Wednesday, June 21, 2017

June Amazon Update!

We pray that you are blessed with the below updates and we appreciate your prayers greatly.

I got the wonderful opportunity to go to Macapá to help Bob Lesher move and start working with the church, alongside Christopher and Denise Meyer.  Bob has been serving at the Altamira base for over 2 years and it was a joy to be a part of helping to mentor him.  I know that he will be a great asset to the team in Macapá.  Thankfully, the church in Macapá is in the process of planting another church in the city to which Christopher and Denise Meyer will help lead.  Christopher and Denise are back in the States for furlough and once they return they will be sent from the church to start the new church.  If you see them in the States, please encourage them and pray for them.  Below are some pictures of the church service in Macapá and a group picture at a local restaurant.   


Elba is traveling now and is in Ethiopia.  I know…did you think that she ever imagined these types of travel opportunities while growing up in a small primitive community along the Amazon River?  Praise the Lord, this is the kind of God we serve when we open up our lives and just say “yes”.  She is with Clenildo, Athila, Rick and Deanna.  They went to Ethiopia to learn first-hand about Discovery Bible Study (DBS) and Discipleship Making Movement (DMM).  In Ethiopia the DMM model has spread like wildfire and thousands upon thousands of DMM have been created.   Rick Bergen has been researching and working with DMM for the past 2 years.  The objective of this visit is to see how this is working in Ethiopia and if is it possible to replicate it in Brazil.  As I write, they are visiting leaders, peoples, and communities to get a better understanding of the program and see how it can be applied here in Brazil.  Please pray for safety, and clarity of direction for DBS / DMM in Brazil. 


Last week the national news network stated that Altamira was the most violent of all the cities in Brazil that have a population of 100,000 or more.  Of the 30 most violent cities in Brazil, four are in our state of Pará: Marabá, Marituba, and Ananindeua.  Rick and Deanna Bergen live in Marabá and are working in the midst of where a lot of these murders occur.  Personally, these reports are discouraging to hear because as a church you want to see the complete opposite of what is happening.  We want to see the Lord’s Kingdom come and transform individual lives that in turn transforms a community.  Thankfully, we are seeing individual lives being transformed because of the work that Jesus is doing in their lives.  But when will we see that be infectious and spread to the whole world?  I know the answer to these questions…it can just be discouraging.  Thankfully Jesus always reminds me “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

The girls are doing well and we are trying our best to be without Mom.  Alyssa won another gold medal at school for good grades.  Camilly’s class only had 1 person receive this medal, she is determined to receive one next time.  The girls were invited to a birthday party and they got to do the hover board.  It was a lot of fun.  Elba, before traveling to Ethiopia, completed her degree in Pastoral Counseling.  She is so relieved to have this behind her and we are very proud of her.  I found these chips in the supermarket.  I still cannot figure out the mystery, it’s a very strange taste.  Lost in translation  J 


Please continue to pray for spiritual, physical, and emotional health for us.   Update on Alyssa and the allergic reaction.  The doctor discovered that she is allergic to the cold.  I guess there goes our visits back to the States in the winter….maybe this is a hidden blessing.J  Please pray for a complete healing. 

Much love, 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:





Tuesday, May 16, 2017

May Amazon Update!

WOW, where to begin.  It has been a very busy month and like most months it is a struggle to choose what stories to tell and not tell.  That is a good problem.   I will share about our recent baptism and a pastor’s retreat that was held in Altamira.  However, first, let me thank you for your prayers for our trip to Santarém where Elba went to teach many leaders in the region.  It was great time. 

The Mirante church just celebrated with our new believers by having a baptism.  The baptism went really well and the Holy Spirit was touching lives.  It was great to have the worship band playing while people were getting baptized and the church celebrating each person’s new birth.  Most of the congregation sat in their seats during the baptism but others wanted an up close view.  Cleiton (in red) and Cristiane are Pastors at the church and they got the amazing opportunity to baptize their son.  Then Cleiton got to baptize his cousin.  It is always an exciting event for me to see others make a public confession that Jesus is Lord. 


The Pastors retreat was a success.  We had the majority of our pastors from the North come and receive an excellent teaching by Bill Bacheller.  Bill is a psychologist and founder of the Oasis ministries in the south of Brazil.  Bill and his team focus on helping pastors and leaders in the church through a variety of issues such as burn-out, conflict resolution, marital crisis, and emotional crisis.  The main topic during our conference was conflict.  It is such an important topic because as Pastors / leaders in the church we are always dealing with conflict in some form.  I know, I know, conflict in the church…really?  J  As leaders we need the courage and humility to help others with conflicts in their marriage, between church members, and between leadership to name just a few.  Since conflict is present, we need to know how to work through them, and help others work through them as well.  We need to understand ourselves, and others as we move to resolution.  The retreat provided some tools to help in that process. 


Camilly and Alyssa are doing well.  They just had some tests last week and they did really good.  They are both good students and they like going to school.  This is such a blessing to us as parents.  Camilly turned 12 years old in April and we took her to a local restaurant with a couple of her friends.  She is growing up so quickly and this was a special time with her friends.  Here is Camilly studying for her test.  She likes to go in a circle with her skateboard as she recants the answers to the questions.  Alyssa had the opportunity to try one of the hover boards in a mall in Santarem.  She picked it up really quickly and only got knocked off two times.  Gratefully, she landed on her feet both times.  She also made this replication of a nature reserve out of Styrofoam.  Did we say that we are proud parents? J 


Please continue to pray for spiritual, physical, and emotional health for us.   Please also pray for travel mercies and blessings as we travel to Belém this Wednesday which is about 800 km away.  Also, Alyssa has been experiencing some allergic reactions.  Please pray for a complete healing. 

