The Prior Times
Bond-Servants of Love
Reaching the Broken-Hearted
I. General Information:
A. Mission of Ministry: Reaching the Broken-Hearted:
1. Starting in the summer of 1983 we began receiving various words from the Lord about Him sending us out to reach people that would be impoverished for the Word of God. One of the other important parts of these words and visions that people received for us, were that we would be like a light going into dark places and the darkness would be shattered.
2. An interesting emphasis of this ministry has been directed towards Christians and not so much the unbeliever. In 1986, we arrived in the Amazon area of Brazil and noticed that there existed a lack of Bible teaching. The majority of the messages preached in the local churches were about salvation, which is definitely needed as the foundation of our faith in the LORD JESUS CHRIST, but without the balance of good Bible teaching we noticed that there were many babes in Christ that made decisions many, many years ago and were not growing for lack of the Word.
3. We have found that the “impoverished” for the Word of God is the Body of Christ. There exist the poor in material things and the poor in spiritual things. Our vision is to bring the knowledge of the spiritual truths to the ones who will go out and reach the ones who do not believe. One person can only do so much, but when training up people to go out, a multitude can be reached. The truths of God’s Word will bring fulfillment in both the spiritual and physical needs of our lives.
4. Look at these scriptures: Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” and Isaiah 5:13 says, “Therefore My peoplego into exile for their lack of knowledge; And their honorable men are famished, And their multitude is parched with thirst”. Notice that it is talking about God’s people. And of course Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, (or perish)”.
5. Another part of the words that we have received throughout the years said that we would be housing other missionaries. Hospitality has been a large part of what we do. Our desire is to be a refuge and retreat center for many. People need to be refreshed from the battlefield.
6. We desire to be vessels in the hand of the Lord Jesus to use as He wills. We give all glory and praise to the Lord Jesus Christ for the ministry He has put into our hands to be stewards over. As part of the Body of Christ, we are the hands and you are the arms Reaching the Broken-Hearted and we thank the ones of you that have the same vision.
B. Brief history of this ministry:
1. In 1986 we were sent out from the leadership of Victory Harvest Church (Victory Bible Fellowship at that time), which is located in Baton Rouge, La. We are an independent non-denominational faith ministry depending on the LORD JESUS CHRIST as our source.
2. In July of 1986 we headed for the Amazon and lived in the jungle and a river city called Autazes. We started a ministry outreach in our home with Bible studies and worship services. We were in the Amazon for 1 year and 8 months. We turned our local church over to one of the local churches based in Manaus (The capital city of the State of the Amazon) who had a vision for missions in the interior country areas of the Amazon. We returned to the States in April of 1988. Several years later we received news that this church was doing well. Praise the Lord. In January of 1990 we went to work with another missionary in Mexico for about 6 months. We returned to the Amazon of Brazil in October of 1990, maintaining the vision to train up the Body of Christ. We were based in Manaus, which is on two rivers that make up the Amazon River and is a very populated city. We worked in the needed area of family, specifically in the area of marriage. This was probably the number one subject that we were invited to teach on in the local churches during that time.
3. We did Bible studies, counseling, discipleship, taught at one of the local seminaries, and ministered at local churches as we were invited.
4. Another area of teaching that we were greatly used in was the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the manifestation of the Spirits’s gifts.
5. In 1995 we joined a mission called PAZ, (Project Amazon), and in 1996 we moved to the city of Santarém in the state of Pará. During our move to Santarém by riverboat, the Lord spoke to me and told me not to limit our time in Santarém. We worked in various facets of the mission helping in the different areas that we felt the Lord’s direction. We helped with the Family Group system, counseling, discipleship, administration in the mission, translating for teams that would come from other countries, ministered to river and city people, and started implanting the Ancient Path Seminar from Family Foundations International. Throughout the time there, the Lord gave us various words of direction from different prophetic ministries that would visit and confirmed the things that He had put in our hearts. In the early part of 2001 the Lord confirmed through our leadership that He was moving us on. In November of 2001 He moved us to the city of Fortaleza in the state of Ceará which is on the NE Coast of Brazil.
