The Changed Life of Valdamir

fb20161012As you follow the path that the Holy Spirit leads you down, he takes you places you would not expect. Valdamir is one of these lives that the Holy Spirit has opened the door for us to share the Good News.   He has his own bicycle repair shop at the center of the island that also makes small repairs to motor cycles as needed. The shop is small and not much to look at. (The picture features Pastor Jeu, Valdamir, Valdamir’s son in-law) I remember a number of conversations with him over the years as he repaired our bikes. He talked about going into the big city Belem to attend a church there, but his life seem to be very unstable. We did not know what a disaster his life actually was.

Pastor Jeu, who is part of our team, was having his motorcycle tire fixed by Valdamir and asked if he was interested in studying the Bible.  He reluctantly said yes. At this point it was a depressing time in his life. His wife had separated from him and he was drinking heavily. His wife informed us that he would go on drinking binges for days and then get straight with religion. This would last for only a short time before the old habits returned. This resulted in a marriage that was on and off the rocks on a regular basis.  Our team started studying the Bible with him once a week, and only him.  Valdamir was a tag on Bible study on Tuesday nights. The team would study with one family up the road and on the way back stop a Vadamir’s bike shop to study with him. This went on for several months. If he was not there the team would book him for another night.

It did not seem like the team was making any headway with Valdamir.  After all these weeks they had not seen his wife nor could find out her name. He just would not talk about her. Then a rain storm changed everything. As our team left the first Bible study and a heavy down pour started,  so they became drenched. They showed up at Valdamir’s bike shop looking like drowned cats. He was not there so they went over to his house and knocked, his wife answered the door and took pity them and inviting them in. This was the first time they had met his wife and got to know a little about her. This chance meeting seem to have a big impact on the situation there,  and now our team was praying for both of them.  As things moved forward there were times that the Bible study included him and his wife with a few of their grand kids. Though the turmoil was not over. The team arrived one Tuesday only to be informed that she had not seen her husband for three days. She suspected he was off drunk, but encouraged them to return in a few days. This is where Valdamir’s life changed.

fb20161012aThis is the point where Valdamir cried out to God and his desire to drink was broke. He also seem to have a stronger desire to know more about this God and His Word. Now the study time included a variety of his family members, though not on a consistent basis.  His wife now attends our weekly womens gathering, and on Wednesdays we have a Spiritual Family gathering and it is common for Valdamir to bing his wife, grand kids and kids to meetings. He is proclaiming Christ has changing his life and he is excited about his transformation. The joy in his voice and smile on his face only adds to the validity of his testimony. Pray for Valdamir. Our next planed baptisms will be in February, pray that him and several of his family member will take that next step of faith and be baptized on the beach here on the island of Cotijuba.

Local Missionary Conference

fb20160828The local churches we work with in the city held their missionary conference this past weekend. This year they had a Pastor Jeff  from Ohio, with Missionary Bruce Triplehorn as his translator for the conference. It was a moving event for several that attended but these churches are still struggling with the issues of sending people. These GBC churches were founded by American Missionaries, but the same passion that they were planted with did not get passed on. The missions conference is an effort to build a vision to reach out. Those in the photo are some of the core people involved with the missions ministry of the churches. I know may of these people well and some have worked directly with me. Please pray that their passion for reaching out can light a fire in these churches. The same fire that the missionaries that planted them in the first place.

September Story Training

fb20160827Plans are now in place for Bible Story Training in September, October and November. The hope is to have the churches provide ten students for each program. The first program will be taught by Pastor Luiz and Nazerano which will be held at our house.  They were key in teaching a Bible Storying event many years ago. It had a bing impact on our ministry and the church the youth and adults came from. We are hoping to have a larger impact and start developing workers for a planed team trip to the island of Ariperanga in October. So pray for the Lord to provide workers for training and work out on the islands we have targeted.

Building Partnerships

fb20160826These are some of the men I am working with to build a ministry partnership with the local churches here. They come from four different churches but all have a vision to reach the river for Jesus Christ. I wish this was an easy sell, but it is not. Most of the churches are wrapped up in their own activities. They talk about the shortage of pastors and leaders yet my cry for laborers to reach  the river seems to fall on deaf ears till recently. These men seem to be the exception. From left – Williams, Thiago, Wayne, Ricardo, Jeu and Adailton. Please lift them up in pray as we try to build a partnership to reach the river.

The Fisherman

fb20160824What about George? He is a faithful fisherman who is one of our transformed lives. His wife testifies he is a changed man which is why she joins him on our Wednesday spiritual family meetings.  She is not a believer but  we are praying for her. George used to tell stories about fishing tales but not tells tales about Jesus. It is great to tell his version of Peter walking on water. He seems to relate to the fisherman stories we tell in the bible.

He was baptized at the end of June, so he is till a new believer. It is great to see him growing in Christ. The other week he participated in a play of the prodigal son found in Luke 15.    It was a good time we even made a video of the skit.

Our Communion Table

fb20160710After the baptisms we held communion at our house. The under part of our house is open so we can handle small groups. There were thirty one at our table to celebrate the bread & cup, foot washing and a meal together just like our Lord calls us to do in remembrance of Him. It was great to wash the feet of one of the new believers and break bread with George whom had just hours before stood in the water with a bold testimony. This is a man whom God has been chasing for forty years.  All the years of toil seem to slip away with great joy as we celebrated these new lives and dreamed of a day when we will be sitting at the “Great Wedding Feast”. Pray that the next table will be double in size as we seek to add more to our number.

New Life In Christ

fb20160709It is so exciting to see the fruit of our ministry result in new life in Christ. Many will say that they believe but to take that public step of faith is a real declaration that makes them stand out from the crowd. This was a very public venue, our beach on Cotijuba. We witness seven transformed lives baptized on our beach. It was a day that had been held up in prayer for months and the product of years of prayer.

A hand full of our other bible students were there to see what baptism was all about. Our hope is that from this bold testimony we will see other take that next step of faith. A few days after these baptisms one of our bible students said she accepted Jesus into her heart.  Praise God! Please keep praying.


First Baptism From Cotijuba

fb20160702George has been studying the bible for the past year. He made a decision to invite Jesus into his heart a year ago and it has taken this long for him to take that step of faith and be baptized. We are so excited about his willingness to step forward in faith. He did not walk alone in this demonstration of faith. We work with another struggling ministry in the city, Canudos IEI.

A few years ago we had the first fruits of this ministry baptized out on our island, two young men. This past month we had the great joy of seeing six young folks get baptized. It was a great step of faith for these youth also. The church that Pastor Luiz is pastoring is mostly youth. The youth run the worship service and are taking leadership roles in the ministry there. This day was a great answer to prayer. Please keep praying, there is still more fruit to come in both ministries.