Sunday, June 30, 2019

Bits June

Our small group in Tupanatinga

Small groups have been a main focus since our return. Currently David has three groups in Tupanatinga with three other men in each of them. Sarah has one with 6-7 women. We have been encouraged at times and slightly disappointed at other times in relation to these groups. We realize that some are not ready for a bigger commitment and others excel in these growth groups. We study the Bible and look to apply it to our lives. Ideally we read the same passage of Scripture daily for a week to discuss it at our meeting. Our discussions have gone well for the most part but we could be more faithful in the reading and putting it into action.

Our craft table
At the beginning of June I committed to the group in Tupanatinga that I would go every Saturday to have our Bible study. We also started small groups with them. They were proactive with these from the beginning! It was neat to see them get excited as I talked about our goals for the small groups including them being able to run the studies on their own. I want to at least be present for a few weeks before they take them on during the week. While I would love to have a permanent location for this group (I recently sent a project to ABWE that projected it would cost $35,000 dollars to buy land and build a church), we are looking into renting a place for around $150 a month. We have challenged the group on contributing to this and are excited about it working out. Right now we are waiting for the owner of the building to show it to one more person that was in front of us. 
Tupanatinga group

In April’s bits I mentioned how we had challenged the Arcoverde church towards giving to finish the upstairs for our kid’s, teenagers and other class space. It took them a couple weeks to get going but they have been really creative. The women have worked on crafts that have been bring in money. We have also had good offerings that have had us start on the work that needs to be done. Right now the walls are being plastered and the bathrooms are about to get the cement and tile work done on them this week. 

We enjoy having people to our house for pizza
This month is a big month for visitors. We met Sarah Rogers while we were in Germany. She just finished college and is interested in missions. She is coming for three weeks to see the work here! Please pray for her trip. She will be here while the mission team from Calvary Church in Raleigh is here. That will be a big week for us (23rd to the 30th). Please pray that the youth group will get a good boost as well as the church group in Tupanatinga! 

It is neat to see all the fun things our friends and family are doing during the summer months! Have fun and please enjoy your family! 

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, and our two little girls who upon finishing school for the summer proceeded to play school all day for 2-3 days… they have now moved on to Polly’s, arts and crafts and asking for friends to come over. Evie finished third grade and Anna Claire finished kindergarten


Friday, May 31, 2019

Bits May

Greetings to you from a three person Carrel household! Yes, we are down one here in Brazil! The most important one as well! Sarah is in Fortaleza for her Biblical Counseling module. I am here with the girls trying to survive. (please send peanut butter!) 

This month we went on a trip we hope to never forget. I wrote last month about the opportunity to go to Germany for a missions academy with Servant Leaders. We imagined it would be a great trip, but our imagination might have been too little. On the last night in Germany I asked the girls the favorite part of the trip. They both said being with both sets of their grandparents for a couple weeks (to be fair and honest, Anna Claire’s first favorite thing was all the ice cream (gelato) that she ate all week). Both Sarah’s and my parents had a wonderful time and we were so grateful for that).

While we did get to do a good bit of sightseeing, the main event was the missions academy. The days generally started at 8:15 and went until ten at night, although we ducked out early a couple times. Sarah and I both learned a good bit and were able to have some great discussions with students. I was able to teach on “Reaching your community with the whole gospel.” Then I moderated a panel discussion having to do with missionaries and their local churches. I also co-led a small group with afternoon discussion times. There were young people from Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Equador, Iran, Ukraine, Ireland, Germany, and a few different states in the US. We had quite a variety of youth and all were interested in missions. Please pray about two girls who are interested in doing an internship with us in Brazil. We are working and praying about the details. 

This month we have also started small Bible study groups. These have to do with some training that Sarah received while in the states. We are starting to implement them and so far happy about what we have seen. Please pray that we would have leaders grow out of these groups. 

In July we will have a group from Raleigh come down to work with youth, women and help with our plant in Tupanatinga. We have looked at a couple buildings to rent or use for weekly Saturday night worship services. Please pray for these details. Bia has arranged for us to be in three different schools morning and afternoon for three days (6 separate presentations for full school assemblies). Please pray right now that these will be effective and will get their families out to the town square for the Friday night grand finale. 

For now, pray Evelyn and Anna Claire don’t starve to death on my watch (I am just kidding). Pray for our small groups and Tupanatinga. Pray for unity. Pray for the two possible interns. 

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, my little travelers who enjoyed their almost daily gelato with both sets of grandparents, along with a park with a zip line and a boat with a slide on it. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Bits April

This month has focused on settling in on the ministries on which we will be focusing. We have some of our discipleship groups structured and they start tonight and Thursday night. Our focus this year will be spiritual growth of the members we already have at the church. We have some outreach events scheduled, but do not really have outreach on the weekly schedule. One main reason for this is that we already are getting up to fifteen visitors per week! If we do not strengthen our most faithful members we most likely will be a church with a rotating membership. 

