Thursday, December 17, 2015

December Amazon Update! Merry CHRISTmas and a Happy New Year! Steve and Elba

Thank you so much for your friendship, and prayers throughout the year.  It is such a pleasure to have you on our team as we continue to share the Good news of Jesus Christ and give a helping hand up to the marginalized.  We pray the Lord will bless you richly and that you have a great Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Again, thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers.

I love this.  Just last week the Mirante church sent this mission team out to visit a community called Surubim.  Elba’s twin sister Nira led the group as they traveled to this community which is about 150 kilometers from Altamira and has a thriving community of believers.  We visit periodically to encourage the leadership, and the congregation.  There were many people in attendance that came to have fellowship with one another, share a meal, worship the Lord and share the Gospel.  One of the congregation members killed a cow and gave some of it to help with the celebration.  One of the ladies who volunteered to go on the mission trip is 59 years old.  She was a trooper as a good portion of the way is on dirt roads.  They laid the bike over once during the trip but thankfully there were no injuries.  However, her discomfort was not a hindrance to go and show the love of Christ. 


Aside from CDR providing English and Computer classes, as well as teaching people how to sew, all at a deep discounted price compared to the other schools in the city, they also went to one of the local schools as they have for the last several years to teach the students about “safe touch”.  They sang worship songs to the students, did a puppet show, danced Hip Hop, and taught the students the importance of safe touch, and then provided a meal.  It is our great hope that by teaching these children some principles about what is safe, and general safety tips it will help prevent these children from being abused.  Also, if abuse is happening, it may give the child the courage to tell someone in authority so that they can be helped and protected. 

 


The school semester is coming to a close and the girls will be out for Christmas break.  The school gave them awards called “Diamond”.  It is the highest award that a student can get at the school.  We are very proud of them for being such good students and doing their best at school.  Also pictured are Camilly and Alyssa best friends.  Camilly and Alyssa bought them all best friend necklaces.  However, the fact of the matter is that they have many best friends to which we are grateful.  Please pray for Camilly as she has been coughing for the last couple of weeks.  Pray for her healing. 

Prayer request.  Please pray for our city and for us.  The city has become very violent especially for a small city.  In one night, 15 people were shot resulting in 7 murders.  It did not stop there as there were additional murders the following days thereafter.  Unfortunately, murder is fairly common here.  In the last two months 4 police officers were murdered.  We are not sure if this recent wave of murders is retribution to those suspected in the involvement of the police killings.  However, we need your prayers for protection, and that the Lord will change people’s heart.  Aside from all the murders there has been a sharp increase in armed robberies and motor theft.  Just last Sunday someone came and stole one of our member’s motorbike.  It is a significant loss because almost no one has insurance and they are expensive. 

Please also pray for Osmana.  Marcio and Osmana are the pastors at the Independente church.  She has been fighting breast cancer and everything appeared to be in remission.  However, the doctors just told us that they discovered 2 lesions in her brain.  This is very disheartening.  The family appears to be at peace and are praying with expectation for a complete healing.  Please pray with them.


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

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  43234

Or On-line donations at:




November Amazon Update! Steve and Elba

At the church we just recently had a community wedding with 6 couples getting married.  It was a BIG deal and a great testimony to a culture that does not place much value in the sanctity of marriage.  The even more incredible thing is that 3 of the couples live in a remote community called the Suribim.  It is located about 120 kilometers from our church.  They have a church there and we have been ministering to this church with visits for the last several years.  The community continues to draw close to God and is evident in this wedding where the sanctity of marriage in the communities is even worse than the city.  It is such a great thing when couples like these, even some who have been living together and have children, will step out of the cultural forces and make a bold statement to their family, friends and community.  What a testimony to how God is moving in the midst of this community and changing people hearts.


The above is a panoramic photo of the couples on the stage with some of their family members while Elba conducted the service. 

The weeks leading up the wedding some of the couples would come to our house for dinner and then go through our marriage preparation course. 



Some of the dresses that the brides were wearing were donated by woman in the States.  This is such a wonderful blessing as it is very expensive to rent wedding dresses in Altamira.  The brides were very grateful and looked beautiful. 

Elba and I just celebrated our 12th year wedding anniversary.  Elba was traveling during our anniversary.  She went to Ohio to participate in a meeting for the Vineyard Institute http://vineyardinstitute.org/ where she serves on the board.  She then went to visit our friends in Canada, as well as our niece, Apolana.  During her time in Canada Elba got the wonderful opportunity to preach at City Life Church.  She was received so well and enjoyed her visit to the States and Canada immensely.  I also surprised her with flowers while she was in Canada on our anniversary. 


