Monday, April 9, 2012

I Heard It On The Radio

             I have visited Areial for about 12 years now.  The Church had grown to around 15 members but many fall away.  There are now three Christians in the city: Sônia, Beta, and Bia.  Sônia has been asking for a family to come live in the city to better establish the church and evangelize.  We have been encouraging her to evangelize on her own and not to wait on someone to do it for her. And she acted.
           
            Well, the church in Areial now has an hour spot on the local radio station.  It is every Sunday from 12:30 to 1:30 local time (9:30-10:30 CST).  You can hear it over the internet at: www.rcafmareial.com .  One Sunday, I had the opportunity to speak on the program.  It has been going for three months.  Twenty eight people called in to the radio station while we were on the air.
           
            The church is still asking for a family to come and live in the city to help evangelize.  The difference is that they are doing what they can.  There are five people studying the Bible through correspondence courses.  It was a very encouraging visit.  Instead of talking about what they could do, the conversation has now changed to what they are doing and how others can help. 
           
            Please pray for our sisters in Areial and their effort to reach others with God's message. 

Encourage or Be Encouraged, How About Both!

I travel to Patos at least once every three months to meet with the evangelists of the congregations in the region to talk, pray and plan evangelism for their area.  I also go to teach Bible courses to these same evangelists and the congregation of Patos.  There were 8 people who attended the class on the book of Hebrews, my favorite book of the Bible, right now.

I go to pass on knowledge that I have gained by studying the Bible.  The evangelists come to learn from me but I am greatly encouraged by their dedication to God and his service.  Three of the five evangelists in the region work self-employed part-time jobs and as the preacher, Bible study giver and planner and executor for their congregation's evangelistic efforts.  They all work hard and often and they do it all out of their love for God and His Kingdom.

Please pray for:
·       Santo – Belém do Brejo do Cruz
·       Luciano – Patos
·       Givanildo – Emas
·       Silvan – Catingueira
·       Café - Cajazeiras

The Heart of Man

            There is a place in the heart of man that can only be touched by God.  If man does not let God near this place, man will never be changed.  Fabiano is a man who travelled and served the pastor and members of his denomination.  Fabiano is an alcoholic, and he was winning the battle but fell, weak to his vice.  After going on a drinking binge, his services and travelling were no longer needed by the denomination of which he was a part.  He was left alone. 

            Antônio Germano has been visiting Fabiano for some time, long before the above story took place.  Antônio had been telling Fabiano that he needed to follow the truth.  Fabiano would listen and even agree that some of the things the denomination does are not in accordance with the God's Word, but he would not change. 

            Antônio and I went to visit Fabiano this past Sunday.  He is sad and ashamed by his behavior, but most importantly, he seems repentant.  I don't want to be naïve: I know that only time will tell if his love for the Lord will overcome his love for alcohol.  I am excited, though, to see his desire to honor Christ with his life.

            He also said during our visit that he wants to begin meeting with the church in Alagoinha and learning more from God's Word. 

Please pray for:
  •  God to move into Fabiano's heart so that he will have the strength to recover from alcohol and sin;
  • God to give wisdom to Antônio Germano and Zezito, these two men are working with the church in Alagoinha;
  • God to increase the faith of the members in the church in Alagoinha;
  • God to give me wisdom and patience to work with the church in Alagoinha;
  • God to raise up more men to work with the church in Alagoinha.

If Christ Can Clean This Filthy Soul...

          We are not used to public confession of sins. It makes us uncomfortable. It takes that which is naturally hidden and exposes it for all to see. When Izau gave his life to Christ and was baptized, we rejoiced and squirmed at the same.



          Izau is Rosa’s husband and a cook at the Chinese restaurant where we have the midnight Bible study on Thursdays. Like 90% of the workers, he is from the small interior city of Esperança, but he has a bad reputation there. Michel, before Izau’s baptism, gave a summary of his life before Christ that seemed to go on forever: the prostitution, the parties, the violence, the drunken binges. We looked over at Izau and he was nodding his head in serene agreement. Michel concluded, “When you go into Esperança, there is a billboard. I want to put a huge picture of Izau with these words: ‘If Christ can clean this filthy soul, then he can clean you!’”
          Praise God for Izau and Rosa. May God bless this Christian couple and use them to bring others to Christ through their transformation.

