It is incredible knowing all of you who pray for us and our ministry on a weekly basis. Events are not as we anticipated. Our path for 2018 has changed to where we will be back in the States raising funds for our ministry with Encompass World Partners. The events that have triggered this change in direction is the fact that Ellen has to have additional surgery and the cost of ministry has increased over the years. We planned to stay on the field for another year, but events now require us to be on a plane in just five weeks. These changes feel like a wrench has been thrown into the works, causing everything to come to a screeching halt. Pray for us as we work through these new realities and understanding for the new path our Lord has put before us.
Our kid’s club team is celebrating Kids Day here in Brazil, today! All four teams are operating to celebrate and expand out kids club in both locations. It is exciting to see not only the kids club grow, but the leadership is taking their role seriously to build this ministry. The teams have been operating without Wayne’s direct involvement since August. It is good news that the leadership I have been training are now able to keep the ministry going. Wayne still needs to invest funds to cover transportation cost and supplement the cost of lunch. Pray for us as we try and find ways to keep this ministry alive as we plan our home ministry starting in January.
It is exciting to see our small group slowly grow over the past year. Many of the people in this photo are now regular attendees over the previous year. A number of them have been baptized, and even more, have made confessions of a transformed life in Christ. We are now working on the task of building leadership. This is a very slow and challenging task with a group of people that all have difficulty reading. We use the stories in scripture and are working on our new leadership to tell stories in front of the group, but only one has gone through this difficult process. The others do now publicly pray, but this has been a chore to get them this far along. Please pray as we disciple and train the men of the group.
Our team is looking to grow our kid’s club with a special event in October. They are working on a plan to create a special event for the kids in the hope that it will draw more kids to our little program. The program has been a tool to help us connect with the community and one that has helped launch a women’s ministry in the community. This is why we need your prayers for this upcoming event on the fourteenth. My two leaders are Claudio and Jeremias. The first lives in the city and the other lives out on an island ten miles away by boat. It is exciting to work with both of these men who are caring for this ministry on a very personal level. They both have invested a lot in these kids and visiting parents in the community. Pray for this ministry.
Wayne was off the field for little over a month. This was just after the summer break for the locals here in Brazil. So how did the ministry startup go without Wayne? Not smoothly, but it is functioning. Some cracks have developed in the ministry while Wayne was back in the States. It is nice to know you are needed but the goal over time is to work my self out of a job here on the island. It is clear we still have a lot of work to do before we get to that point. We do need your prayers! Ellen is still off the field, and we are hoping she will return in October. Some of the believers I expected to step up and lead, did not. Another looks as if he might drop out. So please keep our ministry in your prayers as Wayne picks up the pieces.
It was great having the opportunity to visit with Ellen for August and part of September. We had the chance to spend time with our kids and extended family. There were a few church visits tucked in and best of all Wayne got to see his six-month-old grandson for the first time. What a great joy this was for Wayne. The time went by very fast and did not make up for the six months we were separated. Which means that when it was time to return to Brazil, there were tears, we wanted to come back at the same time, but Ellen is not yet finished with her physical therapy. Please pray that the time remaining will go quickly and without further complications.
My bags are packed, and I will be getting on a plane in just a few days, August 2, to see Ellen. The seeing Ellen part is fascinating, but leaving the ministry, I have built up over the past two years to operate on it own difficult. I am deeply involved in the daily operation of the ministry and to leave the ministry to function with the leadership I have developed over the years takes planning. I have made plans for all of the kids clubs, transportation, programs and I hope I did not forget something important. The kids club is still dependent upon funding I provide for transportation and food assistance, so I have made arrangements for this aid to continue without me handing people money directly. I have a man Saba, who my administrator, handling the funds for me. Jeremias, who is a licensed pilot, will be driving the boat to pick people up and run them around to the different locations. Pastor Jeu, who I work with on the Island Of Cotijuba church plant, will be running the small groups here on the island and my hope is three of our believers will fill in telling the Bible story of the week during our small group. As you can see our ministry is full of activities with it is touching many lives. Pray that all will continue in my absence.
If you have not been able to keep up with my life, that is because I have trouble keeping up with all the things that are happening. Ellen has been in the States since the first week of February, which is much longer than we had planned. She has had knee surgery and shoulder surgery which she is now recovering. They are hoping that she will respond to the physical therapy quickly so she can return in September but they are not sure, so her return date is open. Encompass World Partners has decided to send me to a conference with Ellen in August. That means I get to be with Ellen the for the first time in six long months. Wayne is hoping that Ellen is feeling better by then. At the moment she is dealing with a lot of pain in the recovery process. Our anniversary was in June, so we did not get a chance to celebrate together and to make things more difficult the card Ellen sent me in Brazil never arrived. Pray that this will be a sweet time for the both of us.
It has been a long time coming. The days of driving from behind are over! Now I just have to install the parts. The initial parts that shipped with the motor were an off brand that did not fit together. The dealer said oh well, gave me a store credit and left me on my own to source the correct parts. We found a dealer a thousand miles away that was willing to get brand name parts so that the parts would all work together, but it would take time. That was three months ago. So you can imagine how glad Wayne is. The work is not done. The mount for the control is smaller than the control, so Wayne will have to cut into the console to make it all fit. July is a slow month and no plans to use the boat this month, so there is time to fix it right. Pray for Wayne as he mounts all the controls on the boat.