Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thank You All for your Prayers and Encouragement

I want to thank all of you for your encouraging words to Nicholas and our family.  I read to Nicholas what you said to him and he sat there with a big grin on his face.  He enjoyed hearing about your experiences and I sure he felt motivated to continue "fighting the good fight".

Thank you all and please continue to pray for the work here in Paraíba - Brazil.

God bless you all!  Have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Jeremy, Monica, Nicholas & Dylan Newlin

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

This Is Good News

      I remember the day my oldest son, Nicholas was born. It was a very exciting day and also a very scary time. It is a great responsibility, I should also add privilege too, to raise a child. How was I going to raise him? My life changed quite a bit after he was born. Everyone who has children probably know what I'm talking about.
      December 14, 2011, I had the enormous privilege to see Nicholas choose Jesus as his Lord. He was baptized for the forgiveness of his sins and now has God's Spirit living in him. I have baptized people before and it is always a miracle to witness. This time was different. It all happened so fast, I thought after I baptized him that I had forgotten to do or say something.
      Nicholas is only 11 so let me share with you how he came to his decision. When he was 8 he told me he wanted to be baptized. I said o.k., so let's study. We had one little Bible study and then I waited for him to ask me to study with him again. He did so about 2 years later. So when he was 10 he told me he wanted to be baptized, again. So, again, we sat and had one little Bible study and then I waited for him to ask me to study with him again. He did so about 1 year later. This year, around his birthday he asked me if we could study so that he could be baptized. I told him to read one of the four gospels and then we would study. The Bible bowl this year in Brazil was on the Gospel of Luke. He asked if that counted for reading the gospel so that we could study. I told him yes. After the Bible bowl we studied two lessons and then I waited, about 1 month later he asked to study again so that he could become a Christian. We finished studying on Saturday, Dec. 10. I knew that he understood the purpose and the life-long commitment that he was wanting to make. But in the car Saturday night, he said "Lord willing and if y'all let me, tomorrow I want to be baptized". I then knew, he was not ready. We got home I sat down with him and talked. I asked him, if he knew that some parents disown or get mad when their children are baptized. He said no, he did not know that. I asked him if he would be baptized if he knew that I was going to get mad at him. He thought and said yes he would. Monica told him about how her family did not like the fact that she was baptized. He went to bed and the next day we waited for Nicholas to say something but he never did. Tuesday came around and he told me that he wanted to be baptized. I asked him why. He said that he wanted to follow Christ. I asked him what he would do if I told him no. He said he wanted to be baptized anyway. I asked him again, what if I say I don't think you are ready. He did not say anything else. Later that night he asked me why I did not think he was ready. Both Monica and I talked with him. He finally seemed to understand that it was his decision and not ours. He went to bed and the next morning I read 1 Peter 2:18-25 to him and asked him if was ready to suffer injustices for God's glory. He said yes. I asked him if was willing to give up his life-long dream of becoming a professional soccer player if it meant he had to lie to become one. He said yes. I then said, I think, now you understand what it is going to take for you to be faithful to death.
      Thursday, December 15, I walked by his room and he was sitting on his bed reading a book. I stopped and starred because I remembered, he has God's Spirit in him now. God is now guiding him. My job, of course, is not finished but God is living inside my oldest son, or should I say my youngest brother.
     Please pray for Nicholas and his life in Christ that:
  •  he may be faithful until death;
  •  he may be light and salt wherever he may be and whatever he may do in his life.
     If you would like to send a message to Nicholas you can send it to my e-mail address and I will be sure to get it to him.

