Monday, December 31, 2018

Bits December 2018


January 6- My dad’s SS class at HBC in Michigan
January 14- Sarah speaking to Moms group in Chattanooga
January 20- Yellow River Baptist in Atlanta, Georgia
January 27- Grace Baptist- Raleigh, NC
Community Baptist- Hickory, NC
February 3- West Huntsville Baptist,  Alabama
February 10- Blackburn Road Baptist- Athens, Alabama
February 17- Hope Baptist Church- Akron, OH
February 24-27- First Baptist of Westwood, Miami, FL
March 10- Daystar, Dallas, TX

 So that is our schedule for the next few months. This past month we traveled some, but mainly to see family. We were supposed to go to NC but it was the weekend of the snowstorm and we rescheduled due to mistrust in southern drivers, haha; actually the church services were canceled. Please pray for our safety as we make these trips and for a profitable time in services. 
As we travel during furlough we are raising money for a car as well as a new church plant in Tupanatinga. Before we left we looked at some land and buildings and discussed what would be the best option. We have had the Bible study for 2-3 years and feel we are ready to move forward to an option with more space and that could be weekly. While this will be challenging for us time wise and personnel wise, I believe that God will provide as we are stretched. The group was excited as we discussed and prayed

The cheapest option would be to rent a building but that would not show that we are serious about a church to stay; it would also be likely that the building would not fit the needs for the type of building we would like. Another option is to buy an existing building, which might be possible, but we would need to find a good building in a smaller town (population of 30,000) with few options. The third option is to buy some land and build. The land is around 12-15,000 dollars and then building would obviously be more. This would give us a piece of property of at least 20 meters by 20. We are not trying to build something like what we have as our base in Arcoverde, but more of an extension of the church, with a couple classrooms and bathrooms and then a simple main auditorium. 
This will depend on the resources God sends our way and our car will have to take priority as we won’t even be able to go to Tupanatinga without a car. We know that God is sovereign and often guides us in mysterious ways and so we are not nervous about all this; just looking forward to how He leads! 
We had a great time with family this past month! We went down to south Alabama to see Sarah’s Mamaw and aunts, uncles and cousins. We had a wonderful Christmas on the farm with Sarah’s family and currently we are with my family in Michigan. On Sunday we had get togethers with both sides of the family. On Saturday my youngest brother Jeff married Elisabeth in a beautiful wedding. We are grateful that it fell on a scheduled furlough! 

Happy New Year! May your 2019 be blessed and full of spiritual growth! We are grateful for all of you who sustain us through prayers and support. (Oh, we did find out our new number for monthly support that we need 213.29 more a month before we get cleared to return to the field). 

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, and my sleepover girls who have enjoyed sleepovers with cousins and friends this past month! Also, Evie is playing indoor soccer and both Evelyn and Anna Claire worked hard loading the truck with split wood! 


 


Friday, November 30, 2018

Bits November



(link to our furlough video!)
Well, good news: Fall waited for us. We made it back to the US for Thanksgiving and will be here through March 21. Our schedule is pretty full and we start our travels to churches December 9 when we go to North Carolina. Our next update will be written from Michigan. 

We had a wonderful November as we celebrated baptisms and had a good going away lunch at our church. They tried to surprise us although their consistency in getting together whenever possible made us suspect to their surprise. I was able to make a really neat anouncement at that lunch. I have told you several times about Seu Nino and will probably tell you about him as we travel to your churches. He finished the Story of Hope this month and confessed Christ as his Savior! I cannot explain how excited this makes me feel (and many others in the church). 

We baptized five this month and had a good celebration surrounding our time. I was able to present the gospel at the baptism service as there were many family members present to watch those who would be baptized (lots of grandparents) and they all come from varying backgrounds. This service as well as a baby dedication service our last Sunday in Brazil saw some visitors and provided us with a great opportunity to talk about Christ. 

The last couple of months we have had a good bit of visitors and repeat visitors. A church donated some more chairs and we have been putting them to use and needed all of the ones that were purchased. We leave the church with our co-workers Roger and Marcy Smith who have been with us all this time. (He is the senior Pastor of the church). So we are not worried as we have them and a good core group of members. 

The week before we left Roger, William (one of our leaders and my main co-conspirator in our Tupanatinga Bible study) and I went to Tupanatinga. We went early that day so that we could drive around the town. We were looking for a land/building to use next year. Please pray with us that God would give us wisdom and the resources we need as we decide on renting or buying land and building or buying a building. It looks like a land buy would be around 14-15 thousand dollars and that is before we would start building! So that would be a heavy investment.

