Saturday, November 4, 2017

Living with eternity in mind

A friend’s mom just found out her cancer returned and has spread and it does not look good for her. One of our study group members is their neighbor and decided to have a service for her. She asked me to speak. What do you speak on in a moment like this? I cannot pretend to understand what they are going through. In a quick search I found out that it seemed like Paul knew what to say, as he wrote the perfect passage in 2 Corinthians 4. 

I started the message in verse 16:

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not see. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 

There is a costly gift in experiencing this seemingly hopeless situation. The recognition that our living reality should be in light of eternity. We easily wrap ourselves up in our earthly life and lose perspective on our eternal life. Our constant longing and hope should be eternal life in Christ so that the weights of this world do not boggle us down. Lately I have worried myself with tasks that  need no worrying to accomplish them. This week in a Bible study my daughter’s prayer request was that her parents would not be so stressed out. ha. Thanks baby girl. It was only slightly embarrassing as I have already come to the conclusion that the list is long of my deficiencies, but it did provide some reflection as to my mindset. 

The eternal is much more important than our earthly light afflictions. Verse 16 had started with the word therefore and so we look at the context above to show us why we can have this eternal mindset that does not let us lose heart. Paul emphasizes the gospel in the whole chapter. We do not handle the word of God deceitfully, we know that Satan blinds the minds of those who do not believe, and we do not preach ourselves. We are not the answers. In moments like this, my lack of words makes this entirely obvious as I do not have a clue what to say. But the gospel shines in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. We have a treasure knowing that the power does not come from us, but from God.


For these reasons we can suffer but not break down. We have hope in Christ that stems from the resurrection. Just as Christ raised from the dead, so those who believe in Him will also raise. This hope sustains us! This grace sustains us to the glory of God! So remember when suffering through the reality of everyone’s mortality that it does not matter! To be absent on earth is to be present with the Lord for those who believe! And let these moments remind us that we are to always live in view of eternity, as a friend used for his ALIVE ministry slogan. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Bits from Brasil

Every three years all the ABWE missionaries in Brazil get together for a 5 day conference in a different part of Brazil. Last week we went to Foz do Iguaçu which is a city known for huge waterfalls. Part of the conference was going to see God’s beautiful creation and the display of His power at the Falls. The conference is always a great time to catch up with colleagues, see what is happening within the ABWE world (we just got a new president!) and be encouraged. We do a little course in the morning, have afternoons free and then a service at night. 

Evelyn made lots of new friends and had a good time being independent from her parents. She has been busy with homeschool, ukulele lessons, ballet and then in her spare time playing with Anna Claire. She has also been busy trying to get Anna Claire saved! She is very sensitive and generous! 

Anna Claire just walks to the beat of her own drum. She loves playing. After the conference where she had classes each day with Jim and Susan Cook who travel the world working with kids (mostly missionary kids), was the first time where she looked like she could be understanding the gospel. It was neat to see and reminds me of how much investment has been in her life. 

Sarah has been working hard with hosting and cheerleading. We are also doing a discipleship/counseling with a couple in our church that she has mostly been organizing. Sarah keeps busy with Evie’s homeschooling and washing all my work/sports clothes! She also is a constant encouragement to church members staying active in our groups. 

I have been doing a lot with church construction still! We are near being able to use the building for our services (pray our money stretches here to finish what we need to do). In football we won our final season game (putting our record at 3-1) and made the playoffs. We have the semifinal game in a couple of weeks. 

We are going to start our Servant Leaders program next Wednesday! I am excited about that! Pray that we are able to get a good amount of leaders to come out to the training center! Later this month we will be doing the Good Soil seminar with the Brazil director Dan Cook and then Cam Woolford, the Servant Leaders director will come and do some seminars at the end of November! We are excited to have different partners for our training center! The first teacher will actually be another Pastor from Arcoverde! 

Thanks so much for your prayers and support! 


All for HIS glory!


David, Sarah, my big girl who now has a retainer, and my little wanderer who now is doing well with portuguese! 


