IAEM Scholarship

Today I received the wonderful news that I have been awarded the 2018 Graduate Student Scholarship by the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM). Not only will this be a much appreciated help with this semester's fees for the Master of Emergency Management degree that I am working towards, but I also consider it to be a great honour that I have been chosen to be the receipent of this award.

Thank you, IAEM!

Paul

CERT training in Guatemala

I spent from the 11th to the 20th of August with Iris Relief in Guatemala where I held a three-day CERT Train-the-Trainer course for six CERT volunteers from Belize and Guatemala. I then supervised these instructors as they held a Basic CERT course in Spanish for 48 volunteers from the Casa de Dios church. Once again, it was a great experience to see CERT training being received and applied by the enthusiastic volunteers, many of whom had responded to the recent volcanic eruption in that nation.

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CERT training in Belize

From the 28th of  July to the 11th of August I visited Punta Gorda, Belize where I was able to teach a Basic CERT course and Tools for Leadership Success module, with the assistance of some of the graduates from the Iris Relief Leaders School. It was a great opportunity to train around 50 participants, including members of the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO), the Belize Defence Force and representatives from Non-Governmental Organisations.

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Iris Relief Leaders School in Puerto Rico

From the 9th of June through to the 28th of July I helped with the Iris Relief Leaders School in Dourado, Puerto Rico. During this time I taught the CERT Basic course, Leadership module and Train-the-Trainer course, along with some other teaching that I had prepared on subjects such as disaster spiritual care, international humanitarian relief, and most of my Wake Up The Warriors ministry training seminar.

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Leaving Brazil

On the 26th of February I left Brazil, almost exact 24 years after I first arrived as a missionary in March of 1994.

Although I had visited New Zealand a number times since then, I am now officially no longer living in Brazil. However, the work with young people in the suburb of Cordoeira is continuing, and I do plan to visit in June on my way to Puerto Rico.

For the next few months I will be studying for a Master in Emergency Management through Massey University.

I thought it could be helpful to record some short videos showing some of the adaptions and modifications that we made to the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training course here in Brazil. Unfortunately the quality of the videos isn't that great, however I hope that could be of use to those who are adapting the standard CERT course for use in different cross-cultural applications.

These videos are on my Youtube channel, however here some links and brief explanations as well.

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CERT disaster simulation in Petrópolis

On the 17th of December I organized a CERT simulated disaster exercise with the help of two members of our Teen CERT group for the three CERT teams that I had previously trained in the city of Petrópolis - RJ. This project was undertaken in  partnernship with the "Fortalecendo a Resiliência" (Strengthening Resilience) Project of the Instituto Fontes, with backing from the C & A Foundation and Save The Children and took place in the suburb of Morin.

Here are a few photos from the course.

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First aid classes for city school teachers and teachers' aids

Last week I taught two more basic first aid courses to city school teachers and teachers' aids. There were in addition to the two other courses that I taught to school directors and teachers before travelling overseas, and all of these classes, which I gave on a volunteer basis, were very well received.

Here are some photos from the last two courses.

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Hurricane Harvey deployment

From the 9th of September until the 3rd of October I deployed with Iris Relief to their response to Hurricane Harvey. Based out of the city of Rockport - Texas, we received several teams of volunteers and missionaries, and assisted impacted residents, as well as working alongside FEMA at their Disaster Recover Centers.

Here are some photos from the deployment.

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First aid course for city school directors

Today I had the opportunity to give a short first aid lesson to a group of around 50 school directors representing the 18,000 primary school children in the city's public school network. Fortunately it went very well, and I should have some further courses coming up within the schools within the near future.

Here are some photos of the course, and of Bob the Rescue Manikin (who proved to be the star of the show and the subject of a number of selfie requests at the end of it!).

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Visit to Fire Department

Today I was able to take some of the members of our Teen CERT group to visit the Nova Friburgo division of the Rio de Janeiro State Military Fire Department (CBMERJ). The young folk were shown through the ALS ambulance, rescue vehicle and fire engine and received demonstrations of equipment including breathing apparatus and the jaws of life. They then had the opportunity to practise using hose lines.

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Trip to Rio's Air Force and Naval musuems

Today I was able to take three of the teens from our group to visit the Air Force Aerospace Musuem and the Navy Cultural Centre in Rio de Janeiro city, a 150 km drive from our city, Nova Friburgo. In addition to seeing a number of aircraft at the aeorspace musuem, we were also able to visit a Navy battleship and submarine, and to see inside a SH3 Sea King helicopter.

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Here are a couple of photos of Kevin and Marlon trying out the software that I have written and installed on our two working computers: Kevin was testing his English vocabulary whilst Marlon was doing some times tables.

