Vassula's Mission to Belo Horizonte and Salvador, Brazil
On 6th February, we left behind Santa Domingo along with the assaults and troubles we faced before and during our stay there. After a ten hour flight, we arrived at Belo Horizonte in Brazil. Vassula's mission in four countries of North and South America (Los Angeles - USA, Monterey - Mexico, Santo Domingo) was to end with her witnessing in two cities of Brazil, Belo Horizonte (BH) and Salvador.
Throughout her mission there which lasted about one and a half months, Vassula's programme was full of activities: meetings, retreats, talks, interviews with TV, radio, newspapers and magazines, visits to Beth Myriams, with few moments of relaxation. The flights were numerous and especially tiring, as they were long and most included a stop-over. There were days we took off from one country early in the morning and arrived late at night in another, having undergone, during the course of the day, three takeoffs and landings and, in addition, personal and baggage checks. Our physical fatigue was extreme as were the obstacles and assaults.
Throughout this mission, we had the strong feeling that we were not combating the usual persecutors but other powers, the powers of darkness and evil. Vassula was, of course, not intimidated by all of these. She sweeps through obstacles without looking right or left and continues her mission. She is indifferent to attacks and slander wherever they originate (clerical or lay) and she confronts them with forbearance, presuming the propagators as mistakenly informed. Her obedience to God comes before her obedience to men. In her 24 years of missionary work, persecution and slander have been her daily bread.
"...so, go and fill all the nations with My Words; let Me remind you, dearest soul, that I have brought you up to tear up iniquity and unsettle and upset every evil spirit you encounter on your way or in the cities you go to witness, so do not be surprised when these powers of hell join forces together to try and prevent you from exercising your prophetic ministry;" (22nd October, 1996)
Although Vassula has given many talks on the messages of True Life in God in many cities of Brazil over the 24 years of her mission, she always accepts every new invitation to witness in this vast country with much joy.
On 6th January, we were welcomed at Belo Horizonte Airport by Jose Hipolito Freitas, Larissa Freitas, and several other people from the TLIG prayer group. They were clearly enthusiastic at Vassula's visit. It was a day of brilliant summer sunshine! Belo Horizonte, which means "beautiful horizon" in Portuguese, is the third largest city in Brazil with a population of 3 million. It is built on many hills and is completely surrounded by mountains.
Arrival at the airport of Belo Horizonte
Upon our arrival, we noticed that the assaults on God's work and His people were continuing. We were informed that a dynamic member of TLIG had had a stroke before Vassula's arrival in Belo Horizonte and was still in hospital in intensive care. His name is Solon, an engineer with a very important role in the Beth Myriams of Belo Horizonte. He had volunteered to do a structural survey of the houses and to make the necessary changes in order to ensure that they are safe for the public. He is a regular member of the prayer group and always helps with the BMs. He had also undertaken to meet Vassula at the airport on her arrival and to drive us around the city. Solon had the stroke the same day that the bathroom glass window in Santo Domingo shattered, miraculously causing only a slight injury to my hand. When Vassula was informed of this, she said that we live in difficult times and the devil attacks those who work for God's glory.
We left our luggage at the hotel and, shortly afterwards, Vassula was interviewed by Rádio América, a Catholic radio station in Belo Horizonte. They were interested to learn about her supernatural experience with God and her mission in North America. Vassula gave some information about her background and responded to several questions.
Early in the afternoon, we attended Mass with the prayer group in one of the hotel rooms. Mass was celebrated by Fr. Antonio Savio. Later with Altino Mota dos Santos and Ana Lizarante (came from Uruguay) as guides, we visited one of the two Beth Myriams located in Belo Horizonte. Along the way, we stopped outside the building of the first BM which was closed at that hour. Both BMs are located on hills outside the city among thousands of favelas (slums) built from old iron scraps collected from the garbage and crammed together without roads, electricity, phones or decent drainage. They are plagued by sewage and other hygiene problems, drug-related crime and gang warfare. Most favelas are inaccessible by vehicle due to narrow and irregular walkways and often steep inclines.
Disregarding doctor's orders and the danger of aggravating her back problem, Vassula accepted the invitation by TLIG volunteers to visit the Beth Myriam located in one of the poorest areas of Belo Horizonte, Villa Nossa Senhora de Fatima, in the Aglomerado da Serra neighbourhood. We arrived there after climbing for an hour, the car bouncing along bumpy roads with slums bordering the route on both sides. The volunteers who offer their love and time, along with the prayer groups, numbering about 60 in all welcomed Vassula with shouts of joy and enthusiasm and presented her with two bouquets of roses and a basket of exotic fruit. The building was freshly painted inside and out. There were icons of Christ and the Blessed Mother, and the tables were covered with clean tablecloths and the kitchen was spotlessly clean. As asked of us by the Blessed Mother in the messages, cleanliness, order and above all peace and offerings of sacrificial love reigned.
