I got to see the Christ the Redeemer statue when my sister, Andra, and I went to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil a couple summers ago during the 2016 summer Olympics! It is on my Bucket List to see all of the New 7 Wonders of the World! It was absolutely incredible to see this mega statue in real life! 🙂
I recently went through all of the photos I collected while I was in Rio during the summer. I’ll confess that I’m totally a photo album person. When I was little, I would print out photos, cut them into shapes and collage them into books with really cool stickers and fun paper; the whole shebang. Buuuuut now I go online and create books because they turn out way nicer than the ones I used to make… anyways, my photo album is ordered and on it’s way to me *Happy Dance* While going through all the pictures, I was reminded of more stories and miracles that happened in Rio! I hope you don’t mind yet another post 😉
1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. “
On our first day on the streets of Rio, my sister Andra and I got the opportunity to talk with several young adults that were from all over the U.K. one girl was from England, two guys were from Ireland, another two from Germany and Scotland. It was super cool having so many countries standing in one conversation in Brazil! Anyways, this group was the first group my sister and I encountered; we were nervous and didn’t really know what to say. I’ve realized that before the first conversation you have about Jesus is always the one Devil puts up his greatest fight – because if you survive the first, the second and third come easier. Before you know it, you forget what you were originally afraid of! As we approached them I prayed that God would simply give Andra and I the courage to be real, the peace to be calm and the strength to be honest. Have you ever heard of the bread crumb theory? In a conversation, make a comment about God; going to church, your faith – whatever, say something in reference to Christ. If the person you are talking to comments or asks about it, make another small comment. When they ask and the conversation grows talk more and more about Jesus – not shoving the entire loaf of bread down someone’s throat; one slice at a time. You know?
“We came with a group from our church to hand them out to the people we meet from all over the world!” First bread crumb.
“Why would you two come all the way from Canada to give us this? Which church are you from?” They ate it.
“‘We are here with 50+ other Christians from all over the world here in Rio to share Jesus to the people we get to talk to! It’s been so cool to see how many countries are represented here in Rio!” Second bread crumb.
“Why would you want to travel so far to tell people about God and hand out these books?” They ate it again.
So Andra and I began to explain our relationship with Jesus. We told them the story of creation and when sin first entered the world. “God sent His Son Jesus Christ to save the world He created from sin that will lead to death. For us to be saved from death, we must trust Jesus and live our life for Him instead of for ourselves…” As we continued to explain the gospel and salvation the group was listening and asking questions that allowed me to process why I was here. It was as if God was interviewing my sister and I through these young adults’ questions: Payton why are you here? Why do you want to tell others about ME? Why do they need ME? What have I done in your life? I had so much peace as I poured my life to these people. Andra shared her story about how Jesus has helped her in her depression. My sister and I shared about how all of us have sinned and need God, we shared about heaven and hell, about Jesus grace and mercy; after talking for nearly half an hour, one of them said, “You know, I think it’s cool how you both came all this way to share your faith. But just because Jesus works for you, doesn’t mean He will work for me. I think you telling me how Jesus has helped you in specific areas of your life – like depression and stress, helps me to connect with you and wants me to learn more about God. But when you come to me telling me that I’m sinful and going to Hell; I don’t want to listen to you. You should share more about how Jesus Christ helped you instead of Hell.” And with that, we split ways.
If you think of it, please pray for these young adults we talked to! God gave Andra and I 30 minutes to share Him and who knows where they ended up, but God can work through the booklet we gave them, and the conversation we had. Words can ring for years if they spoke to you. It was discouraging watching them walk away but my heart was encouraged because I saw how God used our encounter with that group to lift our spirits to press on and continue to share Him! With our first conversation on the streets being to grounding, I was excited to watch and see how God’s Hand would move during the rest of our time in Rio!