The software, which I started writing on Sunday and is over 2,000 lines of Visual Basic code, ensures that the teens do some schoolwork revision before they get to use the games or internet.

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Easter Maze 2017

Our teens' group helped me put together an Easter Maze in our former church for local children from our community. We had some fifty kids and four adults take the half-hour guided tour through the maze, in ten groups, over the Easter holiday period and it was wonderful to see how many were understanding the timeless message of the Gospel, and of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our teenagers were a great help as they operated the maze with its videos, sound track and smoke machine, and helped organize the kids and the distribution of chocolate and Easter eggs to them after their visit.

Here are some photos of the maze, there is also a video available for registered users of this site.

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I was able to take four of our teens to a local river today - despite summer being officially over we got a mostly sunny day.

It's always hard to choose who gets to go as due to financial issues, the size of my car, and the lack of available adult helpers, I'm very limited in how often I can do these sorts of activities and how many of our youth can participate at any one time.

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From the 22nd of February to the 10th of March I travelled to the city of Porto Alegre, in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, where I ministered at a Foursquare church youth camp with around 300 participants. I also had the opportunity to minister six times at different churches. It was wonderful to the see the move of the Holy Spirit throughout this time.

Here are a couple of photos from my trip.

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Christmas

Christmas here was noisy as usual, however it was good to be able to have a meal with some of the young people from the project. I was able to bring back over dozen small Christmas presents from New Zealand for our teens and adult leaders, as well as some edible Christmas tree decorations, which were a big hit.

Here are a few photos.

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Back in Brazil

I finally made it back to Friburgo around 5 am, after a four hour delay getting into Rio.  Some of the young people helped me unpack my bags - even I am amazed at how much I managed to get into them this time!

There was a landslide here in town on Wednesday, fortunately no-one was injured however as there has been unusually heavy rain for the latest few days the city is currently in a state of alert.

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Early this morning (at 12:02 AM to be exact) I was woken up by rather strong (7.8 on the Richter scale) and very long (over 2 minutes) earthquake. Despite the intensity of the quake, there was no damage to my brother's house where I am staying, and only one major aftershock shortly after. There was an evacuation order given for low lying regions, which did not affect us.

 

Red Cross PHEC course in Christchurch

I flew out of Rio on the 24th of October, arriving back in Christchurch on the 26th. I am planning to stay in New Zealand until the 14th of December, when I will be flying back to Brazil.

From the 2nd to the 4th of November I participated in a Pre Hospital Emergency Care course with the New Zealand Red Cross, having previously completed the pre-course theory assignment.

Here are some photos from the course.

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Car accident

I came across a one car crash on my way back from the shops this afternoon. Fortunately, a nurse was taking care of the driver so I didn't have to do anything except hand her the gloves from my first aid key ring.

I was very impressed with the no-fuss Kiwi way that the paramedic, ambulance, two fire trucks and two cop cars all arrived on the scene, but then I remembered that it is Sunday afternoon in Christchurch and they didn't need to use their sirens are there are almost no cars on the road!

I had an unexpected visit to the US in mid October, from the 10th through to the 21st. Most of this time was spent with the Iris Global base at Abiline - Texas, where we were working on possibly developed a disaster response missions training and sending centre. I was also able to train one person as a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program Manager during this time.

I also had the opportunity to visit the Austin Disaster Relief Network in the centre of Austin - TX, which is an amazing networking of over 170 churches that work together in disaster preparedness and response. We also visited some ministries in Houston before I fly back to Brazil on the 20th, arriving in Rio on the 21st.

The trip was an unexpected but very worthwhile experience.

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Teens' group meeting and party

We had a meeting of our teens' group tonight and a surprise party, partly to celebrate Brazilian Childrens' Day, which is next Wednesday, and partly as a social activity as we probably won't have a chance to have another meeting until I get back from New Zealand in mid-December.

It was also an opportunity for six of our teenagers to receive their new ranks within our group structure, including Kevin who is the first member of the group to be awarded the Junior Commander rank.

Turnout was less than expected, which was not doubt due, at least in part, to a shooting (death) that happened here in the hillside last night, and the environment here which feels like we are in a state of siege at the moment. Neverless, the meeting went very well and the party was a great success.

Here are some photos from our meeting tonight.

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At the Olympics
Thanks to a generous donation from the US, I was able to take two of our teens to Rio to watch the Kiwi's take on the Brits in the Olympic Rugby Sevens. Since the Kiwis ending up losing, the highlight of the day had to be when Wellington caught a stray rugby ball that the Japanese sent flying into our part of the stands.

Here are some photos from today:

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Programming lessons

Over the last couple of weeks I have been running some Small BASIC programming lessons to a small group of young people. It's great to see these teens wanting to learn programming - at their request we did a double class yesterday and are getting into nested IF-THEN-ELSE conditions.

