Knowing His Provision and Protection

On Friday morning, we set out for the clinic again, at 6am with Lizandra, Dona Geralda and Natalia & Layane. We dropped them off at the clinic and ran some errands in the meantime – bank, bills, Nordestão (the major grocery store here). Lori picked out 60 fresh rolls from the bakery, planning to make ham & cheese sandwiches for a young group of street kids that appeared at a street corner in Natal a few weeks ago.

Why only 60 sandwiches, you ask? We usually take 500, yes. Unfortunately, last Wednesday morning, Mark’s truck wouldn’t go into gear. Welcome to Brazil. The mechanic told us it would take 20-30 business days for them to get all the necessary parts to fix the truck. So, street feedings like we normally do won’t be possibly for the next month (or more). Please pray for a speedy repair job for Mark’s truck! Thankfully, the day after we arrived here, we rented a little four-door Ford car for me to use for the month, so we still have two operational vehicles.




After our errands, we drove back to the clinic and picked up the ladies. Dona Geralda got a good report from the cardiologist; he wants to see her back in two months to ensure the lower doses of medications he prescribed continue to work. Now, back to Dona Geralda’s house to drop off her and Liz, and then back to our house with Natalia & Layane. After lunch, Lori, Nonna and the girls put together the ham & cheese sandwiches (I was napping in the hammock 😳😴). At 4pm, we set out for the city with the sandwiches, looking for the kids on the street corner that Lori had seen them. It was still light out when we got there, and the stores on the corners were open – the kids wouldn’t be coming until the shops were closed up for the night and it was dark. So we sat in the car at the corner for about 20min (sunset here is around 5:30pm, so we weren’t waiting too long). The shops closed up, but still no kids. Determined to find them, we drove around the city for a half hour or so, looking. Just as we were about to give up, a family showed up at the corner – parents with two young girls, sitting against the wall, packing up peanuts in little bags to sell at the traffic light.




We hopped out and started handing out the sandwiches, chocolate milk and tracts. Natalia immediately hit it off with the two little girls, and played peekaboo with them using their cardboard mat. It didn’t take long for some other people across the street to come over – adults, but homeless nonetheless. They told us that usually the kids hang out here at night, and that they should be coming soon. We stayed out there for awhile, chatting with the people and offering refills on the chocolate milk.

Coincidentally, one of the ladies from the favela Leningrado walked by, with her husband and 5-month old baby, Anna Luisa. They were on their way home from the city, walking to the bus stop. Lori talked with Sabrina while Natalia held sweet Anna Luisa.




Unfortunately, only two more little boys showed up – not the usual 20-30 kids that Lori had been seeing. But, we made new contacts, and handed out the Word. God had in mind some different mouths to feed than we had intended. His ways are higher than ours.




Leaving the city, we headed straight to Aningas to bring home Natalia and Layane. Nonna & Papa had come with us for the street feeding, so it was a full car- them, the girls, me and Lori. We crossed the bridge out of the city, and made it onto the BR-101, which is the main road to Aningas. All of a sudden, we heard a very strange, loud noise at the back of the SUV, like a whirring, whistling sound of a wire vibrating in the air. Haha, sorry for the bad description… but was very strange. And less than a minute later, ka-thunk, ka-thunk, ka-thunk – we had a flat tire! Dead flat.




We pulled over to side of the BR, and put on the fourways. Let me take a quick detour to tell you a few things about the BR…it’s a one-lane highway, speed limit 80km/hr, with ZERO lights, and about 8″ worth of space for a “breakdown lane.” And the cell phone service on the BR is next to none. Yeah. And our back right tire was flat.

By the grace of God, we were in a spot with just enough cell service to call the house and inform Mark & William of our state of emergency, who immediately came to our rescue (which was 20min later). Luckily, this wasn’t Mark’s first rodeo, and with William’s help, they had the tire changed in less than 15 minutes! Lori, William, and Nonna & Papa drove home in the SUV, and Mark and I took the girls home to Aningas. We got home around 8:45pm. Not too shabby, considering the day’s events!




