News From the Field
First Quarter 2009
Railson & Heidi Gil
Rio de Janeiro, a city of ironies: riches & misery, beauty & horror, intrigue & disillusionment, vast variety of religious representation & spiritual poverty.
Let’s be joyful in prayer. As Joyce Meyer reminds us, "You and I live by breathing. Our physical bodies require it. In the same way, our spiritual bodies are designed to be nurtured and sustained by prayer. The problem is that because of religious thinking we have gotten the mistaken idea that if we don’t keep up a certain schedule of prayer, we are missing the mark. We have become too clock-oriented concerning prayer." So, wherever you are, whatever your posture and whatever you’re engaged in, please take a moment to turn your heart toward heaven with us on these themes.
Fabrícia and family at the airport
Special Note: Due to poor Internet access, we are not always able to keep our MSN web page as up-to-date as we would like. We can only upload photos and edit blogs on occasions when we have a strong signal for an adequate amount of time. Thanks for your patience and do check once in a while for updates!
Beyond Sharing the Good News:
While we do a lot of preaching, teaching and sharing in church groups, we make it a point to maintain a large number of secular contacts. As Christians, our real ministry is presenting the truths of the Kingdom of Christ to non-believers in manners relevant to their understanding. And in a region known nationally for its problems with slave labor, clandestine markets, ecological crises, and drug trafficking, that can be a mission difficult to complete within the walls of today’s average church. That’s why we consider it a privilege to have a large number of un-churched friends, many small businessmen or professionals, in our circle of influence.
In reaching these individuals, we often have to determinedly sidestep religious paradigms in order to be able to reveal the relevance of God’s Kingdom to social and commercial development.
(right) T. Floriana lost everything to the winter floods this year: home, belongings and job. As Christians we must be equipped to share hope with people like her in every circumstance, not just on Sundays.
We couldn’t agree more with Lucas Sherraden when he says, "Pre-Christians were never commanded to come to us — we were commanded to go to them, armed with the love of God, and not with religious arguments. Whether it’s to Africa, Brazil, our neighbors, our co-workers or the homeless shelter downtown, we are commissioned to go and impact the world. This is about more than ‘soul winning’ or sharing a memorized presentation. It is about infiltrating our societies with the culture of the Kingdom of God." (When Heaven Opens, 2006)
Putting vision into practice, Railson recently presented his wireless communications project to eight different city administrators in the region. We have often been amazed at how the Lord opens doors for him to speak personally with mayors and city officials when he travels. On this occasion, he was especially blessed to be able to give personal counsel to the new mayor in Porto de Moz, a city with a particularly unstable political climate. We believe that God has given us key positions of influence in this region for the purpose of calling heaven down to act upon the real dilemmas of our region.
As we work hard to cultivate meaningful friendships through wireless communications, health work, and church leadership, we look for opportunities to demonstrate outwardly and practically the goodness of God. Many times these encounters lead people to an interest in fellowshipping at church, coming to Bible study, receiving prayer, or just hanging around us more. They see that God is a real God, a loving God, a powerful God, everywhere, all the time—which is, after all, the secret hope of the heart of all mankind. What a privilege it is to model this Good News.
Nutrition Work Update
(right) When opportunity allows, Heidi teaches community nutrition seminars to city health workers. Being familiar with the Brazilian social health system, and knowing key leaders in the department of health, opens many opportunities for the exchange of health information at a meaningful level.
Things are slowly moving forward with the development of the nutrition clinic. It has taken three months of penny-pinching to work up the necessary funds for the purchase of basic equipment, but now we are almost ready to open. In April, Heidi will obtain the necessary software to accompany patients and produce patient reports (finally available in Portuguese!).
We are looking at the possibility of taking advantage of this important point of contact with the public to familiarize people with the ministry of the local church. Needy families could be directed to a church-based emergency food bank, thus having the opportunity to meet church staff and receive prayer. Naturally, this project will depend on financing and continued planning.
If you would like to support outreach through nutrition, consider monthly sponsorship, sending a useful item, or pledging support for one of the following:
Please, no pacifiers or bottles.
Help us plan by letting us know of your giving intent. Many of the items we need can be purchased in Brazil once funds are donated. For more information or details on sending a package to Brazil, please write, email or call us in Brazil.