August 28, 2004

FBC Columbia Team Returns Home

The time for us to leave Rio came much to fast. The short week we spent there was amazing. God did many awesome works in and through us. Our trip home went well. God gave us a smooth transition back to our lives here in the states. While we came back home to the place we left, we did not come home the same.

During the time we were in Piraque God used us to meet many physical needs, but more importantly, He allowed us to meet countless spiritual needs. We know that this was not because of anything we were able to do, but it was because of what God chose to do through us.

Even though several of our team members had served on medical teams in Rio before, God spoke to each of us while we were there this time. Jane Scott, who made her third trip to Rio this year said, "I was once again reminded that serving God is such a fulfilling experience. To see people emotionally, physically, and spirtually in need and to meet those needs, in some way, is what God has called us to do. The blessings I receive each year make me hungry to continue serving God in what ever way He calls me. It is such a fulfilling and awarding experience." It is always amazing when you think you are going to help others, but many times feel as if you got more out of the experience than you had to give. God uses places and things He calls us to in order to teach us things we could have never learned in our ordinary, daily routine.

He spoke to more than one of our team members in Rio about continuing to find ways to meet spiritual needs in our daily lives here at home. Team member James Clark described, "This past week in Rio was both a blessing and a burden. By that I mean serving with others on our team for God’s purposes in Rio was a great blessing. But last week also reminded me of the burden we have to share the love and life changing message of Jesus Christ to others in our daily lives here in the United States. It is a burden which we should accept gladly with purpose and passion giving all the glory to God. " While God called us to go to Rio for a week and serve Him, He has called us to daily serve Him in the places He has us here at home.

We thank God for the opportuanity He gave us to go to Rio, and for the message He has intrusted us to share with people we come in contact with every day.

Posted by Laura Breeden at 10:57 PM

August 20, 2004

FBC Columbia Clinic - Day 5

Our final day in Piraque was as wonderful, if not better than the others this week. Although, it came much too fast. Our team was sad about leaving the people and place we have grown to love this week. However, today was a tremendous day. It was a wonderful day to end an amazing week. Overall this week, the eye team examined 853 patients, the dental clinic saw 242 people, general medicine treated 351, the pediatric group took care of 497 children, and the pharmacy filled 2,477 prescriptions. The were 146 people who accepted Christ this week. God did more than we could have every asked or imagined!

Today began as a crazy day. When we entered Piraque again this morning we saw another extremely long line of people waiting to get into the clinic. We soon found out that some of those waiting had been there since 10:00pm last night. It is overwhelming to think that they would do something like that to receive the basic treatment we had to offer at no cost. While we just could not see everyone who came, it was wonderful to be able to be used by God to treat those we could. The greatest part of the whole week was that we were not only able to offer physical help, but we were able to show them the love of God. Thank you for your prayers. Please pray that our trip home will go smoothly.

Posted by Laura Breeden at 08:26 PM

August 19, 2004

FBC Columbia Clinic - Day 4

Steve Nowlin - Dental Work in PiraqueToday was another incredible day! When we pulled up to the church this morning we were overwhelmed with the number of people waiting in line. We later found out that the first people in line had arrived at three o´clock this morning. The eye team saw 189 people, general medicine treated 97 patients, there were 102 pediatric patients, the dental team saw 53 people and took out 77 teeth, and the pharmacy filled 525 prescriptions. There were 28 people who accepted Christ today!

Just as everyday this week, God worked in many ways today. Although, several team members mentioned that they felt that today there was more of a spiritual battle going on at the clinic. Satan seemed to be working harder today than he has been all week. However, he will not defeat us! The Ruler of the Universe is the One who sent us, and we know He will win. Tomorrow is our last day at the clinic, and we are sad about that. However, pray that we will continue to be strong. Pray that we will be able to see as many patients as possible. Pray we will come in contact with those who need to hear the gospel and will sense their need. Pray that Satan will have no strongholds in Piraque!

