March 17, 2011
The Cost of the Gospel
I am constantly in awe of the intrepid band of missionaries who planted the seeds of the Gospel in the northeast region of Brazil--the region where our family now works. These hardy men and women suffered tremendously for privilege of spreading the good news to the nordestino.
It is an honor to be able to count as a friend the son of one of those heroes of the '30s and '40s. He provided me with the following pictures, which provide a snapshot into some of the hardships faced by those pioneer missionaries.
The above photograph shows the aftermath of a disrupted service. One of the tactics that the Roman Catholic priests used in those days was to gather together a mob, inflame them with fiery rhetoric, and send them to disrupt the service of the "foreign Protestants". The damage you see in the picture is the result of such a mob.
In this picture we see the window of one of the missionaries' cars. It has been given a new "spiderweb" design by someone disgruntled with their work.
What follows is a first-hand description of some of the persecution, written by Edward McLain, the first Baptist missionary to work in the Cariri Valley:
While the Gospel continues to face opposition in Brazil, today it takes subtler forms. Those of us who work in Brazil today must never forget the sacrifices made by those who went before.
July 9, 2009
Before and After
During our trip to Petrolina and Treasure Island this past week, I had an amazing experience. I was eating lunch with our seminary team at the home of one of the church bretheren. A man and his wife came in the room, and I immediately recognized them as a couple I had met on my very first trip to Brazil, almost 20 years ago. He recognized me as well, and we got to reminiscing about the time we had spent together, specifically a trip to Recife that we had taken with a group of deaf kids.
The next day he came by where we were staying, and showed me the following picture he had taken on that trip:
In case you didn't figure it out, the skinny, nerdy (seriously, the only thing lacking is the pocket-protector) kid on the left--the one with glasses the size of windshields--is me.
The guy in the picture with me is one of the deaf kids, named Jonas. On Sunday night we went to the deaf church, and guess who I ran into: Jonas! It had been 20 years since I had seen him, also. Just for kicks, we decided to recreate the photo.
June 8, 2009
A Little Time Travel
By my calculations, Itacyara and I are part of the third generations of BMM missionaries to serve in this part of Brazil. It is always helpful to me--especially when I am tempted to think that times are tough--to go back and look at how the first generation lived and worked.
Recently Philip McLain--son of Guy McLain, one of those first-generation pioneers--posted some great pictures of those days on his Facebook page. He has graciously granted me permission to reproduce them here.
Let's start with this picture of the Fortaleza Academy as it looked in the 1960s. This was a school started by our missionaries to meet the educational needs of their children. Missionaries from all over Brazil would send their kids (even elementary-age!) to Fortaleza so they could get a good education.
With the development of home-schooling materials and the evolution of the Brazilian school system--not to mention the diminishing number of missionary families with school-age children--Fortaleza Academy has gradually outgrown it's usefulness. It is currently holding it's last semester of classes.
What amazes me about the picture of FA is how much the area has changed. The picture above shows how that neighborhood looks now.
Speaking of schools, this is a Christian school started by the first missionaries who came to this region. One of it's main purposes at that point was to complete the primary education of young men who came from the interior to study at the seminary.
And this is the Colégio Batista as it looks now.
While most of our churches now have baptistries, we still have the occasional outdoor baptism, like the early one shown here. One of the nice things about Brazil is that baptisms like this can be conducted year-round.
And here is a "baptism" of another kind. According to Philip, this was his father's Chevy Carry-all, on the way to Varzea Alegre. This trip now takes a little more than an hour. I wonder how long that one took?
I am going to stop for now, but there are more pictures on their way, and I will be sure to post them here from time to time.
June 11, 2008
Sanctuary Quartet: The Spurgeon Song
In my senior year at Spurgeon Baptist Bible College my brother and a couple friends and I formed an a capella group called The Sanctuary Quartet. Up until recently I thought that there was no recorded evidence that we ever existed. Last week, however, as I was rummaging through some of our stored things I found a video that was marked (in my wifes handwriting) "Andrew, Daniel, and friends". Curious, I took it to a friends house to watch it. Lo and behold, the only known video of the Sanctuary Quartet.
I had it transferred to DVD, and am slowly putting all the songs on YouTube. Here is the first one, a musical tribute to our late alma mater.
February 20, 2007
Back In Time
Recently I found a copy of the first prayer card I ever had printed up, ca. 1993. Here is the image from it.
I look a lot different now. Norman (the puppet) has stayed pretty much the same.