From the Superintendent's DESK
Sam Ajayi, Director of South America Work, and his wife, Shade, were in Brazil this past week, visiting the saints in Sao Paolo who became part of the Apostolic Faith family a year ago. Brother Sam sent this report of their visit.
Following last year’s establishment of an Apostolic Faith Church in the sprawling city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, there was a need to help the congregation become firmly rooted in Biblical doctrine and in the practices of the Apostolic Faith organization. Taking this into consideration, our first two services were Bible teachings focusing on the foundational Christian experiences.
On Wednesday, April 24, we covered the topics of salvation and restitution. It was impressive to see the brethren get down on their knees and pray as they arrived at church. The pastor, Josias Luiz, opened the service with a number of Portuguese hymns. Then we were led in prayer by Nivaldo Peixoto, the leader of our work in Brazil and pastor of our church in Jurema. He came to Sao Paulo accompanied by a young brother from Angola who is studying at a university in the Ceara province near our Jurema church.
The teaching was taken from John 3:14-18 and 2 Corinthians 5:17, and emphasized that when salvation is received, a complete newness of life is ushered in. Not only is the new convert changed, but those around notice the difference.
During the service a middle-age woman was brought into church crying. One of the sisters sat beside her and consoled her throughout the service. It was later learned that the woman had just attempted suicide, which is not too uncommon here. She had become despondent over a family situation. She became calm after some counselling and even went home to bring her little boy to church. She was presented with some of our evangelistic and testimony publications in Portuguese and was later prayed for. We pray the Lord will help her to seek salvation and to find freedom in Jesus.
On Friday, the second teaching was on sanctification and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Bible passages used were Psalm 19:14, Mark 1:7-8 and 12:28-31, and Acts 1:4-8 and 2:1-4. It was stressed that a true Christian foundation is laid by first getting saved, then sanctified, and then baptized. We can desire like David to be holy—in such a state where our words, thoughts, and actions are acceptable to the Lord and we are one with Him.
We were thankful for a situation on Wednesday that provided a springboard to explain that the Lord gives the evidence of speaking in another language when one receives the Holy Spirit. After the service on Wednesday, two of the sisters came to Shade and started to speak to her in Portuguese. They were surprised to learn that she doesn’t speak the language, because they said they had heard her praying in Portuguese earlier.
The evangelistic service on Saturday opened with some hymns led by Brother Josias. Then Bernadino of Uganda and Brother Nivaldo sang a special while playing the violin and guitar respectively. Shade gave her testimony, and Brother Nivaldo gave his. Then before the message, Brother Bernardino sang a special.
The message was on Mark 5:22-39. We were admonished that there are some problems that only Jesus can solve, particularly the problem of sin. But as the woman with the issue of blood did, we can touch Jesus, because He is alive! The atmosphere was very charged for prayer and a good prayer service followed. Then we had refreshments and a time of fellowship.
The Sunday evening service was nearly hampered by torrential rain with bursts of lightening. However, the service proceeded with congregational singing and a music special. Then Brother Bernardino sang “Amazing Grace” in Portuguese before the message, which was taken from Psalm 23. It stressed that we need to be redeemed by the Blood of Jesus in order for Him to truly be our Shepherd.
At the end of the service, Brother Josias thanked the visitors who had come from the Ceara province and Portland headquarters for the encouragement. He emphasized that though Sao Paulo is a very difficult city in which to spread the Gospel, they are determined to go on. In response, I assured the congregation that we shall keep them in our prayers and will not be far from them.
There is a lot of work to do here, but we thank the Lord for the start and the willingness of the brethren to be part of this great body.
The Ajayis are now scheduled to visit the saints in Cajamarca, Peru.