My wife and I were Christian Missionaries in Brazil. The year was 1984. We were both living on a farm which had been lent to about 20 of us Missionaries and their children, by a Christian supporter and was a school for the kids and a base to operate from. It was in a small village called Guararema, close to Mogi das Cruzes about 50 kilometers from Sao Paulo, the commercial Capital.
We were members of a Protestant group of Faith in the Holy Spirit, Missionaries which was related to the famous Jesus revolution of the Hippies of the late 60s and early 70s. We lived for telling people about Jesus. We not only told them but most of the time we were able to lead them into a prayer to accept the Spirit of Jesus Christ into their hearts. Of course we knew enough Portuguese to be able to speak quite fluently and daily prayed with scores of people.
Some who were really interested gave us their addresses and so we were able to follow them up with more advanced literature than just a simple salvation tract. We would ask them if they would like to contribute a small donation which many of them did, and from this we all lived. Some did not help because they had no cash or because they preferred not to. Some also gave items that we needed such as furniture, food, clothing, and even electronic equipment. When they gave materials instead of cash we called this provisioning.
Whatever happened, we were just happy that they had listened to us and accepted the simple literature. This they could read later and we believe that many did and were convicted and took their first steps towards following Jesus.
We had no visible means of support from a regular income, but were sure that if we faithfully proclaimed the Gospel which simply means the Good News then somehow our Spiritual Leader Jesus would take care of us through thick and thin.
Let me tell you He definitely did and still does to this day.
One day we received a letter from some of the missionaries in India telling us of the great need there. Brazil was and I'm sure still is a very awesome place to be and it was going to be very tough for us to leave. However being a missionary and following our spiritual leader Jesus Christ's command to go in to all the world meant a lot of moving and at my last count I can tuck over 40 countries under my belt. Moving is our business.
My wife and I prayed desperately and were reading the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament, Chapter 55 verse 1 All you that thirst, come to the waters: and you that have no money make haste, buy, and eat: come ye, buy wine and milk without money, and without any price.
This was a promise from our Spiritual Leader The Word of God. It was either true to be appropriated or false to be discarded.
Of course we had no money, only enough for the day and a little for breakfast the next morning. This was and is usual. The spiritual promise right here in this first verse was really interesting. If we had interpreted this correctly here was the invisible Holy Spirit, Lord of the Universe promising food including wine and milk without having to pay for it.
Irmgard and I stared at this verse for a few moments and then realized that this would continue to be the key for our journey across first the South Atlantic and then the North Atlantic to Europe and beyond.
We already were very experienced hitch hikers. Every day we were dropped in Sao Paulo to witness and would come home the 50 kilometers at night simply by asking for lifts along the way. In one year we averaged three lifts a day so we traveled more than 1000 times by hitch hiking. I remember one person in particular who told us that he never stopped for anyone. Brazil is quite dangerous and there are many criminal gangs operating. As we stood in the road with our thumbs up smiling at the approaching driver he said that he had seen an aura of spiritual light around us which transmitted peace to him and so he stopped. He later became a faithful supporter. This kind of occurrence was quite normal for us.
We collected a small donation which had been sent to Irmgard by her Aunt amounting to 100 DM or 50 Euros. So we could boast 50 Euros or 65$ for a trip that would have to take us across three oceans, the Mediterranean, the Suez canal, the Red sea and beyond.
One early morning we set out from the farm and as we passed through the gate we told the Holy Spirit, "This is our first step to India."
To be continued in Stage 2.