Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Trippin'

Cajazeiras
    I went to Cajazeiras this past weekend to teach a class on God's plan of salvation.  The church is small in number and growing both spiritually and numerically.  The class started Friday night; it went on Saturday afternoon and night and ended with a class Sunday morning before the church meeting.  I also interviewed Café, Leila, 4 girls and 3 boys from the Right Step program, the main evangelistic thrust in the city. This program helps underprivileged families with their children in school, on the soccer field, in their homes, and most importantly in their personal lives.
    Please pray for Café, Leila, and their four daughters. They are the only family working full-time with this program and are feeling the weight of visiting and caring for 93 boys, girls, and their families.  Please pray that God may send another couple to this city to help His Kingdom grow in and around Cajazeiras.
    On a side note, we read 2 chapters of Ruth while on our 7-hour trip, studying for the Bible Cup in João Pessoa.  It is good for all of us to have time and an incentive to study God's Word.  Here is a picture of Nicholas, my son, reading while on the road.


Cubati
    On our way back from Cajazeiras, we stopped in Cubati to visit Afonso and Vânia.  The church in this city has only 4 members. Afonso and Vânia pray for God to bring more to Christ as they visit others and show faithfulness to God. Growth is coming slowly but surely.  There were 10 at the Sunday church meeting, not including my family.  Afonso is a man of perseverance and wisdom, and he is always seeking to grow in his knowledge of the Word to live, teach, and to know God better.
    Please pray for Afonso and Vânia, that Christ's love through them will reach this city of over 6,000 inhabitants.

Making the Word Come Alive


Goal for the Children, for the Teenagers, for the Adults of the João Pessoa Congregation:

Study ONE chapter of the Bible each week.

    Since we made this goal in September 2009, we have studied Esther, James, Jonah, Philippians, and now Ruth. After studying a couple of books, we have a congregation wide competition. The last was the James/Jonah Cup with thirty participants.

And the winners were...

Group A: (6-8 yr old) Mathias Hagewood (1st - 56%), 
Lucas McKinney (2nd - 47%)

Group B: (9-12 yr old) Nicholas Newlin (1st - 83%), 
Mariana Campos (2nd - 72%)

Group C: (13 yr to adult) Kamilla Crispim (1st - 90%), 
Vinicios Soares (2nd - 79%)

Group D: (missionary couples) Monica Newlin (1st - 95%), 
Jeremy Newlin (2nd - 89%)

LOCK-IN
    To make the Word more alive, we had a lock-in for the pre-adolescent group on the theme of the "Christian Journey and the Book of Jonah". We divided up the auditorium into sections and the kids journeyed from one place to the next:

The first section was BIBLE READING: we read the whole book of Jonah.

PRAYER: We wrote out prayers at if we were in crisis, like Jonah, needing God. Some of the kid's prayers were touching.

MEDITATION: the kids were introduced to this much neglected Christian discipline, as we meditated on God's greatness.

BIBLE STUDY: They answered questions, having to search the Bible for the answers. All this went on from 7 to 10 pm and then we came to the hardest:

FASTING: We sat around a table full of potato chips, cookies, and cokes, and no one was allowed to touch them. These ten year olds had never been denied food in their lives and couldn't believe they weren't going to eat. Here's a picture of them dying of hunger, begging for food, crawling toward the potato chips:

I found out later that several hadn't had supper.

Then came EVANGELISM: they had to share Jesus, talking about Him to a visitor.

PERSECUTION: When people share Christ, the enemy gets mad and stirs up trouble. They got raw eggs mixed with corn meal thrown at them. Samuel thought they were throwing food and got a mouthful of egg, yuck!

BENEVOLENCE: David McKinney, dressed as a poor beggar, came and collected their money. A couple of kids even gave their bus fare home and worried the rest of the night how they were going to get home.

SINGING: while we sang about Christ coming back someday, David McKinney (again) came with a flash of light around midnight, dressed as Jesus, saying, "I was hungry and you fed me, welcome, my children, to Heaven, and you know what's the best thing about heaven? We have FOOD!" Then the kids tackled Jesus and went through the chips as if they had been in the belly of a fish for three days.



After all the excitement, we had a hard time getting them to sleep.

We'll do anything to get our young people excited about the most exciting Book on the face of the earth.

The Grace of Preaching to the Lost

by Ricardo Sobral
 
    The apostle Paul said:
"To me, the least of all the saints, was given this grace to announce to the gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ." (Eph 3:8)
 
    Considering the imprisonments, the persecutions, the beatings that Paul received because of the Gospel, his words about receiving an "undeserved gift" to preach to the lost reveal a deeper importance of the Gospel than we have yet grasped.
    I felt this during the Carnaval period as I traveled with my good friends and brothers Cesar and Randy from city to city in Piaui, sharing Christ. This campaign gave opportunity to continue another campaign of raising among Brazilian brethren money to send a team of native missionaries to the city of Campina Grande as we passed through cities that already have congregations. The church in Natal and Fernando's family in Itarema have grasped this grace to participate with us in preaching the Gospel of Christ to the lost in Campina Grande. May more capture the vision.