"... If one says he was converted and found God through "True Life in God" they should offer more sacrifice as an act of immolation. There are various ways of showing God their love and generosity; that no one can say "we are true life in God people" without offering sacrificial love." 7th January, 2008
Vassula with Nilza and Aguida, in the kitchen of BM
With the TLIG volunteers in BM
Vassula with some of the members of TLIG prayer groups
All of the volunteers working at the Beth Myriam, inspired by the messages of TLIG and their love for the Blessed Mother, offer their services in this difficult location where poverty and wretchedness lead people into a life of drugs and crime. With the blessing of Our Lady, their loving efforts every day to prepare food for a thousand people is much appreciated by the residents and crime in the area has stopped as a result.
The volunteers of TLIG who offer their services at the Beth Myriams of Belo Horizonte, and they are numerous, put into practice the commandment of love which embodies and fulfils all of God's laws. Here are two examples.
Altino Mota de Santos, former atheist, came to know God and love Him through the messages of TLIG and, with the help of the Holy Mother, has opened the first Beth Myriam in Belo Horizonte while, at the same time, working towards the creation of youth prayer groups in Belo Horizonte. He offers his time with love for Love. We had the opportunity to get to know him better because he accompanied us to Salvador, the next stop on Vassula's mission in Brazil.
Nilza Soares, a Brazilian with a generous heart and full of life and love, lives near the Beth Myriam neighborhood. She leaves home every day at 5.45 a.m. for the BM where she co-ordinates the preparation of food for over a thousand people which will be distributed from the two BMs, returning home late in the evening after an exhausting day. I would like to thank them from the bottom of my heart for the lesson in love and giving which they offer without realizing it.
On Saturday, 7th February, Vassula's talk took place in Sesc Contagem, a spacious stadium with capacity for 5,000. The organizers in Belo Horizonte and Salvador, who are familiar with the TLIG Message and its emphasis on Unity, invited all the Christian denominations as well as people of other religions and sects to Vassula's talks. About 2,500 people, the majority of whom were young Brazilians, arrived early at the stadium.
Shortly before Vassula's talk, a large choir sang hymns of praise and, immediately afterwards, Jose Hipolito Freitas, one of the main organizers of the events and an active member of the prayer groups and the BMs, read a brief biographical note about Vassula and thanked her on behalf of all for having traveled to faraway Brazil to bring by her witnessing the word of the living God. At the same time, he expressed his joyful thanks for the blessings she brought by coming to their city.
Jose Hipolito Freitas introduces Vassula to the audience
Vassula with joy conveys the Messages of God
Vassula greeted them in Portuguese and spoke about all the important themes of TLIG: repentance, prayer, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, humility, fellowship, love and all the virtues that issue from love. The Brazilians followed her talk with piety and devotion and there was complete silence in the large stadium. They heard the holy words: Why does God come to us through this prophet? What does He ask of us? How willing are we to answer this invitation and to know Him better? How willing are we to learn to love, to forgive, to pray? How much does the Lord desire the unity of His church? The Word of God is prophetic and the words of Vassula are prophecy.
The Brazilians followed her talk with piety and devotion
At the end of her talk, Father Oscar Pilloni from the Gospa Mira community read the prayer of Repentance and Deliverance and Vassula blessed all present with the exorcizing Cross. She reminded everyone that Christ blesses all participants and their families at these gatherings which take place for His glory. The Brazilians are a faithful people and they heard with joy and enthusiasm the message of Christ's love conveyed by Vassula.
Father Oscar Pilloni read the prayer of Repentance and Deliverance and Vassula blessed all present with the Cross
The meeting went well - the people were deeply touched by God's message and Vassula seemed happy which to us is a sign that Jesus is happy too. We recorded the reactions of some of the attendees to her speech and they all expressed a desire to change their lives immediately. Others wanted to join the prayer groups. Here are some of their testimonies:
It was the most beautiful feeling ever. I will always try to be like Vassula in order to become a saint. May she pray for me. I will always pray for her. Helena Maria
It is hard to express in words the experience we had. I see that this opportunity was offered to my entire parish and most of the people wasted the opportunity to listen to this wonderful witnessing. Those who have already read the messages know what a great gift Vassula's visit to Belo Horizonte is. She comes to transmit this light and goodness through her witnessing about Jesus. Guilherme from Nossa Senhora Rainha Parish
It is a blessing to see and feel in her witnessing God's goodness in such a simple way and take action. It was wonderful. Monica, from Nossa Senhora Rainha Parish
I already knew some of Vassula's writing, some messages given to her by Our Lord, and I was deeply impressed. There is also a prayer that I say for my family daily. The thing that touched me very much today is that I felt Our Lady's presence beside Vassula. Sometimes, it seemed to me that she and Our Lady were mixed. The things she said touched me in the depths of my heart especially regarding a change of life. I have been thinking a lot about many things and about my call. And I always question Jesus about that. But now it is clear to me what I have to do. I have to truly give Him my heart. There are some obstacles but I want to work on them in order to reach the goal. The prayers said today - all the words - were very powerful - life-changing. That's what I want to tell the people who listened or will have the opportunity to listen to Vassula: I hope they understand that Jesus always speaks to us through somebody, through angels He sends to tell us what He wants to say but still we have not understood. Maria
It was wonderful. While she was speaking, each heart and spirit started to open. She transmitted the message and it seemed it was something we already knew but we were sleeping. It was as if we were waking up and rising to God's love. We felt how beautiful this love is and we are excited to keep all she said and live this wonder of God's Love law. Adalto
Later, before we left the stadium, Vassula was interviewed by the Gospa Mira Catholic radio station in Belo Horizonte. The reporter had attended her talk and was overjoyed to meet her personally and interview her.
