Pastor Greg: As I've shared before, our church that supports life and is a pro-life church. And we pray for what God is doing in our State to help protect life. But you know what, at the front lines is how we serve people who are in crisis, dealing with life and death issues with their own lives and situations. And a Hope Center is our key partner in supporting people who are in time of need when they're finding unplanned, or we might call crisis pregnancies. And a Hope Center is having Strides of Hope. Strides of Hope is a walkathon every year, and for the past handful of years, it's been in Columbia city. And it's in your bulletin, a little flyer, to know how to participate in that. Jerry and Becky Jones, faithfully attend and participate in that and ask for sponsors. And it's one of their fundraisers, and it's just a great way to come out and join other people who support life and support good things and want to be part of helping people make good choices and also just financially supporting a great ministry here in town. And they can do for many people what the local church or any one particular church could never do by themselves. It is good to work together for the Lord, Jesus Christ.
The bulletin has all kinds of stuff in it as well. In just a little bit, Bray, during the message time actually, before we have the Lord Supper is going to share with us his report, his testimony from his experiences in Brazil as a six week volunteer missionary. And so, I was in the first service and I already put some notes down on mine on the back of the bulletin as a blank area for you to write down thoughts, maybe one thought, maybe a scripture, maybe something that the Lord might be sharing with your heart. It's I always say the weakest ink is stronger than the strongest memory. It reminds us of what God is saying to us.
And some of you are digital, you just need to open up a note on your phone and get rid of all your different alerts and everything, because that'll just distract you and take you right out of here. But if you can take your phone on airplane mode and somehow get in there and put notes that way, however you record thoughts of what God is saying to you, I pray that you'll do that, and that you'll use that as a reference this week, as you continue to walk through and pray through what God does this morning in our time of worship. Our connection card obviously is their best way to communicate with one another. And if you have a change of address, a prayer request, as you take your next right step and move forward in your faith, what is God saying to you, put that in the offering box or at the end of, or during the Lord Supper. Come to a person to, for prayer, for encouragement, for strengthening, for resourcing.
John 15 is where we're going to read this morning. John 15, and if you wouldn't mind, please turn there. If you have your Bibles, I'm reading from the Christian Standard Bible version, John chapter 15. And if you would, let's stand together as I read this aloud. "I am the true vine and my father is the gardener. Every branch in me that does not produce fruit He removes and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. You are already clean because of the word I've spoken to you; remain in me and I in you. Just as the branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you, unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produce as much fruit because you can do nothing without me. If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire and they're burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in, you ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. My father is glorified by this that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples."
Heavenly father right now, as we worship you in song, as we worship you in prayer and hearing the word spoken aloud and hearing the testimony that Bray is about to bring to us, may you be pleased. May the aroma of our worship be enjoyable to you this morning. And as we come fully committed to the Lord's Supper and proclaim your death until you come again, may this indeed also be worthy of worship as we come to you. Change us, make us into more like you. Help us this week to display what it means to be a fully committed follower of Christ because of our time together. May your Holy Spirit come upon us in a fresh way this morning, fill us, change us, and we pray this in Jesus name. Amen.
Bray Snyder: Amen. Good morning. Grab a seat. It's good to see you all. No clapping, no clapping. It is good to see you all for real. So I was gone for those of you who don't know for six weeks. Who am I? Because I see some new faces here, which is amazing. My name is Bray, so I on a normal Sunday would probably be leading worship for us. Clearly, I'm not needed to do that because of how well things went this summertime, right? I was able to check in a little bit; that's what I normally do on Sunday mornings. I work at Purdue, Fort Wayne. I make videos. I do some broadcasting. I love St. Joe and I love being around you guys.
So in January, this past year, I'll give you the quick little story of why I just went to Brazil. Starting out, I went to a conference in January called Cross Con. I'm not a big conference guy. I've shared this with most of you before. I won't rehash all that, but I went into this conference just open, went in to see what it was going to be, hung out with 20 cool college students or college age students. And the Lord opened up some doors through a few conversations that I had with an organization called Reaching and Teaching. So the conference itself was awesome. It was all about missions and sending. But in particular, this organization called Reaching and Teaching that I met through the will of God, just a funny conversation that I had one off; this organization loves and cares about planting churches internationally.
So we know that in the United States, we come from just a culture and a context that has a lot of blessings. One of them is the access to information and education that we have. And I don't know that we think about that very often. Any of you who have traveled overseas, maybe have seen that, but this church organization is just super passionate about planting churches in different countries and helping edify and build up those healthy churches. That's the whole organization. That's all they do. Planting healthy churches, making the mature disciples, equipping the church so that they can continue fulfilling the great commission, so it's an amazing organization.
So I came back from this conference and it was on my heart, but I was just kind of not sure what it looked like this opportunity to work with this organization. So I talked to Greg, I talked to John Moody, talked to my parents, talked to a few of you guys and said, "Hey, this is like a pretty quick turnaround. It'd be this summertime. It'd be going to another country in June," which at that point was like three months away. So you can imagine raising support and preparing to go to another country in that quick turnaround - for six weeks, kind of crazy. And then it's kind of not too.
