Monday, March 28, 2011

Campaign in Campina Grande

Only 4 days till the Campaign in Campina Grande!!!

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
 
    Campina Grande, the second largest city in the state of Paraiba will be invaded with a little over 50 people (some 45 from João Pessoa and some 7 from Recife), 3,000 tracts to hand out, and 200 correspondence courses.  We hope to impress the city with the unity and love of the body of Christ during these three days. 
    The team in Campina Grande has planned different activities to call peoples attention:  a tent in a public square where people can come for prayer, a group singing on a busy sidewalk, and door-to-door visits in a neighborhood.  The objective of handing out the tracts is to get people interested, then these new contacts will be offered a correspondence course to study the Bible, not by themselves, but with someone accompanying them as they go through the lessons.  Plant the seed, water the seed and wait for God to give the increase.  We have the Good News and we want to share it.
 
    We ask for your prayers as the group from João Pessoa goes to help the church in Campina Grande generate more contacts to visit and to study with. 
    
    The campaign does not end on April 3rd.  The most important part of the campaign is following up with these visits and studies.
    
    If you would like to come and help in the campaign you are more than welcome to do so but you do not have to be here to participate in this campaign.  You can pray before and after April 1-3.
I ask that you pray:
  1. That God will prepare the hearts of everyone that we will come in contact with during the campaign;
  2. That every person involved in the campaign, that includes everyone who is praying, will be encouraged and will grow in love and faith in God;
  3. That God will add many people from Campina Grande to His Kingdom.
There are 4 days before the grande campanha in Campina Grande.
 
May the peace and grace of our Lord and Savior be with you all,
 
a servant of the King

Thank You, Patrick

February 28, 2011 was a tragic day for the McKinney family: Patrick, our friend and companion of four years, died. He was our pet cockatiel. A cockatiel can live up to twenty-five years, but Patrick's life was cut short when he got stepped on.
    On the day,  intense grief cut short my breath, like a stone weighed on my sternum, blocking the air. The kids were devastated, and I couldn`t talk to anybody without my eyes tearing up.
    I was embarrassed - I had to cancel the visits and Bible study I had lined up that day. I had comforted that very week three people, one who lost a father, and two who lost mothers, and here I was all torn up over a stupid bird. I was ashamed.
    But then again, he wasn`t just a stupid bird. Patrick woke up every morning whistling the Brazilian national anthem. In his own way, he ruled the house, using his cage only for meals or to sleep. He was a bird free to come and go as he pleased - you`d think he would want to escape, not Patrick - he loved us too much, especially the kids; he had to be around them all the time. When he heard them wake in the morning, he would sound off loud ear-piercing whistles (his way of screaming for attention) until one of them came to give him a good morning.  When the kids were at school he would be as quiet as a mouse, but when he recognized the sound of the car bringing them home - he would start screaming again until he got the attention he wanted.
    We thought Patrick was indestructible - we lost count of how many time he got stepped on, sat on, or run over, but the dangers didn`t scare him: he was the happiest when he was among the feet of a group of playing children. Almost daily he would engage in a strange ritual: singing to Lucas` feet.
    His favorite place in the world - sitting on someone`s shoulder. For him it was like being king of the mountain, a position he fought for, pecking hard anyone who tried to displace him.
    When Edda scolded him for chewing up ferns, he knew he was in trouble, looking just like kid, hanging his head and trying to hide behind something.
    He was part of our family, filling our house with song, but now it is silent. A sense of the purposeless fragility of life slapped me in the face; Lydia buried herself inside her self; Samuel cried constantly for two or three days and is writing Patrick`s name all over his notebooks; Lucas kept saying over and over, "I want to have Patrick back."
     Is it presumptuous to look for purpose in the life and death of a bird? Is Patrick teaching my kids a valuable life lesson on how to deal with loss and longing? Or could God have had a even deeper mission for our little bird? Twelve days after Patrick, Samuel said, "Dad, I want to be baptized." I was driving and a flood of emotion rushed over me.  I avoided a wreck and, after a moment,  managed a calm question, "Samuel, why do you want to be baptized?"
    "Well, I`ve thought about it for a long time, but didn`t feel I was ready. But when Patrick died, it made me think that I need to get ready."
    I told him that we would study to prepare for this decision, the most important of his life. A huge smile, one I hadn`t seen for days, lit up his face. On Sunday, in front of the whole congregation, we announced that Samuel was studying to be baptized and asked the brothers and sisters to pray and encourage him. And they have given him just that. A group of young people came over to the house to visit him and share experiences of the Christian life.
    Then Daniel (14 yr old), who has just started coming to the Sunday meeting, saw the youth group planning to visit Samuel. Though being very shy, he gathered the courage to ask for a visit too, showing interest in studying also.
    My son at age 11 is beginning his journey on the way of eternity, another is being influenced to consider life matters, where will it spread to and for how long? Only our Father, who can use even a little bird to bring about His plans, knows. "Two sparrows cost only a penny, but not even one of them can die without your Father's knowing it." Matthew 10:29  Thank you, Patrick, for filling our house with song during your short life. Thank you, Lord, for using Patrick to fill our Heavenly Home with people You and we love.
    Please remember Samuel and his decision in your prayers.

End of the World

Roberta is a single mom, whose parents and sister are Christians. We praise God for her decision to follow Christ also. She was baptized yesterday.

A new beginning that signals the defeat of the Enemy in her life. Her daughter, though, wasn't too happy: Sara started screaming as if it were the end of the world when she saw her mother get down into the water.

 .............................................................................................
Email comment from Jason Goldtrap: “It WAS the ‘end of the world’ for Roberta. ;) JG”

Monday, March 21, 2011

Campina Grande Travel Update

Thank you all for your prayers during my trip to Campina Grande.
 
