Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Resurrection Celebration

Sunday we celebrated the Resurrection of our Savior. We had planned a special service at church and all of us had been inviting friends and family for several weeks. David made a huge tomb that turned out great.

We were happy that all our regulars were there as well as 2 visitors. It may not seem like much to you, but I remember vividly Resurrection day 2010. At that time we were only holding official meetings on Sunday mornings. 10 O'clock came and went and NO ONE was there to celebrate with us. Finally at 10:20, Roberto showed up and we were so excited! Last year we had us +1 this year we had us + 14. God is working and is good to remember how much has changed in the past year. This year David, Sharon, James and I sang Crown Him with Many Crowns. This is the first time we have had special music at church. We attempted to sing the 4 parts. (James isn't sure he wants to do try that again:) Here in Brazil, Easter is all about getting large chocolate eggs. Basket are not very common. Our neighbor sent this Extra-Large Texas egg over!Funny thing is, they don't even know we are Texans! Yet they gave us a Texas-sized egg!! Just to demonstrate how large it was, here it is in comparison to Daniel's head...

This is no illusion, it was bigger than his head!!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Building Blocks

I remember being in college and receiving my Christian Service assignment for the semester, working with the 2 & 3 year old S.S. class. Oh, how I thought that was such a waste of time. I was far to talented to waste my time with those babies that couldn't sit still for a moment to listen to a story.

God has really changed my attitude in this area and today I am amazed to see how God is teaching our littlest Sunday School class members.

We have our children's classes divided into two groups, Nursery (ages 0-4) and School (ages 5-12). Sharon and I trade off, each of us taking a month with each group. I have come to love time with the little kids. Jeremiah and Gabriel are the two main students but we usually have others pop in once a week or so.

Wednesday night I was so excited as I taught them about the Death of Christ. It was so special to hear them say with confidence that "Jesus died for our sins. " I asked them if they sinned, and "Yes" they both knew they were sinners.

Two months ago, I was teaching the first sin in the garden to them. They both could recognize sin in others but NOT in themselves! It is so neat to me to see that God is working in the little ones to show them that they too need a Savior.

Yes, they are sometimes ORNERY, but they are so mold-able at this age. If you have toddlers or preschoolers, don't think they are too young to begin learning about our great God. My two favorite "little guys"

Living in a religious yet godless culture, I see even more clearly the importance of teaching at an early age the truths of God's word. We daily deal with people whose families are being destroyed by the evil one. More than anything they need God. They need to see their sin and meet the only SAVIOR. The consequences of a life lived apart from the Gospel is tragic. Don't neglect Christ in your life or that of your children.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Makings of a Church

I have to admit that about 6 months ago, James and I wondered what we would report when we returned home on furlough. It seemed like all our efforts here were going so SLOW! Since then we have seen a church begin to solidify. Our 6 adult believers have really start to grow and become more firm in the faith. One of our converts who left the church seems to be coming back, (I'll do another blog on that!) Anyhow, all of that to say, Saturday, April 9, we really felt like a church family.

We had a church picnic and spent the day together at a private park. We rented a cute little building, we all brought food to share and just enjoyed fellowship together, bonding with our new "family members."
Our little cabin

It came with refrigerators, stove, grill, plates & silverware... SO convenient!

Lunch time - it was pretty quiet there for a while -I guess everyone was really hungry!

This was the view out the front of our cabin. We had to watch the kids closely as they wanted to feed all our food to the ducks! It was so cute to watch Jer and another little boy run along the fence while the ducks raced along with them.

At one point Daniel & Rafael lost their kite in the tree. In trying to free the kite, Daniel lost Jeremiah's flip-flop up in the tree. Rodrigo to the rescue!!!

A fun little zip-line.

A really cool grouping of bamboo that made and amazing shaded play area.

Some time singing together and studying the Word.

Hiking the trails.

At one point I found a large part of our group all "working out" together in the exercise area. So much fun!

We are so thankful for what God has been doing here. His timing is perfect and we know we can rest in Him. As our furlough time is drawing near, we are very excited to share with you in person the mighty works of the Lord here in Brazil!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ladies Bible Study Update

...And so train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, submissive to their own husbands, that the Word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:4-5

Our Tuesday afternoon Ladies group just finished their Titus 2 study. It was a wonderful time of growth and challenge for each of us. Sharon finished our series of studies with several evaluation questions.

At the beginning of the study, we asked the ladies to pray about a specific area from the passage that they would focus on changing. During our last study, she asked how they did.
Here are some of the answers.
-I have seen a change in my attitudes, I am trying to be more involved in the life of my son
and show him more love.
-I am more patient with my children and husband. I don't yell at them as much.
-I am trying to find joy in managing my home instead of complaining about my work in the
- I have seen some improvement in the area of self-control but I need to keep at it!

How has your appreciation for the Gospel changed?

-I have learned that my life really reflects the Gospel to others around me. Am I reviling the word of God by the way that I live or am I honoring it and making it more attractive?
-Since my salvation, I have seen my life change from the inside out. I am more loving to my family. I enjoy reading the Bible and I can understand it!
-I am more aware of my sinfulness and want to fight against sin.
-The Christian life is HARD...
-Our whole lives have changed, the way we think and live, everything...
-But it is worth it.
What did you learn for the first time?
-I learned that you have to love others more than you love yourself. It is hard to imagine putting their desires before mine and seeking to show them honor at my expense.

We ended this study with a little tea and snacks. It is wonderful to see how God worked in each of our lives. We have each drawn closer to God and one another. Keep praying for us as we begin a new study through the book of I Peter next Tuesday.