The Lord worked, the Lord moved. You guys, as my church, blessed me and supported me and sent me. And so, today I just want to share and give a report for you about what the summer was like. And we'll have a great time of it, hope to share some really fun things with you, hope to speak toward each of your lives a little bit in some way this morning. But first let's pray together. Let's come before the Lord and then we'll get started.
Lord, I thank you so much for our time this morning. I thank you that we get to be together in a building with air conditioning in the summertime. But more than that, I pray that each of us who are gathered in this room, our paths are overlapping for a reason this morning and we get to be a part of your church body grow together and be built up together. I pray that you use this time to do just that. And then as we approach you for the Lord's Supper afterward, I pray that you be moving in our lives and making yourselves evident to those of us who know you, Lord, I thank you. It's in your name that I pray, amen.
So Brazil - kind of crazy, right? Have any of you been to Brazil before? Nope. I hadn't neither. Guess what they speak Portuguese in Brazil. We talked about that. I spoke no Portuguese before I went down to Brazil. I didn't know too much about the church in Brazil before I went down to Brazil. I didn't know too much at all before I went down there and I still don't know a lot, but this summertime was amazing for me. First things first, I'm going to jump into real quick, a little bit more about reaching and teaching and some of the preparation and training that we did before we went to Brazil. And then I'll share with you a little bit about our team in Brazil, and then I'll just sort of walk you through what I did for six weeks there, so you can get a little glimpse into what it looked like.
So first of all, getting to know what life means to be a missionary overseas; I don't know what your preconceptions are about that. I know there are even some people in this room who are considering that and considering what it would be like to help build up the church overseas. What does that mean to each of us here? For me that was kind of a foreign concept, something that we're all familiar with, we talk a lot about, but what does it actually mean? What does it look like to be somebody who is sent out from your country and to go to another country and to share the gospel?
One thing that we did is, we first went to Atlanta before we even went to Brazil. Myself, my teammate, Zach, who I'll share with you about in just a second, and 20 other people our age, who are being partnered with this organization, going to different churches around the entire globe: France, Turkey, Thailand, Vietnam, some closed countries. We just had a team get back from Argentina last night. So I got back about two weeks ago; this team just got back last night. So a whole bunch of different people going to different places, but we all got together in Atlanta for three days and spent time studying the word and being encouraged by some awesome pastors and some awesome organization leaders in RTIM. And one of the big things that we talked about before we even went is the language of calling.
Now, I use that word and that's probably going to bring up different thoughts for each of you, but we talk about calling. What does it mean to be called? What does it mean to be called to the pastorate or to be called to ministry as a missionary? And sometimes those words just get kind of fuzzy, right? We don't know exactly what they mean, and it's hard to describe. It can mean different things to each of us. But one thing that we talked about is the bride of Christ and really putting our focus on the bride of Christ and what it means to love the church.
So the church is the bride of Christ, right? First service, I did a pop quiz. What is the bride of Christ? And they all answered. So I'll just give you that answer now, but we know that that Christ talks about the bride and we know in Ephesians, in the love chapter, when we're talking about husbands and wives, that Paul says, "Husbands, lay down your lives as Christ lay down his life for the church. Love your wives, lay down your lives for your wives as Christ love the church and lay down his life for the church." That applies to all of us. That doesn't apply just to people sent out overseas, that doesn't apply just to people here in this room; that applies to all of us, we're to love the church. And so missions work is an aspect of loving the church, but it's all about loving the church, right? So that's one thing that we talked about before we even went to Brazil for the summertime.
Our church in Brazil was awesome. I'm going to share a little bit with you about that, but before even jumping down there, we talked and we spent time talking about what it means to love the church and love the bride. We just read about the vine and the branches in John 15. What does it mean to be connected to the vine and how are we connected to the vine and how do we grow? Well, one of the best ways to do that is to be in the word and be spending time with the Lord. And that points us to being in community in church.
I know some of you visiting from out of town; this isn't your church, every single week. Each of us though, we have to have a church. We have to be connected to the bride of Christ and we've got to be loving the bride of Christ. And this summertime, not that I haven't seen that here at St. Joe, but this summertime, I saw that so well and so clearly in a different context too, in a language that I learned in six weeks, maybe like that much. I don't know. I got to the point where I was able to speak a little bit with some kids, which is a good sign. Whenever you can have a little bit of a conversation with a kid, so a kid will come running up to you like three years old and be like, "Da, da, da." And you're like, "I don't think I know any words that she just said." You're like, "Eh, [speaking foreign]," you know, you can say things like that. If you can have a little bit of a conversation with a kid, you know you're getting somewhere.