God bless you all with a Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year,

Jeremy, Monica, Nicholas & Dylan Newlin

Monday, December 12, 2011

Teaching Others How To Teach Others

      I traveled to Cajazeiras to teach classes on "The Role of Women in the Church". Café, the evangelist working in the city wants the women to be more involved in evangelizing the community. Women really do have a lot of potential to evangelize other women. Their relationships and conversations are usually deeper than those of men. Women, in general, are accepted into homes more easily than men and the list goes on and on.
      We talked about the purpose for God creating woman. She is the perfect help mate for man. We also talked about the fall; when the roles that God had established for both came into conflict with a new reality. We talked about how both man and woman will now have to struggle to reach the level of harmony that existed between them before the fall. We discussed that the man is the head of woman and she is to be submissive to him. I asked the women if they would have a problem being submissive to a man who gave his life for his wife everyday in everyday tasks and one that is always looking out for her best interest, all of them said no, they would not have a problem. Imagine that!
      Men, we need to step up and fulfill our role that God has given us and be the head through serving. Women, you need to help the man lead by serving. Isn't this a novel idea! No! It is what God planned from the beginning.
      Most lessons I have heard on this subject only talk about the worship assembly. I did discuss the times when the Church comes together as one but I focused on each one individually as a member of the church more so than the assembling of the Church. What is my role in the Church or as a member of Christ's body at my workplace, school, home, etc…? That is what I talked about in a nutshell. I know that a lot more goes into what is usually a very delicate subject.
     The women that I met with were afraid to evangelize other women because they did not know how to give a Bible study. I gave them some direction on how to study the Bible for themselves and also with others. I then divided them up in pairs and each one gave a short Bible study to the other, on a passage that I had chosen. They enjoyed it but said that they needed more Bible knowledge to feel more comfortable giving a study. I said, great! I asked them when they were going to study together. I suggested they study an evangelistic Bible study, to learn it and then go out and study those lessons with others. They set-up a day and time and one of them is going to bring a study for the group to work on together. What a great time, teaching others how to share God's Word.
      I then went to Pombal, this is the city in which we, the Churches in the state, are trying to establish a new congregation. Two Christians live in this city, a father and daughter. I had planned to visit some of their contacts in the city with them but no one was able to receive us while I was in town. I only had a little over four hours with them so instead I taught them how to give a Bible study. They planned to visit a friend later that same day and teach him what I had passed on to them.
      It is a reward to see in someone's eyes a desire to share God's Word with others. A lot of people are scared to do so because they feel unprepared. It is a wonderful opportunity that God has given me and a great privilege to help others better prepare how to tell friends and family about God's plan to save them. I thoroughly enjoy seeing in their eyes an excitement that they cannot express in words as they imagine themselves actually studying the Bible with another person. That is priceless!
If you have any comments or questions I would love to hear from you. Please don't hesitate to write.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Triplets

            I received a call from Antônio Germano, a Christian who lives in Alagoinha.  He told me that there were three women who wanted to be baptized and that they were waiting for me to come and baptize them.  What great news!!!  I had met all of them before but I did not study the Bible with any of them.  

          

     I traveled the two hours to get to the city of 13,000 residents.  I sat down with the ladies and asked them some questions to see if they understood what they were doing, why they were being baptized and if they realized what it would mean for the rest of their lives.  After a couple of hours of conversing,  I received the privilege of watching God work a miracle of re-birth in three lives. 

         

      If you would like to say something to your new sisters in Christ, you can e-mail me your message and I will translate it for them.

           

Please pray that Maria, Antônia da Paz and Graça, as well as the church in Alagoinha may:

  • ·       Grow in faith, hope and Love
  • ·       Trust God to lead them in all areas of their lives
  • ·       Be living letters of God's message of salvation to their families and friends.

Faithful Until The End

      Areial, a city 2 ½ hours away from João Pessoa with three Christians is the city I visited Sunday. Two adult women and one teenager are the only Christians in this city of 10,000 inhabitants. I began visiting this city about 10 years ago with Joseph and David.
    
     A woman named Sônia, born and raised in Areial, had gone to work in São Paulo. She also began her life in Christ in the third largest city in the World when Ricardo Sobral baptized her into Christ. Sônia moved back to her home town of Areial and our team heard about her new life in Christ from Ricardo so we began visiting her. She was the only Christian in town at the time.
    