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Bits September

It is game day! One of the things I miss most in the US is sitting around watching college football, snacking and hanging out with family on Saturdays. My brothers and I (and Dad) used to even go out and play a game of football in between games or at halftime. Today, our team gets to play on a Saturday afternoon into evening underneath the lights. This week we had to come together as a team and go after sponsors for our game. It was neat to see the team work together outside of the lines. Last night at our team dinner I talked from Ephesians 4:16 about unity, working together and love. I told them football needed to be a stage in which they worked on not being selfish, working together and loving one another because once they get a family the stakes are much steeper. The football team has been a great opportunity for us to reach into the lives of these players as well as our community.
Once again, construction has dominated this past month. There is great progress though and Lord willing we will have pictures of a Bible study going on in our building for the next update. Not for sure though! Please pray for everything to come together. We had a workday with our study group members this month and it was fun and profitable! They were excited about what the future holds there! 

I participated in a Servant Leaders Strategic Planning weekend meeting over Skype this month. We are excited about what God is doing with SL. We are in charge of the translation and training for Brazil as well as helping out with organizational development and curriculum. Below is when we did a grill out and taught the Conflict Resolution seminar for the group that had finished the Processing Life Biblically class. 

Sarah and the girls are going with me to Tupanatinga once a month (I go every other week) and this last week we had a bouncy ride out to a rural farm. We met a new family and their relatives and talked about what it means to be a disciple. 

In our Arcoverde study group we have had more families coming, which is neat to see. They are excited about being in the building soon and many offer to help in various ways. It is good to see a big part of our group wanting to serve. In many churches 20% of the members do 80% of the work. We all need to make sure we do our part and work together as the body of Christ!

Sarah’s cheerleaders will be on the field this afternoon! They are really cute. Check Facebook for a video soon! Sarah has also been able to go to an English school and teach recipes. The kids all enjoy that! Thanks for all you do so that God’s kingdom can grow here in the Sertão! 

All for HIS glory,


David, Sarah and our little gymnasts; although Evie started ballet again, the girls spend free time playing with polly pockets and performing the floor routine in the kitchen with the youtube gymnast routine music. Also, Evelyn turned 8 last week! 



Thursday, August 31, 2017

Bits August

This month we finished our 7 week men’s study on Processing Life. The group seemed to grow as we went which really encouraged us as we look to the future to implement Servant Leaders, our leadership training course. For celebration, we decided to grill out last night as well as do another study on Conflict Resolution. It went really well and girlfriends/wives came and enjoyed themselves as well. 



Last weekend the football team had a road game, a good 8-10 hour drive away. I was able to have some good conversations. One guy told me how he had been pretty much an atheist (I would probably say agnostic) before starting to come to the studies. Now he really enjoys them and doesn’t like to miss. On gameday I gave a devotional on David and Goliath, presenting the gospel once again to the team. We had over 40 players there and they pay attention and are respectful. As I continually evaluate how long I want to be involved with coaching football, I think of the quote by Billy Graham that says, “A coach will impact more people in one year than an average person will in an entire lifetime.” I am not sure how accurate this quote is, but I do know he has a great point. Coaching these guys has been an important place of influence for lots of lives that would be hard to achieve in any other position. Oh, and we played in a World Cup stadium this last game, which was a really cool experience. 

Sarah has started a discipleship with a woman who has gone through some marital issues. She also continues to do a lot of hosting in our home. Frequent hosting in our home might not last too much longer though as we will soon be moving some of the studies to the church building. Maybe not this month, but October will give us a good chance to have some studies start there. I have decided to start the Servant Leaders program November 1st at the building as well. Pray for us as we coordinate the electrician, dry-waller (actually we don’t have dry wall, but the equivalent here), window maker, and tile layer as they come and try to have the building ready for us to use soon. I am in charge of the painting and will be busier carrying out that task this month. This morning I was applying sealer and walling mud. 

This month we were also able to report to our partner/mother church in Recife during their missions month about what God is doing in the Outback. They were excited to hear and I hope challenged in the area of missions. They have been a great partner as we seek to establish a church planting base here. 

Thanks so much for your prayers and support! God is good and keeps working on us! I hope that He has been busy working on you as well!