I got there a little bit, but we had so many people in the church who spoke English too, that made it really easy not only for us to see church context in Brazil going through translation; that helped a lot. Being able to see it, but being able to see it and have it communicated to us in English was amazing. For each of you in this room, every single one of you sit in seats right now, what's the Lord's will for your life? For me, this summertime, that's kind of what I was thinking of before I went to Brazil, right? That's what I was considering is the Lord's will for me to move in this way. What's the Lord's will for each of our lives every single day?
This is something that I want us to be thinking about today and every day. But for me, this summertime, it was taking a step of faith. And you as a church sent me and it was amazing and it was a blessing and there's so many good things that came out of this summertime. But I don't want to make it greater than, or more than what it means to be a church here in Fort Wayne, Indiana, or to be in Indianapolis or to be in France or to be in Thailand, wherever you're at the church and loving the bride. This is our calling - going and making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and the son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey and observe the commandments that I've given to you. Love the church guys. I saw that this summertime. And I'm back, and I want to continue doing that. And I want to encourage each of you in each of the ways that you know how to do that. And we'll talk a little bit about that. I'll get going here now, but I want to set the theme for what I share with you. This is something that I did in Brazil, but everything, even the stuff that was focused on the church context in Brazil, I want us to apply to our church here in Fort Wayne. Sound good?
So summertime in Brazil - we head out from Atlanta. We spend a bunch of good time talking about what it means to be a missionary, loving God's word, loving God, loving His word, loving His people. We know that all of us are created in the image and likeness of God, right? We know that. But we also know that loving the church and wanting to draw others into the church has to be a huge motivation for us. Loving hospitality and more than just that; loving the fruit of the spirit, and all of that really just pointing us to love of the church. Setting the theme for what we did this summertime.
We get on a plane - I've got a teammate, Zach, that I've talked to a few times on FaceTime and I've got my missionary host, Brian, that I've talked to twice on Zoom, get in a plane and I'm ready to go. I don't know if you guys remember our sendoff service on Sunday for me. Bymans were out of town, we talked plenty of time before they headed out, but I remember being here on Sunday, like I'm leaving in two days. It doesn't feel that crazy. You know, it's like, this is going to be a really big summer, but it was just kind of like, "All right, Lord, this is what's next. Let's do it."
We get to the airport, it's the exact same feeling I have. We're walking into Brazil, there's Portuguese everywhere, hardly any English, and it's just like, all right, let's do this. And we get out of the airport, Zack and I, we got our bags with us, and I see this six foot tall, white dude, shaved head, beard. And I'm like, "That's Brian. All right!" It's the one guy that looks like that here in the airport in Brazil. And we go hop in his car, and immediately, right away, speaking in English was great - that was one of the first release, but immediately right away he's just, "So, how did you guys travel? What did you guys do this past week? Where are you coming from?" We've been communicating with him a little bit. And then immediately we're diving into the word with him on our two hour car ride from Sao Paulo, which is the city, that's like the big city, the economic hub of Brazil, really in the south. And we drive two hour car ride to our city of Campinas, Brazil, which is where I told you I was going.
Campinas is a city of about 1.5 million people, and has some surrounding cities two in particular are Sumare and Valinhos that are small cities of about 200,000. So that's about population of Fort Wayne, right? Somebody help me out with that. Is that about the size? Yeah. Little smaller, yeah. So it's big - their small cities, I mean, they're kind of big, it's surrounding this big city of Campinas. A lot of young people, and a lot of young people coming to this area to study the word. But more than that, there's a lot of universities where people are studying engineering, finances, programming and things like that. And so we get out of the car after this two hour car ride on a Sunday morning, and guess where we go? We go straight to church service.
We just had a 10 hour flight, get in the car for two hours, and we're immediately into church service with this church, this community, this awesome group of people for their Sunday morning prayer gatherings that they do together. Immediately we're right into being with the church and serving the church. And we're just getting to learn, we're getting to spend time with them as they're walking through Matthew, they were in Matthew 8 at the time. And then we go home, get our bags unpacked. Yeah, those were in the car with us whenever we're at church. Unpack our bags, chill for a little bit, and we went back to church service again that Sunday evening. What a great time and a great way to get us right into what we did for the whole summertime.
What this summer was about was about building up and equipping the church for me. What I got to learn and what I got to see was all about building up and equipping the church, something that all of us should be doing wherever we're at. Whatever you're doing, however your own life takes you, whatever job you have during the daytime or whatever seat you sit in here on a Sunday morning or whatever, small group you're in; all of us, all of us all the time, we want to be thinking about how to be drawn near to God through spending time in the word and spending time with His body of believers at our church here.
So we got to do that in Brazil - and let me tell you, Brazilian community is something kind of different. When I say church service, I think some of you might be thinking like today, come here for an hour, hour and a half, have some coffee, go get lunch afterward, head home. Brazil is a warm climate culture, which is what we refer to as cultures and climates that are warm. They spend a lot of time together. Community is really important. A church service in Brazil on a Sunday morning means you get there at eight and you leave at noon. That's four hours, do the quick math on that.