Prayers Requested

  • Irene’s daughter, Michele, had a motorcycle accident. She broke her arm and leg, and cut her face. She had a double surgery and is recuperating at home, bedridden for SIX MONTHS. She is stir crazy and about to drive her mother crazy too.
  • I took Roberto to his doctor. He is a faithful church worker at Colinas do Sul. He takes medicine for schizophrenia, a condition that limits him, but his new medicine made him shake, as if he had Parkinson’s syndrome, so that he couldn’t even pick up a cup. Pray for relief and his life, and ability to continue evangelizing the lost.
  • The Colinas do Sul congregation started in Naldo’s house. Naldo has opened up a bakery. This startup is wearing him out: long hours making bread, swamped in debts, fighting cut-throat competition. Pray for Naldo, his family, his spiritual life, his business, and the congregation that meets in his house.
  • Marcos, new convert from Colinas do Sul, has had his life turned upside down because of a painful skin condition: acute dermatitis or psoriasis. He lost his job because of it. Pray for him, his family, his spiritual life and for a new job to support his family.
  • Frank and Louise Cutler, Milan, TN, are long time supporters of our mission work. Louise was diagnosed with acute leukemia. The doctors gave her a month to live, but her life is guaranteed by Christ forever. Please pray for Frank and Louise.
  • Marcos Paulo, Ricardo Sobral’s son, got married. He left João Pessoa to go through the AIM program, and worked for a year and half in New Zealand. On his team was a young lady; they fell in love and got married this month.
  • We thank God for Jeremy Newlin’s family. His parents, his sister, his nephews, and niece came to visit Brazil and were blessed with a safe trip. Steve is the chairman of the mission committee at Joelton church of Christ. Darlene handles our newsletters and bank business.
  • Mark and Carolyn Hagewood arrived to continue their work in the Paraiba, especially strengthening church leadership in the interior and supervising the Right Step soccer project.
  • Several from Paraiba are traveling to São Paulo for the ENOC, a annual national church worker conference. May Santo, Elias, Roberto, Francinaldo, Raniere Vieira, Raniere Menezes, and Luciano come back uplifted from this week long event.
  • Jordan, Zezito’s son, wants to be baptized. He lives in Alagoinha.
  • Pray for Adeilton and Ana Paula. Their 16 year old daughter ran off pregnant to live with her boyfriend. May God guard their faith as they exercise tough love.

Three News Avenues

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

    We have three ways for you to keep track of the Lord's work in Paraiba, Brazil.

1. Paraiba_Mission Email List - on this list you receive mission updates straight to you inbox.

                        - if you or someone else would like to be added to the list, send the email to paraiba.mission@gmail.com or send a blank email to paraiba_mission-subscribe@associate.com

2. Paraiba Mission Newsletter - sent to physical addresses monthly through the post office.

                        - this month we have begun to send new material and not just copy the email updates. If you would like to receive these, please call Darlene Newlin at Joelton church of Christ,
                          (615) 876-0510 to have your address added.

3. The Paraiba Mission Blog: www.paraibamission.blogspot.com 

                        - The blog is on the web if ever anybody would like to go back to older news, whether sent by email or the post office.

    So decide what's best for you and let us know if we can help get you connected.

                        blessings,
                                Joseph

Monday, April 2, 2012

Exodus

Change is a fact of life. In the past six months we have felt that in
João Pessoa, brothers and sisters moving to other cities.

- Our AIM team of 6 young people, Michael Miller, Erick Paddy, Jenny
Merritt, Ashton Woods, Tiffany Dominguez, and Nyasha Alufayi, completed
their mission here and returned to the US. Boy, do we miss them.

- Lidiane moved to Ireland to work.

- Aninha moved to Natal because her husband was transferred there.

- Celia moved to Brasilia because her husband's job was transferred there.

- Hunter, Lori, Mathias, Sabrina, and Daniel Hagewood have moved to
Recife, since the company set up an office there.

- Fabio and Regiane moved to Campinas, São Paulo, also related to the company.

- Joe and Linda McKinney's time in Brazil has ended and they moved back to
the US.

We miss them all, and some seem irreplaceable in the work, but God
is in control and has a mission for each one in their new homes. Please
pray for our brothers and sisters around the world.

Soccer Program Update

Café and Leila, the full-time workers in Cajazeiras with the Right Step Soccer Program, report: the beginning of the school year has been delayed with teacher strikes but the soccer program is going strong.  They have 60 youngsters in the program and when school starts, more will be included.  New Bible studies have begun and the attendance on Sundays is up. 

Please pray:
·       That God may bless Café and Leila with wisdom, patience and love with the kids that are learning from them and the church about God's love for each one.
·       That these young men and women may grow in spiritual maturity and lead others to Christ, as they themselves are being led.

Planting a Church on Their Own


    As you may remember, PORMISSOES (Organic Missions Plan) is the idea of establishing a congregation in the four major cities in the state of Paraíba, building those congregations up and each one reaching out to a 90 mile radius around them, eventually evangelizing the entire state. 
   
    We now have a congregation in each of the four major cities of the state.  I have met three times with the evangelists in the desert region of the state to discuss beginning a new congregation in a city that does not yet have one, Pombal.  I have planned with church leaders on how to establish this congregation, but they have not done much in the past. This was our fourth meeting, and  I stressed that I was not going to do the work for them nor could I. 
   
    I asked for one of them to be responsible to remind, to encourage and to motivate the others to work the plan.  Givanildo stepped up and said he would be that person.  Luciano, from Patos, will begin visiting the city of Pombal.  Things seem to be heading in the right direction now. 

    They were waiting on me to do the work but I live five hours away from the city they picked to establish a new congregation.  Now, I think, they understand that I can't do it and that if they do not take the responsibility, it will not get done. Wow, that was a good meeting!
           
    Please pray for the effort of these five congregations to establish a new congregation in the city of Pombal.  I know that it is God's will for everyone to be saved.  If, by God's will, the church in Paraíba is able to establish a new congregation through their own efforts I feel that they will gain confidence in God equipping them to do so in other cities, and they will be an example for the Christians in the state.  I also believe things will move a lot smoother, and I will be closer to fulfilling my purpose to work myself out of a job.

God bless you all,

Jeremy & Monica Newlin