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Azusa Street Celebrations

Over the past week I have been helping Crisis Response International here in Los Angeles as we participate in the 110th aniversary of the Azusa Street Revival. We have been helping with a tent which has been placed on the site of the original Azusa Street Mission (now a public square), ministering to the homeless, and also participated in the Azusa Now / The Call Azusa celebration. It has been an incredible time and a wonderful opportunity to see the Lord touch so many people.

Here are some photos that I have taken over the week.

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Uberlândia - MG

I've had a wonderful time here in Uberlandia with the Central Methodist church, after flying up from Rio on Friday, and have ministered four times, with one more opportunity at another Methodist church tonight.Over the last few days we've seen a couple of physical healing, including partial restoration of eyesight, and many wonderful manifestations of the Holy Spirit's presence.

I have an early flight back to São Paulo tomorrow morning, then on to Rio, and should get back home in Friburgo mid to late afternoon.

Londrina - PR

I am now back in Friburgo after having spent the last few days in the city of Londrina ("little London") in the southern state of Paraná with some friends from New Zealand. It was also great to be able to spend some time with Mike Shea, the leader of a worship and intercession ministry known as Casa de Daví.

After several months work (and one builder who simply disappeared one day and never came back), we have finally finished the major work on our old church building, now missions base. The major changes including moving a doorway, adding a roller door and closing off the upstairs flat roof area to make another room.

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Games night

It was great to open our base for some of the kids from the teens' group to play games tonight. We're hoping to make some adjustments soon to the building, to make the space more usable and secure, and to prepare for what I hope will be my soon return to the house that I built above the then church building just over ten years ago.

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Overnight camp-out

We had a great "camp-out" on the church roof overnight with some of the teens from our group. It was really cool to see how everyone helped with the chores, and we had some real good conversations (and one boy was instantly healed of a stomach-ache when we prayed for him last night).

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I'm now back in Nova Friburgo after a very long series of flights back from Christchurch, going through Los Angeles and New York before finally arriving in Rio. It was great to have Felipe pick me up at the airport.

I took the 5:13 train to Manhattan this morning, and after somewhat of an adventure arrived at the Brooklyn Sports Club, where I completed a day-long Red Cross Wilderness First Aid course.

I got a little lost on my way back to the subway station and asked a couple of cops for direction - it was quite funny to hear them tell me to be careful as that particular suburb was "the worst suburb in New York city" and the block where we were was, according to them, the "worst block". I've just arrived back in Greenwich, without any further adventures.

I'm now back in Friburgo after spending that weekend ministering with a church in Belo Horizonte. There were very powerful moves of the Spirit on the Saturday and Sunday nights. There have been very few times I have seen so many children and teens so powerfully touched by the Spirit, as well as the adults.

I had been scheduled to fly to and from Belo Horizonte, but a very late airport bus meant that I missed my flight out (and the airlines thoughfully cancelled my flight back). However, I was able to take a bus to and from the city, a 12 hour ride each way.
Teen group hike

Today I took some our teens hiking up a nearby mountain (I survived!).

While on our climb back down the mountain the teens found and buried a blue parakeet, which seemed to have died of natural causes. Sorry kids, I guess that means that that there won't be any more Rio movies!

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I had a wonderful time over the Carnival holiday period ministering at two camps with the Pentecostal Church of God in greater Belo Horizonte, MG.

There were around 120 people at the Eldorado church's camp, where I stayed in a tent from Friday to Tuesday, and I had the opportunity to minister twice. On the Sunday morning there was a wonderful move of the Holy Spirit among the children and teens, and on the Monday evening it was awesome to see the powerful move of the Spirit, with many people being visibly touched by His Presence and with one man testifying of healing of an ongoing back problem.

On the Tuesday night I ministered at another church's camp, with around 50 people participating and a good number of teenagers present. Once again there was a wonderful move of the Spirit, and after the meeting three teenagers told me that they had never felt His presence in such a way before.

Teen CERT course

Today we finished another week-long Teen CERT course at the Cordoeira Residents' Association hall in Nova Friburgo with help from the members of our CERT and Teen CERT groups. The course went very well and we had a great final exercise, based around a simulated aircraft crash, with help from a visiting team of overseas missionaries.

Here are some photos from the course and final simulation exercise:

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"My first contact with Christ was through you"... "I thank God for sending you (plural) to that place".

Today I had a facebook chat with a young man called Carlos Henrique who I haven't seen for at least 14 or 15 years. He was one of the first kids that the House of Project (which later became the Friburgo Iris Base) reached when he was in his early teens and it was wonderful to hear from him after all this time and find that he is going on with God.

