Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry CHRISTmas and Happy New Year

We hope that you had a great Thanksgiving. Can you believe it, just a couple more days and it will be CHRISTmas. WOW, how time flies. From our family to yours, have a Merry CHRISTmas and Happy New Year. We hope you enjoy our latest blog.

Upon returning back from the States, Elba had it on her heart to do some women pastoral care. She arranged for the women leaders to meet at a retreat center outside of Altamira. The time was filled with some teachings, but more importantly, time to rest and just have fun. It also gave the women time to talk and share their hearts with other women leaders about their struggles, challenges and successes. These meetings are very important because it allows the leaders to stop and reflect on what God is doing and has been doing in their lives, create a stronger bond between the leaders, and get re-energized to engage back into the endless work at hand. Unfortunately, not all of the woman leaders were able to attend, but we hope that at the next retreat they will be able to participate. Elba and I were pleased to be able to help financially to make this happen and invest more in their lives.

All the Altamira base missionaries families as well as some Brazilians friends got together and we celebrated Thanksgiving. It was a lot of fun and a lot of food. We did not have the traditional turkey but we had plenty of chicken which was an excellent substitution. We also had stuffing, cranberries, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, salad, and some deserts. I am hungry just thinking about it.

Whenever Alyssa likes something, she really likes it. Case in point is her ballerina outfit. She loves it and essentially wears it almost every day even if it is dirty, wet, and very smelly. Personally, I do not mind if she wears dirty clothes or smells a little bad, but Elba and the Brazilian culture will have nothing to do with that. LOL. Camilly went back to school in the mornings and was having a hard time going to school. There were lots of crocodile tears and excuses not to go to school. Once she gets to school she is usually fine. It is just the process of getting her to school. She has this fear that we are going to leave her and not comeback. Please keep her in your prayers.

We found this tarantula in the girl’s room. It was as big as an orange. Praise God Elba saw it and we were able to kill it. We have not found any tarantulas in the girl’s room before so this was just a little too close for comfort. You can be for sure that I am a little more vigilant to check their room before bedtime.

We pray that you have a Merry CHRISTmas and a happy new year. Please continue to keep us in your prayers for good health, safety, and the Lord’s continued favor on the church and the ministries.

We are still in need of your financial support. Please help us by sending a check to the below address or giving on-line. It is a great investment in the Kingdom of God.

Love and blessings, 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:


Tuesday, December 14, 2010


We want to thank you for your continued prayers in our lives. We hope and pray that you have been blessed throughout the year receiving our emails and seeing the wonderful things that the Lord has and continues to do here in Brazil. We are writing because we need your help financially.

As you may or may not know, we are not salaried employees and we do not take any money from the church or CDR. We depend on donations to live and minister to the Brazilian people. The fact of the matter is that the cost of living has risen, the value of the dollar has dropped, and our responsibilities in ministry have multiplied. It takes your financial support for us to be here to help make an impact in Brazil and the lives of people like Cleiton and Cristiane.

Before coming to Christ, Cleiton and Cristiane were living together out of wedlock. Their lives were filled with partying, dismay and turbulence. But they encountered Jesus through the Mirante church and He has stormed into their lives and they have not looked back as they continue to grow spiritually. Cleiton and Cristiane have become an instrumental part of the leadership team at the church. They are both leading the youth group and Cleiton is co-leading the worship team. Cleiton is also a gifted preacher and has been teaching the Word of God at conferences and the church. The Lord has been transforming their lives in front of our eyes and now their future is filled with the hope of the Lord and His blessings. This is just one example of the many lives that have changed because of Christ working through the Mirante Church.

CDR, our community center has been reaching out to the community to help the underprivileged with affordable education in English and computers. This semester alone, we have around 300 students participating in our programs which is 100 more students than we had last year. We have also been providing wheelchairs to children that cannot afford one and providing hope for a better future for them and their families.

Will you help monthly? If you cannot help monthly, would you please give your best one time financial gift? We are convinced that this is a good investment in the Kingdom of God.

You can send your tax deductible gift to:

The Xingu Mission

PO Box 340785

Columbus, Ohio 43234

Or online at:


Thank you much for your consideration. Love and blessings, Steve, Elba, Camilly and Alyssa

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

November Amazon Update

We made it back to Brazil. We pray you enjoy the below email.