A couple days later, another group from our missions team was at Copacabana Beach. Soldiers were everywhere in Rio. Almost every 20 feet were four soldiers with loaded machine guns. Being from Canada; where firearms are thankfully illegal, it was a bit unnerving to see so many firearms. As the team spread the gospel and handed out booklets to every one on the boardwalk they had opportunities to talk about the gospel, creation and salvation with people. After one conversation, my friend noticed that the guard he was near kept watching him after his conversation with someone else on the boardwalk. We had been told before going out not to approach the soldiers because they were on high alert and a stranger with a big backpack would not be the brightest idea. As my friend went about the boardwalk, this guard kept watching him! A few minutes later, the soldier left his post and approached my friend. He motioned for a book, said thank you, and returned to his post. My friend was in shock. Moments later, the guard went up to him again and asked for three more booklets for the other guards at his post; they all wanted one, but didn’t want to leave their post to get it! It was incredible to watch the power of God work in areas we could not!
One last story! When my team and I were at Copacabana Beach, it was hot and beautiful and packed with people! I don’t think I had ever seen so many bodies in one place at once! I realized what immigrants in Canada were saying when they said there is so much space back home! Anyways, it had been a long and exhausting day, my team and I were running out of books when suddenly a woman ran up to one of the guys on our team, “Here! I don’t need this” she said, as she handed a booklet back to him. It was discouraging to see her going to the effort of returning the book. As he tried to encourage her to hold on to the book and maybe pass it on to a friend or family member, she said, “No! Someone gave me this book yesterday. I went home and I read it. I became a Christian!! This book saved my life! I want to give it back to you so that God can save another life!” I was dumbfounded. Sometimes we underestimate the power of God’s Word. He does not need our words. God uses us to get His Word to those He has hand picked for His kingdom!!
Praise God with me for the work God did in Rio, is continuing to do in Rio and all that is still to happen in Rio! I will be the first to confess that I was one of those people to not believe that tracks and bible booklets were effective for Christ’s kingdom. But God opened my eyes to humble me; having that lady come back and share her story made me remember and realize the reality of Ephesians 3:21-22, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” I am thankful for the time I had in Rio and the opportunity the Lord gave me to be used and watch His work unfold! God is still moving people! Stay close to Him and He will show you and open your eyes to see!
– Stay Satisfied
I have been home from Rio for over a month now – I am so sorry for not posting this sooner! It’s sad how the devil can distract us with other shiny things on the side to prevent us from sharing God’s glory and all that He has done! There’s so much I am excited to tell about my time in Rio; for this post I’m going to focus on what God taught me in Rio and how it’s changed my life since coming home! God enforced one lesson in my life and taught me a new lesson to focus on. He enforced stopping to smell the roses in the world Christ has created and He taught me how to be bold and transparent about my faith in Jesus. I was incredibly excited to experience another part of the world for the Lord.
I love to travel and I want to travel as much of the world as I can, so traveling with a purpose other than fulfilling my own desires was incredibly satisfying and made the trip more valuable. I want to continue to travel with a purpose for Christ everywhere I go in the world! While we were there, other missionaries encouraged us to “stop and smell the roses” – to enjoy Rio while we served the Lord. I loved the reassurance that gave me: God wants our work for Him to be joyful and uplifting, not a chore or something we dread! On our travels there, I was at war with myself, “How was I going to be able to be a witness for Christ and be completely focused on doing this for God and not being distracted with the people, places and things of Rio?!” But the Lord gave me so much peace. “I have made this world for my glory Payton – and I want you to find a balance between enjoying what I have created for you and being my light. Remember I want you to be IN this world – not OF it.” It was exciting to explore the streets of Rio while sharing the gospel with everyone we encountered and tell other people my story with Jesus. There were 14 people on our witnessing team: 12 of us were from my church and then we had 2 wonderful missionary translators that were looking forward to not only guiding us through the city but giving us the opportunities to experience Rio; the people, the tourist points, the food – they wanted to share their culture with us and I was ecstatic! I loved getting to meet people and hear their story.