On my way to Christchurch

I'm currently at the Rio de Janeiro international airport, where a strange robot just took my photo. I'm about to fly to Christchurch, via Dubai, Bangkok and Sydney.

While in New Zealand I'll be taking part in a short course at Massey University and have several university exams to take, and will hopefully also visit Auckland. On my way back to Brazil I'm planning to visit Pemba, Mozambique where I will be running some emergency response team training for missionaries and Bible school students.

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Back from an amazing weekend at a Congregational church in Barra Mansa RJ. It was very intense - I ministered Friday night, Saturday morning, afternoon, and evening but very cool, with powerful moves of the Spirit among the young people. There were around 300 present at the meeting last night and a number of people reporting healings, especially of back and wrist pain.

It has been a wonderful time here in Ourinhos - SP ministering the Seeking True Revival seminar, and I have been so blessed to see how Jesus has been pouring out His Spirit upon us. It was really neat to see the younger kids being powerfully touched by the Father's love last night, and to hear some of the testimonies of the awesome things that He has been doing.

This afternoon I start the long series of bus rides back to Friburgo - it took me 18 hours to get here, but as I couldn't get a direct bus back from SP to Friburgo the return trip may take a little longer. Thanks for your prayers!

Nova Friburgo February 2014

Howdy,

Its now been just over three years since Nova Friburgo became the epicentre for Brazils worst ever natural disaster, when heavy rainfall caused landslides and flooding that killed an offical total of just under one thousand victims. Although there have been some signs of progress since then, many of the scars from that time period still remain. Today I took some photos around town to illustrate an article that I am writing for an emergency management publication, and I thought it could be interesting to also share some of them here.

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Civil Defence Simulated Evacuation Exercise Granja Spinelli

Yesterday our Crisis Response Unit, together with some of the teenagers that we trained in the Teen CERT program, participated in a city-wide Civil Defence evacuation simulation. Our team of ten responders, with the help of another eleven local Teen-CERT members, helped in the suburb of Granja Spinelli where the siren was activated and the local school was opened as a temporary evacuation point.

It was great to see how our teams worked so well together with the local authorities and other responders from the Red Cross and military.

Here are some photos from yesterday's exercise.

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Crisis Response Unit and Teens Group Training

Since Setember we have been holding two-weekly meetings on Saturday nights where we provide advanced training to members of our Christian Crisis Response Unit and young people from our teens group who have completed the Teen CERT course. Over the past several meetings we have trained with the SKED stretcher, tested an Meal Ready to Eat (MRE), and practised one and two personal profissional CPR and the use of the Bag Valve Mask (BVM) and Automatic External Defibrillator (AED).

Here are some photos from recent training meetings:

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Teen CERT Course - Municipal School Professor Alberto Meyer

This week I finished another Teen CERT course at a municipal school in the suburb of Granja Spinelli, here in Nova Friburgo - RJ, which was badly impacted by the landslides back in January 2011 and, sadly, still shows the scars of that devastation.

21 young teens completed the course, which was very encouraging to see, and I am planning to ran another course for another group starting tomorrow.

As we do not receive any funding to provides these courses, please consider helping by promoting my fundraising page at www.gofundme.com/TeenCERTRJ

Here are some photos from the week.

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Teen CERT Course at E.M. Dante Magliano

Howdy,

Last week we ran another Teen CERT course, this time for a dozen teenagers who study at the Escola Municipal Dante Magliano here Nova Friburgo. The course went very well, and it was good to see how the young people learned the basic of emergency preparedness and response during the 20 hour course.

These courses, which are running free-of-charge, have been very well received, and is good to see that we can help prepare our city, which was impacted by  Brazil's worst natural disaster back in 2011. Unfortunately, the recently released Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Plan shows that over 18,000 residents in our city continue to live in houses which have a high to very-high risk of collapse in the event of heavy rainfall.

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Teen CERT course, Cordoeira - Nova Friburgo

This past week we have just finished teaching another Teen CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) course in the suburb of Cordoeira, Nova Friburgo - RJ. As you can see from the photos, there is still a lot of damage around from the landslides that happened in January 2011, and as we are soon to be coming into the rainy season once again, it is good to be focussing once again on community preparedness.

It was a great time, albeit very busy, and you can see how we have been able to obtain and prepare the necessary equipment so as offer the course free of charge to the young people of this at-risk suburb. I am also hoping to be able to continue running these courses in city schools, and would appreciate your help in promoting our funding page http://www.gofundme.com/TeenCERTR as we are in need of further donations in order to be able to continue this project.

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Teen CERT courses - Nova Friburgo

Hi,

I have just finished a very busy but profitable week, running the Teen CERT disaster response course for two groups of teenagers at a local school. In all, we had 24 students who completed the training.