Thank you so much for your prayers of safety and travel mercies. We arrived back in Brazil on the 29th of October and once we hit the ground it felt like we were off to the races and things have only slowed down a bit. We are not complaining. It feels good to get back and get our feet wet again in the ministries. Elba preached two days after we got back and several people gave their lives to the Lord. While we were gone in the States, the leaders of the church did a great job nurturing the congregation. We are so proud of them and we praise God for continually raising up leaders to move the work forward. Our mission statement is being fulfilled “Training leaders and planting churches”.

Some members of the church came to our house and we had a barbeque as a welcome home party. It was really fun to get to see everyone and just hang out. It was really nice to see some old faces from the church as well as some new. I took some pictures of the party but I have no idea where they went. Maybe up in that cloud with all the other lost and deleted files.

Thanks for all your prayers for Elba. She is feeling much better now. We are still unsure as to what was causing the fever but by the grace of God it seems to be gone. The girls have been doing well with the transition. Camilly jumped right back in with her friends and is speaking Portuguese fluently. Alyssa on the other hand is essentially only speaking English. However, she is slowly moving into Portuguese. It is really funny to watch the Brazilians trying to figure out what she wants or what she is saying. Before leaving the States, some of my parent’s neighbor got together and bumped up Halloween a couple of days early for the girls to participate. They had a great time dressing up as little princesses. I asked Alyssa if she liked Halloween and she said “I love it!” This was their first time experiencing Halloween and so much candy.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers for good health, safety, and the Lord’s continued favor on the church and the ministries.

Love and blessings, Steve, Elba, Camilly and Alyssa

Thursday, October 21, 2010

October Amazon Update

Our time is soon ending in the US and we have had such a great time seeing family and friends. We really appreciate all of your prayers and support in our lives. We pray you enjoy the below newsletter.

Thank you so much for your prayers for us during our time in the states. The Holy Spirit night at the Vineyard Church of Columbus went very well and we saw the Lord touching and healing many people. In addition, Elba was invited to share at the annual Vineyard Mission conference held in Colorado Springs. As the National Coordinator for the Brazilian church movement she was asked to speak about missions and the church, specifically about self-governance and self-financing. Elba articulated the missions and churches point of view eloquently about our philosophy of church planting. The feedback that she received was really positive and hopefully helpful for all the church planting teams present. Since we were in Colorado Springs, we had the opportunity to see a black bear. I am not sure if opportunity is the best word, we were pretty scared.

The Mirante church and Santa Ana congregation had a baptism along the Xingu River. It was really exciting to see all of them making a public declaration of their faith. I always get emotional watching baptisms because it reminds me of the huge impact that Jesus has had on my life and the wonderful journey upon which these new believers are starting to embark. Keith and Marsha Wilson have been doing a great job leading the Santa Ana congregation and discipling these new believers.

On a personal note, I had been training for a marathon for the last several months and by the grace of God ran the whole distance. It was really difficult but extremely gratifying. The girls ran the last 100 yards with me. Incredibly, even with all the training I still managed to gain 15 pounds. UGH!! The girls have been enjoying their time back in the States. They had great time while we visited the Rocky Mountain National Park. They loved feeding the chipmunks and birds.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers for good health and safety. Especially, please pray for Elba as she has had been experiencing a low grade fever almost every day for about a month. We went to the emergency room and they did not find anything with the battery of tests that were performed. She is on another round of antibiotics and we pray that this will eliminate the fever. Please pray for her and please pray that our trip back to Brazil will be safe, without incident, and that we integrate back in with ease.

Love and blessings, Steve, Elba, Camilly and Alyssa

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Amazon update

At this point, we have thoroughly enjoyed our time back in the States. It has been a good time to get caught up with family and friends, plus share the vision of the mission with others. Elba has had the wonderful opportunity to preach at several Vineyard churches and a Southern Baptist church; all the services went well. The Southern Baptist church was really special because Elba was the first woman pastor to preach at their church. The Holy Spirit was moving and she did really well and was embraced by the congregation. It has been exciting to see how the Lord has used Elba to be the first for a lot of things in the church.

One of the refreshing things about being in the States is not worrying about the work that continues in Brazil. The church, and our non-profit organization, CDR are doing well. The leaders at the church have really stepped up to fill the void in our absence. At CDR, we had the Secretary of Communication of Pará come and recognize our school for its efforts and inaugurate our internet café. The internet café has 11 computers and it is free to use for anyone in the community. This is important because even though we live in a third world area, first world technology is creeping into the lives of the people and it is good to be able to understand and embrace the technology. We feel very blessed to be able to be part of offering this type of service to the community.

