BRAZIL HOPE TOUR – FIRST EDITION
ALL NATIONS SOCCER MINISTRIES
BAPTIST CHURCH TIME OF REVIVAL-IBTA
VILA REGINA, MONTE-MOR, RIO TINTO / PB
All Nations Soccer Ministries, the institution responsible for the Hope Tour projects around the world, from September 18 to 23, 2017, held the first edition of the Event in Brazil/PB. Thiago Gonçalves, president of the organization and Vice President Anthony Pontes, Pastor of the Baptist Time of Revival Church (IBTA) in João Pessoa-Paraíba, were at the forefront of the work. Missionaries were also present: Chris Dickerson (USA); Erick Stochero (Paraná); Paulo Henrique (Goiânia); Vilson Veiga (Goiás); Larissa Danielly (Goiânia); Morgana Pontes (Paraíba); Janaílda Antunes (Paraíba).
For the accomplishment of the actions with ANS MINISTRIES, the local Church began the work with a visit to an institution of care for the elderly; there the Missionaries fulfilled the mission with evangelism, prayers of healing and deliverance, as well as donation of geriatric kits. In the evening, in Praça da Paz-Bancários / João Pessoa, in partnership with the NGO -EFJB (School of Brazilian Youth Soccer) presided over by the Founder Professor, Manoel Carlos Brandão; this officiated the opening of the Event.
The next day, all the team involved continued the work in a service of healing and deliverance; in preparation for the great street evangelism, with the Project AvivAction of IBTA church, which brings food, a word of salvation to those on the margins of society; the AvivaAction is held weekly by the IBTA Church. With the arrival of the Missionaries, the city of Rio Tinto / Paraíba, whose population has its largest concentration of Potiguara Indians; there was founded an IBTA congregation built through the donation of land, by Cacique Claudecir Braz, commonly known as (Cal). The Missionaries team with members of the church headquarters, joined the members of that city giving continuity to the program.
During the week, evangelism was conducted throughout the area surrounding the local congregation; including public indigenous schools, streets and residences; fulfilling the IDEAL OF JESUS found in the Gospel of (Mark 16:15) with a harvest of 50 souls who surrendered to the plan of Salvation during the great service of healing and deliverance that was held at night. ANS SOCCER MINISTRIES held the first Youth Soccer tournament, at the Fernandão Gymnasium, Vila Regina Monte-mor, Rio Tinto. At last, there was a great mobilization of the local society, seeking assistance from the services available, such as Odontomóvel, Physiotherapy, Nursing, Hairdressing, Advocacy, Psychology, among others. The tour also consisted of the first children’s event, with children of the congregation and guests and a crusade with PROPHETIC ACT on the city. For the closing of the Hope Tour Brasil / 2017 there were awards for youth athlete winners of the first ANS Cup; made by missionaries with the donation of uniforms and boots.
We acknowledge the total involvement of the IBTA Church, João Pessoa / PB headquarters; lead by Pastor Anthony Pontes and Morgana Pontes; and of the Congregation in Rio Tinto, lead by Pastor Rodrigo Simplício and Allane Simplício; all for the sole purpose of bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the thirsty; both those directly involved and indirectly through intercession, maintenance and giving in agape love. — Written by Josy Pereira (Local newpaper Journalist- translated from Portuguese to English)
It was the 7th of June 2017. I said good-bye to my wife and three kids and headed out on another mission. This time it was to beautiful Santa Cruz de La Sierra, Bolivia. Paulo Mendes (ANS Ministries in Brazil Headquarters Representative) was coming from Brazil to meet me in Bolivia and together our mission was simple, connect with David Suarez. David reached out to ANS Ministries in Peru back in February. Our objectives in Bolivia were; meet David, learn about his work, life, heart and ministry. Together, Paulo and I were to evaluate if David and his vision matched with ANS Ministries vision to, “Make Disciples of All Nations,” and from there decide whether he was the right man for us to partner with in order to do the most good by reaching the youth, uniting the local churches and ultimately make disciples of Christ in beautiful Bolivia.