We take His provisions for granted far too often. How great, and gracious is our God. We are so thankful for His protection. There are so many other scenarios that could have played out last night. The fact that we got the flat tire in a spot on the highway WITH cell service is a miracle itself. Changing a flat on the BR is exceptionally dangerous, but we all made it home safely, thanks to His preserving hand. We’ll see what tomorrow brings for adventures!



Behind Dona Geralda’s farm is a trench-like path of orange sand leading down to the farmland far below. Lizandra, Natalia and I went exploring before lunch, and had quite the workout descending and climbing back up the path.




Lizandra told us that in 1997,   heavy rains caused a mudslide that almost completely wiped out the small village of clay houses below. Three lives were lost, and only two abandoned houses remain. Now, no one lives on the land below, but the fertile ground is used to grow crops, and pasture their horses, cows and sheep.






On the way back, we encountered a donkey carrying a large load of grass, with his owner perched comfortably on top. You could barely see the donkey’s face from the front, or his little rump behind; living up to his kind’s title, beast of burden




Farm to Table



Dona Geralda, her son, Rildo (Lizandra’s husband), and another woman, Vera, prepared a wonderful meal for us for lunch. When we first arrived at the farm, we saw Vera plucking feathers off a chicken…and it was that very chicken that we ate for lunch, bringing a whole new appreciation to “farm to table” for me 🙂 Everything was delicious, including the famous feijão verde (green beans), which Lori, Dona Geralda and Rildo had tediously shelled out earlier.







On the Farm



This morning, we set out at 6:30 to take Lizandra’s mother-in-law, Dona Geralda, to a clinic for a follow up doctor’s appointment. We arrived after a 30min ride, only to find that follow up appointments are given only on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Whoops! So we drove back to Dona Geralda’s farm and spent the rest of the morning there with her menagerie of critters.














Door to Door



Layane, Natalia, Pedro and I went door-to-door in Aningas and another closeby village today, looking for our four-legged friends. We fitted 17 horses & donkeys with the cotton noseband, and passed out Bibles at each house. So far, everyone has been very receptive of both the equipment, and the Word. Please pray that God continues to bless this little work, and opens hearts for the seed to be sown.







English Lessons



We use a small classroom in the school in Aningas for our English lessons. Today we practiced pronunciation of words and phrases they’ve already learned. Then we added in some new vocabulary – knife, fork, spoon, plate, napkin, etc – and acted out a mealtime scenario.



Passing through the cafeteria on our way out, we saw the kids munching on their afternoon school snack.


Caring for the Animals



Every horse and donkey here has a burn on its nose from the heat and pressure of the metal noseband it wears, working all day. Here are the first 3, of hopefully many more, that I’ve been able to fit with a cotton piece that velcros over the metal, to protect the animals’ noses.




And of course, this lends the opportunity to send them on their way with a Bible in hand!



Getting Ready for Market



Prepping veggies for the feira (market) is a family affair in Aningas. Here, the boys sit on Natalia’s porch, peeling mandioca to sell later this week.


*Daily Life update from Stephanie

Waiting to Bless

Sunday night Lica came into the Galpão before the Sunday School started, and told us about her 10 year old niece. The little girl had lost vision in one eye and was losing her sight in the other eye. Lica asked us to take her to Natal to the doctor’s.
The local doctor had told them that it was a bacteria, causing the loss of vision, and she needed an exam and medicine. We remembered taking Leandro, seven years ago, with this same thing. He was given medicine to take for two months, and soon was seeing perfectly again.
So yesterday I went to talk to Dr. Ramilson in Natal, at the Hospital dos Olhos. He promised to go early if I would bring the child at 7:00 a.m. He would see her before his other patients.

This morning, I arrived in Aningas at 6:00 a.m. Lica was waiting for me.
“She’s not here. Her mom has her, she’s not in Aningas, and I’ve been trying to call her, but she won’t answer the phone.”
I imagined this little girl scared and needing help, unable to see. The medicine she needs works very quickly. But no one would bring her to get help. I felt sad, frustrated, and I felt I couldn’t relate to this situation. Until Mark said, “I guess it’s a small picture of how God feels. He did everything. All we do is say yes.” And we don’t. Gulp. Suddenly, every unkind, judgmental thought that I had been thinking seemed horribly hypocritical, because I know there are times when God wants to help me, and I don’t let Him because I have other plans.

