"Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;" Romans 15:30 KJV
Friday, December 25, 2009
I am so thankful to the Lord for giving me the opportunity this year to spend Christmas with my family here in the United States. It has been six years since we spent this very special date together and I am looking forward to going over to my parents’ house in a little while to enjoy a nice meal with everyone.
“Merry Christmas” to you, and may Christ be glorified in our lives today and every day in the coming New Year.
I received an email from the United States Consulate in São Paulo Brazil back in August of this year;
The following is part of what it said:
“U.S. Consulate São Paulo - August 11th, 2009
The Department of State has issued this Worldwide Caution to update information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against American citizens and interests throughout the world. In some countries, the worldwide recession has contributed to political and economic instability and social unrest.
American citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.
The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas. Americans are reminded that demonstrations and rioting can occur with little or no warning.
Current information suggests that al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in multiple regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics including suicide operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, and bombings.” (End of email)
Obs. This reminds me that simply because I am an American Citizen I have some pretty vicious enemies. They want to destroy me and all my fellow Americans, and will use whatever means necessary to do so.
It also reminds me of a much more important warning from the Almighty God of the Universe! It’s recorded in I Peter 5:6-11,
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
We as children of God have a vicious adversary!
Job 1:7, “And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.”
I Thess. 5:6, “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.”
I Peter 4:7, “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.”
Our adversary also uses a wide variety of tactics and he tempts us with little or no warning! We must maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase our security awareness against the wiles of the Devil!
Eph. 6:11 “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
I’ve experienced a few adventures in my 41 years; I’ll share just a few.
I’ve ridden a bicycle from one town to the next, leaving early in the morning and returning late that night. I’ve climbed mountains carrying my son with me, in a stroller. I’ve jumped off a cliff into a river hundreds of feet below.
I’ve driven a car at 80 miles an hour – on a narrow city street (maybe I should leave that one out). I’ve seen the Empire state building, the World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty.
I’ve driven a motorcycle – in the rain – in the middle of winter – with a very painful fever and cold, while my bike was leaking gas from all four carburetors, having to stop every twenty minutes to refuel, and loved every minute of it.
I’ve been fishing in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, no land in sight, catching three to four fish with the same pole, and that's the honest truth. I’ve been wave jumping on a wave runner. I’ve been in the middle of the Amazon jungle hunting for wild boar and fishing for Piranha and then eating both!
I’ve preached messages that God used to change men’s lives. I’ve had the amazing privilege of showing the Gospel message to people, and watched as their eyes brightened and through tears of joy they surrendered their life to the Lord, changing their eternal destiny.
And one day, I looked into the brown eyes of the most beautify girl in the world and asked her to marry me – and she said – YES!! That, my friend, was the beginning of the greatest adventure of all.
To my precious wife of 21 years; Soraia - you have made my life an adventure worth living. We have experienced so many wonderful moments together, and whatever tomorrow may bring, I want to be there with you – love of my life.
While Joinville does not have the historic center (or the beer festival) of Blumenau, it does have German roots. They are evident in the city’s nouveau-Alpine architecture and in the well-manicured lawns and litter-free parks around town. The economy thrives on metallurgy, plastics and information technology, but this industrial activity is tucked neatly away from the eyes of visitors. The result is a big city with the good manners of a small town. Joinville’s citizens are proud of their prosperous, orderly home, and they welcome visitors with warm hospitality and a surplus of helpful information.
Joinville means “joyous city”, but it was also the family name of the prince Ferdinand Phillipe, husband of princess Francisca Carolina. The prince of Joinville, owning vast extinctions of lands, was unable to care for them and without ever seeing them, gave a large portion to the Hamburg Colonization Society.
The land was used as a settlement for a colony of German, Swiss and Norwegian immigrants. On March 9, 1851 the ship “Colon” docked on the River Cachoeira with the first immigrants. Those first years we not easy for the Dona Francisca Colony, but their fighting spirit overcame the difficulties.
With nearly 600 thousand inhabitants and a diverse manufacturing park, Joinville has more than 700 major industries; some of which are the largest in Brazil. Among the products manufactured are galvanized pipes and connectors, electric engines, plastic tubing and connections, compressors for various equipments, refrigerators, air conditioners, washers and textile products. Many of them are exported to several continents.
This entrepreneurial dynamism gives it the name "Manchester of Santa Catarina" and makes it the largest city of the State, including in revenue. Although a city given to work and production Joinville has not failed to keep alive their traditions, history and customs, through artistic and folkloric presentations, typical architecture and the special care for the gardens and flowers.
Situated in a plain between the dense forests of the “Serra do Mar” and the Babitonga Bay, which is linked by Lake Saguaçú, the city is an invitation to those who love to walk or ride a bicycle.