As I arrived on the 8th of June, David and his friend came to pick me up. People say that the first impression is the one that stays. My first impression definitely stayed. I love the hospitality and friendliness that the Bolivians practice as they receive foreigners at their airport. I learned from David on our ride from the airport to the city that hospitality is “ley del Cruceño,” or simply, the law of the Cruceño. Cruceño is how everyone born in Santa Cruz de la Cierra is called.
As we rode our way to the city, I had my share of hospitality as my official welcome came from the local radio station where David’s Christian music band, “Lagartos” translated Lizards, were advertising for their concert to take place on the following day.
It was early in the afternoon when I finally settled in at the hotel. I didn’t want to waste any time in Bolivia, so I packed up a few items and headed out with David to soccer practice for one of the four teams he coaches. This particular team, a group of school boys age 13-16 years old, were training for the school league playoff game to take place two days later. You could tell that this game meant a lot to the boys, and they were ready for it. I had the opportunity to share a few words of encouragement, but most importantly I saw David’s passion for the game and for the boys he was coaching. I could sense his desire for more out of the boys, more on the field and specially more out of life. He spent a good deal of time talking about preparation for the game and inviting the boys to attend his Christian music concert the next day.
The 9th of June, Paulo arrived from Brazil. On the way back from picking him up at the airport I gave him a brief update on what I had seen the day before and what the day ahead looked like. The main event this day was the “Lagartos Band” concert. It rained the whole night before and the temperature dropped significantly. David expressed his concern about the concert and how important it was for the weather to clear up. By night the skies cleared up but the temperatures were still very low. Paulo and I geared up and headed out to the stadium. Everything was ready and set in motion for a successful night event.
The crowd slowly arrived, very well protected for the cold weather and ready for good Christian music and entertainment. David gave me the privilege to say a few words to his band and pray with them before the concert kick off. I was honored by this opportunity. Despite the cold weather, the concert was a total success! Along with the crowd, I enjoyed it very much. During the concert I could not help but imagine future events. I shared my vision with Paulo,
“Bro, can you imagine this stadium packed in full for a Gospel Crusade? Lagartos Band will play their music, others will play their music, a famous soccer player will share his testimony, and we will give them the Gospel message. Can you see it?”
That night a vision was born. Paulo could see it too. We were excited! In our minds it had already happened. My imagination would soar on the impact this vision would bring to the city. Suddenly, Bolivia seemed like a very fruitful ground for work. To this day I cannot remove these pictures from my mind.
The following day David invited us to attend a soccer match where he was playing. Apparently this was the top, non-professional soccer league in the country. Paulo and I agreed after all, why not make sure that the guy we are meeting to represent ANS Ministries can actually play the game? Without much expectation, honestly, we headed with David to the field. Paulo and I set down to watch the game already being played while David warmed up with his teammates. As the game ensued, we began observing a longhaired, older man who seemed to know very well what he was doing with the ball. Obviously, we did not know his name so I nicknamed him “Batistuta,” after the former Argentinian international soccer player who shares the same taste for the long hair. “Batistuta” made a nice long pass, sprinted 30 yard into space to receive it back to finished it with a nice shot on goal. Almost scores! I joked with Paulo, “Man, ‘Batistuta’ knows what he is doing!” David casually walks by and states, “This is actually Cristaldo, 1994 World Cup starting right-back for Bolivia.” Well, I was surprised! More surprised at how fast that he could sprint at his age than the fact that he was a former World Cup player. As we
joked and enjoyed a good laugh about the whole thing, I turn to Paulo and say, “Well our Batistuta is actually Cristaldo all that we needed now is to see Etchevery play too…” Coincidentally, just about that same time an older man, heavy set, walks right in front of us making his way to the midfield for a substitution. David taps my left knee twice and says, “There he is… Etchevery. You wanted to see him. The Bolivian soccer icon is going to play the last five minutes of the game.” I couldn’t believe it. Paulo and I were just a few hours earlier talking about Etcheverry and how he was such a deadly player whenever he played against Brazil during World Cup qualifiers. It was a remarkable moment. Never could I ever have imagine such a coincidence. Paulo and I were thankful, seeing “El Diablo” Etcheverry and Cristaldo play and later meeting and talking with them brought up some wonderful childhood memories.
