Monday, May 19, 2014

12. Newsletter of Johan and Jeannette Lukasse

Screaming desperately, she ran through the multitude of people crossing one of the busiest intersections of the city, downtown Belo Horizonte. Dozens of shocked people watched as a big aggressive guy grabbed her and dragged her to the middle of the road. She screamed and kicked, but he was much too strong for her.

He put his big filthy hand over her mouth and muffled her screams. As he held her tightly, he looked menacingly towards the drivers who had just stopped for the red traffic light and watched the scene with horror. Most of the pedestrians passed quickly and turned to watch from a safe distance.

One man, however, decided to intervene and help. He pulled a revolver he had hidden on his back behind his belt, and started walking towards them….

Oh my, something was going terribly wrong! Rodolpho, one of the YWAM staff who was filming the scene, ran towards him, shouting: “No, no, this is not really happening--it’s just a drama!”

Irritated and still uncertain, the man looked at him.

“Seriously,” Rodolpho said, “we are drawing people’s attention to the fact that we shouldn’t ignore violence and abuse, but we should report it.”

The man still was not wholly convinced until he saw the shock on the faces of our two actors. Slowly he lowered his gun and put it away.

Behind the man and girl, a big banner was now held up, saying: “If you don’t report it, it won’t stop! Call 100!”

This happened last Saturday morning, when over 200 people from YWAM and various local churches were at the central city square to evangelize and to alert people about sexual exploitation. There was even a team from Holland. Johan and I were there together. How wonderful to be able to talk openly about the love of our heavenly Father and see how open people here in Brazil are to talk about God and faith!

Can I have the Good News too?
There were various other groups who performed dance and drama, and many people stopped to watch. We were able to pray for a number of people, and it was so encouraging to see that people would even come up to ask us for the tracts and literature we were handing out.

During these last months before the World Cup, we have organized various evangelistic events, to get really prepared for the big events during the World Cup. At each subsequent event, the number of young people from different churches who have joined us has increased, through their contagious enthusiasm.

We saw, however, that we have to be careful with some of the dramas--this one was almost too realistic, as the guy who was acting the part of the aggressor was almost killed by someone who was just passing by… Oh my! Of course, in the end it is a funny story, because it had a happy ending. But please be in prayer for the teams and people who will join us for the World Cup, that God will protect us and keep us safe.

During the World Cup there is a real possibility that there will be many demonstrations and protests. A large percentage of the Brazilian population is not very happy with the current government.  They believe that all the money spent on stadiums should have been spent on education and health care.

In the latest polls, the president, Dilma Rousseff, had only 37% approval. There will be presidential elections in October and she would like to be reelected for her second term, but she will need more than 37%. So she announced last week that she would raise the “Bolsa Familia,” a monthly benefit for the poorest families (36 million people), 3 dollars a month. But it remains doubtful if this will sway enough voters.

During the World Cup the eyes of the world will be on Brazil, and many people want to use this media attention to put pressure on the government through big organized protest marches on the streets. Unfortunately those marches often lead to violence and vandalism. Please pray for peace and against aggression and fighting.

Brazil has such a high violence and crime rate that foreign embassies and governments have published materials to educate tourists how to react when they suffer an assault in Brazil...

We would like to see the churches go in great numbers to the streets during the World Cup, because the presence of the people of God will cause the rates of crime and violence to decrease significantly. The devil doesn’t like us to go to the streets to evangelize and have people commit their lives to Jesus. So please pray with us that many churches will mobilize their people to go out.

Prayer for 32 Nations
Speaking of prayer, our team prepared a presentation with prayer points from each of the 32 nations that will participate in the World Cup. The focus is to pray against human trafficking and injustice in those countries. The presentation is already translated from English into Portuguese, Spanish and Korean. Thousands of people around the world are using it.  We would like to see it go viral and have thousands of churches and teams praying during the World Cup. Please download it and start using it too:

Weekly News on the Kickoff Blog!
We just created two blogs, in Portuguese and English, to help churches and teams in each of the 12 host cities of the World Cup. On those blogs you can find all kinds of suggestions for activities teams can do during the outreach. There is a page with downloads for printing tracts and materials to bring to the outreach.  Another page shows how to download portions of the Bible and the “Jesus” film on mobile phones. We will have a schedule of activities in Belo Horizonte and the other 11 cities. Other pages contain photos, videos and prayer needs.  We will post frequent updates during the World Cup.  Have a look at:

State government
Last week, Johan and one of our staff were invited to speak about human trafficking to the state government. They were able to describe everything we have been doing over the last few years against human trafficking and also about what still needs to be done, especially in preparing for the World Cup. It was all transmitted live on cable TV and on the internet. It went very well--Johan even had time to clarify that our programs are based on biblical values and to explain some key Scriptures. Those are great opportunities. We have also been able to give TV interviews, share on documentaries, and write for magazines. All these things help to bring the plight of human trafficking victims to the attention of an ever-widening public.

Praying in the Red Light Districts
In each of the 12 host cities for the World Cup, Exodus Cry has been able to rent a prayer room for 24/7 (twenty four hours a day, seven days a week) prayer in the downtown prostitution area. Churches and teams can sign up to participate. Exodus Cry is the organization that produced the documentary  “Nefarious,” a shocking account of the worldwide trade of women and children for sexual exploitation. This movie is a “must watch” for those who want to know more and be involved in combatting this crime. They recently produced another documentary on human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Brazil. We have been working closely together with Exodus Cry over the last few years.

Not Alone
Just a few more weeks and the World Cup will be upon us. This is a big task for us, as we are the National Coordinators for teams that will come through YWAM to participate in the outreaches in Brazil. Luckily we don’t have to do it on our own. We have a great team here in Belo Horizonte, and in the other 11 cities, there are additional YWAM coordinators/teams. And we know that many of you will participate in the army of prayer warriors. But above all, we know that God is with us and will guide and help us in everything.

Davi ‘s Dream
Davi, our youngest son with special needs, lives in Holland. He is a great soccer fan and has the opportunity to travel with a team from Holland to be with us for two-and-a-half weeks during the World Cup.  His kidney function has improved a lot; it is now around 50%, against all the expectations of the specialists--a real miracle! His doctors have released him to travel. This is fantastic, as his big dream is to be in Brazil during the World Cup. We are looking forward to having him with us for awhile.

We want to thank all of you who have been involved with us in any way over the last months. We wish you all God’s blessings,

Johan and Jeannette Lukasse

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