Monday, September 27, 2010

Children's Month

October 12th is Children's Day here in Brazil. It rivals Christmas in regards to the amount of money spent on gifts for children, some in fact, say it is even bigger than Christmas.

Understanding that this is a big part of Brazilian culture, we are trying to tap into this and use it as an opportunity for Christ.
Here's our plan:

Each Saturday in October, we will being have a Children's Bible Club. It is going to be a simple way to reconnect with families that we met during our July outreaches.

Each week, we will be teaching a Bible story about a particular child (like David or Naaman's servant.) We will also be hosting a different activity such as games, crafts, drama and more.

We will be challenging the kids to memorize John 3:16-21 and those who complete the passage by the end of the month will receive a free t-shirt that one of our supporting churches sent us.

We are VERY excited to be giving away the Jesus Storybook Bible to all kids who come to church with a parent during the month of October.

Most of you have heard of this wonderful collection of Bible stories that exalt Christ. God provided for these Bible in a marvelous way, both in the way we found them here in Brazil as well as how the funds were supplied from a personal supporter.

Pray that the Lords will be done in us and the children that we meet.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Hannah lost her first tooth!

We just had to share our exciting news!
Hannah has been wanting her teeth to come out for years.
The great day has finally arrived.

She actually lost her tooth while playing with Jer, and unfortunately, we still haven't found the actual tooth. She wrote the tooth fairy a little note and we stuck in her tooth fairy book. She can't wait for her money to appear in the morning.

(Funny thing is, she knows there is no tooth fairy and she is kind of mad about that!)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

On 9-19 2010 Daniel turned 9!

It is hard to believe that our first born son is 9 years old!

Birthday party on Saturday

He has grown so much this past year both physically and spiritually.

Recently he has been doing a Bible study with James and 2 other boys on Thursdays. He is so faithful to do his lessons each week. Last week I was so proud of him as he was finishing a study on evangelism and the lessons was focusing on the role of the Holy Spirit in convicting of sin, guiding in all truth, and bringing glory to the Son. The next question was: what do I think? Daniel thought for a while and then came back and read his answer to me.

"I think it is very good that we have the Holy Spirit.
If we didn't, no one would love Jesus or God."

M&M Pizza

This may sound simplistic to you but I was so excited to see God teaching truth to my 9 year old son.

Fish he caught using the pole he got from Uncle David & Aunt Sharon

Daniel is not perfect but he seems to be growing, and I treasure each little comment that demonstrates he still has a tender heart toward the Lord.
Gran & Grandpa were able come down on his b-day and spend a day.

In school he had to write a short paper on being an explorer. He chose to be an explorer in 2030, in Papau New Guinea. His adventures would include translating the Bible into the language of the Dongxiang people. This is not the adventure I thought he would choose. It will be exciting to see how God will lead him in the years to come.
Playing Wii on the wall of our garage during his party

Just last week, he asked me, "Mommy, how can I be a missionary if I don't know how to preach?"

When I explained that that is why we have seminaries. That is when he informed me that he is NOT going to college or seminary!
Fishing with Daddy at the beach

Daniel is not perfect but we know that He who began a good work in us will bring it to completion. Pray for us that we would have wisdom in raising Daniel to love the wisdom of the Lord. That he would desire to read the Word and accept the conviction of the Spirit, as well as correction from those in authority over him.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Battle for the Gospel

We are realizing more each day that we are in a battle. Every family that has opened their lives and homes to us, studying the Word with us, seeking after God, has faced a severe situation in their lives.

Last week James and I visited the new family that came to church the Sunday before. We were very well received and the husband and wife were both very interested in doing a bible study. They talked about saving up their money to buy a Bible. At one point the husband asked James, "What is the Gospel?" James almost cried to have finally met someone who was hungering after God and his truth instead of running from it.

Saturday David went and visited with the same family. As he talked with this husband, the husband said, "Most people come to God when their life is falling apart. I am glad that I am seeking Him when things are good."

Sunday they did not come to church even though they said they would be coming and that they would be bringing family with them.