6. We worked with a new ministry, a local church called Comunidade Cristã Videira (CCV), (Christian Community Vine Church), which was about four months old when we moved there, see #’s 8,9, & 15 below. The pastor was Costa Neto and the first year was one of organizing, developing vision, and slowly building up a leadership. The Lord has blessed this work with a strong core of people and has been causing growth. There were about 130 members with about 250 attending the Sunday Service at that time. As the church grew over time, we knew that our time with this body was coming to an end. We received confirmation and blessing from the pastor and on April 1, 2003 we continued our ministry, which is “Bond-Servants of Love”, with a vision of Reaching the Broken-Hearted. Besides our involvement with FFI (see # 7 below), we held various meetings in our home on Sundays and during the week, each with a different purpose. Our desire is to be sensitive to the Lord, and follow His direction in this ministry; after all, it is His. We didn’t want to have meetings for the sake of having meetings. One of our focal points was to establish worship in this city, see # 10 below.
7. Family Foundations International, (FFI). In 1995 while visiting the U.S. our home church, Victory, was hosting the Ancient Path Seminar, (then called the “From Curse to Blessing Seminar”), and Debbie and I had the opportunity to participate. The seminar was a tool that changed our lives; learning about the principles that God has established from eternity to bless our identity. We knew that very moment that this ministry was greatly needed in Brazil, and that became one of our constant prayers for the FFI ministry to become a reality in Brazil, and in 1998 it happened. The theme of our ministry that the Lord gave us about Reaching the Broken-Hearted between 1983 and 1986 was one of the exact themes of FFI. The base for this ministry in Brazil is in Pompéia, São Paulo, and we were soon made Coordinators for the Seminar. We began implanting it in the Santarém area and before leaving we trained up another pastor and his wife to be raised up as Coordinators for that area.
When we moved to Fortaleza, we implanted it in the Northeast region of Brazil. In the beginning, we were the only Coordinators in this region and we started implanting the seminar in two churches, which included training up a local church team for each. This was a slow process and we needed God’s direction to train up the right persons to be Coordinators of each local church, plus their teams of facilitators. We also completed one Process Group with one church, which is a seven-week course. Once the future leaders of the Process Group were trained, new groups would continue to multiply.
8. Debbie participated in two women’s prayer groups at CCV. One, where she was often called upon to help with worship and to bring the teaching, and the other she led, was more specific, which was directed to women who were believing for the salvation of their spouse, and those who were divorced or separated women who were raising their children alone.
9. Jeremiah and Josiah were involved with a youth worship team and they helped out with the main worship ministry team with logistics and sometime played. They also helped us with the Ancient Path Seminar in setting it up and were part of the facilitating team. They are always a real blessing.
10. The call to pray and worship: One of the things that the Lord had strongly put on our hearts was to pray and worship. This Northeast region is known for its cursed land, (desert climate), and for its idolatry. Of course the desert climate is the result of the idolatry. Most of our mornings after breakfast were spent in prayer and worship. When God was calling and leading us to this NE area, He showed us that the rains would come and that He would bless the land. We had spoken this prophetic word and the rains did come with us when we moved to Fortaleza. When we moved there in November 2001, the rains came with us and continued for longer periods than the usual past. The people were amazed that the rains had been so abundant that year. We believed as the people turned to the Lord, the land would prosper. God’s Word is true; we must declare it. Remember that it is the kindness of God that brings repentance.
11. Prophetic Influence: The Lord had used us throughout our time in Brazil to influence various ministries and individuals. We only boast in the Lord, because it is His Words that we proclaim. One was the Word mentioned above about the rains. Another, along with that one, is that the Lord showed us that Fortaleza, which means Fortress, would be a Fortress for Him to influence not only the Northeast Region of Brazil, but all of Brazil and other countries. Even with the local church that we were working with, the Lord had given us prophetical influence in assisting the pastor.
When the Lord brought us to Fortaleza, we sensed that an important part of our presence here would be to prepare the ground spiritually for the growth and implanting of other ministries. For example, we knew that in the future, PAZ had a vision to start their ministry in Fortaleza and in São Paulo. We believe in the concept of the Body of Christ, not competition of the Body of Christ. Our desire is that others would have the same vision of unity.
