The World Cup

Tuesday, June 13, was Brazil’s world cup game against Croatia. It is a national holiday and people were off work. We wanted to use that opportunity to preach the Gospel when everybody was home. So our team went to two different sites close to our house. The first site was in the middle of a neighborhood at the end of a street. Inner city apartment style housing lined the alley ways. People came out of their houses as the music played and the “Shackles” dance commenced. After the crowd came, we performed “The Journey”, an allegorical drama of a man looking for the answers to life’s questions. These answers are ultimately found in Jesus in the drama and the crucifixion and resurrection is portrayed. About 20 people gave their lives to Christ afterward. In this neighborhood, we felt that many were involved in violence, sex, addictions, and abuse. We shared about why we make wrong decisions and get caught in the cycle of hurting and being hurt, feeling pain and looking for love. We prayed for healing and freedom and invited the people to our times of discipling at the church after the world cup game. We went to another site and did the same. This time one man and several children came forward to receive Jesus.
At this site we had the opportunity to pray for a man and a woman for healing. Maria, looking to be in her 50’s, had fallen 15 years ago and injured her legs. Unable to care for herself properly, she lived with knee and ankle pain for the past 14 years. After prayer for healing, she said that her left knee was completely healed. She got up and tested her knee and said it was all better. She walked around and tested her ankles. She said there was no pain and confirmed her healing. She later went into the bar during the world cup game and testified to her family there of God’s healing touch.
The man we prayed for was 77 years old and had a hearing aid in his left ear. He said he was totally deaf in his right ear and couldn’t hear well with his left without the hearing aid. His hearing had been this way for 21 years. Initially, there was no improvement as we prayed and the man shook his head in disbelief that God was really going to heal him. But with perseverance, his left ear improved. He took out his hearing aid and said that his hearing was improved in his left ear. After further prayer, he began to hear very faintly in his right ear as if things “were very far away”. With more prayer, this improved. By the end of our time with this man, he was able to hear faintly out of his formerly deaf ear and hear better out of his left ear. We encouraged him to continue to trust God to further heal his hearing. He said that he would continue to pray.
Our SEALS (small ministry) groups went to a couple different locations to watch the world cup game with the Brazilians. The streets were decorated with banners, ribbons, and Brazilian flags. People all around were glued to the TV as their national team took on Croatia. After the first goal, fire crackers, horns and whistles went off everywhere. People ran out of their houses onto the streets and yelled in excitement. It was quite a display of nationalism. At the end of the game, victory assured, people began celebrating. Troy and Rachel’s SEAL invited the group they watched the cup game with to church that night for teaching from the Bible. A woman, her daughter and friend from that group came to church that night. They each gave their lives to Christ! As people were dancing and drinking on the streets because their team won the soccer game, true celebration was taking place in Heaven as 3 new names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.