The 11th of June, Sunday we were going to follow David and his school team play a playoff game for the school league. The bus came early in the morning. Paulo and I geared up, grabbed some Starbucks coffee near the hotel and headed with the boys for the local university where the games were being played. The match was either life or death; you could sense a little bit of tension from the boys and also from David. I learned something about David that day; he was committed to his passion! The school did not pay for the bus they rented that morning. The school did not provide the team soccer uniforms either. David borrowed the uniforms from a friend and the bus, he paid for most of it himself. Dreams and sacrifice often goes together. Worthwhile dreams require sacrifice! I could see David sacrificing for his dream, and I could see the boys learning that from him. Needless to say, I was happy to see those life lessons being shared from coach to players. I was happy to see a coach and player relationship that transcended soccer and meant more than the end result of a game.
Everyone was excited at the boys well deserved win. They sang on the bus on our ride back from the fields to David’s church where a special program was set up for them. Paulo was going to share his testimony as a soccer player and follower of Christ. We wanted to make the most of this opportunity, and what better than share with a group of excited soccer players? Paulo was right at home. In Brazil, Paulo played for a top name soccer club. He had lived the joys of success and the frustrations of defeat. It was just right that Paulo would share his passion for Christ with such a passionate group of footballers. I helped Paulo by translating his words into Spanish, or at least the closest possible to Spanish. At the conclusion of his message I made an invitation for the young players to place their faith in Jesus Christ and trust him as their personal Lord and savior. The response was slow at first, but it only took one courageous young man to step up in front of his peers to make know his decision to follow Christ and all the other young man followed to do the same.
Was this initial contact in Bolivia a success? I could not determine any different. It was a total success in many ways. First and foremost, Paulo and I made a new friend. David proved to be someone with the character and integrity that we we look for in order to develop a fruitful work and specially a person of initiative and passion for people and God. I am confident that an effective door for ministry has been opened for us in Bolivia.
Join us on this mission to Bolivia. Let’s together make the difference in youth lives and win souls for Christ!
We want to sponsor soccer uniforms for David’s work with the boys. Will you help us?
We finished our time in Hong Kong and left to Nepal on a Friday. The conference for coaches was not scheduled to start until Monday, so we had a few days to connect with Pr. Reuben and his family; Pr. Reuben is ANS Ministries representative in Nepal and South Asia Region. In Nepal, Saturday is the traditional day of worship, so I was asked by Pr. Reuben to preach at one of his sixteen churches. This particular one is located in the capital, Kathmandu, while the others are in the mountainous regions of the Himalayas.
I was deeply impacted when we arrived at the church. I saw Pr. Reuben’s interaction with the orphans he and his wife adopted after the 2014 earthquake. This earthquake was one of the most disastrous of our time. It literally leveled many areas of the capital Kathmandu, killing 9,000 people and leaving 22,000 wounded. As I observe Pr. Reuben’s interaction with the kids, I could see an obvious transformation in his demeanor. Pr. Reuben tends to be more reserved, quiet to say the least, but with those kids there was a change. I could see a warm and affectionate person, loving those babies as his own. They looked up to him as their only father figure. That experience made my day complete. I was happy to know that those babies had a place to call home and a dad to look up to. Later I learned that the church also housed some adults that were wounded and lost their home during the earthquake; like this one mother who had both of her legs crushed by a large rock that rolled over her home during the earthquake.
Sunday we spent time with the Church Boys United Football Club players. CBU F.C is owned and managed by Pr. Reuben and plays in professional tournaments around Nepal. Our time with the players was spent learning about their lives and professional soccer in Nepal and India, since we also had professional players coming all the way from India to attend the conference. We also spent time with a few coaches who journeyed as far as 22 hours by motorcycle to attend the coaches’ clinic. Later I realized that this time of interaction with them was just as important and impactful as the conference itself.
On Monday the conference started with great anticipation by everyone. The location of the conference was a hotel up in the mountains with an astonishing view of the Himalayans. Prior to the start there was a small period of interaction between the conference attendants where we were able to meet and interact for the first time. For me it was encouraging to learn of female coaches and sports ministers attending the event. I was hopeful and wondered if there were going to be any since soccer is predominantly a male sport in Nepal.
