Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Amazon December Update

At the church the other week the Holy Spirit showed up in power and a lot of people got healed. Personally, I did not sense the Holy Spirit at work but just because I did not sense it does not mean He was not at work. We had several testimonies of people that experienced healing from pain that they had been experiencing. One of those was Neuracy who is pictured below crying with joy. She was experiencing great pain in her neck and shoulders and God presence showed up and completely healed. She was filled with so much joy and happiness. There were also people that accepted the Lord as their personal Savior and that is the greatest healing as they come into a relationship with Jesus and accept Him into their lives.


The men at our church have been getting together once a month to help poor families in need. Last month, they started to help build a better house to live in for one family. Presently, the family lives in a rotting wood house. They started laying the foundation for a brick house. It will be a much stronger and reliable house for them to live. I really appreciate these guys donating their time to help spread the Kingdom of God through acts of service.


Camilly had the opportunity to be a part of a wedding. She was so happy and looked really beautiful. She got to play the part of a bride by tossing the bouquet of flowers. She had a lot of fun.
On any given day if you come and visit our house this may be what you see, Elba looking through Camilly’s hair killing lice. Lice are a big problem here and we have tried so many things to kill the lice and it usually kills them all. Then Camilly goes back to school and gets it again. It is one of the daily battles and Camilly hates it….so do we!


We wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

If you are thinking of giving financially to a tax deductible charitable organization, please consider us as 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

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Amazon October update

We pray that you are blessed with this month's update.

God continues to draw His chosen people; in September we baptized 16 new believers. The church gathered together beside the Xingu River to eat, swim, and celebrate these new believers’ declarations of faith. What a happy day! One of our new brothers in Christ is Luiz, who is 60+ years old and was baptized that day. His wife had been praying for years that he would accept the Lord and start a relationship with God. At church, he is always seeking prayers and wanting more of God. His baptism reminds me of the passage from John 3:4-5 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered,“Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again. The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

I love the fact that God receives us anywhere, anytime, and at any age

Camilly has made friends with one of the girls at the church. Mayara is 10 years old and is very sweet. Her family has been going through some hardship because her brother Mateus was suspected to have leukemia. Since this is something more serious, her mother and brother had to go to Belém (800 km away) to get a diagnosis. To date, they have been in Belém for more than two months trying to get medical help and answers. This may sound absurd to us North Americans, but it is commonplace here in Altamira. Mayara wrote Camilly a very sweet letter the other day. She essentially said that she considers Camilly to be her best friend and that she loves her very much. She went on to say that their friendship has helped her overcome the feelings of sadness for her mother and brother. She misses them very much. Please keep Mateus and his family in your prayers.

On a personal note, thank you so much for your prayers for our time in Curitiba. The meetings went really well and it was great to see everyone and get reunited as friends. After the meetings, we had a family vacation and it was great! Upon arrival we had no idea what to expect from the hotel, transportation around the city and the weather. The Lord literally made the whole vacation perfect. It was amazing time together as a family and great time to just hang out and relax. Thanks again for your prayers and thank you Lord for such a great vacation. Below is a picture of us at the zoo, the girls playing in a hot tub, and a peacock at the zoo.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers for spiritual, physical, and emotional health. Love and blessings, Steve, Elba, Camilly and Alyssa

Monday, September 12, 2011

Amazon September update

Several months ago we wrote about one of our church plants in Palmas. Palmas is over 1100 kilometers north of Altamira. This new church is being pastored by Fernando and Marcia, who have been doing a great job drawing people to the Lord. When Fernando is not pastoring the church, he works fulltime as a janitorial supervisor at the regional hospital. One day, there was a patient who came into the hospital screaming and in complete agony with stomach pain. The doctors and nurses tried everything they could to calm him down and take away the pain but nothing was working. One of the cleaning people who worked with Fernando asked him to go and pray for the guy. Fernando was apprehensive and nervous but he sensed God telling him to go and pray. He entered the room where the man was screaming in pain. He placed his hand on his stomach and asked the Holy Spirit to come and heal this man. Immediately, the pain went away, and this man was free of pain! Everyone in the hospital was shocked and confused about how he got healed. Fernando, being a humble man, just left. When the man was being checked out of the hospital he wanted to meet the man that healed him and thank him. Fernando said “It was not me that healed you but Jesus. Give Him the praise and the glory!” Later, his coworkers asked him to lead a bible study and prayer time at the hospital, and he accepted. God is GOOD!!!! Please keep Fernando and Marcia in your prayers.

CDR was blessed with another generous donation from NCP leasing. NCP leasing has helped out our computer school tremendously by donating another 10 computers, 2 laptops and 10 monitors to upgrade the ones that they donated 5 years ago. Their previous donation was instrumental in starting our computer program. We are so blessed to have prayer and giving partners working with us to empower the Brazilians through education. Here is a picture of students learning basic computer skills on the computers.

