Monday, April 20, 2015

Room To Grow

The church of Christ in Mangabeira does not have its own building.  We have saved up around BRL 25000 (about $8340), but it is still too little to buy our own meeting place.  Nevertheless, we continue to save money and pray.
Until we get our own location, we will continue to look for the best places for us to meet.
We were meeting in a well-located building, but it became too small for us to meet.
The picture below shows the old building.  We had an average of 48 to 55 on Sundays and that was the maximum number chairs that fit.  In six months, we were already overflowing.
This place served us well, but we needed to make a decision.  We needed to move but we would incur a fee of BRL 4500 (about $1500) for breaching the contract because we still had six months left of rent.  It was a large amount for us.  We prayed to our Lord and decided to talk to the owner; he said he would forgive the debt.  We moved out of the building without having to pay anything.
We found another place that is also well located, cheaper and bigger for us to meet.
Now, in our worship services we can receive double the amount of people we could in the old building.
We have 41 Christians and 12 visitors on average for Sunday worship services.
I hope that in six months we will have "the good problem": of this building being too small for the number of people meeting in the name of our Lord.
New address:
Rua Rita Xavier de Oliveira, 160 - sala 2
Mangabeira - João Pessoa/PB, Brazil.
Cordially,
Raniere Vieira

Letting The Bible Speak

At the beginning of this year, we offered a Bible course: Let the Bible Speak, at the School of the Bible in Mangabeira.
We started the course on February 23rd and had an average of 12 people.  Raniere Menezes and I took turns giving the classes.
To the glory of God, on April 9th, Luana (one of the students) gave her life to Christ and was born again through baptism.  Luana is married to Dimas, who is enrolled in the course also.  They were preparing for their baby daughter's baptism in the Catholic Church, but after the course, they understood that baptizing children is not biblical, but that they are the ones that should be baptized in the right way.  Next week will be the last class for this course.
Please pray for the other students, they have publicly declared that there is little lacking for them to make this same big decision, including Dimas, Luana's husband.
 
It is always a good thing, serving the LORD!
 
Cordially,
Raniere Vieira

Monday, April 13, 2015

Buried In The Desert

            I got back from a 14 hour round trip to Cajazeiras last night.  I went to teach an evangelistic lesson to some of the young men in the soccer program.  We studied the book of Romans.  Some of the questions we answered were: What good news does the Gospel tell us?  Can I be a sinner and a good person?  With whom should I compare my goodness?  How does Jesus' death on a cross nearly two thousand years ago save me today?  When does God's salvation begin, here and now or only in heaven?  From what have I been saved?  What is sin? What do I need to do to be saved?  How does the Holy Spirit guide me in my new life?  In what way is our life changed by being a living sacrifice?  What does it mean to offer God our "spiritual service of worship"?  
            These were some questions we discussed.  I also taught them how to hug one another, maybe the most practical and memorable lesson for them.  The best news of the whole event is that Samuel was baptized.  He is a young boy who has been studying for some time.  He has been a part of the Right Step Program (the soccer program) for about two years.  Sunday, after the worship service, he was baptized.  Now Samuel and his brother Sidney are the only two Christians in their family of five brothers and one sister.
           
Please pray:
·         That God will guide Samuel and the church in Cajazeiras to spiritual maturity;
·         That the church in Cajazeiras will understand God's will, revealed in His Word, and live with abandon for God;
·         That God will keep the evil one from Samuel and Sidney as they begin walking the narrow path together.

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Month of Travels

                Spreading the Gospel throughout a state requires planning and meeting, traveling and teaching, and a lot of calling. I even do Bible studies over the phone.  All this has been going on this past month, but I wanted to share with you the more noteworthy events with you, each one requiring its fair share of planning, praying, and calling.
                David and I traveled to Campina Grande to meet with the evangelists, see how they are doing, what their future plans are and to update them on how their support is coming along.  I hope that you will remember that this mission team began the work in Campina Grande as the first Brazilian team to receive full support from Brazilian churches.  They had support for about two years before losing some and then funds from the U.S. have picked up the slack.
                Nicholas, my son, and I traveled to Alagoinha, a small town and a small congregation.  We visited and I taught.  We met with the church in a member's house.  They have met in a separate house, using it as a church building for years but do not have the money to continue paying the rent.
                We hosted the PORmissões meeting here in João Pessoa.  I wrote about this meeting in another newsletter note, so you can get the details on our blog under the heading: "Jesus Prayed for Unity."
                Yesterday, I traveled to the city of Campina Grande again.  I met with the church and accompanied Isac and his family to a Bible study.  Isac and I talked about the work in the state, the PORmissões meeting, unity, and the future of the church.

Please pray:
·         For vision, obedience, and sacrifice for each member of the church here in Paraíba
·         That God will guide His church to maturity and growth in numbers;
·         That God will give Joseph, David and me wisdom to lead, courage to teach, and love to be exemplified in the church in Paraíba.

A Day With Family

            March 15 was "Family Day" in João Pessoa.  All four of the congregations joined to worship together, eat lunch, and fellowship.  We also welcomed the new AME students and heard what the graduating class had to say about their experience in the mission field. 
            There were close to 130 present.  Chris Smith and Pat Sheaffer, both directors of the AIM program in Lubbock, TX, were present for both the graduation as well as "Family Day".  They were hot and sweaty in the tropical heat but seemed to be in paradise, seeing the AIM program established and working in another country. 
           
  Please pray:
·         That God may continue to raise up men and women to work in His harvest;
·         That each Christian may remain faithful and grow in maturity in Christ.

Jesus Prayed For Unity

            Men from all over the state came to João Pessoa last week, some driving up to 6 hours one-way, to meet and discuss the united work of the church.  Each congregation told of their future plans, past experiences, both good and bad, victories and defeats that each has had over the last few months.  Some asked more men to give Bible studies, spreading the work load.  Others mentioned transportation, visits from other congregations, and training the members as needs.
            After lunch I gave a short study on "Unity".  We looked at Ephesians 4:1-16 and asked questions like: (What is unity? What creates disunity? How can we maintain unity?).  We ended the day with a prayer.  Overall the meeting was positive.  We still have a lot of work to do, but I believe we are moving in the right direction, coming to understand that unity is something that requires effort, sacrifice and time. 
       
We need your prayers:
·         Please pray that God may work to form in us the body of His Son;
·         That His Spirit will rule our thoughts, attitudes and actions.