July 14, 1999

Hallocks in with Rio's
'in crowd,' sharing Christ

___By Wally Poor
___SBC International Mission Board
___RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil--They live in the "in" place in Rio. Many are rich. Others want people to think they are. They sacrifice to live in the Rio suburb so they can tell envious friends and acquaintances, "I live in the Barra."
EDDY HALLOCK translates the message being preached by Larry Gilmore, president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, at a meeting of the church Hallock is starting in Rio de Janiero. (IMB photos by Betty Poor)
But less than 5 percent of the Barra's residents have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
___That's why International Mission Board missionary Eddy Hallock lives and witnesses there. Hallock is former pastor of Lake Shore Baptist Church in Lake Dallas and a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He grew up in Rio, where his parents were Southern Baptist missionaries.
___To illustrate how far-removed many people in the Barra are from the Christian faith, Hallock tells of his encounter with a Rio cardiologist.
___He was on the treadmill in the doctor's office. The talk turned to religion, and the missionary asked the doctor about his religious background. The heart specialist said he was a Lutheran.
___"I said, 'Oh, you know Martin Luther then.' But he said he didn't know who Martin Luther was."
___So Hallock proceeded to tell not only who Luther was but about Jesus. The doctor commented, "You know, you talk about religion with such ease."
___"That confirmed in my heart that these people are truly ignorant of God and they need the Lord Jesus," the missionary said.
___Yet most Christians are afraid of talking about the gospel with wealthy men like the doctor, Hallock said. "Most people don't witness to a rich person because they are a little fearful of how they will be received. That's one of the big problems."
___Hallock and his wife, Brenda, hope to change that pattern. They live in an apartment in one of the hundreds of high rise apartment buildings in Barra de Tijuca. They live and work among high-ranking military people, athletes, bankers, doctors, and business and professional people.
___Building relationships and finding open doors are the only ways to make contact with most residents, because the apartment towers are set up to guard residents' privacy. Door-to-door visitation is impossible.
___"You wonder how you're going to get in. Well, you do a lot of praying and then God works in miraculous ways," Hallock explained.
___He cited the example of a maid who started coming to the Sunday night Bible study he leads. She asked the Hallocks to pray for the young woman of the family she works for who was having psychological problems.
___Hallock visited the young woman in a psychiatric hospital three times with the maid. Then he visited the girl's mother and led her to faith in Christ.
___The Hallocks now have started a Bible study in that home. He marvels how God used a maid to give him access to this wealthy family.
___ "It reminded me of the (biblical) story of Naaman," he said.


Contents/ Masthead / Why We're Here / Links / Archive / E-mail us/ SUBSCRIBE!