Here are emails received from the choir while they were traveling in Brazil...
We are all doing well here in Brasil. Garrett, Maki & Lisa left this morning to travel back to Los Angeles. And we are praying for their safe return home. The rest of the choir did a presentation tonight here in Londrina. We leave tomorrow for Tupa. We have been blessed so much by the hospitality and generosity of our Brasilian hosts. We especially had a good time in Curitiba where we were able to homestay with church family members. Many new friendships were made - and of course many remember our visit 2 years ago and it was so nice to see them again. We did a presentation at the Festival of Japan in Sao Paulo last Saturday. There were dignitaries from every state in Brasil present as well as from Japan. The event was very very formal and a bit intimidating. The choir did well and presented among several songs, Arms of Love in Japanese & Portuguese as a way to witness to the hundreds of people there most of whom were not Christian. The Consul General from Japan and the Governor of the state of Sao Paulo, personally sought out the choir to congratulate them. It was quite an honor.
The choir members are working hard to witness and encourage others here in Brasil. There were 4 young people vacationing from Maringa that some of the members met on a cable care in Rio. Our choir members gave out crosses and encouraged them to come to one of our concerts. We prayed for them, and the next week, when we were presenting in Maringa, they were there. Shuichi and Junior were especially excited to see them.
So far we have presented to over 3000 people. The personal testimonies that have been shared during the presentations have been well received. Most of the presentations we have done have not been in the churches, but in the community and to mostly non-Christians. We had over 200 people come to hear us in a public park in Santo Andre!!
We have recieved your many messages and also Keiko delivered the letters and cards that you sent. Thank you very much. It was very encouraging and uplifting. We would appreciate your continued prayers. Several of the choir members are slightly ill - nothing serious (colds, etc.); Shu hit his hand against a concrete step and we took him to have his hand X-rayed - but nothing is broken. He has a bruised hand. Sometimes it is hard for choir members to stay focused when they are so tired and on such a rigorous schedule. We have a couple nights that we will sleep in the bus while traveling to and from Campo Grande. We arrive in the morning and do a presentation. Please pray for strength and stamina on those days.
God has provided everything for us and more - and we praise Him for his goodness.
Could go on forever....
Love in Christ, Bonnie
July 25: We are all doing great and all is well! God's opening many opportunities for us and partnering churches as you know, our goal was for the partnering churches to minister to 5,000 people. To date, we have shared our songs with 1,853 people. Our second goal was to witness personally to 100 people, to date, we have witnessed to 12 people. This is the area we need prayer for. We have met many old and new friends!
Funny stories: 1. One of our younger members fell asleep during an evening concert. 2. Scott Zoriki has hit his head on the TV on the bus at least 6 times so far. 3. We had a frog in the toilet at the inn in Caraguatatuba. 4. Windows do not stay open by themselves, you have to latch them open ( in the country) someone (Garrett) broke a finger when it slammed down. He is wearing a splint on his middle finger. 5. Mary and Bonnie exchanged $ Real for the choir at an exchange place and an armed guard escorted them from the office to a taxi cab.
So far, we have had 14 concerts in 7 days with many more to come! Each day , we receive our schedule for the next day. They say that they are so happy that we are so flexible! Praise God!
The youth have been great messengers for God. Their songs, testimonies and our skit appears to speak to people of all ages. God is good! Aside from a few minor tired throats we are all doing fine! Please continue to pray that the rest of the trip will provide us opportunities to spread the good news.
Val & Lisa
July 24: Bom Dia (good morning) everyone!
This e-mail is coming from the Brazil Holiness headquarters office in Sao Paulo...our mission trip has been a blessing everywhere weŽve been. We are grateful for the wonderful reception that we have received, and have enjoyed meeting new people and connecting again with many who we met from our last trip. WeŽre getting enough rest and eating really well. So far, we have not had an opportunity for home stays - weŽve been staying at hotels arranged by the churches. WeŽre not sure how to get our laundry done, but somehow weŽll manage... We begin each day not knowing what lies ahead for us, but everyone in the choir has been great at adapting to what our ever changing schedule demands.
WeŽve been able to do some sightseeing in Rio De Janiero...Christ statue overlooking Rio, the soccer arena (largest in the world), zoo, tram ride...We have been well received at the concerts - we have performed before approx. 800 people so far. Yesterday we were able to spend the afternoon at a special camp for homeless/poor children - our kids had a great time interacting and singing with the children. Last night we gave a concert at a Korean Holiness church and met and shared with many young people. Today, weŽre off to sing at a park and perform at a Japanese community center (weŽre trying to brush up on some traditional Japanese folk songs). More later...