Monday, February 6, 2012

Who Can You Invite to Study the Bible?

     When my son Samuel decided for Christ, one of the first things I asked him was, "Who can we invite to study the Bible?" He answered Emerson, Michel's (from the Chinese restaurant) nephew. For the past several months we have studied weekly with him and his neighbor the same age. The study went on and on until Emerson asked me, "When does this study end?" You see, he was getting anxious to be baptized, and that question was the cue to wrap it up. Yesterday, he said he was ready. His uncle Michel baptized him at the beginning of the Sunday meeting before he and Michele (Emerson's mother) had to rush to work. Emerson's mother, uncle, and grandmother are now Christians, his decision being possibly a step closer for his father, Edson. Samuel and I will continue studying with Emerson, and the first thing we will ask him is, "Who can you invite to study the Bible?

Please Give Us Wisdom!

            My family traveled to Cubati, a city about 3 hours away.  We went to visit Afonso and Vânia and encourage the church in this small town of about 6,000.  The day we arrived the city was without water and about 15 minutes after we left the water problem was over.  We stayed 3 nights and 3 days and were able to take 2 showers so it wasn't that bad. 
            We visited some people with whom Afonso and Vânia maintain contact, I gave two or three Bible studies, visited one of the members of the Church who has stopped meeting with the Church.  (One member is dearly missed no matter how many members attend at that particular congregation, this congregation only has four.)  At one of the Bible studies I gave there were 8-10 visitors.  They all really liked the fact that they could ask questions and get Biblical answers.  One of the visitors told Vânia that the pastor at the denomination she attends does not let her ask any questions during their Bible study.  She was having serious family problems and has not talked to her sister in around 3 years.  After hearing the lesson on Jesus giving us rest and how we rest by doing His will and not our own.  She decided to try and initiate a conversation with her sister and work toward asking for forgiveness. 
    Please pray:
  •   That God may give Afonso and Vânia wisdom to discern God's will in the situations they face in that small town with many big problems.
  •  That God may give Afonso and Vânia courage and boldness to tell others about the good news of God's Kingdom with love.
  •  That Edivânia, the lady at the Bible study, will follow God's will and forgive her sister and that her sister will forgive her as well.

    On a side note:  The pictures of me are drinking milk that came straight from the cow without any pasteurization.  It was not as thick as I expected and it was sweeter than expected.  Notice that I had a glass of water close by before trying it.

The Greatest Sweetness Is In The Truth

            Monica is studying the Bible with an older lady named Leonidia.  She is a sweetheart, Leonidia, although Monica is too.  Monica came home excited this past Saturday after their study.  Leonidia asked about the role of women, so Monica shared some verses and explained them.  Later, Leonidia's daughter came in; she wants to be a pastor.  Leonidia, took the scriptures she had studied with Monica and read and explained them to her daughter.  Her daughter replied, yeah, that is right.  That is what it says, in a tone of humbled acknowledgement.
            How wonderful it is to teach others the truth of God's Word and see them pass that truth on to others.  It is even more wonderful to see that same person live the truths they learn.

        Please pray:
  • That Leonidia will continue to learn and put into practice in her own life God's wonderful truth.
  • That Monica can continue to have the love and patience she has to study God's word with others.

Congresso and Real Life

            About the Christian Congresso (4 day encounter of the churches in the Northeast of Brazil) this year, I could tell about seeing old friends, seeing how they are growing spiritually and in number, and being encouraged by their fighting for Christ, about my class on how to be more like a man after God's own heart, of course, based on the life of King David, but life hit me and the rest smack in the face.


            The last night of the event, the fellowship was great so I went to bed around 1:30 a.m. but checked on my son before lying down.  He was wet and stank!  Feeling around in the dark I figured out that he had thrown up all over himself, and he had a fever.  I got him up, washed him, changed his clothes and turned the mattress over to the dry side and put him to bed again. Around 4:30 a.m. someone else started throwing up, loud enough to wake me.  I checked my son again and he had thrown up again.  I was so tired and not feeling so great either, and since he didn't have any more clean clothes or mattress and especially since he didn't have any qualms about sleeping in that mess, I just left him.  It turned out that myself had my own problems with puking and diaherrea. Not a pretty picture.
Morning came and brought with it over 30 people puking and aching all over. We later figured that around 90% of the 150 participants got food poisoning. They say they haven't food poisoning this bad at a Congresso since Salvador in 1989.  What a way to end a great event!
But it wouldn't end! I had stomach problems for the next 11 days.  I ate plant leaves (not just any kind, but those recommended by others), teas and took medicine.  Nothing worked.  I traveled and taught a four day course, while feeling like making emergency runs to the bathroom – rough, but I survived.
I was talking to Raniere, here in João Pessoa who told me that his stomach problems from the Congresso stopped when he ate two hot dogs.  I went out and bought two of the greasiest chicken paddies deep fried in oil. I do not know what happened inside my body after eating these two "balls of medicine" but I have not had any more problems since.
This is where I should share some new spiritual depth that I have found in this experience, but besides being able to wear a "I survived the Congresso of 2012" t-shirt, I'm still looking.