Saturday, December 12, 2009

Amazon December update

We pray that you had a great Thanksgiving. We did. We were able to celebrate it with all the missionaries, and a team from the Cleveland area. They brought down some pumpkin filling for pumpkin pie, cranberries, and supplies for a green beans casserole. It was great and it felt very close to being at home.

As I mentioned above, we had a short term mission team from the Cleveland area this month come and visit. It was really nice to spend time with them and visit a variety of communities along the river. Each community that we visited the presence of the Lord was present. One particular community named Trapachino was particularly special. We had to tromp through almost knee high mud to reach the community and then we met outside under the mango trees. Trapachino is a new work and most of the people had not received Christ. We had worship and then preached the love of God. The response was amazing with 12 people receiving Christ as their Lord and Savior. It was an honor to be a part of this special moment for these 12 people.

At the church we had a group wedding and 5 couples got married. It is really great to see couples that have been living together for years, having children, finally go before God and lift their marriage up to Him. These couples have been regularly attending our monthly couples meeting and we were pleased to see the Lord changing and growing them in their faith.

On a personal note, I want to introduce you to Miss Japanese. Yes, Camilly was elected to represent her class to be Miss Japanese. Camilly’s school held a competition to see who could collect the most money so that they could rebuild their playground, and send money to missionaries to help spread the gospel throughout the world. It was really fun and in the end, Camilly, with the help of her class, earned the most money. Camilly was so happy. Alyssa joined in the fun by imitating her big sister. She was little Miss Japanese.

We pray that you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!!

Love and blessings, Steve, Elba, Camilly and Alyssa

I took this picture from the guest house in Altamira. I love the reflection of the moon off the river.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Amazon update - November

At the church, we held a neighborhood outreach to the community. We specifically invited two neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city, where many community services are of greater distance. We organized an event to serve these communities with such things as immunization, doctor appointments, document preparation, legal guidance, haircuts, and oral hygiene. Even though our church members are not rich they are always willing to give a hand. We had a wonderful turnout and around 350 people were served. It reminds me of Mother Theresa quote “Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.” It is really great to be a part of a church that puts their faith into action.

Does the church look different? It should, we had an all church member painting party. Again, like the above story, members of the church came out in force and painted the whole church in just one day. Amazing!! It has taken so much time and energy to get the church to this point. Below is a picture of our first year (2005) in the church. Of course, we would of like to get the church done as soon as possible, but, our priorities are more centered on salvations, discipling, training leaders, and serving the community with the love of Jesus.

On a personal note, Elba and I celebrated our 6th year anniversary on November 8th. We had the great privilege of getting away for a night and getting some alone time. I never imagined how important those times can be especially with little ones. Below is a picture of Alyssa with Apollo and Célio and they just got done picking Acai from one of our trees. Acai has become a very popular additive for vitamin drinks and supplements. Camilly found this dead python outside our house. It looked like a car ran over it. YUCK!

Thanks and blessings, much love, Steve, Elba, Camilly and Alyssa

Tax deductible donations can be written and sent to:
The Xingu Mission
P.O Box 340785
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Or On-line donations at:

We found this bottle of pop at a local store. YUMMY! Doesn’t “Flesh” pop sound so refreshing. You probably did not realize that flesh taste better with lemon-lime. Lost in translation!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Amazon Update - October

This month we had a healing conference at the church. It was a great time of worship and teaching. The teachings focused around healing and that when we ask or pray for healing we should be in full expectation that the Lord is going to heal. We should not pray in the hope that the Lord will heal, but pray in the expectation that God is already healing the situation in prayer. Elba had the opportunity to pray for a few people. One of them was a lady who had a large bump on her foot due to an infection. It was very painful. During prayer Elba felt the bump starting to move. Elba asked the lady if she could feel the bump moving and she said “Yes, it feels like a burning sensation”. The lump that was on her foot then started to go down and the pain eased. God was at work and he healed that lady that evening, along with a lot of other people.