Speaking of finances. Before returning to Brazil in March we will be needing financial clearance. We are really close! But we just received news that our health insurance is increasing, so I am guessing with that increase and what we already need we are looking to raise around $350 more per month. (I have written up a commentary on our finances to be more specific, so if you would like to see that, please just reply to this email and ask for it! Basically we are raising that monthly amount as well as a one time amount for a car and for land for the church in Tupanatinga. That is a good chunk of change! So anyway you all could help would be great! Thanks guys! 

We are now a couple months into our second decade as missionaries to Brazil! We appreciate you all’s prayer and support. Please pray that we would learn to be more effective and efficient as we seek to make disciples for God’s glory! (By the way, I finished my master’s degree and Sarah decided that she is going to do a master’s in Biblical counseling! She starts in February (Actually she has already started reading)). 

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, my soccer player (Evie has her first ever organized soccer game this upcoming week!) and my little farm girl (Anna Claire loves the kitty cat on the farm, the 7 new Boykin Spaniel puppies that were born on the farm and loves all the animals!)

Thursday, November 8, 2018

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Respect in an ideal world is earned. We naturally respect people that we like or admire. So does that mean we should not respect people that have not earned our respect? If so, what are the guidelines for who we should respect?

The main trigger for this post was witnessing the live news conference with President Trump on Wednesday the 7th of November when Jim Acosta from CNN started speaking to the President. I do not necessarily think the President has earned respect due to his politeness nor do I approve of many of his mannerisms; yet I do think the office of the President demands a certain level of respect.

What I witnessed in that conference is common in Brazil. The loudest person gets the platform. Recently I was accused of being a silent person in a meeting. In that meeting environment it is very true because the environment is full of talking over the next person and interrupting each other. I prefer to remain silent than to try to force myself to be rude in order to get in my two cents. It is not worth it (especially if it really is only worth two cents).

Respect should be given to those in authority whether it be Presidents, police officers, referees parents or whoever is in authority. I was not even raised in the South and I see the great value in using yes ma'am and no sir.

Besides those in authority, to whom else should we show our respect. My opinion: everyone. People can annoy the heck out of us or believe the opposite of us, but that person was made in the image of God. Jesus talked about how we should treat the "least of these brothers of mine." Treat them like you would treat Christ. I am not saying we have to agree with everyone, but we should respect everyone.

If we really got to know more people, listened to their stories, understood where their history, their passions and desires and what drives them, it would be easier to talk to them with respect. Most people's passion stems from a strong value that you might not disagree with at its core. Their fruit may look different than your fruit, but their core values probably have to do with being good and not destruction. The stories we tell ourselves are that these people would want to destroy us (which may be the case with some groups, but most definitely is not the norm). Understanding that most people are real human beings with ups and downs and passions can go a long way towards encouraging love within humanity.

So let's show some respect people!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Thanksgiving

I do not think that I would do well posting every day for Thanksgiving during the month of November but I certainly can write a post about my thankfulness. This year has been wonderful for us. This year I have told many people that we have a great life. God loves me and has saved me and my family. We can have joy in Him daily if we so choose. This has been so clear to me this year. Misery is my choice; circumstances do not determine my happiness; I do. I am thankful that God has shown me this and that more often than not I am choosing joy.

My wife and children have been wonderful to me. Sarah has grown so much spiritually and is a great friend to people in our church. She runs and organizes the women's group, children's ministry and our household all at the same time. The girls are growing into well behaved sweet girls with their own personalities. Evelyn is growing up and taking on responsibilities. Anna Claire is a little crazy but is more and more sensitive to how to treat others.

God has sent awesome people to our church. We have many involved in ministry to the point where one visiting pastor said our people ministry involvement ratio is out of the roof. We have a solid Bible study in another town that is probably going to take a big step in organization as a church next year. So many people work hard with us and are so kind to us.

When I signed up for missions I thought I was signing up for a life separate from family and the benefits we enjoy as Americans. I thought we would be poor our whole life and would have many difficulties. While some of those thoughts may be true to a certain degree I feel like the missions life is not as difficult as it has been in the past. I prefer to be in Brazil; we are very comfortable here and our family has only extended to include Brazilian family. Our other families are a Skype call away and our furlough schedule has made it possible to see them fairly often. Missionary families use to move to the field and pack their belongings in coffins as it symbolized giving their lives for the ministry of the gospel.

