Dear Friends and Family,
I know you hear this from us every month, but Denise and I always want you to know how much your prayer and support mean to us. We appreciate you!
This last month has been an eventful one for Denise and me. One of the exciting things we had here in Altamira was the Healing in the Streets Conference. The speaker of the conference, Mark Marx, grew up in South Africa and now lives in Ireland. Mark has a passion for seeing people healed, but even more than that, he wants to see the church get out beyond the church walls and reach out to the community. Mark’s way of doing this is pretty direct. He basically lines up some chairs in the middle of town and invites anyone walking down the streets to take a seat for a minute and get prayer for anything they want. It’s amazing how many people will sit down and get prayer. Mark goes around the world sharing this model. We saw many people healed and many people give their life to Jesus.
Healing on the Streets Conference
One of the things that Denise and I have been trying to navigate is how to handle the ups and downs of ministry. We have been fortunate to be in the thick of ministry. We are grateful that our leaders trust us enough to use us to disciple, counsel and lead others. We have front row seats to view some amazing things – countless people committing their lives to Jesus, people being physically and emotionally healed, and seeing people that we disciple really grow in their faith.
We experience such joy, but there are also some difficult things about ministry. It’s especially discouraging when we invest into a person only to see them walk away or slip back into the bad decisions that brought them to us in the first place. I have been that person … I have been on the other side of ministry. I have been the one who was being invested into and then decided to walk away. For me, this makes it all the more difficult – I can see the way people are being deceived by Satan and their own flesh because I have lived it and know firsthand what the consequences of walking away can be. Every day I am face-to-face with this spiritual warfare. Matthew 9:36 (NIV) says "When he (Jesus) saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." More and more, I am learning as a missionary that my peace can never be dependent on the work I do or any results I see. My ministry in and of itself can never give life. My ministry is to point to the only one who can give life.
Denise and me relaxing on a day off
Our dog, Jack
Denise at a dental clinic – a missionary dentist was providing free dental care.
My father-in-law, Clinildo, and me
This was in our church … the largest tarantula I’ve seen since I’ve been here. Keep in mind that the tiles were 1’ x 1’.
For the last two months, my house has been a bit crowded. We have two couples, both good friends, staying with us. Fortunately, we are renting a three bedroom house. Geidson and Lica moved in with us about two months ago. Saadrac and Mara moved in a few weeks later. Both couples were stuck in difficult living situations. Denise and I prayed about it and both felt that we should open up our home until they could get things sorted out.
Our houseguests – Saadrac, Mara, Lica and Geidson
This has been an interesting experience for me. Brazilians are much more accustomed to communal living than I am. Since moving here, I’ve realized how much the United States values privacy and personal space. I love the idea of communal living, but it has definitely stretched me.
Living in a community has been difficult for me at times, but there is no doubt that the good has outweighed the bad in this situation. Living with five Brazilians has helped my Portuguese and my understanding of Brazilian culture. These two couples have been extremely loving and helpful in my process of becoming accustomed here. There has also been talk about the possibility of the six of us doing ministry together at some point in the future. Denise and I have been open with them about our desire to plant new churches here in northern Brazil and it seems like our vision might have struck a chord with our houseguests. Presently we are all just praying about the future and what God might bring.
Lica was in a bad motorcycle accident right before she and Geidson moved in with us. She had broken both her pelvic bone and hand. When they first moved in, Lica was barely able to get out of bed. Because Geidson was working long hours, Denise and I were able to step in and help take care of her. Slowly Lica was able to start moving around with crutches, but with the broken hand, this was extremely difficult. One weekend Lica and Geidson were asked to help at a kid’s camp with their church. When they returned, Lica was walking fine with no crutches, as if there was nothing wrong with her pelvic bone. Denise and I asked her what was going on and she said that the kids at the camp prayed for her and now she could walk!
Although I was excited for Lica, I confess there is always a part of me that is a skeptic. I do believe and have seen people healed, but I wondered if there was another explanation. I thought "maybe she just hadn’t tried to walk before then" or "maybe she had just convinced herself that she was healed, but give it a few days and she will be limping again". I didn’t want to have these thoughts, but my rational mind was crying out for answers. A week later when the Healing in the Streets Conference started Lica was still walking as if there was never anything wrong with her pelvic bone! Her hand was a different story.
Her broken hand wasn’t treated properly by the doctors and at this point there was a bump the size of a large marble protruding out of the top of her hand. The bones were not healing correctly and now it seemed that her only option was surgery. It was so bad that she wasn’t able to close her hand or grip anything. One day, during the conference, we were out on the streets seeing if anyone wanted prayer. At that moment, there was a chair open, so Lica said that we could pray for her hand if we wanted. As we began to pray for her, to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t expecting much, but about five minutes into it, something began to happen. My hand was directly on the protruding bone/bump and it started to move! I took my hand off a few times and then reapplied my hand just to make sure that I was feeling what I thought I was feeling. At one point, I even placed Denise’s hand on the bump, just so she could confirm that I wasn’t crazy… We continued to pray for another 20 minutes and before our eyes, the bump shrunk to the size of a pellet from a child’s BB gun. I could almost see God smiling, asking me to try and explain this one away. By the end of the weekend there was no bump to be seen and she had complete and full function of her hand. God is good!
Thank you so much for those who have started to give. We were very encouraged by donations this month and were able to resupply our dwindling savings.
– Please pray God would continue to encourage, empowerment and guide us as we minister together in Brazil.
– Pray also that God would give us clarity in our next step in ministry.
– 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
Link to contribute: http://www.xingu.org/14g_meyer_donation.html