Much love, 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:


The roads here are challenging.  This road was deteriorating by the day and about ready to collapse into the ravine.  This was on our way from Santarem. 




Saturday, March 18, 2017

March Amazon Update!

Thank you so much for your prayers for our Cristoval event that took place during Carnival.  As I mentioned in our last update, Carnival is Brazil’s annual “celebration of the flesh” before the initiation of Lent on the Catholic calendar.  It’s a week-long party where “anything goes” and every city in the country shuts down allowing full participation by the people.  The Vineyard churches began “Cristoval”, a retreat for youth, away from the city, with a focus on Jesus and having a lot of good clean fun.  It has been a great success throughout the years, drawing kids toward Jesus and allowing an alternative during Carnival. 

This year we brought in Jim Anderson and his team from Life-line ministries.  Jim and the team, Jason and Sean, shared from principles from Jim’s book called “Unmasked: exposing the cultural sexual assault”.  This is such a great topic in this culture which is sexually charged and there does not appear to be many boundaries.  It is also very timely because of its complete contradiction of Carnival and the sexual temptations that lures so many to having a sexual relationship outside of God’s will and purpose.  Jim shared from his book the revelations about:
·         God’s gift of sexuality
·         The heart of a woman
·         God’s true design for men and women
·         How to be “men of honor” and “princesses of God” and to walk in the beauty of His creation. 

It was really powerful in the lives of the hundreds of youth that participated in the conference.  Even though it poured down rain a lot of the time, nothing was getting in the way of these youth getting to know Jesus more and His good plan for their lives. 


In order to accommodate the hundreds of youth at the camp.  They all sleep in hammocks.  They also played a lot of soccer and volleyball. 


As a follow-up.  Jim and his team preached at our church to the parents and pastors of the youth that were or were not participating in Cristoval.  This was key so that when the youth came back to their homes and their normal day to day life the parents would have a better understanding of what they were taught and then reinforce those Biblical truths on a daily basis.  They focused on:
·         A father’s role in protecting his daughters and training his sons in the ways of the Lord
·         A call to pastors and leaders to identify, confront, and tear down the worship of the sex gods in the culture and create a culture in the church to train God’s people in purity and His ways in relationships. 

On a personal note a statement that struck me during the conference was “I am not living for a feeling but am living for God”.  It struck me because sometimes I live with the notion that if it feels right, it must be God.  However, that can be far from the truth.  Just a good reminder how we must seek God’s will and desires outside of if it feels good or not. 


The girls are doing well and are back in school.  Since they missed some school due to our time in the States they had to cram to get caught up.  They just finished all their tests and praise the Lord they did amazingly well.  We are so grateful, and so are they.  Here is a picture of the girls playing with Sean’s hair.  They had a lot of fun with the team. 


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

Much love, 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:


Jim and his team really wanted to see a tarantula.  It did not take long to find many along the ground burrowed in their holes.  Then we found this monster in the tree. 


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

February Amazon Update!

We made it back safely to Brazil and appreciate greatly all of your prayers.  We wish we could thank everyone personally for their prayers, friendship, support, and love while we were back.  It was truly a wonderful experience, and unfortunately the time went by so quickly.  We wish we were able to see more of our family and friends while we were back but the constraint of time makes it a huge challenge. 

We were very grateful to be able to see most of our family and friends, and have the opportunity to share at their churches.  It was a real pleasure getting to see our old friends, and making some new friends along the way.  Below are some pictures of Elba preaching.  She was very busy as she had the honor of sharing at The Vineyard Community church in Pickerington / Reynoldsburg, Madison County Vineyard and New Hope Vineyard Church.  Plus, she had a great time sharing at the Vineyard Church of Delaware County woman’s meeting, and then finally she was the key note speaker at the Vineyard Columbus woman’s conference.  Praise the Lord, the Spirit was alive at each of these churches and events. 

 


We are coming back running as the churches are preparing their Cristoval celebration this week.  Carnival is Brazil’s annual “celebration of the flesh” before the initiation of Lent on the Catholic calendar.  It’s a week- long party where “anything goes” and every city in the country shuts down allowing full participation by the people.  The Vineyard churches began “Cristoval”, a retreat for youth, away from the city, with a focus on Jesus and having a lot of good clean fun.  It has been a great success throughout the years, drawing kids toward Jesus and allowing an alternative during Carnival.  Here in Altamira, we will be having Jim Anderson and his team come and speak about his book “Unmasked: exposing the cultural sexual assault”.  We are expecting the Holy Spirit to show up in a great way and the participants will respond by changing a culture.  Please keep us, and all the churches in your prayers. 


We were also able to get away for a little bit of time before coming back to Brazil.  We got the opportunity to go to the Creation Museum, The Ark, and then spent the rest of our time in Fort Myers.  The girls loved swimming every day, playing putt-putt, and going bowling.  They also loved the food…so did we.  Camilly’s favorite food was a bacon cheeseburger, and Alyssa loved tacos with meat, cheese and sour cream. 


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

Much love, Steve, Elba, Camilly, and Alyssa


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Tax deductible donations can be written and sent to:
The Xingu Mission
P.O Box 340785
Columbus, Ohio  43234

Or On-line donations at:


Here is Camilly at COSI experiencing static electricity first hand.   Alyssa tamed this wild horse as they rode off in the sunset.