Dear Friends and Family,
Thank you for your prayers and support. They are greatly appreciated!
There have been a lot of things going in our lives these days! In this newsletter we will be focusing on one area in particular which is our responsibility in leading the Worship Department at the Mirante Vineyard. It definitely has been a learning experience, but a rewarding one. As we walked into this undertaking we felt that there were three areas we wanted to focus on: to see the band members mature as musicians, develop more unity within the worship community, and invest in the band spiritually. We feel that a prepared and healthy band will better bless the church. It’s been a short time, but we have already seen great things in all three areas!
We have worked extremely hard in practice, working out the kinks and learning to work together as musicians. We have some of the more mature musicians training the newer musicians in their craft. Since Denise and I have started overseeing this ministry, there have been new people wanting to get involved with the worship team. This is great, although we are now trying to figure out ways to get all these new people involved. Please pray for us as we try and sort this out.
We also have been hosting get-togethers at our house with the team. We have been trying to build increased unity within the band. When we first started working with the worship community, we both sensed that there was a bit of a rift among members with two opposing camps. To work toward eliminating this separation and bring everyone together, we decided to approach this issue head-on and share with the members what we saw. To our surprise, the whole band had noticed the lack in unity and knew there needed to be a change. It has been amazing to watch as everyone has embraced the idea of pressing into each other and deciding to love one another.
One additional thing we have been doing is meeting one-on-one with the members. The worship community for the most part is young, filled will teenagers and young adults in their 20’s. This is a very confusing and crucial time in their lives, so Denise and I have really wanted to invest into them. Not only are these people involved with the music ministry, but the band consist of many of the young leaders in the church’s future. We have been inviting individuals to come over for lunch and just hang out. This gives us a chance to really talk with them and help them sort through the obstacles they are facing.
Obviously our responsibilities and duties extend beyond what we do with the church’s music ministry. Our hands have also been extremely full of late discipling and counseling many young adults from Mirante and from Central Vineyard, our previous church. Both Denise and I love seeing spiritual growth, so this is one of our favorite things to do. I have been doing hair cutting classes with some of our aspiring stylists. It seems like every day there is something we are being called to do such as one-on-one music training, helping someone do construction on a house, or running errands for the Mission or church. In addition to continuing my Portuguese classes, I have been trying to spend more time out in the city on my own. This has been very good for me, but also very nerve-racking!
Friends from Central Vineyard
Women Denise is discipling
Our new dog, Jack, is growing. We feel safe with three watch dogs.
Recently I had the opportunity to preach at Mirante which took me by surprise. On a Tuesday night I went to a prayer meeting. At this prayer meeting I sensed God was speaking something to my spirit. I decided to share with everyone the word God had given me. Nida, one of the pastors at Mirante, was moved by the word and asked if I would preach on it at church the upcoming Sunday. It didn’t leave me with much time to prepare, but I decided to do it. I think the teaching went okay. I was extremely nervous and my mind seemed a bit scattered, but I was happy that I did it. I look forward to another opportunity to preach in the future when I can be better prepared – not just with my teaching, but also mentally.
Denise leading worship
Preaching with Denise translating at Mirante
In August we had a team from a Cleveland Vineyard come to Altamira. Denise and I were asked to help host the team during their stay here. It was a real blessing to Denise and me. We enjoyed the team, and felt energized by their kindness and encouragement. We traveled with them along the river, visiting small communities and holding services there. I always very much enjoy spending time on the river. Maybe it’s because of its beauty and quietness, but I feel such a peace when I am out on the river.
Soccer during the river trip
Church on the river
We also were able to take a trip to a small town called Brasil Novo. Denise and I had an amazing experience there that will stick with me for a while. Before one of the services, we broke up into small groups and walked around the neighborhood, inviting people to that night’s service. At one of our stops we met an old woman who was probably in her late 80s. She made it known that she would love to come to the service, but because of some health issues, she could barely walk. We asked her if she would come if we could transport her by car. She jumped at this idea! When we picked her up, I had to carry her from her house to the car and then from the car into the church. Once the service started, she was a little ball of fire! Yelling “amen”, trying to stand and reach her hands above her head, and was literally coming to tears every time Jesus’ love was discussed. It was amazing to see. I think the reason I was blessed so much was because it was literally a battle from start to finish for this woman to get to church. She could barely move, but she fought through her disabilities and fought through the embarrassment of having to be carried around by a stranger in front of a whole church. And why? So she could worship with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. It convicted me about my attitude and how I take church for granted.
– Please continue to pray for us as we minister to and through the worship community in Brazil.
– Pray for continued growth in our financial support.
– Pray for fruitfulness in our ministry, both within the churches and reaching out to the community.
We always love hearing from you.
In His Service,
Christopher & Denise