Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Vacation Bible School and Fun Bible School

      This year, Vacation Bible School’s theme was The Kilimanjaro Safari, using Proverbs to teach children to use their eyes, their ears, their mouths, and their hands and feet to glorify God. That’s what the children learned; what we learned was that teaching children about Jesus is not only fun but worthwhile.  Something else we came to realize was how hard it is going to be to have VBS next year without Monica Newlin putting so much time and work into organizing it. The Newlins are moving back to the US at the end of the year and will be greatly missed.

       This year, though, we have tried something different. We have transformed Sunday School into Fun Bible School, based on some ideas from the Journeyland Program that the Hermosa church in Artesia, NM, introduced us to. We invite the visiting kids to continue coming to church to participate in mini workshops: gardening, cooking, acting, etc., each workshop geared around a Bible message. Then at the end of the month, the children make a presentation for their families of what they have learned.

       Pray with us that Fun Bible School can bring in more families to meet Christ.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Becoming a Fisher of Men

          Far, far away in a little town called Diamond, there lived a fisherman named Heleno. Though it sounds like it, this is no fairy tale. Heleno’s wife became a Christian last year, the only one in Diamond (Diamante). She is Ivani’s sister, whom Francinaldo and Ivani have visited two or three times a year since they became followers of Christ.
          Every time they go,  Solange gathers family and neighbors to study the Bible. Most times Heleno would be out fishing, but he would hear the message some times. This and his wife’s example finally became enough for him to come to a decision.
          They traveled to João Pessoa, spent the weekend here and we studied the Bible. Since Heleno doesn’t read well, I drew pictures to help him better understand why sin is such a problem in our lives and why only Jesus can resolve it.  He understood despite my lack of drawing talent.
          He was baptized, and went back to his hometown a new man, armed with my stick figure drawings to share what he has learned with others. Heleno and Solange may be simple folks, but they are God’s representatives now in Diamond, and with God on their side many people can be caught in the Gospel net in that city.

Taking the Right Step in Life

    The Cajazeiras Right Step Program is going strong, young men learning about living godly lives through soccer training, but the fruit for the Kingdom is not restricted to just boys.

    Rivaldo Café baptized a couple, Alacide and Jocelha, at the end of July. They came to the church through the program too. Ever since their two sons started training soccer, they showed an interest in studying the Bible. And now they are your brother and sister in Christ. Please pray for them, their faith, their witness, and for the Right Step program to continue set families on the Way of Life.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Youth Leadership Training by David McKinney

             I traveled to Caruaru with Samuel McKinney and three young ladies, Beliza, Thaís and Valeska. We went to a youth leadership training camp. This is the first camp of this nature in the Northeast of Brazil. The focus of the event was the need for youth ministers to care for their own spiritual lives and the importance of mentoring others to become future leadership.  So many times, ministers in general use all their energy to care for others and invest very little in their own spiritual well-being. It is very common for church workers to be overloaded with work instead of teaching others and delegating responsibilities.
          These subjects are very important for the kind of youth group that we want to build. To instill the idea that we need each other in the Kingdom, and yet caring for each other can be burden, we did the following activity: we were divided into pairs and told to race across a field carrying each other. Samuel ended up with a guy that was three times his size. I came very close to interrupting the activity for fear that Samuel might hurt his back, but I was amazed at his determination to do his part. This kind of attitude, in the hands of God, can go a long way. The four young people I took on this trip are devout Christians who have a passion for service, and love working with young people. I can see all of them growing spiritually in amazing ways. The camp had an impact on each one of us. May God teach us to always care well for our relationship with Him, and to use special time and resources to train others that can multiply our efforts.

From Joelton to João Pessoa and Back Again, by Jeremy Newlin

July 10, 1994, I first set foot on Brazilian soil, (a three week visit to Recife) the same as the McKinneys many years before.  Fast-forward, (does anyone born after the year 2000 even know what that really means?) 22 years and 6 days:  A group of 21 people, varying ages, arrive in João Pessoa for a one-week mission trip.

We planned their week with many activities: visiting, singing in public squares, handing out flyers (no one more excited about this task than Riley Putman, my nephew), door-to-door invitations to a new School of the Bible course (beginning this Saturday, August 13th), spending the night in the home of a non-English speaking family, buying fruit in the open market, buying souvenirs, going to the beach to relax and have fun, meeting with the congregations in J.P. and eating lots and lots of food (even going to a true to life, Brazilian steakhouse).

Several from the group want to visit again.  If we could fast-forward again 20 some odd years into the future, would we see someone from this group, having been bitten by the love for missions, writing a similar article about a similar group on a short visit. We loved having you here. It was great fun, and we were all greatly encouraged by all of you. May God light His flame for missions in the hearts of all those who came, those who contributed and those who prayed for this trip. May we all love loving others, bringing glory to the Creator and Lord.