Friday, July 20, 2018

July Amazon Update!

We just started another small group in the last 3 weeks.  Promoting small groups has always been a priority of the church because we believe that this is where we see spiritual growth, learning, fellowship, and serving.  Our small groups are usually a group of 4 or more people that meet on a weekly basis.  Small groups are a place where you can study the Word of God, develop deeper friendships, and pray for one another.  It is during small groups where we can see lives being transformed and leaders developed.   Pray for a multiplication of more small groups through the churches. 

The church had its annual country themed celebration to help raise money for projects at the church.  With the economy not being good the church has seen a significant reduction in giving.  It is barely paying its bills and workers.  These events help fund projects that the leadership feels are necessary.  In this case, it helped build a woman’s restroom.  The event was successful and earned just enough to get it built.  The event had a bizarre of donated clothing, many games, food, and live entertainment.  Please pray for our church. 

We have other challenges at the church.  For example, when trying to mix the sound for the worship band during church service we try not to let the HUGE tarantula get us!!!

On a personal note, we celebrated two birthdays in July.  Alyssa on July 4th, and Elba on the18th.  Alyssa had a sleep over with a bunch of her friends, and they burnt the midnight oil having fun together.  Elba (and her twin sister, Nira) turned 40 years old and the church put together a big party.  They had a lot of fun and they were both treated to a beauty skin treatment.  Personally, I thought it was unnecessary as Elba already looks so beautiful and young.  Not to be left out, Camilly participated in her school Olympics.  She played soccer, handball, and dodgeball.  They came in 2nd place. 

Prayer update: We took the leap of faith and put our house up for sale.  No offers as of yet.  If it God’s will for us to sell, then it will happen.  We are placing it at His feet.  If you should remember, please pray for God’s will. 

Please also continue to pray for spiritual, physical, and emotional health for us.  

Much love, Steve, Elba, Camilly, and Alyssa

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Camilly and her friend trying on a pair of pants. 

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

June 2018 Amazon Update!

Aside from CDR providing English and Computer classes, and teaching people how to sew, all at a discounted price compared to the other schools in the city, they also went to one of the local schools as they have for the last several years to teach the students about “safe touch”.  They got the chance to sing worship songs, as well as present a puppet show, a dance, and dramatic play.  Afterward they taught the students the importance of safe touch, and then prayed for the students, then provided a meal.  It is our great hope that by teaching these children some principles about what is safe, and general safety tips it will help prevent these children from being abused.  Also, if abuse is happening, it may give the child the courage to tell someone in authority so that they can be helped and protected.  Prayer request:
  • Please pray for these children and that sexual, physical and mental abuse will never happen!
  • Please pray for CDR.  Even with lower prices, the school is suffering due to the poor economy. 
  • Please pray that this improves and wisdom for us to lead the school through this time. 

We were back a week when I left for a week to BelĂ©m to go to our Senior leadership meeting.  It was really good to be with some of the missionaries that I serve with.  Once I got back, Elba left and is still gone as of this writing to Santarem for a week long training of caring for Pastors.  We both had adventures getting to our places of destination.  I went right in the midst of
a trucker’s strike, and on the way to Santarem a truck overturned causing Elba to take an even rougher terrain to get around the truck.  In addition to the training, Elba shared the word for Valentine’s day which was celebrated in June 12th here.  I am sure the word was a lament because we were separated from each other on Valentines day.

On the first day back on the preaching schedule we had a couple of guys come up and receive the Lord.  So cool to see people surrendering their lives and start to follow the ways of the Lord.  It is the first step of many along their path but we are privileged to be able to share this moment with them.  Thank you Lord!  Please pray for these fellows.

Prayer request: We shared this prayer request last month and we thank you for your prayers.  We believe that we are going to try to sell our home and see how God will either confirm or not.  If He wants us to remain here then we want to do that of course.  We really appreciate your continued prayers for the Lord’s will to be done.  Thank you!

Please also continue to pray for spiritual, physical, and emotional health for us.   

Friday, May 25, 2018

May Amazon Update

We arrived back in Altamira last Thursday.  We were so blessed to have the opportunity to go back and help my Mom with her recovery and to be at my sister Shelley’s memorial service.  My Mom is recovering really well and she just started rehab.  She is pretty much able to do most of the things that she could before the injury, except, she gets tired quicker.  We believe that she is on a good road to recovery and we are grateful for your continued prayers for her.  Thank you.  We took this picture just before going to a wedding.  Pretty much everything that I had on was borrowed.  

On a church note, the church celebrated a baptism.  They always get to participate in the fun stuff while we are gone.  J   Even though we were not there we can see the Holy Spirit was touching each of their lives.  I really love watching people getting baptized.  First, I like the public testimony that it gives to people in the community.  Second, I love that during the baptism the church is singing and worshiping God.  Lastly, the symbolism of letting the person be completely immersed in water being baptized into Jesus’ death on the cross and no longer being slaves to self or sin.  When they are raised out of the water they are raised into a new life in Christ and are with Him forever.  Praise the Lord and may His transforming power be upon each of them and us daily.  Needless to say, it was also a great celebration in heaven as well.  Praise the Lord!  We are so happy for this public decision that they made in their lives and the great adventure that the Lord will lead them going forward.  Please keep these new believers in your prayers.