I celebrated my 44th birthday on the 22nd of August. It was a memorable birthday in the fact that I was able to celebrate it with my family, my twin sister Lynn, her husband Scott, my Mom, plus Elba’s family and a lot of friends. We had a regional dish called “chicken in Tucupi sauce” It’s my favorite local dish, with a unique taste that makes your mouth tingle. Then came the unexpected bombshell! Lynn and I had just blown out the candle when “Wham and poof” we got smashed with eggs and flour! It was a mess. Smashing eggs and throwing flour on the birthday recipient is an optional custom here in Brazil. With Elba’s encouragement, my friends chose to exercise that option. This is the first time that they have ever done this to me.

Elba, the girls and I are going to go to Curitiba from September 25th to October 10th. Elba and I are going to participate in a three day meeting with Brazilian and US church leaders. After the meeting we are planning to take a short vacation with the girls. Please pray that we will have a safe trip and great time during our time of travel, meetings and vacation. Plus, continue to keep us in your prayers for spiritual, physical, and emotional health. Love and blessings, Steve, Elba, Camilly and Alyssa

It was during the night that we went into our laundry room to find these little green lights shining on the wall. When we turned on the lights, we realized that it was a bug and it’s eyes were causing the green lights. Brazil, has some very unique bugs.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Amazon Update

First, let me thank you for your prayers for Elba. Elba went to Chicago to speak at the National Woman’s Conference for Vineyard Churches. It was a tough trip for her because it was so far from us, and because this was the first time she had ever shared at the national level. Thanks to your intercession, the Holy Spirit guided her through her message and many people have said that it was powerful! They said that Elba “ROCKED”; another person said “OUCH” because they were convicted deeply by God. We were so happy to hear that everything went well, and we are also very happy that she is now home with us again.

Elba brought a present back with her: my mom, my sister and my brother-in-law. Elba’s parents are also visiting, so we have a full house. We are very excited to spend time with our family!

The girls are being spoiled by their grandparents and loving every minute of it. Camilly got a new ballerina outfit and Alyssa got a new princess outfit, plus whole lot more. We are very happy that our family got the opportunity to come and visit.

This month we had our bi-annual regional “InterVinha” in Altamira at the Mirante church, a gathering of leaders from all the Vineyard churches in the region. We had four speakers come and share about various topics such as home groups, missions and worship. The theme of the conference was how to be a relevant church to the community. Sometimes it is very easy to just focus on the church and the body of Christ, but we need to remember to continue to press out into the lives of those around us that do not know Jesus. I was able to capture this panoramic photo of the Holy Spirit ministering to His people.

Please continue to also keep us in your prayers for spiritual, physical, and emotional health. Love and blessings, Steve, Elba, Camilly and Alyssa

Monday, July 18, 2011

Amazon Update

CDR, our community center, went across town to serve the people of the Colina neighborhood. Over 1000 people were served in a local school. The students and staff of CDR provided many services to the community such as doctor consultations, fluoride treatments, diabetes and high blood pressure testing, legal counseling, haircuts, a free meal, and a church service in the evening. It was a true blessing for those who served, and the people of the Colina were very grateful. Later that evening, we had a church service with the opportunity to pray for many people. The whole day was a success and a great way to express God’s love for His people.

The churches in the city came together for a March for Jesus. We walked along the streets praising the Lord, praying for City officials and for the sick at the hospitals. There were a lot of people, and it was a great demonstration of God’s community in Altamira. Elba preached and prayed on a large truck with speakers, and Camilly, Alyssa and I passed out water to those participating in the march. In the end, we pray that the love of Jesus was breaking down barriers for people who do not know Him, and between Christian denominations so that we can become more like the body of Christ.

Alyssa celebrated her 4th birthday on July 4th. It was a really fun day for her as she spent the day with her friends. She got a new princess dress and she ate a lot of cake. We also played games such as Cornhole. Yes, can you believe it? Elba has been asking me for months to make a Cornhole set (Clyde Bergquist actually made it) and it has been a real hit with the Brazilians! Who would have ever thought that Cornhole would be able break down cross cultural barriers?
Please continue to also keep us in your prayers for spiritual, physical, and emotional health. Love and blessings, Steve, Elba, Camilly and Alyssa

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Amazon Update

We’ve had a very special month at church. The Spirit of the Lord was moving within people to make decisions for Christ. It’s always wonderful to see people start this journey with Jesus and allow Him to work in their lives. One of the people that accepted Christ is a city council person. He is very good man and has helped the poor in our area tremendously. The doctors told him that he did not have much time to live because he has had three strokes, uses only 60% of lung capacity (heavy smoker), and has prostate cancer. The day he was leaving to go on the trip to see some doctors, he was so scared because he thought for sure that he was going to die. We sat down with him and listened to all of the struggles that he was going through. Then we shared the Gospel with him and he accepted Christ. After we prayed for him, Jesus renewed his faith and he was not scared. He went that day to see the doctors and they ran another battery of test for his prostate and lungs. The numbers for his prostate came back very low and he had improvement in his lungs. Praise the Lord for continuing to use our church to draw people close to Him and for his healing power.