And so they don't show you how much they love you or how much they value you by when they show up to events though, they show you how much they love you and value you by just not leaving. Which for me, the first few times is kind of like my goodness, it's midnight and we're having dinner right now on a Sunday morning after four hours of church in the morning and four hours of church in the evening. And I loving being around you, but again, this is my first day in Brazil so I kind of want to go sleep. The whole summertime though, that is what life is like in Brazil - a little bit different here. Next time that Greg gives a sermon that's 50 minutes long or 55 minutes long and you're checking your watch, I want you to be convicted about that.
Spend more time here, spend more time, it was great to see, but what we got to see throughout the entire summertime is not just church services on Sundays, but the radical commitment that's shaped by their culture, but the radical commitment to community that the whole church had. And so in our time in Campinas and in Sumare and Valinhos, we spent a whole bunch of time, every single week with believers. Now, part of this, you just got to be thinking in your mind, is this just because we're the Americans coming in? And it's kind of like, "Oh, the Americans are here, everybody wants to hang out with Americans." I asked that question a few times. No, we were treated well. And I loved getting to meet all the people that we got to meet, being an American carries with it just some advantages that I don't think you really think about until you go and you're in a different culture. And sometimes those can be benefits, sometimes those can hurt, but in this case, people just love spending time with us, but it's the church. It's the church.
There was not a single night that we were in Brazil where we didn't get breakfast, lunch or dinner. Sometimes two, sometimes all three, with different people from the church and just spend two hours hanging out and talking. Every single day that we were there, Zach and I, my friend from Tennessee, 19 years old, he's a year older than my younger brother. We got close, just spending time, we being in the same room with each other going through all these different places with each other, but we both really saw, and we talked about this a lot; as Americans seeing the community and seeing how committed the church was to being in community with each other, it was fantastic. So, that kind of shapes everything that we saw.
We get down to Brazil and I'm thinking through all of these things, what does it mean to love the church? How am I going to love the church? How am I going to serve a church in a country with a language that I don't speak? Did any of you pray for me for that while I was gone? You did. Okay, I appreciate that. Thank you for your prayers. It was very impactful. There's a lot of English speaking in Brazil, which is very helpful. Brazil's pretty westernized in the two cities that we were in, were pretty Western, which was great, but there's a lot of poverty too. And so, this picture right here is in Rio. Has anybody been to Rio before? Has anybody watched the movie Rio before? Great. We're counting it. We're counting that.
This is from Cristo Redentor, which is Christ the Redeemer, the big Jesus statue. You guys familiar with that? Like my pose right here! This is overlooking gosh, maybe a quarter of the city. What you see, the way I describe it is, just imagine there's these kind of like rolling hills and mountains and you just sprinkle sand on top of it. And then where the sand falls, those are just houses and buildings everywhere. It's just everywhere is city. So this right here is the bay. To the right of us is the Pacific Ocean here. There's a whole bunch of areas over here and there's a whole bunch more to the left, but the city just sprawls everywhere. And so, this is an example of one of the cities we went to.
There's so much urban development. You get to be in a city for a little bit, but there's also so much poverty. The Favelas, I don't know if you know what the Favelas are, but they're basically self-governing neighborhoods that have their own community police, to put it nicely, which means that drug cartels control the neighborhoods and provide safety for the neighborhoods. And when I'm saying neighborhood, I'm not talking about like 500 people living together; I'm talking about like 200,000 at the biggest. A neighborhood with 200,000 people crammed in stacked in, in an area a few miles wide, right next to sprawling high rises, Copacabana beach, Tijuca beach; there's just a lot mixed in these cities.
And so in our time in Brazil, we saw and spoke to people who were very well educated, who knew the scriptures had been to seminary, spoke good English. And then we spoke to people who didn't speak English at all and were very new to the faith and didn't have much familiarity with how to study the word, just getting to know scripture. We saw a lot of different types of people and a few different types of churches, but the big church that we spent most of our time with was called IBJM. It means Minnesota Garden Baptist Church. And so, go ahead and go to the next slide for me Lynette. This right here is a picture of me not smiling; as we go through, I'll start smiling more and more, I promise.
So these guys right here in particular are amazing. So let's go right to left, reverse for you guys. Right beside me is Brian. That guy looks American, right? He and his wife, his wife was born in Brazil. She was born to American missionaries, but she was born in Brazil, speaks Portuguese fluently and like a native, they met in the States and they're back in Brazil right now. And they've been there for about five years, sent through this organization, reaching and teaching where they are building and edifying and helping a church grow. Flip to the other side. The guy in the polo, or I guess this side is Alex, Alex Dyer. And he is a Brazilian who went to university, went to a small seminary in Brazil and realized, "Oh, I want more than this." Transferred to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, learned English, is very good in English. He speaks Portuguese, but he's very good in English. And then came back down to the States and lead a revitalization effort at this church that they are currently at. When he got there about five years ago the church had maybe 15 members. There was a lot of mess caused by sin, that had just caused this church slowly over years to be very hurt and to be very unhealthy. And Alex came in along with Brian. Brian came about a year and a half later. But Alex came in and just lead a charge, focused on two big things; one, creating culture and two, focusing on explicit discipleship in the church. And so for the past five years, that's what they've been doing.
