Dear Friends and Family,
Thank you for your prayers and support. You have no idea how much they mean to us.
Things have been going well for Denise and me. Leading the Worship Department at the Mirante Vineyard has continued to go well. We are adjusting more and more to married life, and to the life of a missionary. As is true with us all, there are many twists and turns in life, but this has definitely been an adventure I wouldn’t trade for anything!
Denise and me
Rick and me. Rick was the first Xingu Mission Missionary in Northern Brazil.
This month we were invited to come do worship/music training with a worship band in the city of Maraba. The Maraba Vineyard is a church that was established by the Xingu Mission six years ago. We were also asked to do a 2-night conference for the whole church while we were there. We looked forward to this a lot as it was Denise’s and my first experience doing a ministry trip to another city where were we were responsible for what was happening. We have gone on many trips before, but always as part of a team following the guidance of another leader. We were a bit nervous, but we were definitely excited!
The trip was about a 12-hour bus ride down the Trans-Amazon Highway. When most people see the word “highway”, they probably imagine the nice smooth driving surface of the United States’ highways, but that is not what traveling the Trans-Amazon Highway experience is like. The TA Highway is paved in certain areas, but the pavement is riddled with twists, turns and potholes. Most of the trip is on dirt roads that are cut through the jungle. Because we are in the midst of the dry season, the dust is crazy. Visibility is very low because of the constant dust clouds. Even though the dust is annoying and can sometimes be dangerous, it definitely is preferred to the alternative during the wet season. During the rainy season it isn’t all that uncommon for a vehicle to get stuck in the deep mud after a downpour.
Waiting for a ferry to cross a river somewhere on the Trans-Amazon
After arriving in Maraba and having a day to recover from the bus ride, we got right to work. We led workshops during the day with the band and at night we had a church service. We felt like everything went very well. It seemed like the band really enjoyed it and God was definitely at work during the services. Any free time we had was spent catching up or getting to know the missionaries and pastors at the Maraba base.
Us with the worship band in Maraba
Denise, Apolana (who came with us from Altamira to help with the worship training) and Jen Snell, one of the missionaries in Maraba.
Denise and me
The Maraba Vineyard is located in a very poor neighborhood. The hardships that many of the church-goers endure on a day-to-day basis are staggering. Everything from murder, poverty, gang violence, and rampant drug and alcohol abuse are all part of the everyday life for the people of this community. You could sense such desperation amongst the church-goers. At all the conference services that Denise and I led, it seemed that at least 90% of the congregation came forward for prayer at the end of the service. It was humbling for both Denise and me.
We are already planning our next trip to Maraba, hoping we can help water some of the seeds that were planted during our time there. Unfortunately, the hardships we witnessed in Maraba are all too common here in Northern Brazil. During this season, Denise and I are seeking God for what’s next in our lives and ministry. This trip seemed to be very important in helping us develop vision for the future. We still are not sure what the next chapter of our life will look like, but going on these types of trips allow us to see a bigger picture for how God might want to use us.
On a serious note, over the last several months we have found that our non-discretionary expenses have exceeded our income. We had some savings but that has now been depleted. Please pray about this shortfall and if you are not already, we would appreciate it very much if you would consider giving. Here is the link for contributions: http://www.xingu.org/14g_meyer_donation.html
– Please continue to pray for God’s grace, empowerment and direction as we minister together in Brazil.
– Pray for continued growth in our financial support.
Thank you again for your prayers and support. We love hearing from you!
In His Service,
Christopher and Denise