Pr. Reuben opened the conference with a prayer followed by the Nepali national anthem. Coach Pinto began the conference talking about his philosophy of coaching. At no moment during the conference we planned on having a direct reference to our faith in Christ but interestingly our faith was shared during the entire time in a variety of ways including a direct gospel message to take place on the second day of the conference. It was a new experience for me. The Gospel message was intermingled with everything that was shared and talked about during the conference, including the technical coaching sessions. It was remarkable for me to learn of how diverse and rich are the ways that our Lord chooses to work the knowledge of His love to people. I believe Coach Thiago Pinto did an excellent job kick starting the conference and gospel conversations on the first day of the conference. I heard that on that first night several players and coaches stayed up until late hours of the night talking about the Christian faith and God. One of the attendants of the conference mentioned to me the next day that a person had asked him, “Why Christ had died on the Cross?” This is why we came! The conference flowed naturally, and I could sense God’s presence and peace at the conclusion of the first day.
On Tuesday, the second and final day of the conference, the day started early with a delicious breakfast. I noticed that some of us stayed up late the night before because a lot of the attendees looked tired, but you could also notice the joy and attitude of gratitude. Coach Pinto kick started the second day with a brief word to review the first day and introduce his newly hired assistant Jason Freedman, a licensed athletic trainer. He spoke on the topic of injury prevention. The coaches and even the athletes present were extra interested in this particular topic. Jason did an excellent job sharing valuable information, which in my opinion, were knowledgeable and practical. Following Jason, Jorge, who is originally from Mexico and a former player for Coach Pinto, shared his experience coaching in Indonesia where he currently coaches and resides with his wife and daughter. He also shared his genuine and heartfelt testimony that was of great encouragement.
After Jorge, Niranz Khadaka, a former Nepal National Soccer team player, shared about his experience with soccer at the professional level and competing in international competitions representing Nepal. He did a great job sharing his passion for the game, but mostly his testimony of how he came to faith in Christ was most impactful. Everyone’s attention was on him as he explained how he battled his family Hindu traditions and how he searched for truth for himself until God revealed Himself in a dream and showed him heaven and hell. It was one of those stories that you imagine reading in a book or watching on television. It truly was a faith building moment for me at least, but I am sure that it also was for many others in the room.
Finally, we closed the conference with a few words shared by myself as Pastor Rueben posed the question; “Why do you love Nepal?” That was a question not hard to answer at all. In fact, I enjoyed talking about how I had prayed to God in 2o11 asking Him to give me a chance to serve in Nepal just to have that prayer answered five years later with an email coming to ANS Ministries from Pr. Reuben. So five years later I set out on a solo journey to connect with him for the first time. That special question also opened the venue for me to make a direct presentation of the Gospel and offer an invitation for attendants of the conference to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. It surely was a special moment for me. It felt as if everything that was done, talked and discussed during the conference was all meant to culminate at this very moment when the love of God would be freely presented and offered to everyone. What an incredible and holy moment that was. It is almost impossible to describe the peace and presence of God that was felt at that the moment.
I thank everyone for their participation in this first coaches clinic in Nepal, an event which Pr. Reuben and I hope will become a yearly event where many other coaches can also come along and positively impact the development of the game in Nepal and most importantly impact the developers of the game with the love of Christ. I am humbled by the investment of ANS Ministries donors that trust our every effort to fulfill the mission of Making Disciples of All Nations that ANS Ministries so dearly pursues. We hope that some of you may be able to join us in the future either locally or abroad on one of those adventures of a lifetime. Come with us to Nepal Hope Tour. – Thiago Goncalves, Th. M.,
Thiago Goncalves answers the question:“Why Do You Love Nepal?”
Learn how you can make a difference NOW!!!