Movie Night Out at the Chinese Restaurant

 We have been having a Bible study for workers at the China Taiwan restaurant. It starts when they are most awake and off from work around midnight. This past Tuesday we showed a movie at their dormitory, The Passion. It ended at 2:40 am, but thirteen waiters and cooks stayed till the end. It is impossible to watch this movie without thinking about what Jesus did and why he did it. Our hope is that more will take seriously his sacrifice and receive the forgiveness that Jesus is offering freely.
 

Patos Shoemakers for Christ

    Patos is the third largest city in Paraíba and figures largely into the PORMISSOES plan to reach the whole state for Christ, and it will be done one step at a time. Christ has provided the shoemakers to help in these steps. Maurício is a Patos brother in Christ who is also a shoemaker. When he started living and speaking for Christ, his co-worker Wilson studied the Bible with him and also became a Christian last year. Wilson shared Jesus with another co-worker Márcio, who was baptized recently. These three disciples start off their days together in prayer, in the Word, taking steps alongside our Lord in the city of Patos.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Couples for the Kingdom

Rivaldo Café reports that the first couple of the year has been added to the Christian Family in Cajazeiras.




    The church in Cajazeiras has been praying for families to come to Christ. Rildo and Kelly are the first answer. They have been married for six months, contacted through the Right Step program, and after eight months of personal Bible studies, they received Christ into their lives. .
    Please say a prayer for Rildo and Kelly as they start out anew for Jesus and also for Cesar and Nelinha, another couple in Cajazeiras considering making this most important decision.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

We Have Preachers to Send

by Ricardo Sobral

    "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" Romans 10:13-15 
    We have preachers! Now is the time to send them. The arrival of the Campina Grande team has been decided: July 2010. We are organizing ourselves in terms of best time and logistics for the families to move. We ask for prayers from each one of you that they will find adequate living quarters and schools for the children.

JUNIOR, HIS WIFE KATIA AND THEIR DAUGHTERS, VALESKA AND ALICE
ISAC, HIS WIFE SOLANGE AND THEIR CHILDREN, , FERNANDO, RAQUEL, AND RAISSA

    We praise God for all the brethren that are contributing with this mission effort, sending their offerings to support these missionaries. We are also thankful for the faith of these families in the Lord, in trusting that He is moving hearts so that His work will be done in that city.
    May our Father and our Almighty Lord Jesus Christ be praised! 
..................................................................
Support for these two families is being raised among the Brazilian congregations and brethren. For more information (in Portuguese), access the site:   http://campinagrandeparacristo.blogspot.com/

Little Lake



    It was a hot autumn day, just before Easter - remember we are in the southern hemisphere - when we set out towards Alagoinha (Little Lake).  This 
is one of the last cities in the state that I, myself, would have picked to preach the Gospel but God, as always, sees beyond our limited vision.
    In the year 2000, I studied the Bible with a man whose wife had family in Alagoinha, and he insisted that I go visit them and tell them about God.  I eventually went and, to make a long story short, the church began in this small, out-of-the-way town. Unfortunately, the man who insisted so much on others hearing the Word of God was killed in a car wreck.  I buried him, and I miss him.  He himself never became a follower of Christ, but two members of the family that he took me to visit did and so did others in the town.
   
     The church now meets in a rented house three or four times a week.  Many of those that began their walk with Christ in Alagoinha have fallen back into 
the world.  Those that remain are fighting to be faithful to our Lord, sharing our Savior's love with those around them.  Alagoinha is a town that has many denominations so evangelism has been a little slow for these Christians on their own. 
    I was invited to go visit and study with some who were thinking about being baptized.  I packed up the family and we went.  I studied with José Humberto, a 39 year old father of two.  He had been evangelizing even before he became a Christian.  His wife, his sister, her live-in boyfriend, and José's mother all want to know more about what it means to be a Christian and how they too can be saved.
   
     The church in Alagoinha now has five Christians.  Five souls, so far, that will not see the fire pit of Hell.  I would not have chosen Alagoinha to go preach, right now, because of its size and where it is located.  I am glad, though, that God not only chose this city but also allowed me to be used by Him to take the Gospel there.
    Please pray for the church in Alagoinha.  Please pray that they continue strong in their faith.  Please pray that they might grow in the knowledge of God's Word.  Please pray that they will live and share with others what they have learned from their walk with God.