We have a load of faithful supporters. There are 62 churches/individuals that give to us regularly. It blows me away that there are that many people who make us enough of a priority that they send their hard earned money to the mission so that we can live, work and make disciples in Brazil. We often get single gifts or anonymous gifts that carry us as well. Our actual monthly support level has been below our need for a while but because of people who give a little extra here and there we have not gone in the red (at least not since 2012). 

Continuing to list everything would probably bore you as there is so much more. I do want to say though that I am thankful for my failures and weaknesses. We are all born with pride and it can come along so easily in life. I am already pretty prideful, but if I didn't mess up so much it might be worse. God is gracious, merciful, kind, good and Sovereign! Blessed be His name.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Bits October


October was a really busy month for us with two different groups that came down. Pastor David Frye, and Jamie and Kelly Nicholson came down for a preview trip. They will be bringing a group from their church in Raleigh next July. While they were here they helped us with some events for children’s day. The next week Jeremiah and Cindy Cook with their two kids came down to help with a women’s day event as well as for Jeremiah to speak to the police. 


Kid’s day in Brazil is pretty close in importance present wise and activity wise to Christmas. In fact, kids are probably more likely to receive a present on kid’s day than on Christmas. They have the day off from school after a week of special activities at school. We had a two day event at the church. The kids came, played on the playground, learned songs and games and even had some kitchen cooking activities. Then they had plays where they learned about God and fitting in. They crammed in a lot in two days! Jamie, Kelly and David did a skit as well as dressing up as clowns and doing fun clown stuff with the kids. The event was a blast.

The next day we took a group from church to Tupanatinga and did some of the plays with kids there. It was our first outreach event in Tupanatinga! We had a good time and our study group there did a great job of organizing the event. They were able to get a gym and bouncy houses to play on. I was proud of them for their iniciative. 

The next weekend Sarah and the ladies organized a women’s event with Cindy there. Cindy has a blog where she talks about making crafts for their home. She is involved with moms at their church and around Chattanooga. She was able to share her testimony as well as teaching how to do a craft. The women loved it. Sarah is doing a wonderful job with the women’s group! 

Jeremiah has served on the Chattanooga police force for eight years and the SWAT team for four years. This drew the interest of many people around here. We went to the Police station on Monday morning where he talked to them about SWAT. They loved the experience. They then gave us a tour and we talked to the commander for a while. The next night we held a time at the church that was open to the community. We had many unchurched people there. On Sunday night two families came as a result of being here that Tuesday night! So great to see. 

Pray for us this month as Roger and I go to Tupanatinga to check out options for the future of having an organized church there. Last night I talked to the study group about it and they loved it and are already looking at some options. As we head to the states for furlough November 20, this will be one of the things we will be raising money for. We need to get a new car when we come back to Brazil which will probably cost a good 12,000 dollars (yes, cars are much more expensive here). Then we want to see what our options are in Tupanatinga, whether we rent or buy or build. Pray for wisdom for those details! 
Thanks for your prayers and support. We would love to see some of you when we are back in the states! God bless!

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, my motivated, growing up, smoked our visitors in Monopoly, Evelyn, and our rambunctious little kitty cat Anna Claire.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Bits September


On Sunday Brazil will have their presidential elections. The political climate is very similar to the US two years ago, except they have more candidates. Please pray for God’s will to be done and for their not to be a bad response from the results. Unfortunately there are problems with relationships due to political choices. Pray for unity!

This month we continued our study of Philippians at the church which focuses on joy and unity in the church. It has been really good for us to study! We generally have attendance ups and downs. Usually every other week we have a good crowd. For the last two Sundays we were supposed to have a down week, at least in my mind. Last night we had four key families who were travelling and could not be with us. Yet, we have not had a down week! We have had people coming from all walks of life and that has been very encouraging. We have all been fed by His Word. 


One major project has been finishing up the playground. We are practically there, just need to stain it for a couple more hours, but we pretty much have it all done. This has been a good bit of work.

The women’s prayer group has been very strong! Sarah does a great job helping with organizing it along with several other women in the church. Praise the Lord we have a lot of people in our church who enjoy serving and using their spiritual gifts. 

