In Cajazeiras, Paraíba, the Right Step program has produced another young man who has given his life to Christ. His name is Italo Fernandes, fourteen years old, and he has been studying the Bible for eight months. We praise God for Italo and his young faith, we thank God for the Right Step program that is giving these young men hope where otherwise they would face lives of addiction, perversion, and darkness. The celebration included his friends jumping in the baptistery with him.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Monday, July 23, 2012
Last month I spent time with the mission team in Campina Grande, my objective was to encourage them to keep on going and growing, tag along for visits and Bible studies and teach. I was able to accomplish all of these objectives and the team also greatly encouraged me, as well.
They have started a small group in Isac's house and are inviting people to come and visiting those who do. They seem really excited about the initial results and want to grow this group to a size where they can multiply it into another group in another person's house.
We visited contacts they have in other neighborhoods. One that really impressed me was Carlos. He has been faithfully married for 35 years and seems to understand the importance of living what you preach. He is not a Christian, yet, but is really an exciting person to be around and is seeking to help the church in Campina Grande grow in his neighborhood. He wants to help the team find a place to meet as the church in his neighborhood. The team is thinking about whether it will be possible or not.
We also had a couples meeting that was very well planned and carried out by the team. They planned fun activities and a moment to meditate on God's Word for the couples. There were some 15 couples, out of which, 11 were not Christians and it was the first time at least two couples had been to a church event.
During my trip to Campina Grande, I also went to Cubati, which is about 1 hour away. I was invited by Afonso and Vânia, two Christians in the city, to introduce and teach the first of five lessons from a correspondence course. There were 14 present to receive and take the course. Afonso and Vânia will be doing the visiting and answering of questions for those doing the course. I will be visiting once-a-month to follow-up and teach one lesson of the course to take them a little deeper into the Word and answer any other questions they might have.
Afonso, Vânia and the other two members of the church in Cubati are very excited about what is happening in their city for God.
- Please pray for Campina Grande, the people in the city who do not know God and the mission team trying to take God to the people.
- Please pray for those who received the correspondence course in Cubati, that they may have perseverance to continue studying God's Word and grow in understanding of God's Will so that their love for God may be greater than their desire to please their carnal desires.
We want to thank the Joelton church of Christ for sharing their VBS material again this year. We thank Steve and Darlene Newlin, Candie Putman, Carolyn Hagewood, and Abbey Troxler for hauling it down in their suitcases – it’s heavy! We want to give an extra thank you to Abbey, who, though on the countdown to her wedding, came to help us in VBS – she spent hours making posters, decorations, and helped in the games department. And most of all, we thank God to be able to give our children an experience that they will remember for a long time.
The theme, The Gold Rush, was adapted to Brazil’s historical discovery of gold in Minas Gerais in 1698 by the adventurer Antonio Dias. In the skits, we had him discovering gold for the first time, while his slave Joaquim, through a Bible, discovered the true treasure, and with his new found knowledge evangelized indians and tried to stop the historical Emboabas war. Though a little bloody in the end (just catchup), the message was clear: that Jesus is the only one that gives eternal life.
Over fifty children participated at the Jardim Luna congregation, going through the four departments each day: Bible lesson, crafts, games, snacks. After four days there, the material and decorations were taken to Mangabeira for a repeat performance for over forty children in that neighborhood. This translated VBS material will now make the rounds to other congregations that want to reach out to children.
Parents of at least two different visiting kids asked how to get more involved in the church. We are so glad they are beginning to see the value of Christ, the true treasure.
Monday, July 16, 2012
The church in Alagoinha began 10 years ago when I went to give a Bible study to a group of about 20 people, one of which was Antônio Germano. His wife had died just some months before, so I never had the privilege of meeting her.
Antônio was excited to hear the Gospel. He had already been baptized biblically but was meeting with a denomination that was not teaching truth. He kept insisting that I come back to help begin the church. Ricardo Sobral and I went and simply asked him what was stopping him from beginning to meet and call others to meet with him. So, that is what he began doing. The church grew to around fifteen members in a short time but, not too long after that, dwindled back down to four faithful members. Part of the reason is that Antônio is a very zealous man. He is zealous for God's word and God's will, but he has a hard time encouraging others to continue in their faith. A lot of times he comes off sounding like he wants to make them do God's will. We have tried to help him learn to talk to others and encourage them, but he has a hard time changing his ways. He is pushing 70 now. If you are getting close to 70 or have already passed this mark, may God bless you. I am not saying that everyone who is close to or over the age of 70 is not willing to change but it is hard to do so. It's hard at any age.
After years of involvement and trying to help Antônio change, I gave up. I did not know what else to do. There was no one else that would lead and teach, no one with the zeal and perseverance that could carry the light to others in this city. I prayed off and on for this town and the church. This month, I met someone who might be an answer to prayer. Fabiano is not yet a Christian, but he has the desire to see the church grow. He also knows Antônio's limitations and seems to be willing to hear (throwing out the bad and keeping the good) and to work with him. He knows how to plan and execute plans. I am excited and praying.
Please pray too for Alagoinha, the church, Antônio, and Fabiano.