Clyde and Kelsie Bergquist, who are missionaries planting churches in both Uruará and Maribel, found this little boy in desperate need of a wheelchair. Praise the Lord there was one available and we were able to bless this boy. Wheelchairs are cost prohibited and we were happy to be able to give a helping hand to this family. We understand this to be a very difficult situation for the family because the mom is very young and rebellious and doesn't take care of her son very well. The Bergquists believe that God is calling them to embrace this family and show the love of Jesus and His great mercy. In addition, since the Bergquist are just starting to plant seeds in Uruará, the wheelchair went a long way to promote goodwill with the people. Please pray for the Bergquists that the Lord will contin
ue to move in power with their new church planting efforts in Uruará and Maribel, as well as this boy and his family.

Guess who lost their first tooth? Camilly came up to Elba and I and said that her tooth was getting loose. She continued to play with it the rest of the day and it became even looser. She was getting excited because she was moving into the next phase of her becoming a big girl. She wanted to pull the tooth. We got some string and tied it around the tooth. I then tied it to the bathroom door and then slammed the door as hard as possible….Just kidding….We then gave her the string and within 1 minute she pulled the tooth. She is so brave. She was so excited and almost immediately put the tooth underneath her pillow in hope that the tooth fairy would bring her a designer purse. Designer purse!!! What happened to the quarter that I received when I was a boy? In the end, she woke up to R$1.00 and complained that she did not receive her purse. Well, she still has 20 more teeth, maybe in the end she will be able to afford that purse. ;-)

Please continue to also keep us in your prayers for spiritual, physical, and emotional health. Love and blessings, Steve, Elba, Camilly and Alyssa

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Amazon May update

We had a really nice Easter Sunday. In the morning, some of the church members came to church to worship the Lord and break bread together. This breakfast broke a 21 day fast by many members of the church. Later that evening we had another church service and it was a great day to celebrate our Lord’s resurrection. Also, we had an Easter egg hunt, well let me rephrase that, a candy hunt in our yard with the girls and their neighborhood friends. They loved it.

Elba and I went to the capital of our State, Belém, to participate in a 3 day national leadership retreat. It was a great time to reconnect to all of our friends, and make intentional time to spend with God. Yes, even though we are missionaries and pastors, the busyness of life has its ways to draw us away from God and our relationship with Him. We learned different ways to pray and draw close to God through silence and solitude. One of the techniques that I thought was really helpful was called imaginative reading. Essentially you choose a bible verse, read it, and then imagine yourself as an on-looker or part of the action. It was really helpful to meditate in this fashion plus hear all the different perspectives of everyone from the group when we shared our experience.

Elba took the plane to Belém which took a little over 1 hour to arrive. I drove our truck and it took us 2 days with a combined total of 17 hours of driving. The road conditions are rough as you can see in the pictures below. Also below is a picture of the group at the meeting. Rick Bergen put this shot together by combining several photos.

During our trip in Belém, Camilly had a bad accident. She was playing hide and seek and during the excitement of the game she went to close a glass door and she put her hand right through it. OUCH! She was rushed to the hospital and received lots of stitches on her arm and thumb. By the grace of God, no veins or tendons were severed. THANK YOU JESUS! This happened a day before her birthday. Camilly turned 6 years old and she had a great time at her birthday despite the injury.

Please continue to also keep us in your prayers for spiritual, physical, and emotional health. Love and blessings, Steve, Elba, Camilly and Alyssa

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

April Update

This month we had 40+ men participate in a conference called “Men’s Revival”. The teachings were about the role of men in the Kingdom of God, their home, and the community. One of the big problems with men in this community is that they have become lackadaisical in their roles as men. Typically, the women make all the decisions, care for the children, and work to financially sustain the house. (Personally, I thought this was the role of the women and I loved it! LOL.) The men’s attitude is “Heck, if she can do it, let her do it. Then I do not have to bear any of the responsibility.” The messages at the conference were tough about how we as men need to get back into the game of life and back to the plan that God has for us. The conference, as of almost two weeks later, seems to be sticking with the guys because we have heard positive comments from their wives and friends.

Another very exciting event this month was that 5 people were baptized into Christ. Some of the congregation came out along the Xingu River to watch their brothers and sisters in Christ make their public declaration to Christ. They worshiped along the river edge while they were being baptized. Afterwards, we all went to our house and had a big barbecue. It was a good day.

Jim, Sharon, Patty and our family went to the trash dump and to local houses to give away clothes, shoes, and toys to the adults and kids. The adults and kids work at the trash dump collecting aluminum cans, 2-liter plastic bottles, and anything else of value. We took Camilly and Alyssa because it is very important to us to show them that they are so blessed to have what they have and to demonstrate the blessings of giving. I think it worked because the other day, Camilly asked if we could bake a cake and bring it to the people at the trash dump. We plan to make another visit.

Please keep our church in your prayers. The church leaders and members decided that they would like to buy 2 evaporative A/C coolers for the church. The cost is R$20,000 for the both of them. The church is selling raffle tickets for R$1.00 and the grand prize is a Honda Biz. The church would also like to lay tile which will cost another R$20,000. Please pray that the church will make all the money necessary for these two projects.

Please continue to also keep us in your prayers for spiritual, physical, and emotional health. Love and blessings, Steve, Elba, Camilly and Alyssa