Sunday mornings, they get together for Sunday school, about two, three hours of hang out and talking after Sunday school. Sunday evenings they have worship services together where Alex will preach. Thursday nights they have prayer meeting with each other, go for about 30 minutes to an hour and a half somewhere in there where they'll do some preaching of the word and then praying for each other as a church, and then praying for all of the members of the church as well. And then throughout the entire week, they're just doing community with each other.
Now, proof of their discipleship is these two guys in the middle in the black shirts. The guy above is Kaiki. Kaiki is 27 and he's a worship leader. He's a sound guy, he's a tech guy. He loves soccer, Fucci ball, but he's not really known as any of those things. What he's known as is just a man of the Lord and a man who loves the church, sacrifices for the church and disciples others in the church. The guy right underneath him, his name is Douglas. Douglas has a heart for young people. He was a very good athlete, was playing some - from what I was able to understand some minor league soccer in Brazil. I don't know if you know this, Brazil takes soccer very seriously. So if you're playing minor league soccer in Brazil, you're doing something right. He ends up being radically committed to the church and he just loves serving and loves teaching young kids.
This group right here, and there are a few other key people in this church, but this group right here took in Zach and I. So Zach's the guy in the middle with a white shirt. Again, 19 years old, Tennessee, going into his sophomore year he wants to be a pastor. He has a heart for the nations as well. It was really cool getting to know him. So this church took us in, and every day we're with Brian living in his house with his family. He has two young kids, a nine year old and a four year old. I grew up with a younger brother and two younger sisters, so I remember the crazy days, but I got to see them again. Nine year old bouncing off the walls like crazy, four year old is a quiet kid until he's singing the Avengers theme song at the top of his lungs for 30 minutes or the Imperial March.
These kids are homeschooled, they're around each other all the time, but their family - ah, their family's amazing. Their family was such a blessing to us, and showed us what it means to live overseas in a culture and in a context that isn't yours, but not visit - to get to know the culture and dive in and commit to planting in the culture so that you can effectively serve and grow the church. Such a blessing this summertime.
Go ahead and go to the next slide for me Lynette. So this right here is the inside of IBJM, this is on a prayer night. So this is about 30 or 40 people on a Thursday night, able to take time out from work and come. Zach and I gave our testimonies on the first prayer meeting night that we were able to go to. And then Zach gave a devotional out of Galatians and we had some other pastors come in and do some teaching times in these prayer meetings. This was just a great time of being able to be together with each other. This happened every week that we were in Campinas for four cities. And we did some traveling that I'll get to in just a second, but this was our home base. This is a church that is not perfect. Be under no illusions that any church is perfect.
Greg, what do you say - when you find a perfect church run from it, because it's not perfect or something like that? Say it better for me. Do you guys anybody remember how he...? Yeah, there we go. Don't join the perfect church or you'll mess it up. It's very factual. I was just so encouraged and so impressed by this church culture, and seeing just the simple commitment to doing ministry in attractive ways and in unattractive ways, just boring ways. Just loving each other and spending time with each other, holding each other accountable and being in the word almost daily with each other. We talk about being in the word weekly and being in the word in your quiet times, a church that it's just routine to meet with each other throughout the week, each week, and spend time hanging out, talking about life and spending time in the word.
Go to the next slide for me Lynette. So this right here, see, I start smiling, goofy smiles. This is the leadership team and the families of the leadership teams here. So there's too many people for me to name all by names. Zach's on the left side. There we go, I'm getting it down. Kaiki, Brian, Douglas you see at the bottom with his wife, we have a visiting pastor from a rural area of Brazil named Edson and his wife, Gabby, who spent about two weeks with us or three weeks with us. And this is the families of men who are in the church, in the pastoral internship training program that this church does. Where again, education in Brazil just isn't as widely available. And so this church as a natural part of being a church, is committed every year to spending a year taking four or five or one or two men who are mature and have a passion for the church and maybe have eldership or pastoring a church in the future laid on their hearts. They spend a year just walking through what that means practically.
And this church, one of the awesome things about it, a church with its problems, but one of the awesome things about it is that it wasn't just the pastor's responsibility to disciple. It wasn't just the youth pastors responsibility to work with the youth. There were about 30 people my age, which is amazing. I mean, it's awesome. A church of maybe about 120, 150 or so members, more than that on a Sunday morning, but so many young people who are committed and desire to be under people who are older and wiser in the faith. So encouraging! And people who want to do that for them, people who want to spend time discipling them, people who are radically committed to what it means to serve the church. It's just so encouraging. So, we had a great time with them.