Posted by Laura Breeden at 08:33 PM | Comments (1)

August 18, 2004

FBC Columbia Clinic - Day 3

Medical Clinic Day 3Today was a wonderful day! When we arrived in Piraque this morning there were many people waiting to get into the clinic. By mid morning more people than we had time to see all day had come. There were many who will be back early tomorrow morning to get in. The eye team saw 190 people today, the dental team worked on 52 patients (and pulled 120 teeth), the general medicine team took care of 59 paients, the pediatric group saw 134 children, and the pharmacy filled 588 prescriptions. 31 people prayed to receive Christ!

The people in Piraque are so delighted that we have come. They have welcomed us into their community. It has been wonderful to have the opportunity to give basic medical treatment and share God´s love with those we have seen so far. There have been countless moments in which someone from our team has seen God work. When one of our evangelism groups had an opportunity to led a woman to the Lord on the street yesterday, she explained to them that she had left her work and come outside just before they had come. She had not even realized why she had done that until she talked with them. God timed it exactly where she would encounter them. God never ceases to do things that amaze us. Please continue to pray that God will work through us. We saw several people today who were not open to the gospel. Many of them come from Catholic backgrounds and have a hard time grasping what we have to say to them. Please pray that God would soften their hearts. Also pray that He would help us know exactly what to say to them. We want to be available for Him to be able to use us however he chooses.

Posted by Laura Breeden at 07:17 PM

August 17, 2004

FBC Columbia Clinic - Day 2

Line for Medical ClinicWhen the bus pulled up at the clinic this morning it was obvious that today was going to be busier than yesterday. We did see more people, and God definitely blessed in more ways. The eye team examined 195 people, the dental team pulled the teeth of 63 patients, in pediatric medicine there where 125 children seen, general medicine worked with 84 patients, and the pharmacy filled 427 prescriptions. 33 people made decisions for Christ today!

We know that as the week goes on there will be even more patients who come to the clinic each day. Please pray that God will continue to provide opportunities for us to share Him with the people we see. The evangelism team faced opposition today from more people than yesterday, even though we saw more people come to know the Lord. Please pray that God would prepare those we talk with to hear what He has for them. Pray that any distractions or hinderances will be removed from the lives of those who need Him. More to come tomorrow...

Posted by Laura Breeden at 07:26 PM

August 16, 2004

FBC Columbia Clinic - Day 1

Piraque Baptist Church - RioThe first day of our medical clinic was wonderful. The morning started off a little slow, but the pace picked up very quickly. There were 154 sets of eyes checked, 38 dental patients seen, 70 pediatric patients, 58 patients in general medicine, and 364 prescriptions filled. Most importantly, there were 28 souls added to the Kingdom during our time today. God is so good!

We can not wait to see what He does tomorrow and the following days. Although, our trip would have been worth it just for the things that happened today! Every one is doing great. Our team is working so well together, and our time here has been tremendoous so far. Please pray that God would continue to bless us with good health. Also pray that our energy level will not drop as the week goes on and we get more tired.

Posted by Laura Breeden at 08:09 PM | Comments (1)

August 15, 2004

FBC Columbia Update for Sunday

Our first full day in Rio has been wonderful. It began with a time of worship in the church where the clinic will be held. Along the hour or so drive to the site, we were able to enjoy part of God´s beautiful creation as we traveled along the coast by Ipanema beach. We were greeted by the many children (even more than in most of the favelas) who seemed delighted to see us. It is going to be such a blessing to be able to interact with them. We are excited about all that God has in store for us this week!

Posted by Laura Breeden at 07:34 PM

August 14, 2004

FBC Columbia Group Arrives in Rio

After a long journey our team arrived safely in Rio this morning! We experienced no delays or problems during any part of the trip. Everyone is doing well. We spent most of the day organizing supplies for the clinic which begins Monday. Please pray for us as we attend church tomorrow at the site where we will conduct the clinic. More to come later...

