August 2016 Newsletter

Dear Friends and Family,

Thank you for your prayers and support. As always, they have been greatly appreciated.

We wanted to give a short update of some things that are going on here in Macapá. As we stating in our last newsletter, after all the excitement from the last few months, Denise and I have looked forward to slowing things down a bit to focus on needs within our church. Here are a few things we are excited about.

One question Denise and I continuously ask our leaders is "what kind of church do we want to be?" The reason we ask this question is because we believe it is easy to lose touch with what we are doing and why we are doing it. It is easy to gravitate toward just going through the motions. Two priorities that we want to establish as a church are creating a sense of family where we can have fun together and having a church where people can grow in their faith. We have tried to prioritize both of these values.

To encourage an atmosphere of family and fun, we had an all-church party a few weeks ago. It was a blast. There were games, music, food etc. We also had a lot of visitors from the neighborhood. We will definitely do this again!

Here are a few pictures from our party. We were very involved in our games J

The second strong value for our church is discipleship which we believe primarily takes place in a small group context. Our home group has been doing great! Prior to Denise and me coming to Macapá small groups where non-existent in the church because church was never trained on how to run a small group. This has been something that Denise and I have worked hard on. Denise and I co-lead a group with our good friends Diego and Sidneia who are new to small group leadership. Denise and I have worked side-by-side with them, slowly handing over increasing levels of responsibility so that eventually they will become the sole leaders and Denise and I will leave to start another group.

A couple pictures from our Small Group

Us with Diego and Sidneia, our Small Group co-leaders

One thing that our group has started is what we call "Mexican Night". Every fourth week we get together and attempt to make Mexican food. Mexican food is not at all common in Brazil. This has become a fun night where we invite our non-churchgoing friends to come experience Mexican food. We have people making tortillas, people making guacamole, people making the salsa and so on. It always turns out to be a fun night. Our group has many new members because of Mexican night.

Mexican night

We have also been scheduling various workshops and trainings each month at our church. We just finished doing training on the Vineyard 5 Step Prayer Model last week which went super well. The leaders in our church were required to go, but we opened it up to anyone who was interested. We didn’t think we would get much of a turnout, but over 20 people showed up which was extremely surprising and exciting. Everyone seemed to really enjoy and get a lot out of it.

Something else we are really excited about that starts this month is an 8 week class where we will be investigating the difficult questions about the life of Christ. In the U.S.A. skepticism about Jesus and Christianity is commonplace. In the American culture people are encouraged and almost praised when they question things. And although I do realize that in Christianity, there is always a step of faith to be taken, I have found that digging into some these difficult questions has strengthened my faith. Here in Brazil, we believe that as a whole there is less skepticism than in the U.S., but that tide is starting to turn. Christianity is more frequently under fire here in Brazil. Every week I am being asked difficult questions about the life of Jesus from people within the church. Many are being influenced by questions raised at the schools and universities. We decided to address many of these questions in this once a week class. We will be addressing such questions as "Can the biographies of Jesus be trusted?", "Are the Gospels that we are reading today the same as what was written 2000 years ago?", "Does archeology contradict the Gospels?", "Was Jesus really convinced that he was the Son of God?", "Was Jesus’ resurrection a hoax?" and many more! Our hope is that these classes will strengthen our faith, but also equip us to know how to respond when faced with these difficult questions.

We’d appreciate your prayers for:

Continued growth, discipleship and sense of community in our church.

The raising up of new leaders.

Wisdom, encouragement and protection for Denise and me.

Thanks again for your prayers and support. We always love to hear from you.

In His Service,

Christopher & Denise

Link for contributions:


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