Once again, thank you so much for all your support. Your prayers, emails and financial contributions are appreciated more than you can ever realize. It makes a huge difference, being so far from home, knowing that though I am out of sight I am not out of mind.
This last month Altamira hosted the Northern Regional Vineyard Conference called InterVinha. Over 200 pastors and leaders attended this three day conference which was held in a camp carved out of the jungle on the outskirts of Altamira. It was a terrific time and what made it even more enjoyable was that my mom and dad came down to participate in this conference and then also were able to spend the next week staying with me in my apartment. It was a great conference and it was fun to have a relaxing time with my parents. Before the conference my parents and I, together with some other Brazilian leaders and missionaries, spent a short time on the river and visited a few Vineyard river churches.
One of the River Vineyard Churches
Preparing Lunch on the River
Worship at InterVinha
Men’s Sleeping Quarters
Women’s Five Star Accommodations
During InterVinha, Phil Strout, Vineyard USA’s National Director, was the main speaker. He shared with us 10 pillars of ministry that he believes to be crucial in an effective and lasting ministry. One of the pillars that I’ve been thinking a lot about is "Get people in front of Jesus, whatever the cost." What does that mean? The example that Phil gave was the story of the three friends that wanted to get their crippled friend in front of Jesus to get healed. When the crowd was so large that they couldn’t get through with their friend, they tore out the roof of the house and lowered their friend down to Jesus’ feet. There are times when talking to someone about my beliefs, I feel I need to have all the answers when it comes to the secrets of the soul or why I believe what I believe. The truth is, I don’t need to have all the answers. I realize that my job is to simply get the person in front of Jesus and allow them to encounter the One who does have the answers. As Christians, it is easy to lose the creativity & urgency necessary to bring people into the presence of Christ. We invite someone to church and if they say no or are unable to come, we give up. We must learn to think outside the box and get individuals in front of Jesus. We need to be willing to offer genuine relationship and not just offer an invitation to church.
After five months in Brazil I would like to be able to say I am falling into a comfortable missionary routine, but I realize that there is no such thing. As I thought about my move to Brazil and being a missionary, I imagined a life in overseas ministry that was more fantasy than reality. What I find is that walking with Jesus is really no different whether you are in the United States or Brazil, whether you are a school teacher, a stay-at-home mom or a missionary. The truth is that following God and wanting to be used by Him is a matter of putting one foot in front of the other, being faithful in the daily necessities of life, and maintaining a willingness to serve God by serving those around you.
On any given week, I find myself participating in such a mixed bag of activities. I help with young adult ministry and with the worship team at our church. I am now teaching English as a second language through our church’s Community Development Center. Though I have regular opportunities to teach at area Vineyard churches, my days are also filled with the mundane responsibilities and needs of life: taking vehicles to repair shops, fixing plumbing that is not working properly, chatting with a friend who may be going through a hard time, and running errands for friends and co-workers. Over the past week or two I have been helping with the construction of an addition to the building that houses the Community Development Center. So as you can see, there really is no routine. It all comes down to availability and trying to be faithful to love God and love others.
Speaking at a Church Event
Community Development Center Construction
One important and special part of my life that you might have noticed on Facebook is that I am currently in a relationship. My girlfriend’s name is Denise who is on the pastoral staff at one of the other Vineyard churches in town.
My girlfriend, Denise
Please continue to pray for me:
– That I learn Portuguese quickly.
– That I continue to stay healthy.
– That God gives me wisdom regarding how to invest my time here in Brazil.
– That I continue to have grace for forming relational bridges with the people I am here to serve.
– Wisdom for future living arrangements
One of my current roommates
Thank you once again for your kindness in praying for me, supporting me and communicating with me. I love hearing from you.
In His Service,