This was at [Ashoka, Ashoka32:07] is, and my pronunciation will be terrible having been gone for two weeks from Brazil. It was terrible when I was there; imagine two weeks removed from that. So if anybody who speaks Portuguese ever hears this they'll laugh, but that's okay, you won't know. Ashoka is a cookout. Anybody do any 4th of July cookouts? Anything like that? Anything around there? Yeah, I missed those myself a little bit until we had this. Okay, so imagine you've got an oven open fire and just really good steak and chicken and sausage, and you just throw it on top of the fire, roll it around for a little bit, take it out and you're just eating that for like an hour and a half, and community's just happening the whole time. They've got a really cool meat called picanha. If you watch Blue, again, everybody, you can add this to your reading or your movie watch list, go watch the animated movie Blue. They're at this little steakhouse and this guy comes in with a big knife and goes, "Ah, picanha." It's the steak that they have. Slide off steak is so good.
These people though, it's all about community and it's all about being together and growing together, and it's super encouraging. Be praying for them as a church - I should have shared this at the last service, but be praying for them as a church as they're working right now, planning out, launching small groups for the first time, intentional small groups for the first time. That's something that we've done for a while. I don't know how long we've done that as a church; for them, it's going to be something that's new. Their culture and their context is already super specific about doing that with each other, but just be praying for them as they go into that season.
So next up Lynette, this right here is the first place that we went on the road. This is a city called Lucas do Rio Verde, which just means Lucas Green River. And this is a group of about 40, 45 pastors in Brazil, without access to seminary who faithfully serve their church. Some churches are smaller, some churches are a little bit bigger, 100, 120, 150, the number isn't what matters - just to give you an idea of the size of church that some of these men are coming from. And RTIM, specifically, Brian, who's right above my head there I think; yeah, that's him. They get together and they put on these training conferences about three or four times a year, and they go through modules together. It's kind of like a class, but it's not formal. It's just getting together in a church sanctuary. It's very similar to this and just spending a weekend, three, four days together being in community.
We woke up, it's 90 degrees where we were at in this particular city, wake up coffee with each other, spend 30 minutes drinking coffee tea with each other, go into the sanctuary, be in the word for about four hours. Come back out, somebody in the church would prepare lunch for us. We would all eat lunch together., Go back in, do it again for another four or five hours, come back out, have dinner, go home, come back to it the next day. This was a teaching trip that was phenomenal for me. I feel vastly under qualified to speak and to preach and to share to men, especially men who are older than me like this, but the Lord used this time to build up and edify these pastors, and also just to speak into my life to show me what it looks like to be radically sold out and radically committed to building up the church, which was amazing.
And we had one funny conversation - go to the next slide for me Lynette. There's a guy named Marcos, Marcos at IBJM who has a son who does Brazilian jujitsu. I don't do Brazilian jujitsu. I didn't try it while I was there; probably would've died if I had tried it. But this guy right here, is named Gabrielle, and Marcos told me something that Gabrielle ended up telling me again later, just reminding me of how lucky we are and how humbled we should be to be born into the situation that we are in America and just to have the blessings of education around us because we go to this, this right here, this is a English class. These are about, I can't remember, about 50 or so young people. I mean maybe up until the age of like 25 or so, right around my age, who are just learning English. Not tied to a church context.
So we go in and this guy, Gabrielle goes to the church that we were at. This guy is 18 years old, speaks five languages, wants to be a diplomat someday, loves the Lord. I was kind of impressed being around him. His English was maybe better than my English. Like, he was really good. Seriously! We get invited to this time of sharing with unchurched people. Most of our church was focused on building up the church and growing the church. But we get to spend time for about three hours speaking to people, people who have some who have some church familiarity and some who came from very, very, very different worldviews. And we just used the in of English and teaching English and having fun. My exercise was with about 15 of them. I got to be a waiter and we got to walk through ordering food in English, which is hilarious - because you know we do that in Spanish class? And it's like, oh, I don't get the exercise. And then I'm doing it in English. I was like, oh, I see what's going on here, okay. We get to use the time to speak into some of these people's lives and get them connected with a few churches, some who had gotten disconnected from churches. It was just a great time.
Go to the next one for me Lynette. This right here is Pastor Mauricio and his wife Hosanne. When we left Lucas do Rio Verde, we came back to our home base for a few weeks. This is about the middle time of our time in the summer, the first week and a half or so was in Campinas, and then we went to Lucas do Rio Verde, which I just showed you for about four or five days. We met way more amazing men than I could list right now. I'd run out of time if we stayed here till two. We go to Rio after we get back. Rio's amazing. I just have the big skyline picture of Rio in there that I took on my iPhone. Rio's amazing. It's a cool city. There's a lot of hurt. There's a lot of wealth. It's a mixed city, but it's a very fun city to be in. But this couple right here and the church that they have faithfully pastored for the past 27 years was such an encouragement.
