Thursday, March 17, 2011

March Update

As a leader of the National movement in Brazil, Elba is responsible to go and visit churches in the Northern part of Brazil. Last month Elba and I left on 24 hour boat trip to visit a church in Macapá. The main purpose of the trip was to encourage the church and appoint one of their leaders to be the new pastor because the church had been going through many organizational changes. Elba appointed Jeude as the new pastor. Jeude is a single woman and loves the Lord. Outside of Jeude’s responsibilities at the church, she is a fulltime teacher. Our visit was very encouraging and we have great hope that the Lord is going to build up His people through this church. We believe that with the new leadership that the church is going to take off. Please keep Jeude and the Macapá church in your prayers.

Fernando and Marcia used to be leaders at the Mirante church. They worked with us for many years and then decided to move to another city called Palmas over 620 miles away. Before they left we encouraged them to continue in the work of the Lord and to start a home church. A year later they now have a thriving little home church. We sent Nira (Elba’s twin sister) to go and encourage the church and to baptize some of their new believers. Personally, I love this church plant because it has had very little influence from foreign missionaries and was planted by the local church. This is great because it fulfills one of our biggest objectives as a mission which is to start a National church planting movement. Please keep Fernando and Marcia, and their home church in your prayers.

Guess who is going to school? Yes, Camilly and Alyssa are both going to the same school. They go to school in the morning which is always tough to get them motivated. But once they get there they really enjoy their time. Camilly is still scared that we are going to forget her and not pick her up. So, each morning, I have to give her pinky promises that I will pick her up. Once I give her my pinky promise her anxiety calms down. Please keep us as a family in your prayers. OK? Pinky promise?

Love and blessings, Steve, Elba, Camilly and Alyssa

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

February update

A couple of months ago, we wrote that we had 5 couples going through our pre-marital program at the church. In February, 3 of those couples came and placed their marriage before the Lord. It was a great wedding and a great testimony of the lives being changed because of Christ. Since it is acceptable to live together outside of marriage there is no real pressure to get married, but these couples wanted God’s blessing. They wanted Jesus to be the center of their relationship to bound them together tighter. We are proud of these couples for going against the norm by making a public declaration of their love to the community and to the Lord.

One of the big pushes at the Mirante Church is to be a part of a home group. Home group are good because it allows our Christian walk to be more intimate with other Christians. It allows us to share with one another our struggles and successes. Plus, we can share God’s word and allow questions and answers in a safe environment. Since the Mirante is somewhat of a large church, home groups promote community within the body of Christ. To some degree, the home group is another church service because we come together to worship the Lord, share the Word of God, pray, break bread and have community.

Here is Alyssa lying down with her new puppy. Actually, we got 2 Doberman pinchers puppies from a guy in the neighborhood. We took them to the vet to get their initial shots and soon after they got really sick. Our neighbor, who loves puppies, stayed up with them the whole night tending to their needs. We tried everything, but to no avail, and they both died. We suspect that they were overdosed with the vaccine. Elba and I were faced with having to break the bad news to Alyssa and Camilly. Even though we only had them for a week we were unsure how attached the girls were to the puppies. It was at bedtime that one of the puppies passed away and we were putting the girls down to sleep. We sat with both of the girls and gently told them about the loss of the dog. After a moment’s pause, Alyssa looked up at us and said “where is my chocolate milk?” Elba and I both looked at each other and smiled and said “we’ll get that for you right away.” Thankfully, it was not as traumatic as we thought it would be.

Here is a little snake that we caught in our backyard. Apollo, Alyssa and Camilly all touched it. It was the first time they ever felt a snake. For Camilly, she hopes it will be the last.

On our way back from Belém this truck crashed spilling all of its contents. Unfortunately, the contents that the truck spilled were hundreds of car batteries. It was a mess and very potentially lethal situation. The roads that we have to travel are dangerous. Please continue to pray for our protection, good health, and God’s success over our lives.

Love and blessings, Steve, Elba, Camilly and Alyssa