March 2015 Newsletter

Dear Friends and Family,

We never want you to stop hearing from us that we appreciate you very much! Your prayers and support continue to be so important to us.

It’s been a crazy season for both of us – filled with fun times and hard times – but it has all been an adventure. In the last month or so, we have visited three church plants in three cities. Throughout these trips, God has definitely walked with us every step of the way. We began these trips looking for God’s clarity and guidance as we face some big decisions in our life, and we feel that God has clearly met us on that front. We are so excited to share some of these things with you.

Denise and me on the boat.

Our adventure began with a trip to visit the new Vineyard Church of Santerem. The added bonus on the trip was that Denise’s parents are presently pastoring this Vineyard. We were both so excited to be able to spend some time with Denise’s family and their new church. Denise’s parents have been involved with the Brazilian Vineyard Movement from its beginnings, and recently moved from Altamira to Santerem to help with the development and growth of this new Vineyard. They are truly gifted people and the Santerem Vineyard is lucky to have them.

Us with Denise’s parents and brother.

Us with the Santerem worship band. While there we were able to do a workshop with the worship band.

Straight from Santerem we headed to the city of Macapa to visit their Vineyard Church. We were invited to be guest speakers at their church retreat. We had an amazing time with the people of the Macapa Vineyard. It was truly special and God showed up in amazing ways. During the retreat, multiple people gave their lives to Christ and the majority of people shared that they experienced God in ways they hadn’t experienced before. Denise and I were both so excited and humbled by the way God showed up at the conference.

Speaking at the retreat.

Us with some of the retreat-goers.

We returned to Altamira for five days, but then were off again to visit the new church plant in the city of Portel. This trip was extremely fun for us because we were able to hang out with some of our favorite people! This church was planted by Richie and Christie Bouthillier. Richie and Christie have been involved with the Xingu Mission from its infancy. I actually stayed with them fourteen years ago when visiting Brazil. They had a great deal of influence on my life during that month and were two of the primary people responsible for me making the decision to move down here and work for the Mission.

Joining Richie and Christie is my good friend Allison Rupert. Allison recently moved to Portel to help out with this new church plant. You might remember me talking about Allison in past newsletters. When I first moved to Brazil, Allison was actually my neighbor. Allison really helped me with the first stage of living in Brazil – if it weren’t for her my arrival here would have been much more difficult. Through this we became very close friends. It was so great seeing her!

Richie and Christie and the Portel Vineyard.

Denise, Allison and friends enjoying some "Flinstone" sized ribs.

Trying to speak my best Portuguese to my buddy, Ramon.

As I stated earlier, the primary reason for these trips was to get some clarity from God. More specifically, we were looking for where to plant ourselves next. We have both felt that our time in Altamira was temporary, but we both wanted desperately to hear God’s direction in these decisions. After visiting these three church plants and other church plants before, one thing that was extremely obvious was that all of these places could use some helping hands. Everywhere we went, we got the impression that the workers were few, but the harvest was great. This has made a decision difficult. For me, there is a certain amount of guilt about my inability to help everywhere. Through this process, I have had to learn to hand my thoughts over to Jesus and to allow him to guide me. Although there are still a few places that we want to visit, we believe at this point that God is calling us to Macapa.

Macapa is decent size city of around 350,000 people. The city is completely surrounded by the Amazon River system which makes boat and plane the only way in and out. There were many things we like about the city, but the reason we feel drawn is because of what we saw in Macapa Vineyard Church. During our time there, we both felt God speaking that this was the church we are being called to. It’s a small church of around 25-30 people. The majority of the church is young adults and young married couples. Denise and I both felt very at home within this crowd. We also feel that there was a massive amount of potential with this group. They are extremely hungry for God but in many ways lacking direction. We feel that we can be helpful in this. We also connected right away with the pastor. Pastor Felipe is a true warrior for God. He is doing an amazing job with the resources he has. While we were there, Felipe fully expressed his need for help in the church. At the moment, he delivers the sermons, leads the worship, is the church’s counselor, is discipling new leaders, training new musicians for the worship band, and doing everything else that the church might need. He told us that the majority of his prayers are centered around a provision for help.

While in Macapa, Denise and I felt an ease and comfort ministering to the people there, almost as if we were pieces being fitted into the right puzzle. It felt very natural to function as part of the Macapa community. Although we have a long road ahead and many things that need to be sorted out, we believe God is walking with us and directing our steps. We couldn’t be any more excited to start this new adventure.

Macapa Vineyard

Felipe and his family

Prayer Requests:

– Please pray God would give us clarity, confirmation and grace as we move toward ministering in Macapa.

– Pray for safety and discernment as we continue to 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

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