“Jesus said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” -Mark 16:15
The greatest challenge for me, was the language barrier; it was more of a factor than I thought it would be. However, I truly believe that what the devil meant for bad, the Lord planned for good! Speaking only English forced me to be creative with how I shared my faith with the people there. Not knowing Portuguese also gave God so much room for His Hand to work and I got to watch it all happen! I knew that nothing was from what I said or did – because I could say or do much! I know I had asked for prayer in this area, but it was humbling learning that I am merely a vessel and that the Lord does not need me; He WANTS to use me and include me in His glorious plan. I was encouraged by my pastor that even though we may not get that exciting conversation every day; God’s Word speaks so much more than our own word. His Word is passed on and read and reread vs. our word floats away in the wind. I was reminded that God defends and spreads His word and that as long as I am getting it into the hands of the people – God will use it! One day, when my sister Andra and I were at the Olympic Boulevard handing out the gospel and making ourselves available to be used by Christ with our team we met a Brazilian lady named Sonia. She had just a touch of English; the three of us ended up playing a 45 minute game of charades to try and have a conversation. As we talked.. or acted.. Sonia told us how lonely she had been because she has no family near her and her husband travels a lot for work. As she conveyed her sadness my heart was pounding in my chest – Sonia NEEDS to hear about Jesus!!! I prayed asking God to send out translator back our way for that just maybe we could tell her about the love and grace she could have in Jesus! As our game of charades continued, our translator; Cynthia came along!! Andra quick explained our situation and how we have been trying to tell Sonia about Jesus’ love. So Cynthia talked to Sonia in Portuguese for us and told her about Jesus for Andra and I. A moment later, Sonia’s face lit up with excitement, “I KNOW JESUS!!” I was shocked. We talked more, turns out that Sonia is also a missionary for Jesus and her husband goes back to raise support for their missions work while she holds down the fort at home in Brazil! I could not believe it. Sonia then explained that she just felt the Lord telling her to come and talk to my sister and I. We prayed together, exchanged contact information. God had all of us there to encourage each other to stay strong and to continue spreading God’s seed. My heart was so full that not only was God looking out for His lost sheep, but also encouraging His sheep to press on.
Since coming back from Rio, the Lord has shown me that I have no excuses here in Canada: I can speak the language, I understand the culture, I know the city, etc. While in Rio I learned how blessed I am to not be bound by language, culture, currency, etc. I have the freedom and knowledge in Canada to share the gospel and Jesus’ name far and wide! Being home now, I am challenged to continue to be bold about my faith and be open and willing to share and create opportunities to share Christ – not wait for them to land on my lap! Since coming back home I have had several situations where I was able to share my faith and pass on extra English booklets that I took home from the Olympics! The first weekend I was home, my family and I put on a garage sale. As people came and went through out the day, there was one man that came by that I felt the Lord putting on my heart. As I talked to him he told me that he was from originally from Chile and had moved to Canada a couple years ago – as we talked more we found out that we were both in Rio during the Olympics!! He told me the events he went to and asked which once I saw… Immediately I heard God encourage me, “Be bold Payton!” So I told the man all about sharing Jesus on the streets and gave him one of the extra booklets that I had brought back from Rio. I have no idea what God will do, all I know is that Jesus gave me ground to scatter seed. I am so blessed to share my experiences with other followers of Jesus and encourage them to also be bold and spread the good news. We are to be farmers for Jesus scattering seed everywhere we go – no worrying about the ground it falls on. I am excited that God is continuing to use me and I can’t wait to watch and see how His Holy Spirit continues to work in my home town!