One of the highlights of the week, for me, was hearing from a young man who had completed the Teen CERT training last year, and told me how that he had used his new found first-aids skills three times since then, including at two traffic accidents.

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Civil Defense display, 7th April 2013

Hi,

On Sunday, the 7th of April, members of our Crisis Response Unit participated in a public exhibition, in the main square of the city of Nova Friburgo, put on by the city Civil Defense Department and called "Civil Defense close to you".

We mounted our small tent and, as well showing some of our equipment, we ran some basic first aid lessons for kids from city schools.

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USA Trip, February 2013

Hi,

From the 2nd to the 26th of February I visited the United States once again, primarily to take part in two training courses at the Federal Emergency Management Agency's National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg - MD. I also had the chance to spend some more time at the CRI Base Camp in Lindenhurst - Long Island - NY, which was winding up after three months working with survivors of Superstorm Sandy. During my stay, I also ministered at a church in New York, and had the chance to complete several courses with the American Red Cross, and successfully took an exam at the headquarters of the International Assocation of Emergency Managers (IAEM).

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Nova Friburgo, two years later...

I recently had the opportunity to visit a suburb here in Nova Friburgo - Rio de Janeiro which was devastated by the landslides on the 12th of January of 2011. Despite the fact that this suburb is some 2 - 3 km from the centre of the city, as you can see from these photos that I took, it seems that little or nothing has been done in the intervening timespan, and the vast majority of the residents have been forced find other accomodation elsewhere.

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Super-storm Sandy deployment with CRI

Hi,

I am now back in Brazil having spent nearly four weeks in the east coast of the United States. Most of this time was spent volunteering with Crisis Response International in the city of Lindenhurst, on Long Island, where we were helping and ministering to victims of Super Storm Sandy.

CRI has a field camp set up on the seashore, and their base camp currently at the Rainbow Center, a local community center. Most of our work involves helping landowners and residents remove debris from the hurricane, and stripping out dry-wall and flooring which has been soaked and contaminated by the flood waters, so that the houses can dry out prior to reconstruction.

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Israel trip - October 2012

Hi,

From the 13th to the 26th of October I was in Israel, where I participated in advanced disaster response training with Crisis Response International and the Israeli Emergency Volunteers Project (EVP). As well as participating in valuable training with search and rescue professionals, the ambulance service and the fire service, I also had opportunity to visit some of the historic and Biblical locations within the land.

Here are some photos from the trip.

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Back from a quick trip to Brasilia - 1,000 kms there and 1,000 back. A good meeting with the Director of the Chinese National Institute of Emergency Management and we signed a Memorandum of Understanding for further cooperation between the two countries.

You never know just what you'll uncover when find yourself with something that's "broken", a Philips' screwdriver and a little bit of time on your hand.

Because of our work with volunteer rescue teamsI was pleased to find that there two models of rechargeable flashlights (torches) here in Brazil, that are both quite cheap and often easily available. Both of them come with a dynamo that is supposed to recharge the internal battery.

This is the model that we purchased for the CERT teams that we trained in Teresópolis and Nova Friburgo:

lant1-300x255.jpg

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CERT training for Civil Defense Volunteers, Nova Friburgo, 26-28 May

Hi,

Over the weekend over the 25th to the 28th of May, our >Crisis Response Unit ran a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) course, in partnership with CARE Brazil, to train Civil Defense volunteers in the suburb of Duas Pedras, Nova Friburgo.

The course went very well, and we even featured in an article in the local TV news on the Saturday evening. We finished the training on the Sunday afternoon with a full-scale simulation which was held inside a bus station.

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Hi,

Over the weekend I ministered at a conference run by a Renewed Presbyterian church in the city of Anápolis - GO, in central Brazil. There was a good turnout over the weekend, with several churches participating, and I ministered on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening meetings.

There were wonderful moves of the Holy Spirit in all three meetings, and we able to pray for healing for many people on the Sunday evening, and a number testified to healing during the prayer time.

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Teresópolis flooding and landslides - Easter 2012

Hi,

We all thought that this year's rainy season, with the risk of flooding and landslides, had well and truly passed by the start of April. However, on Good Friday, the 6th, we had unusually heavy rainfall here in the mountainous region of Rio de Janeiro state, especially in the cities of Nova Friburgo and Teresópolis. In Friburgo we had some surface flooding, but fortunately no serious landslides, however Teresópolis was badly hit with both flooding downtown and landslides in some of the hillside communities.

