Mrs. Dan Johnson were talking with her in her home. Shortly afterwards, she was obedient in believer’s baptism. Lanay, now 13, also put her trust in Jesus. She has been baptized, has finished the eight-week introductory course required for those wanting to become members, is going soul winning, and is being discipled by our daughter Karlene (16) on a weekly basis.
Grandma Maria does not get to be in church every week because of many responsibilities and problems. Until about two months ago, Manuel, one of her four adult children and father to the four grandchildren, used drugs and would often steal from the family to support his habit. He has had victory for about 60 days, but we are not sure if he has understood the Gospel and put his trust in Christ. Please PRAY with us to be able to help him by showing him the love of our Saviour!
Maria also cares for her mother (81) and her younger brother Elias (52), who has epilepsy. Her mother, who is a devout Catholic and who has deep-rooted anger against practically everyone, has come to church a few times. During her recent one-month stay in the hospital, she requested that I read the Bible to her during a visit. Please PRAY for this dear elderly lady, whose name is also Maria, to also accept Jesus as her only hope for Heaven!
A few months ago while another man named Alex and I were talking with Maria in her home, she told us the story about her trip to the grocery store the day we met. She said she had felt that all the problems of life were caving in on her and had decided to buy some rat poison and end her earthly life. To the glory of God, the store did not have any, but she still had her problems and did not know where to get help. That was the day we met! Today her life has purpose and direction, and she prays daily for all of her family and friends to know Christ. Through the friendship with this godly and humble lady, many of her family and friends have heard the Gospel, and some have trusted Jesus.
Our church family has also learned many invaluable lessons. One such lesson is that when one part of the body is hurting, we hurt together. Our church tries to help them with a food basket every month, and from time to time, some individuals help with the electric and water bills. Toni, one of our men who is a policeman, and other men of our church are preparing to replace her fiberglass sheet roof when we have the money for the materials. Thus far, we have raised US$107.60 (Brazilian currency—R$402.00). We need R$1,500.00 (US$400.00). Would you prayerfully consider helping by giving $10 or $20 to help us raise the remaining US$293.00 to put another roof on Maria’s home? If God would lead you to help, please mark your gift with the words: Maria’s Roof.
THANK YOU for continuing to pray for God’s protection and direction for our family as we serve the PEOPLE of Brazil! Heaven will be more than wonderful when we see our Saviour and hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!”
Dave + Dawn and Children