We also had an “encounter with God” weekend retreat. The retreat is for new believers and it is a time of teaching basic biblical practices and reflecting on God. It was highly attended with 68 men and 69 women participating. It was a huge success and everyone seemed very excited about their time at the retreat. This is a great opportunity to fulfill the churches and mission’s vision of training leaders.

On a personal note, our little 4 year old Camilly has learned how to ride a bike without training wheels. For the last several months she has wanted to ride a bike. One day she was riding her bike while I was holding and running along side of her. I then let go and off she went. She has not looked back and each day she is getting more courageous. It is awesome to see. Alyssa is doing well and is learning more and more words. Thankfully, one of her favorite words is “Thank you or dank you”. Whenever you do something for her she almost always says “dank you”.

Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers. Thanks and blessings, much love, Steve, Elba, Camilly and Alyssa

Thursday, September 10, 2009

September update

Hello, how was your Labor Day weekend? Ours was good. We actually had a holiday as well but it was not Labor Day it was Independence Day for Brazil (September 7). Some of the people in Altamira celebrated the day with a small parade which consisted of a few bands, and children marching through the streets representing their school.

We are so excited to report something that happened this month for CDR. We received high speed internet. Can you believe that we have high speed internet essentially in the middle of nowhere? It is true, and trust me, we are elated. The state of Pará is pushing to spread internet throughout the State and come into the digital age. CDR was given the high speed internet because of our ongoing work to teach students basic computer skills. It has not yet been realized but CDR has also been selected to be a center of information for our neighborhood. Essentially what this means is that we will be a center that will teach students different aspects of the computer and will provide access to the internet. ALL FOR FREE! In actuality, we are already teaching around 60 children per week from a local school about the internet for free. We are really excited to see these programs blossom. Please keep this in your prayers.

This semester English was also a big success and we maxed out our enrollment. English is a hot topic and many Brazilians want to learn English in hopes of furthering their lives and careers. The CDR English program is also very favorable because we provide students with native speakers, excellent teaching material, good environment, and a low monthly fee of $16.00. We are proud of the work that CDR is doing and for being an extension to the church. It is a blessing and even though CDR and the church are legally completely separate, CDR is recognized with our church.

Praise God the girls continue to do well. They still love dressing up in their costumes and Alyssa is starting to learn how to finger paint. We just need to teach her how to apply the paint on paper and not her face. I have a suspicion that her sister gave her a helping finger.

I celebrated my 42nd birthday on August 22nd. Some of the guys from the church got together and made a surprise breakfast for me. It was really nice. I also received from my lovely wife a birthday car message. The car came blaring its music and birthday wishes. To say the least, it is embarrassing.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

Love and blessings, Steve, Elba, Camilly and Alyssa

Thursday, August 20, 2009

August Update

At the church we had a baptism this month. We had 7 people make a public declaration of their faith in Jesus Christ by being baptized. It is great watching people come to the Lord and turn their lives over to Him. We have seen so many lives transformed by the power of God and we pray that we continue to see more. After the baptism we had a party with everyone at our house to celebrate their new life in Christ. It was a really nice day. The people being baptized below are Raimundo and Denise.

We continue to meet monthly with the married couples at our church. At the church we are constantly trying to develop strong marriages and family. It is one of our core values. When the couples come over, we sit and have a snack, play a few ice breaker games, teach the Word, and then allow couples to share their struggles and successes. The group is growing and we believe that the Lord is blessing their marriages. The picture below was a game the couples played. They were given a piece of candy and they had to open it up, and eat it without using their hands. It was hilarious to watch!

Elba celebrated her birthday on July 18th with her twin sister Nira. Some of the church members got together and bought them a dinner at one of the local restaurant. Then they surprised them with a gift from the church. Both Elba and Nira were so surprised and grateful.

The girls are doing well. Camilly loves going to school and playing with her friends and Alyssa is started to form more and more words. In the picture below, Camilly and Alyssa, with the help of our neighbor, Sharon, made some bread with raisins on top. It was not your typical looking bread but it tasted very good. Not bad for their first go around.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers and check out the other pictures below.

Love and blessings, Steve, Elba, Camilly and Alyssa

We took this picture of a monkey in the wild when we visited Rio de Janeiro.