Again, we arrived last Thursday, and the girls were back in school on Friday.  They were not singing for joy to go back but they went all the same.  After getting there, they were happy to reconnect with their friends and teachers.  We kept up somewhat well with the homeschool but Alyssa was more than 30 pages behind on her math.  Thankfully she is good at math and we believe that she will get caught up quickly. 

Prayer request: We have been tossing around the idea of moving to another house.  We know that the Lord brought us to where we are living but after many years, and certain dynamic changes, we are considering moving to another house.  Since, we know that the Lord brought us here to live we do not want to move on if our time is not over.  We really would like clear direction as to how to proceed and so we are asking for your prayers. 

Please also continue to pray for our re-entry, and for spiritual, physical, and emotional health for us.  

Much love, Steve, Elba, Camilly, and Alyssa

Thursday, February 22, 2018

February Amazon Update!

We came back running from our 21 day travel sprint visiting churches and pastors to be a part of the preparation for the Cristoval celebration this week.  Carnival is Brazil’s annual “celebration of the flesh” before the initiation of Lent on the Catholic calendar.  It’s a week- long party where “anything goes” and every city in the country shuts down allowing full participation by the people.  HOWEVER, this year the city government here in Altamira did not have its annual carnival celebration.  WOW!!!  This is the first year in 14 years that I have been here that they did not have a carnival celebration.  AMEN! and thank you so much for your prayers. 

The Vineyard churches began “Cristoval”, a retreat for youth, away from the city, with a focus on Jesus and having a lot of good clean fun.  It has been a great success throughout the years, drawing kids toward Jesus and allowing an alternative during Carnival.  Here in Altamira, we had Jim Anderson and his team come back and speak about his book “Unmasked: exposing the cultural sexual assault”.  This is such a great topic in this culture which is sexually charged and there does not appear to be many boundaries.  It is also very timely because of its complete contradiction of Carnival and the sexual temptations that lures so many to having a sexual relationship outside of God’s will and purpose.  Jim shared from his book the revelations about:
·         God’s gift of sexuality
·         The heart of a woman
·         God’s true design for men and women
·         How to be “men of honor” and “princesses of God” and to walk in the beauty of His creation. 

It was really powerful in the lives of the hundreds of youth and adults that participated in the conference. 

After Cristoval, we held a conference for the adults to talk about our roles as parents, wives, and husbands in the family.  To encourage each of us to pray and bless our spouses and children on a daily basis.  As well as reconfirm our roles and commitment to our spouses and family.  This is really important because life has a way to suck us in and it is very easy to forget about these fundamental principles. 

Camilly participated in her first Cristoval this year.  The minimal age to go to sleep at the camp is 12 years old.  She had a great time with her friends but was exhausted due to lack of sleep.  We also have two new members in our family.  Alyssa has been doing a good job as the caretaker to the Mommy and babies.  We also got to go to a butterfly enclosure and the girls each caught a butterfly on their finger.  

My older sister Shelly passed away on February 17th.  She was a very sweet and loving person, and I will remember her as someone full of life.  Below is a picture of how I will remember her.  Unfortunately, these last several years had been very difficult for her health and dependency issues.  Things went downhill very quickly.  Please pray for our family during this difficult time. 

Please also continue to pray for spiritual, physical, and emotional health for us.  

Much love, Steve, Elba, Camilly, and Alyssa

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Saturday, February 3, 2018

January Amazon Update!

Thank you so much for your support and prayers.  We usually like to send our updates in the middle of the month but we have been traveling for the last 21 days and just got back.  It was a great time and adventure.  Bless you and pray that you enjoy the below update!

As I mentioned above we just got back from traveling for 3 weeks and it was an adventure as we slept in many different places and traveled via boat, planes, and automobile.  I did not do so well with the driving part.  OPPS.  Thankfully no damage….except to my ego. 

We spent about 2 week in Santarem and Jacarim.  During our stay there we spent time with their leadership and talked about current things that are happening within the church, and the future.  We also participated in ordaining 2 couples to be senior pastors.  The first picture is of Inilson and Enilda to be the senior pastors of Santarem.  The second pictures is of Ricardo and Cleury to be the senior pastors of Jacarim church.  Both of these couples are passionate for the Lord, and the lost.  Please keep them in your prayers. 

We also had the pleasure of being with Richie Bouthillier and his family in Portel.  We went to officially inaugurate their church building, and participate in ordaining Geise to be the pastor in Portel.  The Bouthilliers are doing a great job in Portel and it was a great thing to celebrate.  The mission is all about planting churches, and training leaders.  This moment was what we are called here to do.  Help plant Vineyard churches, and train local leaders to lead into the future.  Praise the Lord!

The girls are doing well.  They just started school on the 1st of February.  Actually school started a few days ago but since the girls were with us during our travels they were unable to attend.  During our trip, we had a chance to go to Elba’s hometown.  Camilly and Alyssa were trying to learn how to fly a kite.  It somewhat worked.  Elba also showed us the place that she used to get water every morning by bucket and then carry on their heads back to their house.  I was fortunate enough to be able to turn on a Fawcett and water came out. 

Please also continue to pray for spiritual, physical, and emotional health for us.  

Much love, Steve, Elba, Camilly, and Alyssa

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I found this English school in Santarem with this name.  A lot of my friends in Ohio would argue that this could not be a good English school with the name of Michigan.  J