     Sônia is a faithful follower of Christ to this day. Her two sons, Jalmir and Elmir, were baptized. One is faithful; the other does not like to even talk about God, right now. The son who is faithful to Christ is now living in another state while the son who left the Church still lives with her. Sônia evangelized her sisters, too. Two of them were baptized. One passed away this year from a motorcycle accident. The other sister is faithful and her daughter is also a Christian.
The church in Areial was not always this small. There were once around 15 Christians, both men and women. The Church had a full-time evangelist and was growing. Different things happened and people began to fall away. Sônia has remained faithful through all of these difficulties.
  
      I went to visit this Church Sunday. I was encouraged to see their faith and dedication. These three women want the church to grow in their city. It is a difficult city to evangelize. The Catholic Church has a very strong presence in the town but the church has grown in the past.
  
  If you would like to say something to Sônia, Beta, Bia or Elmir, you can e-mail me your message and I will translate it for them.

Please pray that:
• God will continue to strengthen Sônia, Beta and Bia in their faith and love to God;
• Elmir, Sônia's son, will open his eyes to see how much God loves him;
• God may open the hearts of the people of Areial to hear, really hear, His Word and believe;
• The church in Areial will grow in faith and number.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Too Short!

  Lena McKinney - we call her Granny - has completed her mission on this earth. The Lord took her yesterday after she had a heart attack.
    She was 95 years old, and that may sound like a lot, but it is too short! For people like Granny TOO SHORT! In the forty years with her as my grandmother, including the four years I lived with her while going to college, all my memories are good, wholesome, life-giving, God-glorifying, fun experiences. This rotten world needs more people like Granny. Two hundred years wouldn't have been enough.
    And that is why Heaven is so right. Thank God this is NOT the end. I am so thankful for the privilege of being her grandson, of learning the meaning of God's grace from her, for the years of her loving service to generation after generation, and the glory, wondrous glory, she is experiencing right now.
    Edda told our youngest son Lucas. He was sad, but he brightened up when he thought of all the people she would get to see again: her husband Harold, her son Chuck, her great-granddaughter Brienna. Then he said excitedly, "She will see Abraham!" Then came Moses, and Peter, and Daniel, and a long list of Bible characters she will get to know in person.
    Oh Granny, how we miss you!
        Joseph, Edda, Lydia, Samuel, and Lucas

A Necessary Sacrifice


            I traveled to Patos, on Thursday and arrived back in João Pessoa the following Wednesday night.  Here is a summary of what happened:

  • I went to teach a 15 hour class to the members on "Letters To Asia Minor" (Galatians, Ephisians and Colossians).  The class went well and was encouraging. 
  • We visited several members of the church in Patos. 
  • We also visited family members of Michel's co-workers who live in Patos and Santa Terezinha, a small town about 30 minutes outside of Patos.  Michel is a Christian who works at a Chinese restaurant in João Pessoa and he was on vacation. 
  • We visited three families in Pombal, about an hour from Patos and held a worship service in the home of the two Christians (father and daughter) that live in this city of 60,000. 
  • We drove another hour to Cajazeiras to visit the church and the evangelist that works with the Right Step Program (soccer school for young teenage boys). 
  • We also passed through Sousa to visit the Dinosaur Valley Park, although interesting, I was not very impressed with the set-up.  I have driven by so many times and have never stopped.  I did this time because Michel was on vacation and I thought he might enjoy it.  There was some adventure.  Joe McKinney was stung by a red wasp, to which he is allergic.  We were unable to determine if the wasp was pre-historic or not but I think it is safe to say that I am older the red winged culprit.
            While in Patos we also had a PORmissões meeting.  This meeting was to be a follow-up meeting from August.  I learned of the churches dismotivation with beginning a congregation in Pombal because of the lack of influence that Ezequiel has on his own street.  I began the meeting by asking where we were with our plans, then moved into what difficulties are we facing, how can these difficulties be overcome, are we willing to do what is necessary to overcome them and then what do we do now.  After trying to show them that difficulties exist in everything and to move forward we need to decide if we are willing to sacrifice to overcome them, the men were once again motivated to continue with the plan to establish a congregation in Pombal. 