Soccer Coaches Clinic – Welcome Song – The Apostles Band
Dinner Fellowship – Conclusion of Day 1 of Coaches’ Clinic
The Soccer Coach’s Clinic in Nepal really started in Hong Kong. A month before we set out to Nepal we received a contact message from Merdad Koya coming from Hong Kong where he leads a soccer team composed predominantly of refugees. In his message Merdad shared his vision with All Blacks Football Club and how he wanted to use his team as a tool to help refugees to find hope, purpose and a way to be integrated into society. I loved Merdad’s vision, and we began communicating frequently. So I made a few changes to our itinerary. Instead of heading straight to Nepal, we set out a few days earlier and stop on the way in Hong Kong to meet Merdad, All Blacks Football Team, and connect with a few local church leaders. The experience connecting with Merdad was no short of what I like to call, “a divine appointment.” Everything in Hong Kong worked out so smoothly. We could sense God’s hand was in it.
Coach Thiago Pinto, head soccer coach at Bethel College, IN, and his assistant Jason Freedman, a licensed Athletic Trainer, were my companions on this journey. The combined expertise of Coach Pinto and Jason made the experience so much more beneficial to Merdad and his team. We set out to do a players clinic on a Thursday morning. Everything was ready! The equipment was prepped, and the players expectantly waited our arrival. But suddenly the rain came. It stormed so intensely that I honestly thought at some point we would have the local park authorities or the police come and tell us that we needed to stop and find cover, but thankfully this was not the case. The authorities didn’t come, the players didn’t leave, the rain intensified even more, lightning crossed the sky, and everyone got soaking wet! In spite of the what could have been an untimely setback, the interaction among everyone was great and the players had their hearts and minds open to receive whatever we had to say. Coach Pinto was leading the clinic, and I was invited to join the activities. Of course I was prompt for the call. I personally could not remember having so much fun like that in a while. Thank you Coach Pinto! You made my experience richer indeed.
During our time in Hong Kong we conducted two meetings. The first meeting was for church leaders where I was privileged to facilitate and share a few words regarding the importance of the local church and the power that believers have to impact society with God’s love and power. I don’t know if what I shared was beneficial to them, but I can surely say that I left the meeting encouraged by them. I heard the viewpoint of pastors struggling in the day to day tasks of ministry and family, finances and professional life. I heard about some of the challenges that pastors encounter in conducting ministry in one of the most expensive cities of the world where Christians compose only 10% of the population. I learned about the challenges of doing ministry in such a diverse and urbanized area. I hope to have encouraged them to keep believing God for their strength to keep serving and expanding the kingdom in Hong Kong. What a valuable and encouraging experience for me that I will remember for a lifetime.
The purpose of the second meeting was to serve the players and families of All Black Football team. The surrounding social circumstance of refugees in Hong Kong is very adverse and hostile. They are not allowed to work or travel and must live on a government allowance that is simply not enough to afford housing much less housing and food. Some of them haven’t seen their families in over twelve years as they wait for their case to be sentenced by the government and asylum be granted. Only then will they have the rights of a citizen and finally the ability to legally work. These men aren’t left with many options to try and do good. Most of them end up engaging in criminal activity, prostitution, drugs or even the mafia. I asked Coach Pinto to share from his heart. Coach Pinto shared important words of encouragement and faith. We also heard Merdad’s passion toward his cause and his inspiring vision to use football to change the fate of refugees and help break the walls of social indifference. Football has this amazing ability to connect and unite people. Listening to Medard’s heart help me envision possibilities of how ANS Ministries can help All Blacks Football team bring hope to refugees during this uncertain season in their lives. It was an inspiring moment. I could see why God had allowed us to connect with Merdad.
I’ve been to 20 different countries and in 15 of them I was doing some sort of ministry. The more I go and God allows me to learn, the more I realize that ministry really simply is loving on people. This love is so wide and diverse. God chooses a diversity of ways to express His love to people, and we are so privileged to play a small part in spreading His love. I am very thankful for our time in Hong Kong. We are thankful for Merdad and his first contact to ANS Ministries. We are thankful for the local pastors and All Blacks Football Club players, and most of all we are thankful for the new friends that we’ve made and are confident that we will see them again. Hong Kong see you later! – By Thiago Gonçalves, Th.M., ANS Ministries Founding President
Hi. My name is Gui Freitas and I’ve been traveling with ANS ministries on Hope Tours for the last 8 years.
