Dear Family, Partners and Friends, I just returned from a two week trip to the southern states of Brazil, Parana, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. Having traveled to many of these cities two years ago, it was good to be back and see all that God has been doing. Working in conjunction with the International Grace of God Church, we had 20 meetings in 14 days in 17 cities. As with all of our events, we hit the ground running with very little down time before, during and after each city. What has been great about the ministry in Brazil is the Youthbyte product, or “Jovembytes” as it is known in Portuguese. After an explosive launch in 2010, it is awesome to see that the waves we created then are still making an impact 3 years later. With the release of our final fourth box and airing of the TV program we have become sort of a household name (haha). Using the snake as an object lesson in the beginning was almost an afterthought. Having used our python “Monty” in our very first episode, people just assumed that we used animals all the time; the rest is history. Even as we were scheduling these events, we specifically told the pastors that we were not bringing a snake with us on this tour. Well, the pastors had other plans - at each church, in each state, there was a person with a python or boa availing it to the meetings! Needless to say the people loved it and the teens were thrilled to get a glimpse of the snake; I usually ask the crowd, “So you came to see a snake in church? Really? Who brings a snake to church?” They always point and say “Only you, Chad!” confirming God’s amazing sense of humor!
In each and every event, as the Word of God went forth, faith would rise in the hearts of the people and the spirit of God would do what only He can do, set people free. The evening services were packed with people standing for hours to hear and participate in the ministry. The altars were always filled with hungry hearts reaching out in faith. Testimonies of deliverance, salvation and healing were common. After the events, hundreds would come forward wanting to take pictures with the snake, share a report of what God had done or just want a hug of reassurance, appreciating that we had come to be with them. Daily radio and television interviews helped communicate the minstry and where each event was held. Thousands responded the call of salvation with great displays of emotion from the hurting and desperate. Jesus loves people and He confirmed it daily!
Since 2010 until now we have held over 250 meetings in Brazil, reaching over 500,000 teens with the Gospel. These events, combined with the sowing of Youthbtye resources and the television broadcast, has not only discipled countless thousands, but has empowered and equipped youth leaders all over the nation. The investment that has been made is continuing to produce fruit each and every day.
As you may or may not know, in January of this year there was a horrendous tragedy in the city of Santa Maria, a city where we had held meetings a year previously. An accidental fire in a local nightclub took the lives of 240 young people. I had the opportunity to visit the club, which is still covered in pictures of teens, notes from parents and countless vases of now withered flowers and cards. It was a moving scene, especially knowing that there were a number of young people from the church who died in the blaze. I do have peace knowing that the Christians who died received their reward in Jesus. We had a powerful event last week as young and old revaluated their hearts, remebering that our mortality is only overcome in Christ!