            Luciano, the evangelist in Patos, myself and Michel went to Pombal to talk with Ezequiel and motivate him.  We talked for a few minutes and then took him out to visit others.  He had one contact already set-up to visit.  We visited two other contacts that Ezequiel's daughter Jessica wanted us to meet.  Jessica's friends came to the worship service and seemed to be interested in learning more. 

            Please pray for these three cities, Patos, Pombal and Cajazeiras. 
·       Pray that God may stimulate the Christians to love their neighbors and share the Gospel with them;
·       Pray that the Christians in these cities may grow in maturity in Christ;
·       Pray that God may give us all wisdom to carry His message of salvation to the entire state of Paraíba by walking through the doors that He opens.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Youth Group

by Diego

(Extracted from Diego dos Anjos' newsletter. If you would like to receive his newsletter, please email him at:
diego_dosanjos@hotmail.com )

    We went to a youth camp last month in the city of Santa Cruz do Capibaribe. We took about 15 young people from Joao Pessoa and drove 4 hours to get there and met others youth groups from different cities. The theme for this camp was “Seeking the Kingdom of God”. The speakers really encouraged us to aim as a priority in our lives to seek God and His Kingdom. Raniere, one of the speakers, did an amazing job helping us think about this phrase: We are just able to seek God and His kingdom if we decide to have a daily relationship with God. What have you done about that? How is your relationship with our Father? Share your stories and let’s seek His kingdom together!

     I have enjoyed the past weeks of our youth Sunday Bible class. We have studied about “The dangers and consequences of the sin”. We went through the first chapter of Genesis, understanding the difference between Adam and Eve’s relationship with God before and after they had sinned. After they did what God had told them to not do… they hid from God, they feared God, and they blamed each other. That’s pretty much what happens when we sin, right? The question now is: since we all have sinned and are far apart from God’s glory… what should we do now to get back and have a relationship with God? Could you reply back with some Bible passages for me to share with the youth group.
     Next month the youth group will organize our ANNUAL YOUTH RETREAT. About 100 men and women of God coming from different cities around our town will get together on 11, 12 and 13th of November. The theme for this retreat will be “Myth Busters”! We are excited to discuss some controversial phrases that are taught by society to us like: “God doesn’t want anyone to suffer in this life”; “Going just to Sunday worships I guarantee my eternal salvation”; “I need to wear masks in order be accepted in society”. I am really excited about this upcoming event… please… be praying for us and these days we will have worshiping God and learning His will for our lives. 

Francisco, William, and Jesus



Rivaldo Café in Cajazeiras has baptized two more people. Francisco, 40 years old, lives on a farm with his wife and eight kids, four of which participate in the Right Step Soccer Project. Café has been studying with this family for five months, and after one of the studies Francisco asked to be baptized. William, a 15 year old boy in the project, was there and also decided to follow Jesus. They went down to the creek and were born again in Christ.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Time To Go

  
This last month and a half I have spent in João Pessoa.  I have not traveled to the interior but there is plenty to do here.  I taught a three week class to the members of the church on "Letters to Asia Minor" (Galatians, Ephesians and Colossians).  I am teaching Sunday School on "Contentment", looking at how Jesus, the apostles and the first Christians thought, taught and dealt with the material wealth that God entrusted to them.  We moved into a more personal and practical aspect this past Sunday and began working on our own personal budgets, living below our income to be able to serve more and not live in debt as so many do here.  I preached the Sunday after Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement, Leviticus 16) on how God told Moses what to do on this day, what the Jews do today and how Jesus fulfilled this day for all Christians and that the forgiveness we have in Christ is complete and forever as long as we remain faithful to Him.
     Now that my class is over, Sunday school is moving into the direction of working more closely with those who desire to live free of debt and serve God with what He has given them.  I will begin traveling again.  This week I am going to Patos to teach the same class on "Letters to Asia Minor" to evangelists and other members from different cities, meet with those involved in the PORmissões plan (reaching every city in the state with the Good News); we are working on establishing a congregation in the city of Pombal by August 2012, visit one or two other cities close by and go to Cajazeiras to meet with the evangelist living there. 
     Please pray for this trip, especially the PORmissões meeting; our planning and execution of the same. 