I continue studies in the Story of Hope. Pray for my organization! I am doing the study with several people and I keep forgetting where each study stopped! :) 

Pray for new unchurched families for the church. I am hesitant to use names as these days anyone can access these letters, but we have several families with whom we invest in that need Christ. We continue to reach out within our neighborhood as well. I keep praying that God would just give us ten percent of our neighborhood. There are around eighty families in our neighborhood now. We have opened up the playground to them on some days and have seen some come. This month we also had a conversation night about suicide as it is suicide awareness month. We hope to continue to offer opportunities (like neighborhood meetings) to get the neighborhood involved in the church. 

This month we will have two groups coming down. The first is Calvary Baptist from Raleigh and they will be scouting out some ministries for a trip next summer. We are going to do two events for kid’s day (October 12) with them. One is a two day event at our church in Arcoverde. The other is a Sunday morning event in Tupanatinga with our study group. This is the first event with them there in which we hope to see more interest in having a church there start up possibly next summer!

The next group is a family, Jeremiah and Cindy Cook. Jeremiah was the best man in our wedding and a Chattanooga police officer (actually just received the officer of the year award for the department). He is going to give a talk about the SWAT team to the police station here. Cindy has a successful blog and ministry with moms and doing really neat artwork. She is going to do a women’s event at the church October 22nd. Then both of them will also be involved in a field day type event with the local English school with whom we have a strong partnership. It is going to be a busy month! 

Thanks for your prayers! Life has been so good here and we are thankful for you all. We look forward to seeing some of you on our furlough from November 20- March 20! God bless!

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, my little roller skater who turned 9 on September 20! And my little kitty cat who enjoys roller blading, playing with Pollys and now learning her letters in her kindergarten class!

Friday, August 31, 2018

One more meeting to go with Romildo and Eduardo as they finish up the Story of Hope. Pray that God will give them direction in their lives. They have been faithful and really into the study. I started teaching the Story of Hope in English with them and they have really enjoyed it. I have enjoyed it as well, so much so that we decided to do another class of it on Wednesdays from 7-8 at night right before we do our Servant Leaders class. This week we had eight in both English Story of Hope and Servant Leaders where we are studying Bibliology! 
Church has been going great since we have been home. We have a great group that welcomed us back and then we gave them a break in some areas! They had worked hard while we were gone. We seem to be a normal church in that there are marriage issues, sin problems and other struggles. Fortunately they are mainly a great group of people, but we all need prayer as we seek together how to be more like Christ. The women's prayer group has been going very strong and they beg to have more and more!  

This week culminated a decision I have been working towards since the beginning of this year. The football team has had a low commitment level all year and with all my other responsibilities growing where people wanted my time, it seemed unwise to spend a good bit of it on a group that did not really show they wanted it. The team has been a great ministry for us and I enjoyed it while it lasted (well, up until last year) and I felt obligated to continue with it due to various reasons. Yet I have been at great peace with being able to let it go. Some of the group have taken the team under their wings and we are cheering for it to keep going despite a tough economy and time and culture to have such a commitment. 
This month’s project has been making the playground safe and ready for lots of action from the kids. They love it already and we haven’t even got the slide up yet! Hopefully that will be up this morning and the playground will be safe and ready to use Sunday night. We still have a bit of work to do on it though. We have had a few people coming out, volunteering their time to help out. One who has not done as much time on the park but has focused on taking care of the grounds is Seu Nino. He has been a huge blessing. Seu Nino never liked church even though his wife and family were in church. In December his wife of forty years separated from him. In March or April he started coming to church and since then has been very faithful. We just started going through the Story of Hope and he has even come to Theology class. 

In October we will have a couple small groups coming to visit us and do some activities. We are excited about them and working on the preparation. One church, Calvary Baptist of Raleigh, is coming with their Pastor David Frye. They are doing a “scouting missions trip” in which they will do ministry, but also familiarize theirselves with the area in order to bring a bigger group next summer. One of the ideas we have is to launch the church in Tupanatinga with their help. We are working on what that looks like. The study group has been strong with several faithful families, but we have been meeting in smaller living rooms which makes it hard to really grow. 

Another reminder that we will be in the states from November 20- March 20. If you would like us to visit, please send me a message! The girls will be doing homeschool, so it might be a little tough for them to travel too far, but please message us to work out the details! 

All for HIS glory,

David, Sarah and our third grader Evelyn Grace and our little kindergartener Anna Claire.