The good news is God never gives up. He knows how each of us will respond to Him. He knows, even before we do, when we’re going to refuse His help, yet He never stops offering His salvation, His grace, His love. He never stops going after us, to rescue us from ourselves. No matter how far we stray from doing right or being the person He wants us to be, He sees what He wants for us and keeps on offering that to us.
If I want to be like Him, I need to keep going after anyone who needs my help, doing what I can with love and kindness and understanding. Just like He does.

And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]! 
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:18‬ ‭AMP‬‬

A Day in the Life of Mark & Lori Procopio- A Special Christmas meal!

A Day in the Life of Mark & Lori Procopio: A special Christmas meal, through the eyes of a visitor.

By Sandra Livingstone



THE STREETS OF NATAL– Christmas Meal Delivered

It all starts with two massive pots of baked beans (with lots of other tasty things added in!)  These cook all night and someone has to stay up to stir them every 30-45 minutes




There are also large pots of rice cooked early in the morning.  They are then dumped into two large plastic bins that have a special space on the back of Mark’s truck.





Bags of farofa are emptied into another large plastic bin.




Mark has built a wooden compartmentalized piece for the back of his truck that holds the large pots of beans, container of rice, and juice coolers.   Straps are tightened to hold everything in place.  The food can be served right from the back of the truck.




Our first stop of the day (second day of serving this special meal), we stopped at a favela called Cambuim.  We developed a system with Mark scooping the beans and Layane holding the dish for Natalie to scoop up the rice.  Then I added a scoop of farofa on top and put a spoon in the dish.  Lori then handed the dish to the next person in the line.  Meanwhile, Antonia Bednarik made sure every person received a gospel tract.  There were at least 150-200 people served in this area.





The second stop for the day was at Km 6 of Felipe Camarao where the rest of the food was distributed.  Children came running from all directions, and many adults joined the line also.  The food distribution team:  Layane, Sandra, Lori, Natalia and Mark.  Antonia was busy distributing gospel tracts again at this location.






This is what it’s all about:  touching a life, showing love and compassion, being the hands of Jesus in a world filled with alcohol, drugs, abuse, and lack of the basic necessities.  Mark and Lori are not afraid to get their hands dirty, and they open their hands, hearts, and home so willingly.




This young boy finds it very hard to walk because his feet are so infested by bugs that they are swollen and painful.  He probably doesn’t even own a pair of shoes!




Did you stop today to thank God for a home in which to live? decent clothing to cover your body? a pair of shoes on your feet? a safe environment in which your children can live and grow?  Please take a moment to thank God for so many basic needs that we take for granted but which are not part of the lives of these children.  Also remember in prayer Mark and Lori and the young people who help them when they are visiting these very poor areas and taking food or helping with their medical needs




Even though Lori doesn’t have a medical background, she is often called on to administer first aid for these people.  It might be as simple as cleaning and dressing a wound, as repulsive as digging bugs and eggs out of a child’s foot, or as severe as dressing a stab wound.






Another special event that happens over the Christmas holidays is a fun day for the children in the town of Aningas where the orphanage will be built.  Children wait in anticipation for the afternoon when fun and laughter and color brightens their little world!  A variety of equipment is set up and the children line up and wait patiently for their turn to slide or jump or play.
















After the kids have played for a while, they are all given a corn snack and even the adults come looking for a treat.  There were lots for everyone, and no one was turned away if they came back a second time.

Later in the afternoon when it was hot, we gave out popsicles to everyone.  They are a nice fruit-flavored creamy popsicle that really hit the spot on a hot day!







Please pray for Mark and Lori as they continue their work in Natal and look forward to starting building the orphanage in Aningas.  Pray for their safety and wisdom as they move forward when God opens doors.




There are a number of nice young people who have gotten saved, but during the Christmas holidays while we were there to help the Procopios, we spent quite a bit of time with two young ladies.  Please pray for their spiritual growth and preservation.


Natália and her cousin Layane




Mark and Lori Proopio with four of the young Christians.  Back left to right:  Geovane (age 23), Lori, Natália (age 21), Joab (age 20).  Front:  Layane (age 21) and Mark.