Monday, November 11, 2013

AME Activities

The first year of the AME program has been a success. Oh sure, we have made mistakes, learned a lot, thought of several things that could be done better, but that is the challenge of life. Overall, AME has been positive to the João Pessoa church, to the youth group, to the AME students and their families, and soon to three congregations about to receive freshly trained, fired up workers for a year and a half. These are in the cities of Feira de Santana (Bahia state), Palmas (Tocantins state), and Bogotá, in the country of Colombia.
            This week we finish their last week of classes. I have been teaching about Evangelizing Other Religions. Our practical exercises have been interviewing priests, mormons, spiritists, etc. We visited a candomblé hut – an eye-opener: idolatry with animal sacrifices is still strong in our modern times. We saw rooms that would be a great setting for a horror movie. The strangest religion we visited is called Valley of the Dawn – it is the most syncretistic belief system I have ever encountered, a spiritism that draws power from Christ, God, Indians gods, African god, Egytian gods, etc. If something has ever been worshipped in the history of mankind, they have included it. We watched the indian spirits take possession of the acolytes, as they tried to cure evil presences from a person’s body. It would be funny to watch if it weren’t so sad. It amounts to slavery to rituals and superstitions and even to real spiritual powers, separate from God. The girls going to Bahia will have to deal with a lot of people who believe these things.

            AME has done several campaigns this year, the latest in Candeias, close to Recife, where they visited houses and invited people to study the Bible, helping the congregation there to round up new contacts.
            The previous campaign was with the João Pessoa youth group in Campina Grande. Six carloads of kids hit Campina Grande, to door clap in the neighborhood around the new building rented by the church. Several visitors came to the Sunday meeting and showed interest in studying the Bible. The good it does our kids to look up to the AME students and be a part of their training is priceless. We are really going to miss them. 

            The next big activity is this weekend: Mission Camp, organized, promoted all by AME. The weekend will be geared toward teaching and living evangelism, with different social events throughout João Pessoa, but concentrating especially in the Mangabeira neighborhood. Please pray for this event!
            After the camp, the AME students will return to their home congregations to spend a month with their families, and then after the New Year, it is on to the world…

Alagoinha - Whole Heartedly

On a bright and beautiful Sunday afternoon, I travelled to Alagoinha, about one hour and thirty minutes from João Pessoa to meet with the church and teach on worshipping God through our finances. Instead of the usual sermon, I taught more of a Sunday School class type lesson on how Jesus, the apostles and the early church dealt with money.   
Most of the Christians in Paraíba either came from the Catholic or denominational doctrine of tithing and free will offerings.  Yes, the Catholic church does tithe now.  Free will offerings are seen as giving the left overs.  Completely different from what the Bible teaches.  So how do most Christians give to the work of the church here in Paraíba?  They usually fall under one of the two categories that I described above.  Can you guess which one most of them fall into?  I bet you can.  Why is it that Jesus, the apostles and the early church dealt so much with the money topic?  I think it must have been a problem then, too.   
I have taught quite a bit about this subject over the past two and a half years.  The truth of God's Word is sinking in the lives of some brothers.  It is satisfying to be a part of moving someone closer to God and away from the World.  We are all still learning but the journey itself is exciting.  We are on our way to meet God face to face. 
I was asked to teach this same course at ELICAMP (a leaders retreat for the congregations of the northeast of Brazil).   

Please pray: 
  • that the Lord's church in Brazil will live contently with what God has given each member 
  • that each member will live the truth in our Lord's Words "It is more blessed to give than to receive." - Acts 20:35 
  • that each member will give themselves "whole heartedly" first to the Lord.