We really enjoyed this picture of Camilly. Alyssa is feeding her baby doll; she is such a good Mommy.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

July update

We pray that you had a great 4th of the July. We did, we celebrated together by eating hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans and potato salad. For desert, we were treated to s’mors and rice crispy treats. It was great because we never get these types of treat here. After desert, we shot off a few fireworks. It was a good time.

We had our regional InterVinha this month and it was a huge success. We had over 170 people in attendance to hear some excellent teachings on the Kingdom of God, and to get an update on the status of churches throughout this community, Brazil, and the whole world. After the InterVinha here in the North of Brazil, Elba and I went to the Southern Regional InterVinha held in Rio de Janeiro. It was a great time as well, except the fact that I was sick pretty much the whole time. However, Elba and I were able to visit the Christ Redeemer which is one of the 7 modern marvels in the world. Pretty cool!

On the third Sunday in June, Elba preached about spiritual discipleship. She shared about the importance of having Godly leaders in our lives to help us on our journey with Christ, and to help us discern certain obstacles that life presents along our path. Plus, how we should follow the examples of Christ and follow after Him and His ways. After the service, we asked if anyone wanted to receive Christ and we had 10 people come up to receive Christ. It was a BIG AMEN!!! Please pray for these new believers as they begin their journey with Christ.

On July 4th Alyssa celebrated her 2nd birthday. She was so excited to be with family, friends and more importantly get to blow out the candles. She was also excited that the theme of her birthday featured Nemo. Every time she would see the poster she would scream “NEMO!!”. She really loves that fish. She had so much fun and we did as well.

As I was walking out to our gate to let some people into the house, I step right on this boa constrictor. At first I thought our guest put it there as a joke, but then it moved. I grabbed a broom to secure it but it was fighting me off big time. Finally, I was able to secure the snake and then I grab it right behind the head and put it into a box. He was one mad snake. I took it to a place outside the city and let it go.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

Love and blessings, Steve, Elba, Camilly and Alyssa

Thursday, June 18, 2009

June Update

Matthew 19:14 “Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." At one of our church services this month during worship Elba sensed that we should let the children remain in the service. Normally, after we end the worship portion of service, the children go to their respective classrooms and are taught the bible. The service was a little noisier and personally, I was wondering if Elba had heard correctly from the Lord. At the end of the service, we asked if any wanted to receive Jesus into their lives. We had an older couple come up to receive the Lord. Then the next thing you know we had a whole swarm of children come up to the front. This is usually not our practice to invite children without their parents, but these children wanted to receive Jesus and they came up with fervor.

One of the mothers told us the other day that before coming to church that night her child was so disobedient, disrespectful, and simply just a troublemaker. She was at her wits end with him and did not know what to do. She felt hopeless and did not feel like she was a good mother. However, that night, her son was a one of the children that came up to receive Christ and he has not been the same. He is now one of the nicest, respectful and obedient children. She is amazed, and is praising God for touching the life of her child, as well as hers. God is good!

On the flood front. We have received an unprecedented amount of rain this year. It has caused a lot of problems not only for the people in the city, but also those along the river systems in the area. Most of the houses along the river have water to their window sills. However, the people do not want to move because they either have nowhere to go or they fear that their possessions will be swept away with the water. So they have placed wood above the water and are essentially living in the part of their house that is the window sill to the ceiling. Some are staying in their small boats. It is sad to see because you know that they are suffering. We were out on the river with a short term mission team from Columbus and we were able to ease the burden a bit by handing out food to many along the river we traveled.

Last month, I reported that Sydney went into rehab and was on his way to recovery. Unfortunately, we have just learned that he left the rehab center. We have not heard from him. Please continue to keep him in your prayers.

On a personal note, Alyssa is going for the world record of watching Nemo. She is in love with Nemo and has nearly watched it every day for the last three months. Nemo is her favorite word. One of our friends found this fish in the river and put it in a two liter bottle, she loved it. She kept hugging the fish. Camilly is doing well and she loves going to school and playing every day


Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

Love and blessings, Steve, Elba, Camilly and Alyssa