– Stay Satisfied
Tomorrow morning I fly to Rio de Janario for the 2016 Summer Olympics with my church. Four years ago I remember sitting and listening to the stories from the group that went to the London 2012 Games; it was then that God put it on my heart that I would be going to Rio. To think that after four years of praying into this trip is finally here, leaves my speechless. I don’t know what to say. I’m beyond excited. I’m incredibly nervous. I’ve surpassed “roller coaster” emotions at this point. Even though I knew I’d be going to Rio to share my faith in August 2012, God spoke to me more a couple years after that and I posted about it back in March, 2015 [ https://hersatisfiedsoul.com/2015/03/15/beyond-what-we-see-looks-awesome/ ] If you wanted to read that post to get a better idea of my call and desire for this mission, it might bring clarity to this post more. This post is a prayer request:
My sister and I will be flying with a group from Faith Baptist Church to Rio de Janario. We are there to do street ministry during the 2016 Summer Olympic Games! All of our funds have been raised and our flights have been booked – but we need your prayers. Please pray. Our team from our church will be meeting up with roughly 100 others in Rio. Together, we are working with the Rio 2016 Outreach to evangelize and distribute specially prepared Gospel literature. The booklets have been translated into English, Portuguese, Italian, Korean, Spanish, Arabic, French, Japanese, German, Chinese, Russian, and other languages for us to hand out while we are on the streets of Rio. At each Olympics this ministry [ http://rio16outreach.com/ ] has taken a very diverse group of people from the USA, Canada, Peru, Brazil, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, and others to share God’s Word and be a light for Jesus on the streets. Missionaries, pastors, lawyers, medical people, professors, students, retired folks and others will work together towards one goal. We have been praying for Christ’s strength and becoming united as a team that will be a force for God on the streets of Rio.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” -Matthew 28:19.
You see, people from roughly 207 countries will be gathering in Rio to celebrate the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, so it’s the perfect opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with people from all the nations! And that is why my sister and I have joined the team. While Christians are out on the streets talking with people who are there, we will have backpacks full of these booklets in many different languages. The Olympics is the only time a country is completely open for people to come and share their faith freely. As we share the gospel and hand out the booklets to the people we encounter, there is a special follow-up program that has been set up to help new believers to find Churches, contact other Christians from where they live and receive Bibles, etc. I am excited that this ministry does not leave new believers hanging – but continues to help them grow in their new faith. When someone comes to know Christ at the Olympics, their contact information can be sent forward to a missionary that lives from what ever country they are originally from. Those missionaries will contact these new Christians and help them grow to know Jesus more.
We are asking you to pray with us and for us as our team prepares and goes to Rio. Pray specifically that God will prepare hearts from people all over the world to receive the message of Christ and salvation. Our world has been preparing for these games for 4 years but God has been planning for these hearts for so much longer! Pray with us that God would go ahead to soften hearts and open ears. Please pray for our team that our hearts would be ready and willing to be bold for Christ and that we would be willing to do whatever Christ may ask us to do while we are there for Him. Cover the Olympic Games in your prayers for safety. Specifically,
Prayer for Payton:
- To be relaxed and not stressed out by lack of schedule(s) + trusting that God will work out the days perfectly
- To be bold about approaching strangers + to be transparent about my faith and all that Jesus has done for me
- Remember that I am the vessel Christ is using; it isn’t my words or works – whatever happens will be God’s plan
- Praise the Lord with me for this amazing opportunity to share the gospel with others, and to grow in my own faith!
Prayer for Andra:
- To be bold about approaching strangers + to not be afraid of knowing what to say or do
- For good health: I often feel sick when I am in new places + I don’t want that to hold me back from sharing my faith
- To be calm in mind and spirit + not overthink and make situations more complicated than they actually are
“God wants to use us when we are not ready, that way we are forced to trust Him and for God to empower us to do what we need to do to tell the world about Him. Trust that God knows what He is able and will do through us” – Pastor Bryce
Thank you for praying with me for Rio. For the people. For our missions team. For travels. For the Holy Spirit to move swiftly through the nations and that people would see Jesus in the next couple weeks.
– Stay Satisfied