Pastor Mauricio is a very well read guy. He's a guy who's English might be better than my English. Seriously! People who learn and speak multiple languages, sometimes there's just something different that happens where they really understand everything that's going on. Do any of you know Andrew Peterson? I think that he wrote "How he loves" and that few other songs. So he also writes some kids books. I haven't read them. Pastor Mauricio is the guy responsible for translating them to Portuguese. I don't know how big the books are, but translating a well-published author's books into another language, like that's a cool gig, right?
These guys took us into their home and we spent time at their church. If you go to the next slide for me Lynette; this church seats about a hundred at max capacity and they don't necessarily have the same fire code that we do, you might be able to squeeze more in, but this church was packed and is tiny. I mean, to give you an idea, maybe wall to wall from the stage to maybe Joel and Abby and Jenay where you're sitting. I mean, it's a tiny room and this is a church that's been here for 27 years. This is right downtown in the middle of Rio. The church is here, and then you walk around the block and the pastor's family, Pastor Mauricio and his wife live right around the corner. They've been invested and planted in this community for 27 years, faithfully serving and faithfully growing over the long haul. Reminds me of another couple, another family that's been doing that here in Fort Wayne, the Byman, who again, if I think I got the math right, have been here for 19 years, doing this at least for 19 years, coming up on the 20th soon.
There's something to be said about the testament that comes from being radically committed over the long haul. It's easy to go do something for six weeks. I'll be honest with you. I enjoyed it. We got to talk sometimes about what you're good at, what other people tell you you're good at, what you enjoyed doing and what the church needs. If you've got those four things and those are intersecting; for each of you in your lives, I don't know what that might be. I can give you a few examples of somebody who likes and enjoys and can bless the church by running [unclear39:47] for you guys every single Sunday, which is the thing that puts these slides up on the screen. That'd be Lynette and Cathy and Beth, Claire. I mean, there's so many of you who help out with this - Isaac upstairs doing audio today, doing the live stream. Intersections of what you can do, what you enjoy doing, what you're good at doing, what blesses the church; a pastor that does that is special.
It's easy to do in the short term and to leave when things get hard. It's much more difficult to love the church for 20 years, 27 years - for decades. One thing that we talked to a pastor who was in his sixties, I believe; he gave us some practical tips for young men and for the young guys in the room, I want to give you this, but then also for everybody here. Just seven practical tips from a pastor and no particular order for loving the church and for loving the Lord, which is, one, to know the word. Know your word. You can't fake it. You can't fake it. You can't be in the word once a year and see the growth the Lord wants to see in your life. Know the word and love the word. Live a life of prayer. Learn under older and wiser men and women. For the young guys in the room, really talking to myself, speak less and listen more. Speak less, listen more. Love the church. And how do you love the church? You can promote a culture of peace in the church, but love the church and love the church's problems.
You know what's hard to do for 27 years? Loving the church. You know why? because loving the church comes with loving her problems. Again, what's the bride of Christ. I didn't hear, sorry. Just let me know, let me know that you're awake. The church, yes. Thank you. I don't think we're excited about the church this morning. No, I'm kidding. Loving the church. Husbands love your wives. Husbands love your wives. And I'm again, waiting into territory that I'm going to be careful about because I don't have a ring on my finger. I have no experience in this matter so that's my blanket for this whole thing. I didn't get in trouble for saying this last service, so I'm going to say it carefully again and bite my head off later if I do. Loving the church comes alongside loving her problems just as loving your bride comes alongside loving her problems.
It goes both ways, but if you love the church and you run from the church's problems; that's not loving the church. What I saw this summertime is in a different context; loving the church and men and women who are committed to spending their whole lives doing something that in the eyes of others might be boring. Staying in a place in a city, loving people and helping the church grow over the long haul. I don't know what was going on in your life this morning, most of you - I don't know what's on the horizon in your life this morning. For me, in January, Brazil was not on my horizon for July and June. It's a pretty quick turnaround, right? I know some people have some pretty big life changes coming up in these next few weeks. What is the Lord's will for your life and what is his purpose for your life? Loving the church if you're a believer, I can tell you that.
If you want a word from the Lord maybe pray that it comes to you in a dream like it did to Solomon. I'm not going to give you that this morning. I can't give you that this morning. What I can speak into your life is scripture and saying that whatever step you're at in your life right now, young or old, experienced or inexperienced, love the church and grow together with the church and the body of believers, because we all need each other. We all need each other. For those of you who live here, for those of you who don't, for those of you who are here every week, for those of you who aren't, for those of you who travel a lot, for those of you who never travel, for those of you who are in school right now, for those of you, who've been out of school for five decades; love the church wherever you're at. I want to encourage you with that this morning.
