Ítalo and Marta

Dear Partners in Prayer,

A little over a year ago the Lord blessed us with a special surprise. That Sunday morning as we were arriving at Derby Park, getting ready to set up for worship and serving breakfast a couple approached me I hadn’t seen in a while. It was Ítalo and Marta. I’ve known Ítalo and Marta pretty much from the earliest days of our Jesus in the Streets ministry.

Ítalo and Marta returning to Derby Park

Ítalo and Marta returning to Derby Park (L to R Eduardo, Marta, Joana d’Arc, Pacato, Ítalo)

While on the street they slept in abandoned buildings or doorways in the downtown area. For a while Ítalo said they even slept in front of the Boa Vista church! They were mostly together, though from time to time they’d fight and separate. Ítalo is not a violent person, but as you can imagine substance abuse can bring out the worst in people.

Ítalo washing windshields downtown

Ítalo washing windshields downtown

Ítalo’s main job, like many of the homeless was either watching over parked cars in a busy area or washing windshields at stop lights downtown. Marta would find odd jobs to do here and there when she wasn’t also washing windshields.

And they were pretty much faithful in our worship services in Derby Park, like this Easter Sunday service.

Ítalo and Marta on Easter Sunday

Ítalo let his hair grown long, they seemed to wander further into that “distant land”, but they kept coming to services like this Sunday when the church had a birthday party for me!

That Sunday, blessed Sunday, when I saw them I almost didn’t recognize them. Ítalo had cut off his dreadlocks and Marta was wearing a pretty dress. And they were both beaming! They came and gave me a big hug and said they had been off the street for many months and were living with her father and attending church.

Marta said they just came to thank us for our ministry in the park. She said that had made all the difference in their turning to Jesus. Of course it wasn’t just us, certainly the Lord used countless others along their path, and will still do so. But this ministry, and your part in it has blessed two more souls.

Marta has already completed two courses at the School of the Bible our brother Bio Nascimento directs and teaches in. Bio said she’s a very dedicated student!

Marta attending a Bible study class at the School of the Bible

Marta attending a Bible study class at the School of the Bible

Bio awarding Marta her certificate of completion

Bio Nascimento awarding Marta her Bible Course certificate of completion

Pretty much every day Ítalo and Marta now send me verses, words of encouragement, and hymns Marta records and sends me as audios. What a blessing!

Messages from Ítalo and Marta

Messages from Ítalo and Marta

Please keep Ítalo and Marta in your prayers. They are on The Way, but they have yet to be baptized. And as we know, the enemy never sleeps. I’ve been trying to engage Ítalo in a one on one Bible study, but he’s been keeping a distance.

Please pray for Ítalo’s and Marta’s final steps in commiting to Jesus. Pray also for Tavares, the man I mentioned in our last prayer letter about Carnaval. He’s said he would be interested in a Bible study.

And thank you for all your prayers for this ministry. As I’ve said before, we may not have the “numbers” one would expect of an outreach to the lost, but for some souls, the biggest number isn’t how many, but how far. How far some have to come to come to Christ.

God bless you and thank you for your prayers for this ministry.