Posted by Laura Breeden at 04:36 PM | Comments (1)

August 10, 2004

FBC Columbia returns to Rio for third year

In just a few days, a team from First Baptist Church, Columbia will be headed for Rio. Becky Clark emailed me today to let me know that the team will be in the Piraque favela located in the Campo Grande area. Please add Becky and the FBC team to your prayer list.

Posted by Paul Chenoweth at 05:47 PM

August 06, 2004

Rio Medical Mission - Day 7

´Dear Children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.´ 1 John 3:18

Greetings from the servants of Christ Jesus in Rio.

All are well and safe.

It was a short day today. We worked only till lunch time...then had a party for the children...then a departing celebration at the new church.

For the week, 681 eye, 833 children and 576 general medicine patients were cared for. 3,702 prescriptions were filled. 408 claimed Jesus Christ as there Savior and Lord. In addition, hundreds of floride treatments were given. For many, if not all, of the children, this was the first time their teeth had ever met paste and brush.

Tomorrow we begin our journey home with a scheduled arrival in Nashville - Sunday,1:00 PM.

In the coming weeks, when you see Raja and Kevin O´Brien walking the halls of Brentwood Baptist, make sure you let them know how much you appreciate their devotion to the Rio Medical Mission. As 1 John commands´...let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth´. Raja and Kevin´s ´actions´ have an enormous affect on these people. We are all overwhelmed by the out pouring of love. There is just nothing left to say!

Posted by at 03:38 PM | Comments (1)

August 05, 2004

Rio Medical Mission - Day 6

'...Jesus said, suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for to such belongeth the kingdom of heaven' Matt 19:14

Greetings from the servants of Christ Jesus in Rio.

All are well and safe.

Today was another beautiful day!

children.jpgChildren, children and more children..that is all that can be said about today. They were everywhere...and they all wanted to hear the salvation story. So we just sat on the ground and told the story, time and again...they are precious in His sight!

Praise God for the good work of today...and the good things He will bring our way, tomorrow!
The team cared for 155 eye, 147 children and 112 general medicine patients. The pharmacy filled 701 prescriptions. 98+ decisions were made (the + means that decisions were made, but for one reason or another we were not able to complete a card).

These bring the total, so far, to 584 eye, 728 children and 491 general medicine patients. 3,210 prescriptions have been filled. In excess of 356 have claimed Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord!

Posted by at 06:16 PM

Pharmacy - Redefined

I have been watching the numbers come in from Rio das Pedras over the last few days and I am amazed, gratified, humbled, and honored to have even been around the medical team. They are all doing what I would consider heroic work... you just have to see the conditions where this team is working to understand that.

I visited the makeshift pharmacy that has been dispensing many hundreds of prescriptions each day and want you to know what that really means. First of all, imagine a cement plastered room about the size of a walk-in closet, one door direct to the outside, a small window facing a swamp, and a single light bulb in the ceiling. Next add temporary shelves all along the walls of three sides and jam them full of medications of all shapes and descriptions. Mix in three people to the space, one missionary journeyman named Jennifer (a Samford pharmacy graduate) and two assistants, who must hit the floor running each morning and remain engaged with patients long after the last doctor has made a diagnosis. The smell from the poluted water of the wetland, you just get used to after awhile. At the door is a constant crowd of moms with babies in arms, the elderly, the sick, and children...lots of children; all waiting to have their prescriptions filled...and filled with compasionate care. It is a picture that has to tug at your heart.

By all means, please pray for the entire medical team. Medical care is not only improving the lives of many, but saving many from pain, suffering, and shortened lives. Today, pray particularly for Jennifer and the people who work in that little space called a pharmacy. At the pace they have been running, fatigue has to be overcome in order to remain effective. They may be hidden behind the scenes, but the work they do completely redefines pharmacy for me... I may hug my pharmacist the next time I see him. I hope that he asks me 'why?'.

