Sharing Christ at the World Cup

Jun 24, 2014

Soccer fans around the world have turned their attention to Rio de Janeiro — one of our MISSION 1:8 cities — as the FIFA World Cup plays out there through July 13. With so many fans pouring into the city, our missionary Patti LaCarter and her team are taking advantage of the opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ with people from around the world.

We asked Patti to give us an update on what they're doing during this international gathering. Read her account below and pray for her and her team as they reach out to share the Good News!

UPDATE (June 25, 2014)

This blog was posted on June 24, 2014. Here's what Patti had to say about what happened in Rio the next day — and what she attributes it to:

Wednesday, the day after the World Cup story appeared on Houston's First's blog we were out at Copacabana again doing evangelism. It was the most crowded day so far, you could hardly walk and very rowdy but it was an incredible day of evangelism and the best day up to now. We had some excellent conversations about the Lord with many people. Almost everyone who stopped showed a sincere desire to listen about the Lord — even a number of devout Muslims from Algeria. It was something. I believe that many from Houston's First prayed and it certainly made a difference. Just wanted to share that with you.

Thanks for praying!

All for His glory,
Patti LaCarter

ORIGINAL POST (June 24, 2014)

The nations have come to Brazil for the World Cup and what an opportunity we have over these thirty-two days! Christian organizations and many churches are joining together to share the Good News through skits, music and distributing tracts in the cities hosting the games. Although there have been protests (some violent) taking place, God is truly protecting us all!

My friend Georgia and I are evangelizing at the famous boardwalk in Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro where thousands of tourists gather each day at the bars or on the beach to watch the games on large screens. It has been a blessing as we have been able to share Christ with people from Argentina, Chile, Croatia, Holland, Sweden, Switzerland, Mexico, England, France, Gabon, Honduras, Spain, Australia, USA and of course Brazil!

As we wind our way through the crowds of chanting fans, the Lord directs us to people who we are able to have significant conversations with about Christ!

  • I shared the story of Jesus to a university student from Belgium who told me it was the most beautiful story he had heard and would return to his hotel to reflect on Jesus' gift of salvation.
  • Another woman said she was standing there silently crying out to God for help when I approached her. Although a spiritist, she willingly listened and gratefully accepted prayer, a Bible and an invitation to our Bible study.
  • A couple from Sweden said they were feeling the emptiness in the parties and it was time for them to consider Jesus.
  • Another young person made a decision to return to Christ.

We have been planting seeds with international journalists, business leaders, crazed soccer fans and families who have come to the games! Some initial responses are cold but completely change in the middle of the conversations as the Holy Spirit touches their hearts! Our faith has been strengthened as we see God at work.

Besides street evangelism, we are also airing the games in our churches in Niteroi and Cabo Frio and inviting the community to come and watch the games with us and participate in our pre- and post-game festivities. On Saturday, we gathered around Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã stadium with about a thousand other Christians to pray for Brazil and simultaneously read the entire Bible aloud! We certainly felt the presence of the Lord among us.

Please join with us in prayer for this nation. Presently there is a lot of unrest here as Brazilians watched billions spent on stadiums but basic health needs, education and services continued to be ignored. Pray that this frustration would help them turn their eyes to God. Continue to pray for us to boldly share Christ and for many lives to be transformed by Jesus Christ!

— Patti LaCarter


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