Thank you so much for your prayers for our Cristoval event that took place during Carnival. As I mentioned in our last update, Carnival is Brazil’s annual “celebration of the flesh” before the initiation of Lent on the Catholic calendar. It’s a week-long party where “anything goes” and every city in the country shuts down allowing full participation by the people. The Vineyard churches began “Cristoval”, a retreat for youth, away from the city, with a focus on Jesus and having a lot of good clean fun. It has been a great success throughout the years, drawing kids toward Jesus and allowing an alternative during Carnival.
This year we brought in Jim Anderson and his team from Life-line ministries. Jim and the team, Jason and Sean, shared from principles from Jim’s book called “Unmasked: exposing the cultural sexual assault”. This is such a great topic in this culture which is sexually charged and there does not appear to be many boundaries. It is also very timely because of its complete contradiction of Carnival and the sexual temptations that lures so many to having a sexual relationship outside of God’s will and purpose. Jim shared from his book the revelations about:
· God’s gift of sexuality
· The heart of a woman
· God’s true design for men and women
· How to be “men of honor” and “princesses of God” and to walk in the beauty of His creation.
It was really powerful in the lives of the hundreds of youth that participated in the conference. Even though it poured down rain a lot of the time, nothing was getting in the way of these youth getting to know Jesus more and His good plan for their lives.
In order to accommodate the hundreds of youth at the camp. They all sleep in hammocks. They also played a lot of soccer and volleyball.
As a follow-up. Jim and his team preached at our church to the parents and pastors of the youth that were or were not participating in Cristoval. This was key so that when the youth came back to their homes and their normal day to day life the parents would have a better understanding of what they were taught and then reinforce those Biblical truths on a daily basis. They focused on:
· A father’s role in protecting his daughters and training his sons in the ways of the Lord
· A call to pastors and leaders to identify, confront, and tear down the worship of the sex gods in the culture and create a culture in the church to train God’s people in purity and His ways in relationships.
On a personal note a statement that struck me during the conference was “I am not living for a feeling but am living for God”. It struck me because sometimes I live with the notion that if it feels right, it must be God. However, that can be far from the truth. Just a good reminder how we must seek God’s will and desires outside of if it feels good or not.
The girls are doing well and are back in school. Since they missed some school due to our time in the States they had to cram to get caught up. They just finished all their tests and praise the Lord they did amazingly well. We are so grateful, and so are they. Here is a picture of the girls playing with Sean’s hair. They had a lot of fun with the team.
Please also continue to pray for spiritual, physical, and emotional health for us.
Much love, Steve, Elba, Camilly, and Alyssa
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