Here is a funny story for you. I noticed that in the state of Rio de Janeiro, it is very common for men to kiss each other on the cheek. When we were there last week, I was often kissed on the cheek by pastors and other Christians. But, when I came to the state of Espiritu Santo, I noticed that nobody was kissing me on the cheek. So I asked someone if it was normal for guys to kiss each other on the cheek, he said no and that most would think that was weird. It must be a local custom in Rio but not in Espirito Santo, so I am glad I asked. Otherwise I would have been kissing guys here in Espiritu Santo and would have been thought of as rather weird. Glad I asked! That is a lesson for all you world travelers out there-follow the cultural cues and never assume!
On a more serious note, the other night I preached to a crowd of about a thousand people in a park outside a hotel. The title of my message was "The God of Second Chances." I illustrated the story of the prodigal son and told stories of both Biblical and non-Biblical characters in which God gave someone a second chance. Many people came forward to receive Christ for the first time. As an evangelist, I was delighted! Interestingly, I shared the story of Johnny Cash, how he had lost everything in his life and how God had restored him. My interpreter told me that one of the guys who came forward was a man who had just arrived in the city and had lost everything in the city that he came from. He said that was the first night he had come to a meeting to hear about Jesus. I am so thankful that our God really is a God of second chances!