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Training volunteers in disaster response in Teresópolis, 9-11 March 2012

Gidday,

Over this past weekend, two volunteers from our Crisis Response Unit and myself taught the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) course to nearly three-dozen volunteers in two at-risk communities in the neighbouring city of Teresópolis. The training was in partnership with CARE Brazil, with support from the European Commission, Brazilian charity Abrinq, and Save The Children Fund. CARE funded the expenses of the course, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the participants, and team equipment, although we donated our time to teach the 20 hour course.

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Youth camp, Minas Gerais state - February 17-21 2012

Hi,

Over the Carnaval period, I ministered at a camp for teens and youth for a church in the city of Contagem, Minas Gerais. Despite staying for four days in the tiny tent that I had purchased last year but never tried (and which can't possible really be two metres long, as the packing states!), it was a great time, and we had some wonderful meetings in the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit. I also preached at the church on the Wednesday night, and there was another cool move of the Spirit.

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It was exactly one year ago today that a message began to circulate through email and Christian websites claiming that a team of American missionaries had resurrected 16 victims of the floods and landslides that had devastated the mountainous region of Rio de Janeiro state, resulting in at least a thousand deaths.

Due to factual inconsistencies in the story, compared to my understanding of events as I had experienced them in the aftermath of the disaster, it immediately raised my suspicions - suspicions which were further confirmed when the supposed newspaper front page that accompanied the story was quickly shown to be a fake. Sadly, my many attempts to make contact with the team and with those propagating the story, met with responses ranging from silence to some quite aggressive replies! Eventually, the newspaper front page was admitted to be fake, but the principal parties promoting the story, the Healing Herald site and Bethel church in Redding - CA, maintained that the story was true.

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CRU deployment to Além Paraí­ba - 14 January 2012

This Saturday, the 14th of January, three members of our Crisis Response Unit, including myself, visited the city of Além Paraíba, in the neighbour state of Minas Gerais, together with a team from the Nova Friburgo Red Cross chapter. We took supplies of food, water and other donations, and also visited a shelter for victims of the recent floods and landslides there.

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Remembering the tragedy of 12 January 2011

Today, the 12th of January 2012, is exactly one year since the devastating flooding landslides that hit the mountainous region of Rio de Janeiro state, and especially the city of Nova Friburgo, resulting in an official death toll of nearly 1,000 and a probable total of around 3,000 fatalities. Our Crisis Response Unit participated in a public meeting in the town square, where a community emergency plan, in which we participated, was also presented. Here are some photos of that event.

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New Year's day 2012

On New Year's day, around 9 pm at night, we were told by the local Residents' Association vice-president that, due to the heavy rain that was falling and forecast, all the at-risk areas in the city were placed on alert. As our suburb of Cordoeira has a siren system to warn residents of impending danger, we opened the Association hall as an Evacuation Area and staffed it overnight, in case the alert was sounded to evacuate the danger zones.

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Crisis Response Unit simulation - 29th December 2011

On the 29th of December, our Crisis Response Unit held a simulated search and rescue exercise in the suburb of Cordoeira, Nova Friburgo - RJ. Despite the rain, which added a certain realism to the exercise, the simulation went very well, and both our team members and ""victims"" performed heroically.

Here are some photos from the exercise.

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Nova Friburgo Crisis Response Unit Training Course

Howdy,

This weekend (the 3rd and 4th of December), I prepared and taught a short (20 hour) training course for the members of the Nova Friburgo CRI Crisis Response Unit. Subjects covered included HOPE (House of Prayer and Encounter), introduction to CERT, CISM-7, basic First Aid, Light Search and Rescue, Triage, and basic Fire Suppression. And we a neat time of worship on the Sunday morning, when the Holy Spirit showed up.

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Friburgo CRI Crisis Response Unit participate in Civil Defence exercise

Hi,

It's been a while since I updated my blog, and I'll try to put update some of my recent activities when I can. However, after a quick trip to New Zealand for my brother Nate's wedding, I'm now back in Nova Friburgo, where I have beenworking to set up a volunteer Christian Crisis Response Unit, affilliated with Crisis Response International. This seems to be especially important at the moment as we are coming into the rainy season again at the moment, and there is a very real risk of further landslides (just this weekend, Friburgo was in a situation of alert due to the heavy rainfall).

 

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Four Square childrens' leaders' conference in Manaus

From the 6th to the 8th of October, I ministered at a conference for childrens' and pre-teens' leaders with the Four Square church, in Manaus, in the Amazon. I arrived on the Friday afternoon, and ministered six times before flying back down to São Paulo on the Sunday night. It was great to be able to minister to these leaders, and to see the Holy Spirit moved during the ministry times.

