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.