The girls missed their Mom while she was gone for 2 weeks.  To help, we invited some of their friends to come to our house to play and have a sleep over.  When Mom got home she gave them some play dresses and they loved them. 


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

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  43234

Or On-line donations at:


I found this angry spider outside our door.  I think he wanted to fight.  J




Sunday, October 18, 2015

October Amazon Update! Steve and Elba

Thanks for all your prayers for us.  We are so grateful and could not do this without your intercession.  We pray that you will be blessed with the below update.  .

A team of dentists from Brasilia, Brazil’s national capital, came again to serve the needy by providing dental services.  They had a busy two weeks.  They first went to the Marab√° church, then the Pacaj√° church, and then on the river.  They served 405 people that required a total of 1244 procedures, and provided 887 fluoride treatments.  This is almost double the amount from last year. 

During their time with us last year, they had to perform hundreds of teeth extractions.  They were shocked by the poor condition of the people’s teeth and in an effort to relieve some of the trauma from the extractions.  The team decided to come and make dentures.  The team (including Elba) helped create the molds of the teeth.  We then took the molds and created the denture a couple of days later.  It was a monumental task but they were able to complete the goal and the results were amazing.    



During their time at the churches and river communities they had a chance to share about God’s love and pray for the kids and adults


This month the missionaries got together and had their first missionary retreat.  You might ask “why have a retreat?”  It is said that 29% of the reasons American missionaries leave the field were unpreventable. Leaving the estimated world-wide preventable attrition (A gradual diminution in number or strength because of constant stress) at 71%.  Preventable attrition included six major categories: 1) marriage and family reasons; 2) agency reasons; 3) personal reasons; 4) team reasons; 5) cultural reasons: and 6) work related reasons. Early intervention in the missionary life cycle, even before departure, would have made a difference in these attrition rates.

Craig and Linda Heselton came and taught us about Emotional Intelligence to help retool us and build up the team. Emotional Intelligence (EI) is simple defined as “the ability to recognize one's own and other people's emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.”    It was definitely a learning experience for me and one that I hope will create more growth personally and professionally.    

It was also very good to just get all the missionaries together to spend time with one another.  This time together helps to build up our team and re-energize us for the continued road ahead. Our mission is looking to have marathon missionaries, and not sprinters.  For this reason, we are committed to the care of our missionaries so that we can help sustain the calling that the Lord has on their life as life-long missionaries. 


During the missionary care the girls had a great time reconnecting with the other missionary children.  They were essentially inseparable during the whole time we were together.  Every morning they were antsy to go and play with the other kids, and at night they did not want to come in.  We were so grateful for this time.  Also, pictured is Camilly and Alyssa trying to log roll. 


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

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  43234

Or On-line donations at:


Monday, June 22, 2015

June Amazon Update! - Steve and Elba

The church had a “Pink tea party” for the women in the community.  The women members of the church were asked to invite one of their friends to come to the church to participate in the event.  They served food, played games, did a raffle giveaway, had a small fashion show, and then shared the Love of God.  It was a fun and a great way to introduce Jesus into these women’s lives who did not know Him as their Savior.  It was also a very special time for some of these woman to get a little pampered and to step away from their lives that at times can be very complicated. 



The Vineyard Institute (VI) also had its kick off here in Brazil.  Vineyard Institute is an educational provider for the Vineyard movement, formed to develop leaders at all levels of church life through high quality theological training.  Training our existing and future leaders is one of the keys to planting more churches and making more disciples.  These courses will hopefully help the leaders realize the giftings that the Lord has given to them so that they will use them to promote the Kingdom of God.  It will also assist us to instill the DNA of the church as we pass the baton onto the future generation.  We have more than 80 participants signed up in the program just here in Altamira.   http://vineyardinstitute.org/


We will be coming back to Ohio for the International Vineyard Conference being held at the Vineyard Church of Columbus.  Elba was honored with an invitation to speak and she will be sharing on July 9th between 2-4pm.  Please keep her in your prayer as she prepares her message and that the message she speaks will be according to the Lord’s will. 

The big highlight for this month was Camilly’s public decision to get baptized.  It was a really special moment for us as parents.  It was even more special because I got the opportunity to actually participate in her baptism.  We were all very excited.  Here is a picture of Alyssa.  She makes these bracelets and necklaces out of little rubber bands and has been selling them to the students at CDR.  She is saving up money for her trip to the States. 


Please continue to pray for spiritual, physical, and emotional health for us.  Also, please pray for our trip back to the States and that our time may be filled with family, friends, joy, peace, safety, and more importantly full of the Holy Spirit.  Thanks!

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  43234

Or On-line donations at:


One of our members during Mother’s Day being touched by the Holy Spirit.