And practically, what does that mean for each of you? I don't know specifically necessarily. I know that we have some needs in the church right now. For example, we got a block party coming up. Did we mention that this morning? Yeah, basically seeing if you guys actually listen this morning. We got a block party coming up in two weeks. I know that we still have some needs and some ways that we could use some help for that block party. We've got always, we could be using extra help on Sunday mornings, helping with our tech team, helping with worship team; we need help with kids and nursery volunteers. We need help with refreshments and greeters. There's so many ways to serve and love the church, and it doesn't have to be going to Brazil, or going to Mexico, or going to Ecuador, or going to Germany.
There's so many different ways in our daily lives that we can love the Lord. And I think that it all comes back to really being in the word and being convinced that there's no higher calling for any of your lives than loving the church and loving the bride. If you're feeling a calling in a direction that takes you away from that, I would caution you carefully if that's coming from the Lord. Now people move, you know, we move, we bounce around; life takes you in different directions, but for us as believers, be tethered to the community. That's what I saw the summertime in such an encouraging way. And Lynette go to that next picture for me. This is just a picture of Brian preaching, a man who's so encouraging to meet; so many fun conversations, again, watching Rio with his kids who watch Pirates of the Caribbean, Pirates of the Caribbean one and two.
We went and watched Thor. I'll show you a picture about that in just a second. Yeah, mixed. Talk to me after about that if you want. Spending time with him and with Pastor Alex, having so many good deep, serious conversations and so many just simple encouragement conversations was so good this summertime, and seeing how to love the church very practically overseas in a different context. Lynette, go to that next one for me. So I'll just show you real quick. This is just an example of community, going around the table to myself, smiling, Pastor Alex and his wife, Patricia, [unclear45:34]. And then we have Christa, Brian, Zach, and then we have Edson and Gabby who are from Northern Brazil, who are with us for a short time. And go to the next one. This is myself, Mathios, a really smart guy. He works for Disney. If you've ever gone to Disneyland or Disney world, he's responsible for programming the app on your phone that you use. Yeah, it's pretty cool, isn't it?
We've got Caleb in the Thor hat right at the bottom. That's Brian's oldest kid. Like me in a lot of ways when I was a kid, such a fun kid and difficult because I know I was a difficult kid. Yeah, that's basically what I'm saying. No, their family's awesome. And then Zach and Alex Montero in the Captain America shirt. Just two guys, and I think this was Friday night. This was our last week here. We went to a movie theater mall, hung out with these guys, talked about what we liked and didn't like about Thor for like 20 minutes. And then over McDonald's and some sparkling water just talked about the Lord's doing in our lives and encouraging each other. Such a fun summertime.
I want to leave you with this the church prepared to move into Lord Supper. I am so grateful and I'm so thankful that you sent me this summertime because for those of you who did pray and who helped support me to go this summertime, it happened because of you, it happened because of you, and I'm so thankful. For all the prayer support and preparation for me going and while I was there and please continue as I'm adjusting - mostly adjusted. I mean, it was pretty easy for me to be honest with you. I loved it so much, but it was easy getting back. I want you all to know that it was a very big summer for me, and it was also a mundane summer. I'm telling you Brazil was mundane. You know why? Because it wasn't a vacation. It was living regular life with a whole bunch of people for six weeks in a different place.
And I don't know if I was good at it or not. I had a lot of good conversations and people encouraged me that I was encouraging to them, which is good to hear. But seeing and experiencing what it's like to be overseas, and for me at least in particular, knowing that I was able to go because of you church and because of the time in my life that the Lord has put me in, able to walk with open hands for a season and looking forward to whatever the next seasons of life are like for me and for you and your lives, I just want to say thank you. This has been fun and I'm glad to be back and we've got a big fall ahead. So, I'll be looking forward to what we have going on and we can talk after. I'll be out in foyer a little bit.
I made some videos while I was there. Nothing that's really good. Just kind of some fun. Here's what we did today videos, but I basically just gave you the long and the short of it. Yeah, so blessed by you guys. Thank you. I want to pray for our time real quick as we get ready to move into a time of being quiet and approaching the Lord for communion together. So let's pray together real fast and then Greg will come up and we'll walk into that.
Lord, thank you so much for your grace and for your goodness and for your providence. Thank you for how you speak into each of our lives. Every single person in this room, every single person; where can we run, or where can we hide that we're not known by you? I thank you the Lord for what you did and for me this summertime in Brazil and the opportunity that I was given and that I was able to move into because of this church that loves and supports you, Lord. And I thank you that they were trusting of me to do just a little bit of that work this summertime. And I, I pray specifically for IBJM and PB and Rio de Janeiro and some of the other churches that we saw that you would just continue to bless them through the work of the godly men and women who are serving your churches there, that you would build them up and strengthen them. And for us here in St Joe, Lord, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, I just pray that you be with us today and that you write our hearts for those of us who know you and believe in you and trust you with our lives and have received the Holy Spirit. And for any who haven't today, Lord, I pray that you'd be using us as witnesses to speak into their lives to share the good news and the hope of Christ that we have in you, Lord. I thank you. It's in your name that I pray for us this morning, amen. Thanks guys.
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B: Bible book