 

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CRI Training, Big Bear Lake, CA - USA

Howdy,

I spent from the 13th to the 20th of August at Bear Lake, in Southern California, at an altitude of some 8,000 feet, where I helped train some 250 Christian volunteers for disaster response with Crisis Response International. I was a unit leader, responsible for four teams of trainees and co-leader of the Yellow Unit, and although it was a very intense time (as trained responders we slept in tents and even had a bear visit our campsite overnight), it was also wonderful to see both the practical training and the wonderful times that we had in the presence of the Holy Spirit, especially during our worship and prayer meetings.

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Wake Up The Warriors seminar, Carapicuiba - São Paulo

Hi,

On Friday and Saturday, I ministered the Wake Up The Warriors seminar to youth and adults at a small church in the city of Carapicuiba, São Paulo. It was rather intensive, as I ministered on Friday night, Saturday morning and afternoon, and we finished on Saturday night, however the seminar was very well received and there were powerfully moves of the Holy Spirit during the ministry times.

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Four Square conference Cuiabá - MT

Hi,

Over the last weekend I ministered at the second phase of the national Foursquare church conference for childrens' and pre-teens' leaders, in the city of Cuiabá, in the state of Mato Grosso. I flew up on the Thursday (via the capital Brasilia) and back this Monday.

During the conference I preached on the Friday and Saturday nights, and also led two workshops, one on the Saturday and the other on Sunday morning. It was great to see leaders touched powerfully by the Holy Spirit, and to hear so many wonderful testimonies.

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Hi,

I've just got back from an amazing and exhausting weekend in Cuiabá - MT, central Brazil, where I ministered to children's and pre-teens leaders, and also in a church - I hope to post about this soon.

However. while I was away, several people forwarded me an email message, that was apparently sent out around last Friday, the 22nd, by the couple who were first involved in sending out the supposed testimony (and I must say that I really honour and respect them for the way they have been so honest in sending out this retraction, and pray that the Lord will be with them in a special way as they walk through the aftermath of this unfortunate situation).

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Gidday once again,

Yesterday marked six months since the terrible floods and landslides in the mountainous region of Rio de Janeiro, that killed over 950 people and left more than 35,000 homeless, principally in the towns of Nova Friburgo and Teresópolis, and surrounding townships. Sadly, Christian sites are still carrying the news that an American team supposedly resurrected sixteen flood victims in Caleme, Teresópolis, on the 15th of January, although this story has been more than dispoven by now.

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Nova Friburgo

Hi,

I've now been visiting Friburgo for just over a week, and it's been great to catch up with folk, especially at the Iris Ministries church that I planted in the slum of Cordoeira. I ministered at the church ysterdayy (Wednesday), last Sunday and last Wednesday night and also at a boys' group last Thursday night and tonight.

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CEIFAR Bible School - Pequi - MG

Hi,

I spent from Sunday to Friday last week with a ministry called CEIFAR which runs a Bible school in the city of Pequi, in Minas Gerais state. I ministered most of the contents of the Wake Up The Warriors seminar.

There were wonderful moves of the Holy Spirit, and one morning I didn't get to minister the seminar as we continued all morning with free-flowing worship, words and visions, prayer and even some public confession of sin. It truly was a revival-like setting!

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Viamão - RS

Hi,

This weekend I spent three days in the city of Viamão em Rio Grande do Sul, southern Brazil, where I ministered the Wake Up The Warriors seminar, and also ministered at a Iris Ministries church in nearby Porto Alegre.

Here are some photos from the Seminar:

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Ourinhos - SP

This last weekend I visited a church in the city of Ourinhos, in the southern part of São Paulo state. I ministered at the church on the Saturday and Sunday evenings, and also at a local prison, boys' orphanage and mental health facility - it was wonderful to see the way the Holy Spirit manifested His presence, touching so many precious lives.

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Connecticut and New York

Hi,

It's now been over two weeks that I've been staying here in Greenwich - CT.

I've ministered five times to the Living Waters Foursquare church in nearby Stamford, and it was been wonderful to see the way that the Holy Spirit has been moving among us. I also preached at a Baptist church in Asbury in New York, which also went well.

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Crisis Response training in Kansas City

I spent this week, from Monday to Saturday, in Kansas City - MO where I participated in an intensive responder training course with Crisis Response International. Although it was very intense (16 hour days), and snowed on the first day, it was a great time with both pratical training and wonderful moments in the presence of the Holy Spirt. I really loved the focus on bringing the presence and power of Jesus into crisis situations while ministering in pratical ways.

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Wake Up The Warriors Seminar - Contagem MG

Hi all,

Over the Carnaval time I ministered the Wake Up The Warriors seminar at a church camp in Contagem - Minas Gerais. There were around 70 people present, mostly teens and young people, and it was a wonderful time. I ministered on the Saturday evennig, Sunday and Monday mornings and evenings, and then on the Tuesday morning, which was free time, the young folk wanted another prayer time.