The next day, Sunday, 8th February, the time came to bid farewell. We expressed our heartfelt thanks to our dear friends in TLIG in Belo Horizonte, Jose Hipolito, Freitas, the daughter of Larissa, and all the members of the prayer groups for the love and attention shown to both Vassula, God's envoy, and to me, and for the excellent preparation and organisation of the mission. Accompanied by Altino we flew to Salvador, a large city on the northeast shores of Brazil, our final stop on Vassula's mission to South America.
Joyful faces welcomed us at Salvador Airport, a number known to us from the TLIG pilgrimages, others unfamiliar, but with all we felt the closeness and love that comes from the Holy Spirit, since we all have Christ in our hearts and in our minds. Pauline from Couritiba, Roselyn who is responsible for the BM in Jonville, Sonia, Mario, Cristiane, Marcelo, Marina who translated for Vassula into Portuguese, Ana Maria from Sao Paolo, Altino from Belo Horizonte, all came to help with the organisation to ensure the success of Vassula's talk in Salvador. We were very pleased to meet the Archbishop, Jeremiah Ferens, who had travelled from Couritiba to meet Vassula and to stay with us throughout our stay in Salvador.
Vassula's talk took place on the afternoon of the same day at Escola Parque. About 400 people attended, most of whom were hearing about the message of TLIG for the first time. After thanking them for devoting time to hearing her witness, she explained how the communication, first with her angel and then later with Jesus Christ, began. Among other things, she explained how all the messages of TLIG teach us to develop our capacity for love which is the root of all virtues. She talked about forgiveness and asked the audience if they desired the Holy Spirit. All replied "Yes!" with one voice. Vassula said "Not without repentance....and how do we repent? Repentance is the gateway that leads the soul from darkness into light." She continued by posing questions which people answered eagerly. She spoke of Reconciliation, of the Holy Spirit and of Church Unity, saying that two hours are but drops in the ocean of love which exists in the messages of TLIG. She closed her talk by reading the following message from Our Lord:
"...find Me, My beloved, in purity of heart, by loving Me without self-interest; find Me in holiness, in the abandonment I desire of you; find Me by observing My Commandments; find Me by replacing evil with love, find Me in simplicity of heart; sin no more; cease in doing evil; learn to do good; search for justice; help the oppressed;" 8.7.89
A big surprise gave joy to Vassula and all present at the end of the meeting - a group of 15 poor young people aged 15-23, all working school students from Joao Pessoa, a town in northern Brazil, had set out at dawn on Sunday in a small rented van and had travelled 12 hours in order to attend Vassula's talk in Salvador. These 15 young people were sharing the first volume of the TLIG messages as they did not have enough money to buy more copies or the other books in the series. This one volume was enough to light their souls and to make them seek Jesus with passion and simplicity. They had worked selling ice cream to raise the money to be able to make the trip to Salvador. A number of them were musical and assembled a small band which performed songs for the meeting participants. One of them had written lyrics about his conversion through the messages and turned them into a song.
At the close of the meeting, they gathered around Vassula like chicks and said: "Not even in our wildest dreams did we imagine attending one of your talks and meeting personally the instrument that God uses to be a fisher of souls in our days. Now that we are living it, it still feels like we are dreaming!" These young people, whom Vassula calls apostles of the final days who are participating in God's salvific plan, are members of the TLIG prayer group and volunteers at the BM in their home town of Joao Pessoa. Isn't it wonderful? They had to return that same evening for their home city, travelling all night since the next morning, Monday, they had to be at their jobs. Vassula greeted them good bye and told them to rest on their way back home, so as at least to go the next day to their jobs rested. They spoke altogether: "We will sing all night and will praise God for the grace he has bestowed upon us." We said goodbye to them with mixed feelings - meeting them had filled us with joy and deep emotion.
