January 2015 Newsletter

Dear Friends and Family,

Thank you for your prayers and support. They have been greatly appreciated!

Things have been going well for Denise and me. We are learning new things every day. For me, there is so much to learn – whether it is culture, language, marriage or ministry, my brain usually is filled to the brim.

The season we are in at the moment is demanding but exciting. This should probably be called our travel season. We just got back visiting Maraba before Christmas and we have some upcoming trips on the horizon. We will be visiting Denise’s family in Santerem in early February. We are very excited about this! Denise’s mother and father are pastoring a new Vineyard Church in Santerem. Seeing new church plants is very exciting for me. It allows me to see the stages of church growth happen. From Santerem, Denise and I will head towards a city called Macapa where there is another small Vineyard. We will be guest speakers at the Macapa Vineyard Youth Conference. We are also trying to work out the details for a March trip to visit the new church plant in Portel. There are other places we are planning to visit: Pacaja, Paraiba & Uruara.

Denise’s mother, father and two brothers

Denise and our friend Chelsea from our home church in Sunbury, Ohio

One thing that has been sad for Denise and me is that fellow missionaries Clyde and Kelsie Berquist and their family are moving back to the United States after 11 years here in Northern Brazil. Denise has known the family since their arrival and was Kelsie’s Portuguese teacher years ago. Although I only met Clyde and Kelsie a year ago, I have grown to love and respect them tremendously over this short time. They have such beautiful hearts and are an inspiration to many. Denise and I are both going to miss them, but we also know that our relationship with them will continue. We are confident that no matter where they are, God will always be doing amazing things through them.

Clyde and Kelsie’s Going Away Party – The Brazilians wanted to wash their feet as a sign of respect and love. As you can see, there was a long line and it was very emotional. Clyde and Kelsie will be very, very missed.

Clyde and Kelsie’s Children

God has created each and every one of us with different gifts and hearts for different ministries. Throughout my Christian life, God has always used me in a very specific way. My heart has always been touched when I see individuals on the outside looking in whether it is with non-believers or just Christians that are struggling. This is no different in Brazil. When Denise and I returned to Brazil after our visit to the States, I noticed a young man that was involved in the church months before had disappeared. I began to ask around, but no one seemed to know exactly where he was or what he had been up to. After a few months Denise and I tracked him down, and had him over to our house for lunch. We began to talk to him about what he had been up to and why he had disappeared. We learned that the main reasons he was no longer involved in church was because he had lost his job and all the clothes he owned were falling apart and were filled with holes. I asked him if he had any friends or family helping him through this rough stretch, but he explained that he had a falling out with his family and that his closest friends had all moved on from Altamira. The more we talked the more it became evident that he felt extremely isolated and alone. Although he was aware of the fact that God accepted him no matter what clothes he was wearing, the issue was that he was embarrassed for the fellow church goers to see him this way. When he explained this to me, my heart ached for him. I also wondered how many people disappear from their church for similar reasons.

The next day I took him out and bought new clothes for him, not because I thought he needed nice clothes to go to church, but because I wanted to illustrate that he’s not alone and that there are people willing to help him through this period in his life. It’s been 3 months since we had him over for that lunch and things have totally turned around for him. He has been a consistent presence at church, the young adult service, and the home group Denise and I lead. He is also working again and has begun to repair his relationship with his family. It has brought much joy to my heart seeing him so happy and thriving in life, but it has also reminded me that many times all God is asking me to do is to take an interest in a person’s life, be present and show a little love. It’s amazing what a difference this can make.

After church one night, a bunch of friends stopped over.

The two of us

Bugs

Prayer Requests:

– Please pray God would continue to encourage, empowerment and guide us as we minister together in Brazil.

– Pray for safety and discernment as we travel.

– 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

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