“It’s not how much we give, but how much we put into giving.” Mother Teresa
If it were not for a picture taken years ago and now in a scrapbook, I would not only have forgotten his name but the story that swirls around him. Unfortunately I missed putting his picture in my last blog.
The quality of the pictures fades over the years.Here is José now–Doris had written down his name. It is so good to have a wife that is organized. José is looking over a small hymnal that we used in services. The rest of his name is lost but I’ll pass on the part of the story I remember.
At that time we were living and working in the interior of the state of São Paulo; it seemed we were busy day and night with church planting projects and ministering to workers on the huge coffee estates. But in all of this José contacted us.
He invited us to come to his town of Poloni and hold a service in his yard. So that is what we did. It was a big dirt yard with his home and a number of very simple homes both around it and close by. The yard was crowded with adults and children as we showed a film strip of the life of Christ. Those films strips were a great attraction for, if I remember, Poloni did not have electricity.
I recall one family we had met who lived close to José that sent a message asking me to visit them. After clapping at the door of this poor home, the lady there explained that her husband was not yet home from work. So I waited till he came. You see it would have been improper to only visit with the lady of the home. In a short time he pulled up with his donkey hitched to a two-wheeled cart. The reason they wished me to drop by was that a couple of their children had eye infections and wished my prayers.
My faith was so very small for what little I knew of medicine indicated that the children needed an antibiotic. But these poor people had asked me to pray so what else could I do? The next week at our service I found out that the children had recovered. Perhaps it was as my dad used to say, “The Lord has mercy on fools and children.”
Interest in the Gospel was strong enough in Poloni that we rented a small hall with Doris and me holding services there once a week. An interesting sidelight: the couple from whom we rented the hall had not spoken to each other for 20 years though they lived together in the same home.
Doris would have a lesson geared to the children though the adults also loved to listen in. And of course Doris provided the music on her accordion while all I added was a short Gospel message. I said to Doris the other day that I would not have been much of a missionary without her. So true!
One week we found we were in some trouble with the group that came to the services. We had thought that if we gave candy to the children that learned a Bible verse from week to week, it would encourage both memorization and attendance. It did the opposite for the complaint was that we discriminated unreasonably among the children. That was easily resolved.
We were only in the interior a short while till we found out that using the bus system would not get us to the towns where we were planting churches—well, at least on time. And we’d certainly not be able to get out to the coffee ranches. Well, we bought an old van, paid too much, fixed it up but it got us to where we wanted to go–to Poloni for example. In this picture of the van is Rev. Shimizu, a wonderful missionary in his own right, working among the large Japanese population in Brazil.
We have other memories of wonderful people and places there in the interior. However we’ll leave that for another time.