Joinville is not a coastal city, but is connected to the sea through the bays of Babitonga and Saguaçú, and the closest beaches are only 30 minutes away by car. The boat "Prince of Joinville" leaving Joinville via the Babitonga Bay, can take up to 50 people to one of the oldest cities of Brazil, São Francisco do Sul, passing between numerous tropical vegetation-covered Islands and small private beaches.
Joinville is a level city and it's neighborhoods stretch around the central area, which is relatively small. Behind the modern avenues, tranquil cobble stone streets still exist and are lined by beautiful well groomed flower gardens, and reveal true treasures of Germanic colonial architecture. The timber framing style houses, with details in wood, flower pots in the windows and metal roosters on the roofs, they seem to have come out of a fairy tale.
The industrial strength of Joinville does not affect the purity of its rural region, where small and well cared for properties are surrounded by picturesque groves of native vegetation, rivers and waterfalls of crystalline water. An example of this is the “Estrada Bonita” (Pretty Road), just 20 km from town, that ends at the Aunt Martha getaway where a restaurant on the banks of the Rio Bonito serves delicious typical foods.
In recent years Joinville has enriched its calendar year with festivals in all seasons of the year. In May they have the National Shooters Festival – FENATIRO, which gathers shooting clubs from all parts of Brazil for competitions lasting 10 days. In the month of July the Joinville Dance Festival happens. It is the largest in Latin America and the 4th in the world. It gathers around 5000 dancers, from Brazil and abroad, for 12 days of presentations on indoor and outdoor stages.
Translated from the www.joinville.com site in Portuguese.
The following is most of an e-mail I received from Missionary Sean Lundy in São Paulo, Brazil. I have added names and information in parentheses for clarity.
“Hey James, Good to hear from you! I just want to share a blessing with you. Recently we were needing to buy some kitchen chairs. After looking in several places for the best deal, we finally ended up on the other side of the city in San Bernardo. There we closed the deal on some chairs at a small store. While we were writing the checks, we had an opportunity to witness to the sales lady, who is also the owner of the store, Veiga Móveis. (Veiga Furniture) She said that she had been saved and baptized in a Baptist church. She asked what we were doing in Brazil and we explained that we were missionaries. She said that she knew a missionary whose name is Soraia who had moved to Santa Catarina. To make a short story long, her and her husband had been saved in São Sebastião de Paraíso (city in southeast Brazil, 4 hours from São Paulo) while your parents (Phillip & Charlotte Allen) were still there. Sister Oraci (James’ mother-in-law) was her hair dresser and had witnessed to her and later took her to church. They have moved to São Paulo about a year ago and started a furniture business. They have been attending the Igreja da Graca, (Grace Church) because they couldn't find a Baptist church near them. I told them about Don Merchant's old church, which is about a mile from their store. Interesting that in our little city of 24 million people, God would lead us to these folks. 'His ways are perfect'. I thought that might be a blessing to you. God bless you and your precious family. Merry Christmas! Sean, Steph and the boys” (end of e-mail)
It is a great encouragement when God allows us to see fruit that continues in the Faith. Glory to God!
Well, I guess I can now say I'm a blogger!! This is my very first post to my new blog, the Joinville project. Here, I wish to inform those who care to know about the work God has called my family and I to do in the largest city of the state of Santa Catarina in southern Brazil.
We moved to Santa Catarina February 17, 2003, to a small coastal town named Piçarras, about 30 minutes drive from Joinville, until God opened the door for us to move to the city in April 2005.
On May 03, 2003 with the very helpful assistance of my Father, veteran missionary to Brazil, Dr. Phillip R. Allen, Victory Baptist Church in the Petrópolis neighborhood was started. Just a few months after starting this work, we came to the US for a 10 month furlough, during which I found out I had Testicular cancer, and with much pray by so many of God's people around the world, the Lord healed me and we returned to Brazil in March 2004. My Father continued in Joinville for that year.
The church is now six years old, has 35 members and a Brazilian leader named Ricardo, who graduated from Bible College in November, 2008. We also have a weekly preaching point in another neighborhood called "Morro do Meio". We are currently on furlough until June 2010. Upon returning to Joinville, we are planning on ordaining Ricardo and helping the Victory Baptist Church call him as their Pastor. Then, we plan on starting a new work in another one of the 43 neighborhoods called Adhemar Garcia.
My Brother Scott and his family are currently raising support to come to Brazil as church planting missionaries. For their first year in Brazil they will work with us in Joinville. Ricardo, the Victory Baptist Church family and I are excited about this, and we are praying that we can together reach out to the almost 600,000 souls that make up this great Brazilian Metropolis with the precious Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Please pray with us so that God will open hearts and minds to the preaching and teaching of His Word in Joinville. Thank you.