Japan was my first time going on a Connect trip and also my first time in the country.
One of the greatest parts of writing about my experience traveling with ANS Ministries is that I could basically copy and paste what I would write from all of my experiences in and with the ministry since 2009: signs, wonders, healing, salvation, encouragement, learning, true fellowship, growth, new friends and fun. If you were on this trip or with any others, you’d be writing the same. You make friends for life, return with your life changed, experience the fullness of the gospel in a simple and effective way.
As with all the other trips, ANS’s daily program and schedule in Japan (in partnership with a local church that hosted us) was well-balanced between ministry-activities and rest, which allowed me it to keep a healthy rhythmn to not only start the mission but also to conclude it strong.
We spoke at churches, made lots of Philippino friends from the local church that welcomed us, got to see some of Japan’s landscape and deeply learned about the Japanese culture and The Church’s current fruits and vision to reach the country’s population for Christ.
It’s not any news that Japan is a beautiful country with a unique culture. What was news to me was how unreached the country is. International churches are filled with believers from other cultures, but some of the largest purely Japanese churches have a total of 60 members. Japan loves soccer, the #2 sport in the country behind baseball. The country’s professional soccer league (J-league) is very popular, and I can see ANS entering deeply in the country through soccer in order to minister to the hearts of Japan’s current and next generation.
I feel like the door was left wide open. During our ministry activities, Thiago (ANS’s director and founder) and I saw God moving… tremendously. People responded to the gospel in a very powerful way. Yet, we can’t do much alone or just the 2 of us.
I hope to return, not just to eat some of the most delicious food I’ve ever had (sushi train… yes God!) but to also continue the work that the Lord started there. With more people and we can do more, and the more seeds we leave there, the more fruits we’ll see.
Keep on helping us go, but also plan on get in the boat. Japan needs you and I… today.
Heavy rains have caused major floodings and landslides in Peru. The government has declared the country in state of emergency. Over 100 people have lost their lives. 141,860 people have lost their homes, and 205,640 homes have been affected. The north of Peru is the area that has suffered the most.
Due to the floodings, the drinking water supply systems have been affected to such degree that some had been shutdown. There are towns and villages that do not have access to drinking water due to the destruction that the floodings and landslides have caused.
Looking to Help
We asked the Lord how could we share His love and mercy at this time. We asked the Lord to give us something we could take with us to those affected areas. We did not wanted to go empty handed. The Lord answered.
This week we watched a video from agricultural engineer Bernardino Lalopu. It showed something amazing, something only God could create. The seeds of the Moringa plant can be used to purify dirty water. These seeds have the property of attracting the impurities in water and separating them. The video showed how people could drink the water after going through this process.
It is to these locations that we can take these seeds and use them to purify the dirty water. These will be the tool that will give us entrance to share about the true living water that every human being needs.
We would first get the seeds from engineer Lalopu, who lives in northern Peru, area struck by the floodings. From there we will continue our journey as the Holy Spirit guides us. We know we have the best GPS in the entire universe. God has given us a strategy and we take it in Jesus name. We are trusting in the Lord that He will guide us all the way to those towns and villages. We don’t know any of them, but God knows them. Praise be to Jesus.
We believe the Lord can take any bad situation and turn it to something amazing, that is salvation in Jesus Christ. God can take this natural disaster in Peru and turn it to something glorious: souls being won for Jesus. We see this in our spiritual eyes and we believe God can do it. If God was able to spare Nineveh from a disaster, He is more than able to spare souls from hell within a disaster, and this through the blood of Christ.
More than anything, we just need your prayers that souls would be saved and delivered from the bondage of sin in Jesus Christ name. God is using this time for His children to act in faith and believe that everything is possible when we have Him on our side. It is a win-win situation. Praise be to Jesus.
Peru won’t be the same after all that has happened, and souls won’t be the same after what God will do in the midst of this situation. God has Peru in His hands and we, His children, are His fingers. Whatever we touch, He will touch. So wherever we’ll go in Jesus name, He will go before us and wherever His name is preached, He will touch those souls for eternity. We pray this in Jesus precious name. God bless you. – By Ivan Flores, ANS Ministries Peru Director