    I met with the team on Saturday night.  I wanted to hear from the three families  what Joe McKinney and Christopher Boyce had discussed with them during their visits.  My objective was to  to help the team in unity.  Joe McKinney has developed "The 16 C's to Team Building" and he went over the first, "Communication" with the team.  I asked the families what they would like to talk about from the list of 16 and they chose "Dedication".  Hey, the "16 c's" are "c's" in Portuguese not English.  Anyway, we talked about dedication to their team goal, dedication to one another and above all dedication to Christ.  We had a devotional time and fun conversation. 
    The team is really excited about the campaign on April 1st through 3rd.  We worked out some details and everything is pretty much organized.  Now, it is only a question of time before we hit the streets with the message of God's saving work through Jesus Christ.
    I met with the church at night and preached.  I really enjoyed my time with these wonderful families who have dedicated their lives to spreading God's kingdom wherever they may be.
    Please pray that:
  • God will work through the team in Campina Grande to build-up His church in that city;
  • God will bring those whose hearts are good soil to study His word
  • the church will be energized and edified through participation in the campaign.
God bless you and keep you,
 
 
 
Jeremy, Monica, Nicholas & Dylan
 
You can call us in Brazil at our Magic Jack #; this is a Nashville, TN area code: (615) 752-2969
 
Skype us at: jeremy.newlin


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The Return to Brazil

The McKinneys and Newlins are back after report visits in the USA.
Actually we have been back a month and a half. Getting settled in with
new schools and new work routines, a process that should have taken a
max of a couple of weeks has dragged on for what seems like forever. We
have had some mishaps.
But first we want to thank everybody who made our trip to the States a
blessing from God. We are sad that we didn't get to spend time with
everybody, but I hope to on our next report visit.
Our first accident: Edda fell off a ladder and broke her toe. The
ladder was old and rusted and came apart under her. Poor Edda had a list
of 101 things that had to be done, but she couldn't walk well or drive.
She hobbled around too much for it to heal properly so even after a
month it is still swelling up.
Our second accident: Edda spilled boiling water on her hand, a second
degree burn that hurt so much that she couldn't stand to keep it out of
cool water. Fourteen hours later at 4 am either it felt better or she
was too tired to let it keep her awake, and she got some sleep. Her hand
looked awful for a couple of weeks.
Our third accident: well, I'll share that one in a future email.
The Newlins have struggled with their kids' school. Nicholas and Dylan
are in limbo while the Education Department decides whether to send them
to the next grade or hold them back because of all the bureaucracy that
they require just because the boys went to a US school for a half year.
Life doesn't always work out as we plan. Thank you all who have prayed
for us.

Carnaval Camp Update

Hello everyone,

I sent this report out Monday but I don't think it went through. If it
did then I guess this will be the second time you are receiving it.
God bless you all.

I am sure most are wondering whether or not we made it to and from
our destination, Cajazeiras, during carnival. Well, thanks to God, who
has always protected us we made it back alive and, well, tired.
It is about a 7 hour trip to Cajazeiras. We left our apartment a
little later than we had hoped so we arrived after dark. There were 45
people at the retreat, and we all enjoyed our time together.
Joe McKinney and I taught three classes each during the retreat.
Joe McKinney taught on "Spiritual Gifts in the Body of Christ." I
taught on "The Kingdom of God" and about using our gifts to draw people
closer to our King and Savior. I was edified in the study, preparation,
and teaching of this subject. I prayed and still pray that it edified
all who heard.
There were a couple of adventures that always make these get-aways
memorable. The first: climbing a small mountain. Joe McKinney,
Nicholas, my 10 yr. old son, and 3 other adults climbed the untamed
beast. They asked me to go, but I looked out at the almost cloudless
sky, at a temperature of what had to be close to 96 degrees that felt
like 110 and said, "No, I think I'll go tomorrow." When they arrived 3
hours later, they looked like they had swam the widest ocean and then
had climbed mount Everest. I was glad to see everyone back and o.k. I
asked Nicholas if he had fun and he almost started crying. You see, he
had been stung by yellow-jackets, bitten by flesh-eating ants, and had
come within feet of a rather large snake. It wasn't just him, this
happened to everyone on this quest for the modern-day, caveman manhood.
The next day they were all fine. The adults were talking about going up
the mountain again next year, Nicholas said he would stay behind. How
nice it must be to live without an ego. The second adventure happened
the day after. We decided to go to a lake, actually, a reservoir that
supplies the city's water. It took us almost 50 minutes to go 6 miles
down the holey dirt road. We climb a steep bank and arrived at the
reservoir. Some of the group took a quick dip in the piranha infested
lake. (That's what we were told. I have never heard of piranhas in a
lake, only in rivers, but hey, I'm not taking my chances; I've been
attacked by fish before. I was having a Psoriasis crisis and fish in
the
ocean started ramming me and biting. One drew blood and it wasn't even
a
piranha). We saw the storm coming but did not imagine that it would be
so bad. The drops of rain felt like needles on our backs from the wind
blowing so hard. We had to walk 1/3 of a mile to get back to shelter
and then drive back down an extremely muddy holey road for another 50
minutes or so.
To go along with these adventures I also found out that the
pictures I had on my SD card were not copied onto my Hard drive. I am
sorry but I don't have any pictures to share with you on this trip. I
will try to get some from someone else who was there.
Hey, adventures like these are what we tell stories about. They
are memories that we can tell our children, grandchildren and share
with all of you. You would have loved it, I know we did.

May the grace and peace of God live within you,

Jeremy, Monica, Nicholas & Dylan Newlin