Monday, September 9, 2013

There is Power in God's Word

          The month of August has come and gone as a blur and we are almost half-way through September already.  I have only been back in Brazil for seven months, since our last visit to the States but it seems so far away.  So much has happened; so many trips, classes taught, meetings and baptisms that it is a blur.
            In August there were 9 baptisms throughout the state, that I know of.  Three of them were in a small town called Emas.  The evangelist, Givanildo, has lived in this city for several years and the church has grown very little.  I began studying the Bible with Givanildo by phone once a week, every week and he began teaching more people in his city of Emas.  This past month, three people were baptized and more are studying God's Word. 
            I do not believe that my studying with Givanildo was the cause of these three baptisms but I have "seen" or should I say heard a change in his voice and the subjects he talks about.  I have seen him more often on my trips to the interior, where as before, he would hardly show his face, I have grown closer to him and he has helped me to grow in my relationship with Christ.  He is a very humble person with a great desire to serve God.  He is now seeing evidence of the service he is giving.
            This article was written to celebrate the power of God's Word in our lives.  Read it. Study it.  Live it.  It will change your life and the lives of some or all of those around you.
Please pray:
  • for the maturing of your three new brothers and sisters in the city of Emas;
  • for Givanildo's love to study and live God's Word to continue to grow;
  • for the congregations throughout the state of Paraíba and their growth.

Requesting Money - Don't Worry, It's Not from You!

The Right Step Program is a social project that benefits boys and girls between the ages of 10 to 16. There are exceptions in the age bracket for older kids who have been through the program and still want to continue. The kids are, for the great majority, from families who struggle financially. The Right Step Program is not in place to help financially but to help in an area that we were all lacking at some time in our lives, spiritually.  The church in the city of Cajazeiras has grown substantially in number, due in a big way to Right Step. 
The Federal government in Brazil gives grant money to approved social projects, as well as, other benefits for those being served. The costs are many when caring and training over 100 boys and girls and you, the church, have supported this work to this point. I am not writing to ask for money. I am writing to let you know that we are trying to be approved by the government for grant money. It is not just the money that would be beneficial.  If approved, Right Step might even be able to provide dentists for the kids, who do not go very often, but hey, who really wants to. (Sorry, dentists, but I'm sure you've heard that before), a bus could be requested for use on trips to other cities at no cost to the program, also balls, uniforms, and other accessories could be provided. Those are the more costly things Right Step could offer. 

Please pray:
* that GOD'S WILL MAY BE DONE in approving or not approving this request;
* that the Right Step program can continue to be a great evangelistic tool for the Lord's church;
* that God may bless the church in Cajazeiras with spiritual maturity.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Baffling the Doctors

             My son Samuel went from being treated for parasites to having major intestinal surgery in just a few days. It was so quick: we discovered the tumor on Monday; on Friday we were in the hospital in São Paulo, waiting for one of the best surgical teams in Brazil to operate on him.
            They removed a five inch adenocarcinoma and several swollen lymph nodes with it. This is extremely rare in a child who hasn't had a lifetime to harm his colon with bad diet, alcohol, and cigarettes. Though our surgeon has decades of experience, having done this same surgery thousands of times, we could tell by how she told us how big the tumor was that it caught her by surprise.

            She said that they got it all, but because of the lymph nodes, Samuel would have to do at least six months of chemotherapy. Edda asked if he would be able to have a normal life, but she didn't give much hope, saying that it depends on each person's organism. The five year survival rate of children with this type of cancer was probably going through her head.

            I happened on the anesthesiologist and I asked him about the surgery, hoping for more details. He looked disturbed, "Hasn't anybody come to talk to you?" "Yes, the surgeon came." "Then I don't have anything else to add." And he was gone.

            Then came the long wait for the biopsy. Edda had been reading over and over Philippians 4:6, and she proposed that we pray and fast that God change this situation. We decided, of course, to give glory to God no matter what He chose to do in our son's life, but our plea was for Him to baffle the doctors, so people wouldn't just see our son being saved by a great surgeon in a great hospital, but would look to the Great Physician for an explanation. During our wait, the peace of God took hold on Edda's heart.

            Only God knows how many people around the world were talking to Him on Samuel's behalf, and He took control of our son's health. Though the tumor was scary, the biopsy showed that the lymph nodes were clean. Hurray! The second sign was Samuel's CEA test - came back zero - no antigens in his blood! Wow! The last hurdle required by the oncologist was the immunohistochemistry testing for microsatellite instability – what in the world? If stable, Samuel would have to go through five months of chemo. The doctor called from Sao Paulo with the results, and his first words were "Your prayers worked!" Of course, doctor, our prayers always work, because we serve a living God who is constantly hearing his children and acting according to His will! Praise be to the Father, who cares for us always and no matter what!

            We have committed to tell this story of how God changed Samuel's prognosis. How can a surgeon who has spent forty plus years taking cancer out of people's intestines see things one way, but the tests show another? It’s God - He made the difference! All praise to Him! Thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers!