Saturday, February 25, 2012

Amazon February Update

One of the coolest stories that we heard recently was about a Vineyard church plant in Tocantins led by Fernando and Marcia.  Fernando and Marcia were trained leaders in the Mirante church when they moved about 2 years ago for personal reasons.  After arrival, we encouraged them to start a small group in their house. The church has been growing and because of the faithfulness of Fernando and Marcia people have been coming to know Christ as their personal Savior.  We want to help and care for this new church, but its distance at 2000 km away has made the Mirante church involvement limited, so we asked another Igreja da Vinha located in Brasilia if they could partner with us to help take care of this new church.  Brasilia is the capital of Brazil and about 80% of the people living there have jobs connected to the federal government.  The majority of the people are well educated and make a good salary.  This new church plant, as with many of the churches in the north of Brazil, consists of members that are simple and earn low wages.  The Brasilia church took on the challenge to help disciple Fernando and Marcia and partner with their church to grow the Kingdom of God.  They started making trips to Tocantins and the partnership between the two churches has flourished.  During one of their visits, the leader from the Brasilia church pulled Fernando and Marcia aside and said, “Upon visiting you we thought we were going to come and teach you about church planting.  However, during our time together, we have come to realize that we need to learn from you.”   Pretty cool!  This word of encouragement from them was very affirming because Fernando and Marcia never thought they were equipped to lead the church.  Now, they are more confident than ever.  Please remember them in your prayers. 

The first picture is Fernando and Marcia leading worship.  The second is Marcia with the leaders from the Brasilia church.  

Fernando and Marcia were at home when a large truck filled with construction material showed up at their door.  Some people from the Brasilia church were driving behind the truck and surprised them with a huge gift.  The Brasilia church raised money to build an addition onto their one room house.  They were shocked and started crying with joy.  They could not believe it, because as a family of 4 they needed the additional space, but with the minimal amount of money that they earned, they could never afford it.  We are so happy that the church gave them this beautiful gift, not only because we want to see them blessed, but because it falls in line with the spirit of churches planting churches.  The more we can have the churches looking to each other for support and guidance, the more the church planting will continue to excel and grow.  We love it!   (Our church wrote the following on these pictures.  The first picture reads “small house, BIG HEART) (The third picture reads “Whoever is faithful with little, God will give a lot more”)

We had the wonderful pleasure of having our pastors, Rich Nathan, and Craig and Linda Heselton, come from the Vineyard Columbus to do a leadership conference, visit some churches, and spend quality time together strengthening our relationship.  It was a great two weeks and we are so grateful for their visit.  Our time together was so encouraging and refreshing.  During our boat trip we got to see a toucan.  It was the first one that I have ever seen in the wild.  

The girls are doing well.  They just started back to school so there have been some sad faces walking around the house.  On the way to school, I asked Camilly what she wants to do when she grows up.  She said “I want to be a doctor.”  I said that was great, but in order to become a doctor you need to study for many years.  This logic was not helping her get into the mood to go back to school.  She would prefer to just skip school and become a doctor.  If I had to guess, I think her future patients are pushing for more education… are we.   The picture below is them just getting out of school…all smiles now!

Prayer request update:  We requested that you pray for Elba because she was in a lot of pain due to a cyst on her uterus.  Guess what?  She went to the doctors and it is completely gone.  Praise the Lord for His healing.  We are so excited and want to thank you for your prayers.   

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

Love and blessings, Steve, Elba, Camilly and Alyssa

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