Monday, January 25, 2016

Our Mission, our Vision, by Jeremy Newlin

          The last time I wrote you about the Christian Congresso, which unites brethren from all nine states in the Northeast of Brazil, was in 2012.  At that event, a lot of people got sick from food poisoning.  This time that did not happen.  At this Congresso, the 30th,, there were two baptisms, 340 people stayed the four days, and close to 600 came for the Sunday meeting. Mateus (from Maceió) and Lucas McKinney, both 13 years old, were baptized.

          The theme was “Our Mission, Our Vision”.  The idea was to focus on gratitude and evangelism.  I left the event excited to tell others about Jesus and edified by the joy in the atmosphere, where I felt I was with family.  I do not remember hearing anyone complain about anything.  What a great time we had together.  Heaven is going to be better than we could ever imagine. 

          One a side note, Dylan, my youngest son is learning to ask for discounts when he buys things.  He asked for a discount at the Congresso’s snack bar, but came to me telling me that they would not give him a discount.  I explained to him that we should not ask for a discount at a church event from our brothers and sisters who are volunteering, and that we should gladly pay what they are charging. He was using his own money, so he didn’t buy anything.  I talked to the brothers at the snack bar later on, and they laughed and said how they were impressed with his determination.  One the last day, I suggested that he buy something at full price, even though they were wanting to give him a discount.  He did buy something, but I do not know if he got his discount.  I will have to ask him.

Please pray for Mateus and Lucas, that they will be light among their friends; for our vision, that it will continue to be God’s vision to reconcile the World to Him through His Son Jesus.

A Family Coming to Christ

        Emanuela watched her mother and sister give their lives to Jesus last year. The change must have made an impression: faith grew, obedience to Jesus too. She decided it was her turn to follow Christ. That only leaves the father and a young brother. May God unite this whole family in His kingdom.

Monday, January 18, 2016

John the Baptist Baptized

        The church that meets in Mangabeira, João Pessoa’s largest neighborhood, is growing too. Raniere Vieira and Marcelo studied the Bible with João Batista. João decided to be baptized. The same hour of the night, they went to the beach, and he gave his life to Christ.
        John the Baptist was a powerful servant of God; let’s pray that João Batista will live up to his name and baptize others

Monday, January 4, 2016

Let Go of my Ego

          My family was invited to a really neat experience, a wedding in Caruaru. We spent five years in the 90’s establishing the church there, making a lot of mistakes, but somehow God used our inadequacies, and brought about something good. 
          1993, my brother and I moved into small house in an alley, without out a sidewalk, so one step out of our door, we were in the street. The neighbors were excited about the Americans moving in, giving them something to talk about, their kids fascinated. One little boy called Hegon (pronounced Ego), three or four years old, was scared of us at first, but once getting used to us, would stand at the bars of the front doors for hours watching our daily affairs in the living room and kitchen.  I guess there was nothing interesting on TV. I don’t know how watching two bachelors burning their lunch made much of an impact on this little fellow, but if I knew I would be at his wedding 22 years along with Christian brothers and sisters from churches all over Brazil, if I knew he would become a young leader in the Caruaru church, I would have paid more attention to him.
          Also during those Caruaru years, I started traveling to Vertentes weekly (about fifty minutes away), studying the Bible with a group of people there. I met three kids (about ten years old), and I thought, it might be fun to do something with them. I remember setting up a couple of hiking trip – that’s all. We hiked once to a lake, had a swim in the city’s water supply, then we hiked up a small mountain, called Mouth Rock (Pedra de Boca), and went into a cave there. If I knew that one of those kids, Juarez, would a leader in the church, that he would be celebrating Hegon’s wedding 20 years later, I think I would have tried to spend a lot more time with him and his buddies, maybe preach all three chapters of the Sermon on the Mount on Mouth Rock.
          This wedding was a reminder to throw out my missionary ego, this not about me. It’s about Him, He’s the true missionary, doing some wonderful saving in this fallen world. Hey, I’m just reminiscing about time past, about lack of vision, about God’s wonderful grace, little nostalgia, and some determination to make a difference now, and thinking how we will have an eternity of stories to tell and hear with loved ones from times past.