Beauty In The Streets and In The Stadium...
Contrast is such an interesting concept. Contrast is the term used to describe opposites such as light and dark, black and white, or rich and poor. Our two trips to Brazil last month could not have been more different… Courtenay was ministering in the streets of northern Brazil and I led worship in a packed-out stadium in the south. However, the natural contrast was completely washed out by the beautiful move of God awakening the hearts of His people… in the north and the south… on the streets and in the stadium.
Of course, it was amazing to lead worship and preach every night in churches filled to capacity and even for an historic event where more than 50,000 people from more than 200 churches filled a stadium to worship. But the most precious testimony wandered in from the broken streets of Recife.
About a week before Courtenay departed for her trip to the northern Brazilian city of Recife, she woke in the middle of the night from a dream. In the dream, she was giving a woman a very symbolic necklace and had a very specific message for her… a message the Lord would use to unlock her heart.
Days later in Recife, Courtenay was re-telling this dream to her friend Rachael. Immediately, Rachael burst out, “I think I have your necklace… a lady gave it to me last week in Brasilia… it has a name on it… ‘Carol!’” So, during the days of street ministry that followed, Courtenay was on the lookout for a woman named Carol… but a week passed… and there was no lady with that name.
On her last night of ministry, Courtenay had the honor of giving the message at the “Father’s Love Banquet.” This is a monthly outreach of Shores of Grace Ministries where the most lavish, elegant, beautiful banquet is organized to honor the most lowly, hurting and desperate in Recife – the ladies who work in prostitution. It is a perfect picture of the undeserved love that the Father lavishes on all of us… and the banquet is a breathtaking example!
Just before Courtenay stood to speak, a group of four more ladies arrived. The last one to walk in was especially intimidating and hard looking – no smiling, no warmth, no life left. They sat at Courtenay’s table and introduced themselves. The last one to speak was that last one who arrived… “I’m Carol.”
Courtenay stood to speak and told the whole room the story of the dream God had given her, of the special necklace and of its significance to the special woman who God loves so much… Then she walked to the gruff, intimidating, lifeless Carol and asked her to read the name on the necklace. When Carol read her own name aloud, she started to weep, realizing for the first time that God sees her, knows her and that she is loved… truly loved.
For Carol in the north and the 50,000+ in the south, we want to thank YOU for helping to send us.