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Nova Friburgo one month after the tragedy

Today, which marks the one month aniversary of the rains, floods and landslides which have killed at least 890 people in the Região Serrana of Rio de Janeiro, I visited some areas nearby the city of Nova Friburgo which have been devasted. My visit, with some members of the CERT team that I trained here in Friburgo, was primarily so that we could take some photos that would help enhance further CERT training course.

I was amazed at the destruction that we encountered so close to the city center.

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A young Brazilian man, whom I have known for many years and in whom I have the highest confidence, visited the suburb of Caleme in Teresópolis this week as part of his work. He visited four different people in Caleme, also a nurse who had worked in disaster relief in the two worst hit areas of Caleme and Campo Grande, and, in total, spoke to around thirty people in the Teresópolis area.

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Friburgo - 4th of February

Today I've been preparing for the upcoming Community Emergency Response Team</a> refresher course which I will run for some of the folk here in Friburgo who I've previously trained in first aid and rescue (I founded and led an Iris Ministries church here in Cordoeira for nearly eight years, before moving to São Paulo  in 2009 to found a ministry called Avivamento Já).

Anyway, as part of this preparation we took some photos of houses in the suburb of Cordoeira which were destroyed during the landslide (although, with two reported deaths this suburb got off lightly compared to many others).

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Visit to Caleme - Teresópolis

Yesterday (31 de January) Trina Simpson, Leonardo Baptista and myself visited the suburb of Caleme, in the neighbouring city of Teresópolis, which had been the cited as being the location of a story of 16 flood victims being raised from the dead by a team of Americans, accompanied by forged newspaper front page as "proof".

Since the story was first reported on the Bethel Church's iBethel.Org site, and also on the Healing Herald site and Facebook page, it has been repeated through many other Christian sites and blogs, and widely dstributed through email messages. As I explained in previous blog posts, the story contained many contradiction that raised the suspisions of myself and others here in Brazil.

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A number of people have sent me a copies of an email message, purporting to have been from a friend of the leader of a team of Americans that supposedly resurrected sixteen people killed during the landslides in Teresópolis.

The original email is entitled "Here is the testimony and documents of the 16 dead raised" and was sent by a Claudia K--- to a (name removed), apparently on January 20, 2011 8:00:55 PM PST.  It read as follows:

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Pre-teens' camp 22-23 January

After an overnight bus trip from Friburgo to São Paulo on the Thursday night, I flew to the southern city of Caxias do Sul, where I preached that night in a nearby city of São Marcos.

The following two days (Saturday and Sunday) were spent ministering at a pre-teens' camp for the Four Square church. I then preached on the Sunday night, Monday afternoon and Monday night before flying back to São Paulo today, Tuesday.

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I decided to get up early today, my first day back in São Paulo, get my car checked out and serviced after it's three-month hibernate, buy some needed supplies for Friburgo, purchase a 3G internet plan and hit the road by about lunch-time.

A great plan! However, thinks didn't quite work out that way.

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Please pray for Nova Friburgo and the surrounding region - heavy rains have caused landslides resulting in the deaths of at least 155 people in Friburgo and 335 in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Friburgo has had at least 30 landslides and is without power, water or communications, including telephones, internet and mobiles and I haven't yet heard from Trina about the situation there in Cordoeira.

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The Grinch that Stole Boxing Day

After a month of no seismic activity, I was rudely awakened at 2 am this morning by a strong aftershock, followed by another at 2:30. Since then we have had over 25 aftershocks today, mostly in the 3 - 4.5 range, the largest of which was a 4.9 at 10:30 during church. Most of these shocks have been felt quite strongly due to their shallow depth (most 2 to 5 kms) and the fact that they have been directly under the city.

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This week I am staying with the Simmons' family at really incredible place, overlooking the Auckland suburb of Henderson but so peaceful and natural. I'm in a big caravan, which has power and even hot and cold running water (my house in São Paulo only has hot water for the electric shower!).

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I arrived up here in Auckland on Friday, and ministered that evening at the youth group of the Southside Vineyard church. It was a great time with these precious young people and there was a neat move of the Holy Spirit. On Sunday morning I ministered at the Southside Vineyard's church meeting and, once again, it was wonderful how the Holy Spirit manifested His presence.

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Yesterday I arrived in Christchurch, after flying around 24 hours from São Paulo, with stop overs in Buenos Aires and Auckland. It was great to catch up with my family and some friends.

I experienced my first after-shock, a 3.6 level shock, last night and was woken up around 9:30 am this morning by a bigger one, a 4.4, which was obviously wanting to help me get quickly adjusted to the NZ time zone!

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