Posted by Paul Chenoweth at 05:09 PM

August 04, 2004

Rio Medical Mission - Day 5

'But evil men and imposters shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But abide thou in the things thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.' 2 Tim 3:13-14

Greeting from the servants of Christ in Rio

All are well and safe.

We enjoyed another beautiful day. Although there were no clouds, it was still a comfortable day to meet and greet the people.

Today, 147 eye, 165 children and 132 general medicine patients were cared for. The pharmacy filled 767 prescriptions. 89 more were saved! Now these numbers might sound fewer than the previous day, but our day was cut short by 1 and 1/2 hours (for good reasons). By comparison, yesterday there were 42 decisions by lunch... today 65! Also, there was a surgery performed (albeit minor)that took the time of a number of people. Without going into a great deal of detail...this particular woman will have far less pain in her foot than she had earlier this morning.Praise God!

So, after three days...429 eye, 581 children and 479 general medicine patients have been cared for - 2,509 prescriptions have been filled - 258 decisions have been made. Praise God for the good work He has done!

As the scripture above would indicate, not much has changed from when Paul gave his final instructions to Timothy. These people have heard a lot of different 'stuff' from many 'deceivers'. We spend much time trying to sort through the many misunderstandings. It is encouraging that people want to listen..they do not want to be confused. We have had many, who have come just to hear what we have to say...not needing any medical attention. We were even invited into homes this day, as we shared the good news of Jesus Christ.

Praise God for the good work He will do, tomorrow!

Posted by at 05:31 PM

August 03, 2004

Rio Medical Mission - Day 4

'And day by day, continuing stedfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved.' Acts 2:46-47

Greetings from the servants of Christ Jesus in Rio

All are well and safe

Again, God blessed us with ideal weather conditions, overcast skies with a pleasant breeze.

On this day, the team treated 163 eye, 223 children, and 133 general medicine patients. Added to the first day, the totals are: 282 eye, 416 children and 247 general medicine patients. Over the two days 1,742 prescriptions have been filled. But the really great news is that an additonal 101 decisions were made, bringing the two-day total to 170. Praise God for the good work He has done!

There are far too many stories to tell at this time...those will have to be saved till our return. But there is one from today of note. A lady came to the eye clinic wanting help. An eye exam was given and it was discovered that she had cataracts on both eyes...and there wasn't much the team could do. She became very frustrated that no one was ever able to help. She knew that she needed surgery, but had no money to pay. The team member asked if he could pray with her and that in some way God would hear their prayer and respond. During the prayer it came to the team member that when a person has cataracts that the normal 'readings' do not he tried a lense other than what would be normally called for. Once the lady put on the glasses she was able to see better than she had in many years. She began to read the 'evangi-cube'(this is a three demensional cube we use to share the gospel), she was able to see it so clearly...the team member took her through the gospel message and the lady accepted Christ as her personal savior, right then.

We look forward to an even better day tomorrow. God has blessed each of us richly!

Posted by at 06:50 PM | Comments (1)

Medical Mission Video Clips

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Word spreads fast around the favela when there is medical attention available...and the lines are long, even before the medical team arrives each day. This short video clip is just a glimpse into the faces of the people serving and the people being served in Rio das Pedras. Both groups of people will be changed as a result of the activity around the temporary clinic and pharmacy. The song playing in the background speaks of no longer being what we were before...and not all that we will be. All will be changed by His glory.

Allow me to insert my personal thanks to the construction and medical teams from Brentwood Baptist Church. These may be regular folks in the eyes of some, but for me, I had the pleasure of watching them through the lense of a camera and have come to know and love these folks. They work hard. They are focused on their mission.

These teams performed far-from-ordinary feats in less than ideal circumstances and touched many hearts in this small Brazilian community. Thank you for letting me be a part of this trip!

safe at home,

Warning, this video clip includes a life changing challenge from Raja...