All for HIS glory,

David, Sarah, and our two little ballerinas that are stoked about starting ballet classes soon. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Prayers and football

I have messed up and just now I am starting to see it. In 2014 our family moved to a small interior town in Brazil and looked to start a church. Seeking contacts in a place where we knew no one, american football fell into our laps. I started out as offensive coordinator and quarterback and ended up as head coach as of November of 2015. Coming from the states I have been hesitant to force my Christianity on the football team as a whole. Starting out they all knew why I was in Brazil and knew they were invited to studies, but it wasn't until our first game in October of 2015 that I realized they were ok with praying. Before our game in the locker room the players asked me to pray for the game. Since then they have been ok with saying a few words, giving a few challenges, as well as praying. 

The work here did not spread right away. Few players came to studies at the beginning. I even thought it might not be worth it for a while and thought about seeking out another way of meeting people. But slowly more and more players have come to studies. Eight weeks ago I started a study for men on Wednesday nights where we went over the seminar Processing Life Biblically. We had a good group of ten guys the whole time, several of them from the offensive line. They have been faithful and since the study started the OL has played better. They argue less and are stronger mentally. I did not correlate the two until one of the players commented on how the climate has been changing. 

My conclusion has been that the best thing we can do for these players and for the team is to introduce them to Christ. Of course I always knew that, but because of being american I have been nervous about forcing them to hear about God. Fortunately in Brazil on a club team, this is not a problem. They have welcomed it. Emphasizing character has improved the lives of these guys off and on the field. Our mission is not just to win games but to win at life.

In the states the worst thing we have done is take God out of everything. We need God. We need his blessing. We need His grace. We need to be bold in taking a stand for prayer, a stand for God. I am not talking about being Crusaders and killing everything in our path; I am talking about being firm that we are for Christ and that the world needs Christ. Our teams will grow from this and better men will be produced!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Grateful



This morning in my timeline on facebook, a memory of us at the beach showed up. Last week we went to the beach as well. Vacations are fun and I think we take them for granted sometimes. Maybe we have always done them and think they are our right as Americans. But not everyone can just pack up and go to the beach.

I do not post much about my family on facebook, but I love them so much and we have a wonderful loving family. We had a lot of fun last week. Many families are broken and unhappy and might not have time for one another. I am grateful for what I have in my family.

Just being able to read a blog on the internet means that you are a couple steps above many people in the world and we all need to be grateful for where God has put us.

What can you be grateful for today?

Blessings!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Bom dia! Hope you all are having a wonderful summer! We have seen many of your pictures at the beach, visiting family, enjoying the sun. Here in the semi-arid desert we are experiencing an abnormal rainy, cool season. Last year it didn’t even rain and the last 7-10 years have been more dry here, but this year God has blessed with a couple months of lots of rain! Lots…We are not allowed to complain about rain in the desert, so I won’t, but I am grateful that we have a beach vacation scheduled for a few days in just a couple of weeks. We are looking forward to the sun and being able to get away for a little bit!

                                                                                             Sarah's Surprise Birthday Party       

We started a men’s Bible study this month on Biblically Processing Life. It has been incredible. I originally had a couple guys in mind for this study and ended opening it up and we have had more than ten guys the last couple of weeks! The study is really good too. It is available in English and very solid and practical. If you are interested in seeing it; I can send the notes, the power point, a video of it. Please just ask! 

I have been more involved with the overall organization of Servant Leaders the last couple of months and am excited about how SL’s vision of supporting the local church, serving with resources and training. Some of the same guys involved in SL are the ones that I am working with on my master’s degree. The current class is administration and my project has been putting together a policy manual for the church. This is a practical step that will help us with our decision making! It has also inspired our Sunday night Bible studies where we have talked about our own spiritual growth, how we grow together and serve each other in fellowship. We are ramping up for moving into the building soon.

Construction continues….continues to help my sanctification process! Most days I spend a portion of it going to the building or store or doing something with this process. It is coming along and will soon be ready for use. My hope and prayer is two months for now….but you never know! Pray for us to have the right resources for finishing it up (resources mainly being proper workers and then buying the right material). 

Please pray for our Tupanatinga trips (that are going well), personal discipleships (Sarah and I are both doing) and opportunities to get to know more people. 

All for HIS glory,

David, Sarah, my second grader who just started school, and my little hair comber who can brush her hair for hours on end (well, maybe not hours).