Every Day on the Job

Brazilians love a big juicy steak on their dinner plate though of course many of the poor we knew in the interior could not afford to eat much meat.

It was the Zebu animals brought over from India that produce most of the Brazilian beef. The reason is they adapted readily to the South American climate and conditions. This breed is interesting because of their creamy white color, their long drooping ears, a fatty hump on their shoulders and a large piece of skin hanging low from the neck. It is called a dew-lap.


These men were pleased and able to show off one of their yearling calves. That was possible for the Zebu is a quiet animal. When the cowboys would take a herd from one pasture to another, they would ride ahead coaxing the animals along by blowing a low note on a horn. We have one of those horns made from three pieces of Zebu horn put together to form one that is some four feet long. When we have coffee someday I’ll bring it along and hit that low note for you. On second thought, we might have cattle coming in from all over.

                Coffee was the big export during our time in Brazil though now corn and especially soy beans are big money earners. However at that time the government was experimenting with corn and in this picture it certainly did grow well. The two chaps in the picture are agronomists, one a Brazilian and the other Japanese from that large community in Brazil. A bit of a sad story—an agronomist friend from our days in Rio Preto was killed in a car accident while travelling to a farm. There is a big story but this is important–his wife helped me out with my Portuguese and corrected my sermons.


The Butantan Institute is famous worldwide for its snake anti-venom some of which is sent worldwide. Butantan is similar to a small park but in this case it takes care of hundreds upon hundreds of poisonous snakes. This picture shows a caretaker at the Institute demonstrating how venom is extracted from the snakes.  That is a first step in preparing the shots that will save lives though it is a job that not everyone might like.

A lady said of her husband, “I don’t know whether he is a dentist of a missionary. This was spoken of Dr. Tércio Obara, a successful dentist who had a fine clinic in São Paulo with two or three other dentists working with him. Tércio indeed was a missionary in his own right for he has led dental teams to help native Indians with other teams going to countries in Africa and the Far East. One of his projects now is planting and building a church in Eldorado, an exceptionally poor area in his city. He works there as a lay leader but in many ways has been the spark that initiated the project.

In another blog I’ll tell about other Brazilians and their interesting work. Now I must mention a lady that gave her best to the Lord’s work, the lady that without whom I’d not have accomplished much during all of my life and ministry. The lady is Doris with her accordion, and the picture was taken in a humble home somewhere out from Neves in the interior.


Brazilians love music so Doris’ accordion was a hit with the folks there singing church music together. Doris said when she saw the picture, “That accordion was as big as I was.” That statement was close to being true for she weighed in then at only one hundred pounds.

I am firmly convinced that what we do to build the Kingdom of Jesus Christ will yield great results both in this world and in eternity. That is a theme recurring repeatedly in the words of Jesus and again in those of the Apostles. We would do well to remember their counsel.


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