Posted by Paul Chenoweth at 11:33 AM | Comments (1)

August 02, 2004

Rio Medical Mission Day 3

´Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day´ Acts 2:41

Greetings from the servants of Christ Jesus in Rio.

All are safe and well.

Receiving Line at Rio das Pedras
We did not add three thousand this day...but it was still a good day.
God blessed us with overcast skies that made the day very comfortable.

God used the team to see 119 eye, 114 general medicine and 193 children patients. 857 prescriptions were filled...but most importantly 69 decisions were made. These numbers were very good, given that the first day always requires extra time for set-up. But on this day, the team was so well organized we started quickly.

God´s prescense was felt throughout the day as there were those standing in line, saved through the work of previous mission workers, sharing their personal testimony of God´s great love. Others spoke to our very prescense as living proof that God loves them.

Raja with Miracle BabyAs always the children are so very special. They make the work so enjoyable. They don´t seem to know that their life is filled with poverty...they don´t know that their not suppose to be happy. We have been blessed mightily by them.

We look forward to tomorrow...and the great things that God will do!

Posted by at 07:02 PM

August 01, 2004

All is Well with My Soul

Where do I begin? Words can not possibly express how I feel right now. My cup truly is running over with joy of our trip to Rio!
Our team arrived home safely around 12:30 on Sunday after a little scare in Houston about some planes being grounded on account of terriost attacks. We prayed... and God answered!
What an amazing trip we had!!! We were able to complete the construction of the church building in Rio das Pedras. It is estimated that 6,000 brick were laid, two coats of sealer applied were after cleaning each brick, morter was put between each row and each brick, and then finally another coat of sealer was painted on for the finished product. That in itself was very time consuming. Six windows and a door were hand painted and installed after all the proper measurements were made. Electrical work was done and clean up was massive. No wonder we were tired. Ha! On Thursday night, we all stopped and watched as the capstone (final brick) was installed. What a celebration we had...
Many of us had the wonderful opporunity to take time and go into the community and share Christ with those nearby. People are already seeing Jesus and accepting Him as their Lord and Savior! How much more excited can it get?
On Friday, after a tedious day of final work, we had the celebration service with a full house and the new pastor. It was extremely emotional and tears flowed freely. What a blessing to be a part of such a God filled week! I personally feel honored and humbled to be a part of such an experience.
The team came to the conculsion at the final devotion and share time in the Houston airport that our work is just beginning. Our mission trip has just started. Now we must bring the love and saving grace of Jesus to those around us--our neighbors, our coworkers, and anyone else we come in contact with. Our mission field for just a few precious days was in Rio das Pedras. Now our mission field is here at home.
Each team member wants you to know how much we appreciated your prayers. They were felt in many, many ways.
Again, it is hard to express with words, but I will close in saying "All is Well with My Soul!" "Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow!"

Posted by at 08:55 PM

Rio Medical Mission - Day 2

´Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit hath made you bishops, to feed the church the Lord which he purchased with his own blood´ Acts 20:28

Greeting from the Servants of Christ Jesus in Rio

All are safe and well

Today was a very special day as we celebrated the first worship service in the church that was constructed this past week.

Members of our team layed hands on the new pastor. On this special day he was able to claim the first soul to Christ...a woman now filled with His abiding love.

The building was dedicated, in loving memory, to Raja O´Brien´s father. Although he was never here, he came to love these people, through the dedicated work of his daughter. Upon his death he asked that any rememberances be directed to it´s construction. Raja was presented with a plaque that will hang in the church from this day forward.

There were well over 100 in attendance that sang, heard God´s word and the testimony of those who love Jesus. All of the children are beautiful. They all laugh. They all want to be loved.

Tomorrow the medical team begins its important work.

Praise be to Christ Jesus for the great work He will do!

Posted by at 07:33 PM