Thanks for your prayers for Alyssa, she is doing much better. She has had no more fevers and her cough is at a minimal. We have had some nice times together as a family back in the States. We went to the Columbus zoo and that was really exciting for the girls. They loved the monkeys, gorillas and riding on the ponies. Elba and the girls also experienced their first baseball game. They did not like the game but enjoyed the atmosphere, food and the people.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers for good health and safety. In addition, please pray for Elba as she will be one of the main speakers at the National Missions conference in October, and will also be leading the Holy Spirit empowerment night at Vineyard Columbus on September 24th. Also, please pray that we will be able to raise more financial support to continue the work in Brazil.

Love and blessings, Steve, Elba, Camilly and Alyssa

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Amazon update

In July we had a large 3 night conference at our church. There were about 700+ people in attendance. The conference was really good. There was a great time of worship and the spirit of the Lord was among the people. The youth performed dances and plays demonstrating the love of Christ. Chris Weins from Canada preached that night and made the following comment about one of the things that happened that evening After this we broke into three categories of ministry time. Interesting ~ the largest group was the one for deliverance. One girl I witnessed fell on the floor and began to shriek, it made my skin crawl. I asked a few people to help move her to the side and then the real power showed up. Elba, the pastor of the church walked over and said to the demon, shut up and listen to me, in Jesus name get out! As simple as that, it was gone and the girl was calm, too cool huh? I love the authority we have over the enemy in the name of Jesus.”

A couple of days before we left to come back to the States the guys at the church got together to build a one room schoolhouse on stilts in a remote area of the Xingu. About 25 students that live in the surrounding area will utilize the school during the week and then in the future we are going to be holding church services during the weekend. It was a lot of work with cutting wood and lifting these massively heavy pieces into place, but in two day we were able to get the roof completed. The walls and the floors will be completed at a later date.

On a personal note, Elba celebrated her birthday on July 18th with her twin sister Nira. The church planned a surprise party for them and they were surprised. It was a lot of fun for them. The girls love their time back in the States. We had an overnight in Miami and when we got to the hotel Camilly was just amazed at how soft all the couches were and how pretty everything looked. She looked up at Elba and said “Mom, this is amazing, can we live here in the hotel?” It was pretty funny. Below are pictures of the girls at Chucky Cheese and playing in the swimming pool at Grandma’s house with their cousin Trey. Also, please pray for a complete healing for Alyssa, she has been having some fevers and a bad cough.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

Love and blessings, Steve, Elba, Camilly and Alyssa

Monday, July 19, 2010

July Update

This month we had our sending church, the Vineyard Church of Columbus, come and visit. We, meaning Elba, the girls and I, went on the river for about 8 days with the team. We visited several communities along the river. Each place that we visited was very good and the presence of God was real with salvations and healings. One in particular was a new community along the Majari River. We considered this visit to be the hand of God because normally the residents there are very weary and suspicious of newcomers. However, the community leaders greeted us with open arms, and they sang a song in honor of the team’s arrival. We had the privilege to share God with them and pray for people. Please pray for more continued favor for this new work and the church in Porto De Moz that will be overseeing this community. Alyssa tried to make friends with a monkey during the trip, however, the monkey ended up biting her hand and not letting go until she shook him off. OUCH! We gave her some antibiotics and everything healed well.

Another trimester ended and we another graduation for our English students. They completed the entire English course and their English has improved immensely since they started at CDR. The students put together this video for CDR and we were really touched by their comments. We are so happy that we could make such an impact in their lives. Please check out their video on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpw_32EGorU . In addition, we had a lot of people graduate from our basic computer classes. As part of the class, the students are asked to participate in a community project. This semester’s project was to clean and paint the local small park that is next to CDR. The Mayor’s office got behind the work and provided us with the paint, and some personnel. It was a lot of work but by the grace of God and a lot of elbow grease we were able to get this accomplished in one day.

Alyssa celebrated her 3rd birthday on July 4th. She was one happy girl. She received a lot of lipstick, bubbles, bowl, pants and shoes. She loved it.

