Wow! I can’t believe we are already in May, four months gone out of this year like that: 1, 2, 3, 4. The first month the Newlins and my family were in the United States, traveling from Atlanta to Phoenix reporting on the work in Brazil. The second, we arrived in time for Carnival and getting the kids caught up in school, getting settled and getting back into the routine of trips and studies. Since getting back, Jeremy has visited every congregation in Paraiba, except Belem do Brejo do Cruz – talk about wearing out the tires. The third month, the big news is AME, and you can read all about it in this newsletter. This is our first newsletter of the year, not because there has been no news, but because AME has upset our writing times, but we are working through it.
The AIM program through Sunset Institute (Lubbock, TX) has had a big influence in the Joao Pessoa work, through sending teams of young people to work as short-term missionaries (we have received three so far) and giving our young people the chance to experience the mission field through the program (four have served in Mexico, New Zealand, and Phoenix).
The program can be a life changing experience, and many more young Brazilian Christians wanted to participate, but were limited by lack of funds, documentation, or language skills. Our co-worker Raniere Menezes began to dream about having a similar program here in Joao Pessoa that eliminated the documentation and language difficulties and greatly diminished the need for funds. After of year of praying, planning, and meeting, the AME program is now full time.
The name AME has a double meaning: it is the command mode of the verb “to love”, LOVE, and it is also an acronym for Adventurers in Evangelistic Missions. It actually started last year with younger part time students. They spent their Saturdays preparing for weekend campaigns, and then the group (sometimes over twenty people, half adults, half kids) would go to an interior congregation to evangelize their city. We had campaigns in Cubati, Belo Jardim, and Campina Grande. I was amazed at how seriously the young people took the training and the campaigns. It is a part of AME that will continue; the youth group of the church has become a lot stronger because of it.
In April, AME started with full time students. These came to live in Joao Pessoa; they have classes Monday through Thursday mornings, afternoons, and some nights. On the weekends they accompany evangelists in the work with local congregations to get plenty of practical experience. This preparation will go on for eight months, and then they will be sent in teams to assist South American congregations for a year and a half. This way young people will have a taste of missions that will influence them spiritually in church work for life, and young congregations, desperate for manpower, will have young people full of energy and excitement about putting into practice what they have learned.
The Inaugural Banquet
At the end of March we had a banquet to present the new students and their families to the church, and to present the beginning project to all. Since EBNSER in Recife is a partner in AME, one of the teachers, Alvaro Pestana, came and spoke. Special prayers were offered for these students and their families, who support their decision to take two years of their lives to dedicate to the growth of the kingdom.
Brethren and their Responsibilities
A large number of the Joao Pessoa church is involved in getting this program rolling. Raniere Menezes is the director, Diego is coordinator, Neal and Kaitlin (our current AIM team) are monitors, Edda is in charge of buying groceries, Sula helps with cooking, though most days they do their own cooking, Monica takes care of finances, Nilson has done remodeling to the building to better accommodate them, and the teachers, Joseph, Raniere V, David and Adriana, Renato, and Jeremy, are teaching a total of 26 hours of classes each week on the subjects of Evangelism I: Acts, Introduction to the Old Testament, Homiletics, Devotional Life, Relationships I, and Spanish. We thank God for all the others serving to help young people become missionaries, and we thank the Father for all the financial supporters also. May God bless you richly in His Kingdom!
Our student body is made up of four girls and two boys:
→Jackelayne Lima, converted along with her mother and sister, lives in União dos Palmares, Alagoas, and they meet at their house or travel to congregations in larger cities one or two hours away, like Garanhuns or Maceió. She is no stranger to Joao Pessoa though, ever since she started dating Diego, who was our first young person to go to AIM.
→Tais Lins started following Jesus six years ago in João Pessoa, and her dream is to spend her whole life in His footsteps.
→Aiane Nayara is from Belo Jardim, Pernambuco, and has been a Christian for three years. Everybody in her family was converted except her father.
→Beliza Patrícia was baptized two years ago in João Pessoa. She is putting her university education on hold to serve God full time for two years.
→Adeliton Oliveira, converted in Belo Jardim, Pernambuco, has been a Christian for 15 years. He is the only one with previous training through EBNSER in Recife.
→Hewerton Oliveira is a second generation Christian from Recife, giving his life to Christ three years ago.
Please Pray for AME!