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.