May God be praised for allowing us to serve Him.

The Process of Coming to Christ


by David McKinney
     Beliza is a wonderful teenager who was invited to a youth camp last year by Iago, a Christian who, has left the flock. She immediately made a lot of friends began attending some Church meetings and our Monday basketball games.   Iago's sister, Leylane, who is the wife of my brother-in-law, began studying the Bible with her.  After many months she decided to give her life to Christ.  Her mom, who I do not know very well, came to her baptism and cried saying that she had prayed for years for this day to come. To me, it is interesting that it took years of prayer, an invitation from lost sheep, a Christian camp, basketball, friendship, Bible study, and who knows what else to bring Beliza into the arms of Christ. I know that all these people and things were important, even the basketball, because it allowed us to spend quality time with her. You can learn a lot about a person while sitting on a bench. Truly it is hard to know all that God does to win us over and keep us close. Thank you Lord!

Continent Care Connection


         Continent of Great Cities has a great service for missionaries called Continent Care Connection, in which they invite ministers from South America for a week of spiritual renewal in São Paulo. It is amazing how we, sharing the Gospel with others, end up pushing aside our own spiritual needs and become depleted.
          I confess that I was needing this reconnection with God more than I realized, and it took stopping everything for a week and a lot of reflection and encouragement from a special group of men who volunteered to serve us and take care of us. I feel like I have tools to proceed in the work in a healthier way for myself and for my family.
          Hundreds of people made this encounter possible and I pray that God will bless each one of them as much as He has blessed me through their effort.

Bible Bowl Video

Jeremy put a video on You Tube of the Bible Bowl winners being announced.

Here is a link to the Bible Bowl video.  The Bible Bowl was September 24.  The kids from João Pessoa did great.  Check out the video on youtube.  The link is below.

Samuel McKinney 88 out of 100 (1st place overall, including some up to 25 years old)

Nicholas Newlin 83 out of 100 (3rd place in 1st Division, 4th place overall)

Nicholas' team won 1st place in the 1st Division (6 to 12 years old)

You can see the video announcing the prize winners.

Link to video:   
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DByb2fj9e78

Monday, September 26, 2011

Open to the Word

by David McKinney
 
 

    Juliana is 35 years old. She is the girlfriend of a member of the church and that is how we met her. She had attended a Presbyterian congregation for some years, before moving to João Pessoa, but she fell away.  She said she was baptized in 1998, but she said she felt weird about being sprinkled and wondered about it for several years.  Studying the Bible with her is very refreshing. She is eagerly open to the Word, and she is not one to conceal her emotions (see the photos). You can literally tell when she is touched by the Word of God and her relationship with Him. We are very grateful to welcome her to the family.

A Worthwhile Mess

        Bible Bowl 2012 was a mess: miscommunication with my volunteer question makers so I received two sets of questions for Luke 19, Luke 21, none for Luke 18 nor 22 and one person sent questions for Matthew 9 - wrong book; the nightmare of finding rides to Recife for 4 teams of 4 kids since most people traveled this past weekend; and a couple of kids dropping out at last minute leaving teams incomplete. All this left me feeling drained and disorganized.
         But it was all worth it: to learn how to do things better next year, but especially to benefit the kids spiritually this year. Our fifteen competitors came away excited about studying and knowing God's word.
Yury's last minute cramming

Two teams won first and third place in the 1st Division (6-12 year olds)

Nicholas Newlin won third place individual score (83/100 questions) in 1st Division.

Samuel McKinney won first place individual score (88/100 questions) in 2nd Division (competing against 13-25 year olds - he's 11).

Teaching kids to love the Bible - yes, worth it all!