Wednesday James and I went back to start the first of 4 studies that present the Gospel in detail. When we arrived, the wife told us that her 9th month old daughter's pneumonia had come back and was worse than ever and that is why she didn't come to church on Sunday. She also shared that her and her husband had been arguing and that he had moved out of the house. He told her that the kids were not enough to keep them together. They have a 4 year old son, a 9 month old daughter and she is 5 months pregnant.

She looked so desperate as she asked us to pray for her family. We didn't get to stay long as her sister came to visit. We are going back tomorrow to check on the baby as well as to try and talk more with her about the fact that the greatest need in her life is surrender to Christ, repent and be saved.

Pray with us that God would reunite this family and that both husband and wife would be saved.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers, against the authorities,
against the cosmic powers over this present darkness,
against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6.12

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Answers to Prayers

Recently we have had declining attendance at our services. We had a spike in attendance in July for our morning services and the moment we added our evening service, it seemed that our attendance went down. It wasn't that people were choosing one service over another, it was just that people who had been coming fairly regularly were now coming less frequently.

Tonight we had some huge answers to prayer!

1. A family of 4 visited our services. Last Sunday night one of our faithful families brought a friend with them. (We had been praying for weeks that she would come and visit.) She really enjoyed the service and tonight the whole family came (We all prayed that she and her husband would join us this week.) James was supposed to preach tonight but he woke this morning with a severe case of laryngitis. David took his notes, studied this afternoon, and preached for him tonight. During the sermon, David asked which side of reconciliation the people were on; were they unreconciled to God or reconciled? After the service, the husband came up to David & James and told them he was definitely unreconciled. He knows he needs to make time to seek God, and he invited us to visit his home anytime (One more answered prayer, that they would open their home to us!)

2. One of our club contacts joined us for services. The lady that James and I have been doing Bible studies with for the past 3 weeks came to church tonight of the first time. She brought her daughter and niece along with her.

3. The Word of God is being spread. With our regulars and these 2 groups of visitors, we had a record number at our services, 25 in total. 16 of our neighbors and friends came together tonight and gathered around to study the Word of God.

This picture is from our first service, but I wanted to you see and imagine, 25 people in here seeking after God together.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Leaving the Gospel Behind

Yesterday James and I were able to do a Bible study with a new professing believer. This is our third study with her, and we began the study with the understanding that she was not a believer. The first study was on God as Creator and His righteous judgment against sinners. The second study was on Sin and how each of us have broken the law and are under the wrath of God. The law has been broken and no matter how much we may clean up our life, the penalty has to be paid. At the end of this study, she professed to be a believer, believing that only Christ's death on the cross could be sufficient to pay the penalty of our sins. James decided to continue on with our study plan and the next lesson was on the Gospel. I have never heard such a thorough study on the Gospel. We started in I Cor. 15:1-4 which is a basic summary of what is the good news. Then we turned to 2 Cor. 5:21, another passage which clearly outlines saving grace. It was at this moment, this verse in the study, that I was convicted of having left the gospel behind in my personal life. Here I am, studying along with James and our friend, when I read the verse,

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Cor. 5:21

I of course have read this verse many times. But I am pretty sure that it is not underlined, or written beside or marked in any way in my English bible.

How many times have I read through the letters to the Corinthians searching for some spiritual treasure, some hope to grasp onto or be challenged by? I think that my thinking had become something like this... "I am saved, secure, so when I run across a verse that talks about saving grace, I skim over it, thinking, I ALREADY know that..."

How SAD!

Yesterday I was reminded anew how AMAZING it is that the Perfect GOD became SIN for me. How humbling is that. How undeserved. But, not only did He become sin for me so I could be forgiven of my sin, He became sin for me so that He could clean me and THEN place all of His righteousness on me.

There is great danger when we stop considering the Gospel precious. When we live life thinking that we know that so let's move on to something else. I am learning little by little how I need to be reminded of the Gospel daily to guide the way I live. To remember who I am, where I came from, and where I am going. And strangely enough, all those "I" thoughts, turn me to HIM.

Please don't skim over the Gospel in your search for how to get through the next day. It is the answer of how you can get through the next day. What do you really know about the Gospel, outside of the basic knowledge you had at the time of your salvation? There is SO much that happens at the moment we are saved, and although you don't have to know all that to be saved, it is worth learning about.

Let's get back to the Gospel and see how it changes our apathetic, mediocre, christian lives.