On a personal note, we were so sad to have Brazil lose. It knocked the steam out of all of us. We had a lot of people over at the house for the game and despite the loss we still had a nice time with everyone present. Below is a picture of the girls in their Brazil attire. Plus, our missionary friend Clyde Bergquist made an awesome dish called peacock bass parmesan. Then he wrote Brazil on top with olives and corn. It was enjoyed by all and he did a great job decorating the dish. Also, Marsha Wilson made the below cake to celebrate the 4th of July and Canada day. We have some seriously talented missionaries!!!

The churches got together and we had a “March for Jesus” parade throughout Altamira. The streets were filled with countless people celebrating and praising Jesus. He is good and His love endures forever.

Love and blessings, Steve, Elba, Camilly and Alyssa

Thursday, June 24, 2010

June update

We had the great privilege to purchase 7 more wheelchairs for children throughout Altamira that were in need. The World Health Organization states that over 25 million people around the world are immobile and without money to buy a wheelchair. Wheelchairs are very expensive; in fact, the cost of one here in Brazil is about 4 months salary which is so much money for families of disabled children. They want to be able to provide for their child but when you are living hand to mouth, a wheelchair becomes unrealistic. Below is a picture of Micelly, she is 4 years old and is unable to talk or walk. With this new wheelchair, Micelly and her family now have greater freedom and choice, because, unfortunately, without being mobile the family as well as their child, are stuck in their house. We are so grateful and praise God for the help from the Matt Dolan Foundation to help purchase these wheelchairs.

Thank you for your prayers while Elba and I were in Brasilia at the National Vineyard Conference. It was really good to see our brother and sisters in Christ and share in the successes and struggles of ministry. There were about 200 people in attendance with some people coming as far as the USA, Canada, and England. Below is a picture of Elba sharing about church planting at one of the workshops. We were gone a total of 14 days from the girls and it was difficult. Praise God everything went well with the girls, and that we had safe passage back and forth to and from Brasilia, except, we did get sideswiped by a semi truck which broke our rear reflector, and just as we were approaching our home from the long 2 day drive, a rock hit our windshield and broke it. BOOO! However, that was soon forgotten when we saw the girls’ smiling faces running to greet us when we arrived at our house. That was precious. Here is a youtube video of the conference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdwWKcxv0A8

On a personal note, all of Brazil, as well as most of the world, are pumped up for the world cup. That is no exception for the girls and Apollo. Below is a picture of them in their native Brazilian colors. Go Brazil! For me, Go USA! In addition, we just ended the rainy season but for one last good measure, the girls along with Apollo, got to play in the rain.

Love and blessings, Steve, Elba, Camilly and Alyssa

Thursday, May 13, 2010

May update

This month the church went to a local farm with a creek and held a baptism and picnic. We baptized 9 people and afterward celebrated their new birth in Christ by swimming in the creek with refreshing but freezing water and thank God free of snakes. Some people played soccer and others played volleyball in the creek. We ate lunch together and had a great time of fellowship during the rest of the afternoon. It was a great day spent together with our church. By the way, don’t let the picture of me confuse you. I am not balding; it is just the reflection of the sun off the camera. OK - I am in denial.

For Mother’s Day, the church had a special breakfast for the moms of the church. The moms of the church were asked to bring a friend so that they could share in the fun. There was strong turnout with about 200 people in attendance. We like having these events because it is good way to invite people to the church in a non-threatening way. Plus, we wanted to bless the moms who do not have much with something very special. We hope that in the end the love of Christ was expressed.

On a personal note, Camilly is growing up so fast. She just celebrated her 5th birthday on April 18. We went to her school to surprise her with a cake and some presents. However, she was not that surprised because someone told her our secret. Kids are so resourceful. All in all it was a lot of fun. Below is a picture of Alyssa in her favorite dress. It is her coração (heart) dress. She loves it and will wear it dirty, wet, dry, or, for even two days straight.

Again, we have purchased our tickets to come back to the States and we arrive July 28th and will be staying until October 28th. We are all really excited to see our family and friends.

Elba and I will be driving to Brasilia to attend the Brazil National Vineyard conference. Please pray for us for safe travels, good health and no truck problems. Also, please keep Camilly and Alyssa in your prayers. We will be gone for 12 days which is a lot for us. Please pray for their safety, good health and that the Lord would comfort their heart while we are away. Thanks for all your continued thoughts and prayers. We look forward to seeing you soon. Love and blessings, Steve, Elba, Camilly and Alyssa