Billy Jones Reports On His Rio 2016 Outreach
Having attended the recent Olympic Games Pastor Billy Jones reports on his Rio 2016 outreach. Billy as many of you will know, recently left Ballee Baptist Church to take up the ministry at Dunseverick Baptist near the Giant’s Causeway. Having travelled to Brazil with his daughter Rebekah, they experienced times of great blessing as they undertook Christian outreach during the Games.
Undoubtedly, the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics created many happy memories for the supporters and athletes from Great Britain & Northern Ireland and Ireland who were lucky enough to be there in person.
While Billy and Rebekah enjoyed seeing records being broken and medals won at the athletics track, beach volleyball courts and hockey pitches, they stayed focused on their ultimate goal. This was to help reach lost souls with the good news of Jesus Christ.
Upon arriving in Brazil, this intrepid father and daughter duo made their way to Nilopolis Evangelical Church where they were based at a Hockey Centre.
From there, Billy had the opportunity to undertake some discreet outreach as he provided orientation support to some Irish fans. As a former long-term missionary to the region his mastery of Portugese proved invaluable to them.
However, his personal highlight from the fortnight long expedition emerged when he and Rebekah spent a day far away from the Olympic stadiums. They visited an outreach project called Hockey Life. It was founded by Brazilian international hockey player Brunno Mendonca and supported by his church in the Nilopolis district of Rio. It’s also supported by Brazilian ladies team player Claire Hilbrink and the Dutch hockey federation.
As Billy Jones reports on his Rio 2016 outreach work, he goes on to explain, “The project is located in a rubbish tip which is the size of Ballymoney called Jardim Gramacho. Here the local inhabitants not only live on but also make their living from the rubbish dumped there. Most houses if they can be called that, are little more than plastic and cardboard shacks. 160 children are registered with the project and as well as hockey, football, volleyball and basketball coaching, they receive a lunch. For many of the kids it’s their only meal that day and the gospel is shared with them.
If the hockey coaching and playing was a privilege then the home visits were a challenge. To see such poverty and yet to hear people say thank you for coming to help our children and share the gospel with them. This made me realise that even there, on a rubbish tip, you can know the presence of God. Here we could see evidence of salvation and the kingdom of God!”
As Billy Jones reports on his Rio 2016 outreach work he tells The Church Page that Brazil is like a second home to him and his family.
Billy and his family always relish returning to ‘terra do Brasil’ where they spent ten years from 1995 until 2005.
He remarked: “It is a second home to us! A country that will always hold a special place in our hearts. Brazil is a country of contrasts, where wealth and poverty co-exist side by side. That can bring dangers.
It is also a nation with a uniqueness and beauty that few others can match. Spiritually speaking, it is a field that’s ripe for harvest and cultivating. This is my goal each time I return to Brazil”, Billy concludes.