What about the Brazilian national soccer team? I’ll try to make a long story short. We were on the same flight as the head coach and some of the players just before the World Cup started. They played a game in Fortaleza against Yugoslavia, which we were invited to watch live. The boys were so excited. In many of the Central and South American countries soccer ranks above God or just below Him depending on your convictions. In other words, it is a national priority from birth. Many presents for newborn babies are soccer balls. At this game we attended, the crowds would constantly shout the name of a well known and very good player that was not selected to be on that years national team. He played in the 1994 World Cup when Brazil won their fourth World Championship, but he is a very selfish and proud person. The coach didn’t select him this time, so the public and media had been strongly criticizing him for his decision. On the plane the doors opened up for me to meet the coach and talk to him. I mentioned about the name of this player being shouted at the game and that I personally agreed with his decision to not put this player on the team. I told him that God has spoken for years that He would make Brazil a storehouse of people to reach the world for the gospel, and that He wanted to use the Brazilian team to open doors all over the world for Brazilians to be accepted in other countries. I told him that his decision to not put this player on the team was correct, because God uses the principle of unity, and unity brings strength and victory, and that this player was not a team player. He totally agreed. So I encouraged him and explained to him about Jesus. Now you must realize that this coach is not a Christian, but several of the players are, and made their presence well known at the Cup proclaiming the Name of Jesus. Now, why does God want to use the soccer team to open the doors for the Gospel. As you know, Brazil had very little to be proud of in the world status and the things that it has are normally not so good, for example, a poor economy, carnival, immorality and devil worship or spiritism. The major thing that they can be proud of is their soccer. They have done something that no other country has done. They won their fourth World Cup in 1994 and their fifth World Cup that year. Yes, the Lord is using the team to open doors all over the world. You see, Brazilians are non- threatening to other countries and are well accepted, not like Americans from the U.S. So hopefully this will help you to understand more of why I mentioned the World Cup in this writing. We are also proud of them. Remember that Debbie, Jeremiah & Josiah are also Brazilians. An interesting thing happened after talking to this coach. Soon after, he was being interviewed by the media and the subject came up about him not selecting that certain player. The boys were close to a TV watching the interview and shouted out, Dad, Dad; the coach is saying the same thing that you told him about the principle of unity, etc. WOW! The open doors and Godly influence that we have with others to plant the Good News of JESUS! The LORD is Good!
12. The Lord used us in restoring relationships, counseling, teaching, healing and just being a good family example to other families.
13. The year 2002 was a time of transition and trying to build new relationships. The NE region was a totally different culture than the Northern region of Brazil. It took several months for us to win the trust of several of the families in the church. We had several families over for fellowship, food, etc., various times, but only about two to three families had us over to their places, and normally that was in a group situation. So, it took time to break down barriers.
14. One of our greatest needs was to find our own place. We were in a small one-bedroom apartment above the pastor’s house. The boys slept in the living room. It was a blessing, but we really needed our own place. Most of our things were in storage, which meant many things were ruining. In January 2003 we found a two-story house to rent. We stopped considering the option to buy based on the new president and his administration. The doubts and insecurity of the economy, and his political background with communism were severe barriers to consider not buying. Once we moved, the doors burst opened for The Ancient Paths Seminar.
15. The local church (CCV) that we were involved in started the building process for a future ministry building.
16. On April 1, 2003 we started meeting in homes and reaching out to new people. This was a new ministry start in another subdivision. We focussed reaching out to children and youth and that slowly reached the adults. We had various meetings during the week, Jeremiah and Josiah offered guitar, keyboard and English lessons. Our daughter-in-laws were a great help to the ministry. They offered tutoring lessons to help children with their regular school subjects, including English. All of us provided one on one discipleship opportunities. The ministry had social assistance outreaches to help assist and teach people to depend on the LORD as their source of life.
II. TIMES AND SEASONS OF TRANSITION:
A. We (the whole Family) moved to the U.S. at the end of October 2008. We have been involved with our local church, adjusting to the culture after all of these years, visiting family and friends, working and preparing for the current direction from the LORD.
B. Once preparing to return to the U.S., one of our Brazilian spiritual daughters and her husband came to assist leading the ministry, Cristina and Lourival. He was able to take a 2 year leave of absence from his state job (another state) with a guaranteed job security within 2 years. When their time was ending the ministry connected the people in other local churches and blessed them to go. We have received good reports from some who are now involved with these other churches. Praise the LORD; the planting of God’s seeds into people and discipleship was a long term and life changing investment into the Kingdom of God.
There are seasons for all things in the LORD. Look forward to meeting the many spiritual children that you have in Heaven one day! We thank all of you who are involved with this ministry as you are the arms reaching out all over the world.