Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dia dos Namorados

Last week was Valentines day here and we were able to have a night out with the couples from our church.  
It was a night of lots of fun and laughter, of strengthening the bonds of the family of Christ.
We met at a great little pizza buffet and all enjoyed lots of great variety,
Including some dessert pizzas like this one, 1/2 white chocolate with strawberries & sweetened condensed milk; and 1/2 chocolate with coconut and sweetened condensed milk.  YUMMY!!
After pizza we went to one of the couples home and played some games and visited.  We laughed SO much.  We had one unsaved man come with his wife and I think God is using all of the encounters with men who love God to soften his heart and show him what a godly man looks like. 
We pray that as we celebrate our covenant marriages, we will continue to reflect God's covenant Salvation with us. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Strange Reminder of His Steadfast Love

Friday night James came home, parked the car in the garage and we sat down for dinner.  Suddenly we heard a loud crashing and we ran for the door.  Our large metal gate lay in the middle of the road and our car alarm was sounding from somewhere in the dark expanse of the valley across the street.  
 We don't really know how it happened, human error or..., but our emergency break didn't hold and our car decided to go out for a drive by itself.  While James and I were in shock, hardly able to speak an intelligible word...
 Our neighbor came with a spot light and a machete to cut away tree branches.  Another neighbor called for a tow truck and we all waited...exclaiming over the fact that the car didn't flip over as it descended into the depths of the valley;... wondering how the gate did nothing to slow down the car;...praising God that no one was walking or driving by at that moment. 

 The tow truck arrived about one hour after the incident.  They hooked it all up and began the SLOW ascent.  Can you see it coming up the hill?
 Once the car was on flat ground again she started right up!  The back window was broken out and there are some dents where the car slammed into the gate. 
Today, our gate is leaning, awaiting repairs, held in place by two chains.  The car has plastic for a back window and is currently awaiting repairs as well.  So how does all of this remind us of God's steadfast love?  Well, only metal was damaged, no lives were threatened, not even that of the horse who lives in valley.  The car "drove" right between the two concrete posts and only damaged the barb-wire.  The car didn't flip, competent people were there to help.  The list can go on.  We see God's hand of sovereignty in each aspect of this "adventure." 

Sunday night James preached on the crucifixion and death of Christ in our series through the book of John.  We prayed all week that the Word would be powerfully preached and Christ magnified that night but all week long we found ourselves discouraged and overwhelmed by circumstances.  We were thrilled Sunday night to see a pretty full house.  To see God bringing people to hear the true Gospel.  So despite the difficult week God was still working to draw people to Himself. 

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
His mercies never come to an end.  
They are new every morning 
Great is Thy faithfulness!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

June Outreach

Saturday evening we hosted our first ever cantata.  We excitedly welcomed 13 people from a sister church in Sao Paulo to spend the weekend with us.  We were all blessed by the cantata and the friendships that were formed with these brothers and sisters in Christ.

The group gave up their holiday weekend to travel 12 hours each way to be with us.  After spending a day or so getting to know our beautiful city we were all ready for the big night!
 About 10 minutes before we started, the church already looked pretty full!  We praise the Lord for the people He sent to hear His Gospel presented.  I took snap shots of some of the answers to prayer that God gave us: 
 We were so thankful that Claudio was able to come.  His two sons were sick and so his wife stayed home with them but we were so thankful for the continued open door with this family.  Pray as we begin to meet with them to read the Word this week. 
 We have been praying for Marli for months!  She has received visits to her home, participated in ladies studies but would never come to church.  We praise the Lord that He worked to bring her out this cold night to hear again the good news.
 When Raissa arrived at church on Saturday, she ran excitedly to everyone exclaiming, " My Grandpa came, my Grandpa came! "  Later her mom told me that of all the people they invited, he was the last one they expected to come.  Keep praying for Raissa's grandpa to believe the good news.

 Gilmara and her husband went out and made several visits on families and invited them to come.  We were all so excited to see this friend and her daughter join us on Saturday.  Pray as Gilmara and I make follow up visits to her and another lady who was very interested but was too sick to come.

 Agostinho has worked with this lady since 2006 and was surprised when she agreed to come.  She lives on the other side of town but the car ride back and forth to church allowed for much good conversation.  Pray for more opportunities at work to reach her with the Gospel.

The cantata started and we were all blessed with beautiful music and the presentation of God's unspeakable gift of Salvation.  
It was a great weekend of making new friends and renewing old friendships.  It is always so encouraging to meet others who share the same heart for God.