October 6, 2011
Yesterday I took a test drive in a car that we were thinking about buying. My neighbor Moses the Mechanic came with me to check out the car. The car salesman wanted to show Moses that the engine, steering and brakes were good, so he got behind the wheel and we raced off. We went over both cobblestone roads and areas of heavy traffic weaving between cars at high velocity, stopping on a dime, and making tight u-turns in front of oncoming traffic. All of this within a few blocks of the dealership! That experience is a good metaphor for our first month in Brazil. We have felt a little like being in a race car – not an out of control car that is spinning and smoking. No, we’ve felt God’s providential hand masterfully turning the wheel. But it has been fast and furious nonetheless. We’re thankful God is in control. We’ve had multiple opportunities for preaching and ministry since our arrival. There is no lack of open doors for ministry. What we need is wisdom from on high to know how to discern what is the best thing to do in the midst of all the good things we could choose to pursue. May the Lord give wisdom and send more laborers into His harvest.
It’s been a good day. As I sit here, I am looking at keys and a contract to a building that God has provided for us to rent. After weeks of negotiation and prayer, today I was able to get the keys. The whole story is really amazing. Our colleague Joy saw a phone number painted on the building as she walked by one day. I called later and our team went to see the building. It was a former pizza place (store front) on the main commercial avenue of the neighborhood. Everyone who has seen it has commented that it is in an excellent location. Our Brazilian friend Pastor Jose helped us as we began to negotiate with the owner. After several weeks of negotiations and paperwork we were finally able to sign. Pastor Jose was able to get the building for 20% less per month than what the owner was asking. Beyond that, the owner allowed Pastor Jose to write the contract (!) and include clauses that would protect us in the present and help us in the future when we look to purchase a building. I’ll try to post pictures on our blog in the next few days.
Transforming this pizza shop into a building conducive to holding services will take some creative work. We estimate the remodeling costs to be around $2,500. We will also need to begin to purchase items such as a sign, a pulpit, furniture, etc. We are trusting God to provide. Our team has gathered resources to give toward the project. Also, Brazilians burdened for the church are willingly giving of their time and resources. We’ve also opened a special account at our mission designated “Holmquist Building Account” to make it possible for those led by God to give toward this project. Praise the Lord with us that He has provided a building, but we know that a church is made of people not brick and mortar. We want to be faithful in meeting people and spreading the word of truth.
A few weeks ago we held an evangelistic outreach for young people of the neighborhood. Thirty minutes after the start time, twelve young men came. We later found out that many are involved in drug and alcohol abuse. Most listened intently as the Gospel was preached. One young man, Fabio, seemed particularly interested and wants to continue to talk. We pray that God would open his eyes and that he would seek God and His glory.
Remember, the car ride I talked about at the beginning? We ended up buying that car today. The salesman called it a “white fly” because he said it is extremely difficult to find that particular car with low mileage, in good condition, and in our price range. We thank the Lord for leading us to this car. Incidentally, we didn’t get to bring it home today because the deposit at the bank won’t go through until tomorrow because the bank workers were on strike for part of the day!
Well, it’s been a good day. Now if the Detroit Tigers could win tonight……
Praise: For the Lord providing a meeting place to rent and providing us with a car.
Praise: For a good youth meeting.
Please pray for Fabio and the other young men who heard the Gospel.
Please pray for God’s provision and wisdom as we begin to remodel and
plan to hold services.
By His grace and for His glory,
Brendan (BJ), Melissa, Myla, Ellie, Daniel and Flávia Holmquist
Brasil (21) 3734-2867
US (517) 580-0704
Rio de Janeiro, Brasil