Thursday, August 17, 2017

August Amazon Update!!!

Thank you so much for your prayers for our regional InterVinha conference.  We had a large turnout of well over 300 people.  We held the event at the churches training center, and it was an orchestration of organization with 100’s of people sleeping at the training center each night, providing each meal, recreational time, cleaning and all the rest.  Elba and the team did an amazing job and by the grace of God it went really well.  Aside from all the logistical and physical things getting accomplished well, the conference would have been a flop without the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Praise the Lord He was alive and present. 

     

Our guest speaker was Gary Best from Canada and he spoke on the topic “Naturally Supernatural”.  Gary wrote a book in 2007 with this same title and it has received good reviews.  Gary spoke through the scriptures building us up to say that this is Christ plan and original idea for us today;  that we can participate in the work of God’s Kingdom and that the miracles of Jesus time are for us today as well.  After Gary’s teaching, he challenged us to do the stuff that Jesus was doing in His life and ministry.  This is not new territory for our church, and I believe that each of our churches are doing this daily.  But, it was a good reminder, and encouragement to continue to push into the Kingdom.  We had the opportunity to pray for healing, words of wisdom, and miracles.  The Holy Spirit did not fail us, and His power was felt by many.  Many people were healed physically and emotionally.  Thank you Lord!!! 


In addition to the conference, we also had Dr. Dave Keseg come and teach about first aid.  Dr. Dave is the founder of Luke’s brigade http://www.lukesbrigade.com/ and they focus on training first aid to people who live in remote areas and with limited access to health care.  In his teachings, he focused on basic first aid, assessment of life threatening situations, and basic and essential treatment of injuries and illnesses.  All the participants learned a lot, and had a good time in the process.  They also received a certificate and a first aid kit.  Thanks Dr. Dave!


On a personal note, Camilly and Alyssa are now back in school and they are happy.  They missed seeing their friends and it was good being back together.  Also, they gained 2 “sisters”.  McKenzie and Kayla are here from the Vineyard Church of Delaware and they will be staying with us until December.  They just arrived and they are trying to get their bearings with their new life here.  Please keep them in your prayers. 


Also, please pray for our upcoming annual dentist outreach to the community.  A Dentist team is coming from Brasilia to work on the river with Richie Bouthillier, and then they will go to Santarem to work in the city and a small community about 45 kilometers away.  We appreciate all your prayers. 

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

Please click the donate button to make a secured on-line donation:


Here is a picture of my nephew Apollo.  He found this owl by our house.  It was really friendly and did not mind that he picked it up and carried it around.  Who would have thought?  He put it down for the night, and then it flew away.  Pretty cool.  We love having owls around our house.  They are great in keeping the rat and cockroach population down. 


July Amazon Update!

The federal government donated a used dentist chair to “Project Smile” in Brasilia to be used at CDR.  However, we needed to go and pick it up.  We loaded the truck for our 2000 km journey and were successful in getting it back to Altamira.  The project has been such a blessing to the over 1,100 people it has served in its 3 year history.  Please keep the team in your prayers because next month we will be doing a big outreach to serve more people in the cities and along the rivers.  During our time in Brasilia Elba got to share at the church.  I really like it in Brasilia because it reminds me a bit of the US in the people, climate, and infrastructure.  However, we did not like the fact that we discovered that our tires and brakes on our truck were in bad need of replacing.  Glad to be able to change for safety sake, but bad for the sake of financial hardship.  Over a $2,000 in truck repairs and licensing fees just this month.  OUCH.  Vehicles are so expensive.  Sometimes I wish they were not such a necessity. 


We had a couples dinner at the church and it was really nice.  We feel it is important to continue to invest in marriages and give opportunity for these couples to share a special moment.  Life can be difficult and hard and sometimes it’s easy to put a backseat to our relationships with our loved ones.  Life and the attacks of the enemy are always trying to destroy, or distract us from the things that are important.  That is why it is important for us to push back, and sacrifice to make sure that we keep these as priorities.  The couples really enjoyed their time together and we encouraged lots of PDA, public display of affections.  J 


Alyssa and Elba both celebrated birthdays in July.  Alyssa had a birthday party and invited some of her friends.  She was so happy to finally be in the double digits (10). Of course, she got the traditional egg smashed on her head.  The women at the church had a potluck dinner for Elba and her twin sister Nira.  There were NO eggs smashed on Elba’s head…that tradition does not apply to her.  J  Camilly played in her first soccer tournament at school.  They played the grade ahead of them and unfortunately did not win.  However, Camilly scored all of the team’s 2 goals.  The girls are on school break and go back to school the first week in August.  Their summer vacation is a little over 1 month long. 


We have our annual church conference coming up next week, as well as some important meetings.  Please keep us in your prayers for the Lord to speak and continued guidance for us. 

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

Please click the donate button to make a secured on-line donation:


I found this tarantula hawk (wasp) near our house.  It found this tarantula and it stung it which made it paralyzed.  It then carried it to a nearby hole that it dug where it will lay a single egg on the tarantula abdomen.  I found some more additional information on Wikipedia that said that when the wasp larva hatches, it creates a small hole in the spider's abdomen, then enters and feeds voraciously, avoiding vital organs for as long as possible to keep the spider alive. After several weeks, the larva pupates. Finally, the wasp becomes an adult and emerges from the spider's abdomen to continue the life cycle.  God’s amazing creation. 



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.