The other day I shared how we've been blessed to be a part of some amazing things that God is doing in our city. He's on a definite roll and He did some more cool, unexpected stuff yesterday.
Stephen and I were running some errands all day yesterday and were just returning home around 5:00 when I got a call from our brother Freitas (owner of the hardware store). He asked if we could come to the hardware store to talk to one of his friends/clients about a Bible story that he had some questions about. The friend's name is Giovanni and I've gotten to be friends with him during the times I've gone to the hardware store to just hang out. I didn't really understand everything about the situation but we pulled back out of the driveway and went to see Freitas and Giovanni.
We got there and a few minutes later Giovanni came in.
Turns out he is a spiritist. They believe in Jesus and God and they also believe in reincarnation. Honestly I don't know everything that they believe in but I know that they believe that the way you are in this life will affect what kind of life you will have when you are reincarnated.
Giovanni is an incredibly friendly guy and I've always loved to be around him. He laughs easily and is easy to talk to so I was excited to hear what he wanted to talk about.
Turns out he is teaching a weekly class at the spiritist center to young kids and every week they teach a Bible story. His next lesson was about Jesus multiplying the 5 loaves of bread and the 2 fishes and he really wanted to hear some different ideas/opinions about the story.
So we got together and Freitas read the verses from the story. We then just talked about what those verses meant to us and we pointed out some cool things about the story. We talked about faith (how little the disciples had before this happened, how God may have used 12 basket's full of leftover food to grow the faith of 12 disciples....maybe one for each one to pick up?, how little faith we have and how we have to have faith to believe in Jesus). We also talked about how Jesus is the only way to God.
If you know me, you know I'm no Bible teacher or scholar. I think what helps people not be afraid of "church" when they are around me is that it's not uncommon for me to say, "I don't know" when someone asks something specific about a certain passage in the Bible. I'm not afraid to admit that I don't know where the story is and that we need to look it up on google. I love google search! It helps people to see that as a "missionary" I'm no different than they are. I don't know everything. I don't have all the answers, in fact, I'm searching just like they are. I'm not some special guy just because I came here to share God's word. It's for all of us to share and study together.
During our time together yesterday Freitas wanted to share an encouraging verse with Giovanni but he couldn't remember where it was. What did he do? He googled it of course. I loved it. We even used how we use google to share with Giovanni how his transparency, with stuff like that, will encourage the kids to want to come back and learn Bible stories from him. To not be afraid to say, "I have no idea but let's study together." Only good can happen from that.
I loved our time with Giovanni because he felt comfortable enough with Freitas to ask if he could come to the hardware store, during business hours, to talk about the Bible.
If you read this blog consistently then you know for the past few months we've had a support/prayer group that meets at the hardware store every Thursday morning at 6. If you haven't read about that then you can click here to check it out.
Since we've started that group the owner of the bakery next door to the hardware store has become a regular member of our group. Yesterday in the middle of our talk the owner, Silvio, came in and sat down and shared with us as well. This was at 6 p.m. on a Friday night. He was putting kingdom over bakery sales.
Giovanni told us later that he had seen Freitas with his Bible and had seen verses taped to his computer (we've written down scripture, cut it out and passed them out before on our Thursday morning prayer time)and he knew he could ask Freitas about some doubts he had about the Bible.
The coolest thing? For the last few months Freitas and I have been talking about how to include Giovanni in our church family. Bar-b-que? Invitation to house church? Invitation to our support group? Soccer game? We've been talking and praying about Giovanni.
When he left the hardware store yesterday Freitas and Silvio both invited him to be a part of our group on Thursday mornings. Freitas then looked at me and said with a smile on his face, "We've been talking for a while on how to reach out to Giovanni and we didn't have to do anything. God did everything and brought him to us. How cool is that?"
Very cool indeed.
When I got home from the hardware store Giovanni had already sent me an email thanking us for spending time with him and how much it helped him. I loved that it was the body of Christ (Freitas, Silvio, Stephen and myself) who spent time with and just hung out in the word with Giovanni. More and more I'm seeing the body become the true body here and I feel so blessed to see what God is doing through our church family.
We don't know where this will end up but it was another obvious moment for us to see God's power and see how He is in control of stuff. He put Giovanni on our hearts. We talked and prayed about him and God did the work. We know that as we study more together God will share with Giovanni through His word or through us just what he needs to hear. This is one thing I'm certain of and am seeing it more and more.
We would ask you to pray for Giovanni and for us to have many more good conversations with him and spend more time just hanging out together as well as in the word together and for us to allow God to do His thing.
And He keeps on rolling in Porto Alegre.