It was our great joy this year to celebrate our wedding anniversary on the actual day we got married. In past years ministry demands have forced us to move our celebration to several months later, not this year. A friend of ours, an owner of a great restaurant, served us an outstanding meal to help us celebrate. The meal contained a lot of love, and it was a gift to us, an extraordinary gift. We are experiencing what Christ talk about in Matthew 19:27-30, leaving the USA behind the Lord has blessed us with good friends here in this foreign land.
Summer is over, and August brought the restart of the ministries from the summer break. Only this time it was without Wayne. For us, August was spent at a Biblical Bible Storying Conference in the States along with some family time. It was the first time Wayne set eyes on his granddaughter.
The ministry restart seems to come off without any adverse effects. After returning, there was a lot of question; should we do this, is this ok, and many others but the leadership we have been developing seems to be standing firm, Praise God. Pray for us as we try to have these men continue to be the driving force behind the ministries.
Life in the Amazon Forest is a bit different. We have all sorts of animals visit our home and a big black dog to protect us from these strange creatures. One animal Tuffy, my dog, has had his eye on for six months is an Armadillo that tried to build a home next to the fence.
It would burrow into the ground and listen to the dog bark at it all night. Last month he found a way to catch and kill this threat to his territory. He did not eat the Armadillo but only give it up as a trophy. Now my friends were thrilled to have cooked Armadillo for a snack. Tuffy is once again famous, and my friends want to know what else he can catch for them to eat.
Josiah our son along with Bryson Jackson will be leading a team from First Church in Dayton, Ohio to the island of Citijuba the first week on June. It will be a small team of six people with everyone in their twenties, a young team. In conjunction with this team, we will have Lydia, our daughter, and another young lady from the Canton, Ohio area all meeting here in Brazil. It is shaping up to be a fantastic time.
Please be in prayer for the team, which are not featured in the photo, as they raise money, learn a bit of Portuguese and prepare for some of them to leave the country for the first time. For us, it will be a blessing as two of our children, Lydia and Josiah, will be among the team.
The March high tides did quite a bit of damage but what little was left standing the April high tides moved in and finished it off. The front of our property where we had a wall and fence was wiped out by the last storm.
The damage was not just limited to our property but all the properties along the beaches of the island of Cotijuba. Now, the end of high tide season is here, and the waters have receded, so it is time to rebuild. We are building a new property wall that has a foundation one meter below where the new beach level has settled. One of the issues remains that foundation is still built on sand. With all the building going on the story we like to share is the parable of the two foundations.
What Foundation Is Your Life Built On?
The challenge in building a church plant and any new ministry is the building of leadership. In the photo, these are the men the Holy Spirit has placed in Wayne’s hands to invest in and pass the baton too as the ministry grows.
Various ministries have been built over the years, so not all of these men live on the same island where I am located. Jeremias, who is on the far left, is heading up the kids club ministries on the island of Cotijuba and possum island. He pilots our boat moving teams and kids around on the river, along with organizing the kid’s club events. Saba, who is in the front to the right, works closely with our Brazilian non-profit agency. He lives in the city where he has access to banks and government agencies.
The rest of the men all live here on the island of Cotijbua and involved in the leadership of the developing church, which this past week took a step forward to be a more formal church and not just a bible study group. Two of the men here, Corderio and Valdiir, took on the responsibility of collecting and dispersing donation for our ministry. You might say they are co-treasures for the church. The leadership has a desire to start funding small outreach ministries, and this is part of the necessary structure to reach this goal. Please pray for these men as they assume these roles.
Our joy is to see the lost take a step a faith and be baptized. There is a number in our group that is thinking about baptisms but are not willing to take that step of faith, yet. As we make our plans, we like to end the year with the opportunity for those in our small groups to take the step of baptism.
Please pray that the Holy Spirit will intervene in their lives and move their hearts towards Christ. The small seed of faith that they have needs to grow into the joy of the Lord. Our battle is not with flesh and blood but all in the spiritual realm. This is why we need you to pray weekly for our small group to move them to take that step of faith at the end of the year with the testimony of baptism.
The Possum Island Kid’s Club ministry is in recovery mode. Mario, who is in the green shirt, is loved by the community there. Unfortanly last year he had to move away to care for a family member in a distant village. After he dropped out of the leadership and while Wayne & Ellen were in the States, our Possum Island ministry shrunk. Then there were other issues with the building they were using, so when we returned to Brazil, the ministry was nonexistent.
Our Lord has heard your prayers. The building was repaired, and Mario is now back living in Belem, the city near us. He desires to step back into the ministry there and pick up where he left off. Please pray for Mario, Jeremias, and Manwell as they rebuild this ministry. They are now gathering Sunday mornings twice a month as the tide permits.