The 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.
Plans 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.
These 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.
What 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.
After 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.
It 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.
George 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.
While we where visiting churches in back in the States the boat house was damaged by fire. It was not much to start with but it helped shade the boat we had. We are working on plans to buy a new boat which require a secure place to put the new boat. We need to build retaining walls in our pit so the new boat will fit under the structure. There is also a need to enclose the structure in some type metal fencing so that if some one shows up with a machete it would be difficult for them to get into the building. A machete is a common tool here that everyone has. If the to be bandits show up with some real tools then there is no way to secure the boat but that is not normal. Most bandits are hit and run guys that are looking to steal something they can sell quickly. Also we are looking at fencing the area around the boat and put a few dogs. The Brazilians are fearful of dogs so it is a good deterrent. So Please pray for our plans, that we will get the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.