The TLIG youth of Joao Pessoa enjoy their personal meeting with Vassula
The following is the testimony of Herberth, a young member of this prayer group:
I still cannot believe that we met Vassula!!! It was a wonderful experience. I don't know how to explain it, we are in a state of grace. We have very strong feelings. We came back from Salvador living indescribable intimacy and unity. We have changed a lot. God is at first place in our lives more than ever. Every time we meet our only subject is TLIG. The most remarkable thing she told us is that we are apostles of these days and that we should tell everyone about Jesus. We were not worth of receiving guidelines directly from Vassula, since we know that what comes from her comes actually from God.
It is unbelievable the way she resembles Jesus - her face, the Peace she transmits. It was a miracle that we could go there. God knows what we had to go through - many, but many obstacles in our way - but Jesus and Mary overcame them. We would be willing to do everything again if necessary, since Jesus is definitely our great Love. There is no other sense in our lives other than work for TLIG. We are TLIG with all our strength, soul and heart. Herberth
On Monday, February 9th, the TLIG organisers in Salvador graciously invited us to take a day trip by boat to two beautiful islands one hour off the coast. It was a day of relaxation and rest which we much needed and it came just at the right time. We enjoyed the sun, the sea, long white beaches and palm trees, and spent enjoyable moments of companionship with Archbishop Jeremiah Ferens and our dear friends in TLIG.
A nice day of relaxation and rest
The action of the Holy Spirit is incredible!
The next day, Tuesday, February 10th, Vassula had breakfast with Altino and Marina. Vassula had the feeling that Altino, who with God's grace had opened the first BM in Belo Horizonte and who had travelled with us at his own expense to Salvador in order to assist with the new BM planned for that city, was the perfect person to take on the co-ordination and oversee the operation of all the BMs in Brazil.
Marina Hoskins, interpreter for Vassula's talks, who the previous evening had read the letter Vassula had sent to the Foundation for the Beth Myriams, explained to Altino (who does not speak English) the details of what he would have to do. The surprise and joy of Altino were apparent on his face. Very moved, he accepted this gift, to oversee the functioning of the BMs across Brazil. It was obvious that the Holy Spirit had led Vassula to this decision. Throughout all of South America, Ana Lizarante alone had the responsibility for this work of love. The action of the Holy Spirit is incredible.
Vassula with Altino in the old city of Salvador
Later that day, we went on a tour of the historical city of Salvador which is one of the oldest cities in Brazil and the new world. We visited the monasteries of St. Benedict and St. Francis and St. Dominic. We visited the old marketplace and descended to the damp cellars where the chained up slaves brought from Africa had been kept.
Vassula and Archbishop Jeremiah with a traditional dressed woman in the old town.
The Church and the convent of St. Francis
Altino, Vassula and Marina, in the damp cellars
At midday, all ten of us travelled in a small van to the BM located in the poor area of Salvador. We turned off the main road into a narrow path overgrown with vegetation and garbage. After a kilometre, we reached a small clearing opposite another slum. Before getting out of the van, Vassula was asked to cover her blonde hair and we were asked to remove sunglasses and any jewelry we were wearing. The district is dangerous as there are drug dealers and gangs and every foreign looking person is looked at with suspicion.
At the BM, young mothers with babies were waiting and bigger children ran happily to greet us. The TLIG volunteers brought sweets and other gifts which pleased them. They showed us the hall, a small room which had a statue of the Virgin and one of Jesus, where their future church will be, and a larger place next door where the TLIG volunteers plan to make a humble construction, which will be the soup kitchen. The people are very poor and without assistance and approaching them is difficult. Sonia is familiar with their mentality and their psyche and, together with Mario and several other TLIG volunteers, has won their trust and together they look after the Beth Myriam.
Every Sunday as well as holidays such as Christmas, Easter and Saint Days, they cook hot food and take it to the slum to feed all the children. They put their love of God into practice and serve Him by offering love to the children and their families. It is very moving to see the reflection of this love in the faces of the children. I remembered our morning tour of the old city and the child who approached to sell his beautiful artefacts. He recognised Sonia who had been with us and greeted her happily as if she were a close relative. She hugged him and introduced him to us. He was one of the children of the BM.
Sonia with the young Boy of BM in the old city of Salvador
Early in the morning of Wednesday, February 11th, we said our final farewell on this South American mission - to our dear friends in TLIG, Archbishop Jeremiah Ferens and all the organisers who had worked so lovingly for the success of Vassula's meetings and the spreading of the messages of TLIG in their country. We hope to meet several of them again on our next pilgrimage.
Vassula's mission in North and South America was successfully fulfilled in spite of many obstacles and difficulties including bodily assaults. The joy and blessings received in this Christ's work were infinitely more numerous!