Last week we hosted a Biblical Counseling course for leaders of local churches. We had several pastors participating and then some of our members. Over thirty people participated during the week and it went very smoothly. Part of our vision for Cetak (our training center here) are courses that are different and helpful to the community. This course went really well for our vision in the community. 
The counseling class
 So during the month of May we are taking a big trip. Servant Leaders has been planning a Missions Academy for youth to have an intensive and practical ten days of classes where they hear about missions and church planting and get to see it in action. In a couple years they want it to be in Brazil and so they asked us to go to the first one and see how it is run. This year it is in Germany. Sarah and I wanted to go together and after checking out the options, the best one was to get two sets of grandparents to watch the girls while we are at the Academy. We are going a couple days early and flying into Paris to sightsee. Although the trip is primarily a ministry trip, we are using personal funds for it, just to lighten up that it is a really cool opportunity for us and seeing the world. Please pray for our travels from May 13-28 and that there will be young people called to the field as a result of the Academy. I am teaching one section and we are mentoring in small groups as well.

Please pray for our small groups as they get started. Please pray for our weekly services to start soon in Tupanatinga. At this point we are borrowing a small space from someone’s relative there. We are going to clean it up, but it will be temporary. We are still praying about either building or renting another space and for the right timing for that. It is probably around a forty thousand dollar project to buy land and build a church building. 

Speaking of building, we have challenged our church family to be involved in completing our upstairs that has the brick structure but needs the finish work on the walls and floor, including electric. They are already putting their heads together for how we can come up with the money. 
Our boss Cal teaching in Tupanatinga

Praise the Lord for all the needs He has supplied. We feel unbelievably blessed. Thank you for all your prayers!
The girls for Easter breakfast

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah and my brickmason helper that helped me fill in some cement around the church, and my big six year old who had a birthday this past month! 

Monday, April 1, 2019

Bits March

Our flight in to Brazil was delayed a little…but only two and a half hours and not the whole night. So we arrived in Recife at 3 AM on Friday the 22nd. At 9 AM we set out to find a car. We had done a good bit of research beforehand, but by 12:30 we were headed back to Roger and Marcy Smith’s apartment for lunch with our new slightly used car. God gave us a smooth process, good price and a great car. (The options for a car with more than 5 seats are limited). That afternoon we used six seats heading to a mini-retreat for our field council to catch up on everything. Then this past Friday we used those seats to go to Tupanatinga! Thank you all who gave sacrificially towards this car during our furlough! 

Our friend and colleague Randy Southwell came to visit us for a couple of days. I took advantage of it and scheduled a trip to Tupanatinga to have a study there. We had some interest from the church in Arcoverde and so we looked into another space to meet in rather than a living room. God provided a space through Rodrygo and it was really nice. We have been praying about our options and it sounds like we have a couple of options to rent as well as hearing about another church who was going to start a work there but decided not to. Please pray that we will find the right location as well as service time! We are looking to go to weekly services soon! 

We were pleasantly surprised at the turnout last night for church service. The church gained several families while we were gone and they have been faithful. Six former football players came last night! We had 59 adults and 21 kids in the service which is a total of 80 and a milestone for us. One key part of the service was Nivia talking about the destruction in Mozambique and it was neat to see a good response from our people in giving towards it. This year we will be challenging our people to raise the funds to complete the upstairs as we for sure are neeing more space! The youth can have a space upstairs as well as running a kid’s service. The youth started meeting once a month together with another church and Saturday night there were 19 of them. They had a lot of fun. 

While we were in the states Sarah did some training with running small Bible study groups. They are groups of 3-5 people that study the same portion of the Bible every day for a week, then meet together to talk about it, pray and talk about their spiritual life. Sarah has really enjoyed the process so far and has really grown spiritually as well. She is looking into how to implement it with the women of the church and I am looking at the men. While she is busy with homeschool, master’s degree, kid’s program, women’s ministry, baby showers and birthday parties, she will also look to have a group of women. I am looking to have several groups. Please pray that the right men will join and be committed to spiritual growth through these groups. 

Sarah’s masters is in Biblical Counseling and her professors are our colleagues from the mission. The last full week of April, Al and Kim Yoder are coming to Arcoverde to teach Module 1 of the Biblical Counseling courses they provide for church leaders. We have wanted our building to be a center for training in our city and region and so far we have a good group signed up and some coming from other cities. Pray that this goes well! 

It feels really amazing to be back with our friends and church family in Brazil. I don’t think I can express our feelings in writing with how blessed we are in our life at this point. A lot of it has to do with the love we feel from all of you who lift us up through prayer and send support. You all are a big blessing!

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, my egg cooker Evie, and my little artist Claire bear who are both glad to be back home with their friends. They were especially glad to be back with their church family! 

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Bits February

The girls and their friends Julia and Sydney
We are on our way back to Chattanooga from our last meeting as a family where we need to travel. Miami was fun as we went to a missions conference at First Baptist Church of Westwood Lake. They fed us a lot and we were able to visit the beach as well as speak seven different times in services and chapels for their school. February was full of meetings as we went to Huntsville and Athens, Alabama at the beginning of the month. 

First Baptist of Westwood Lake Missions conference

For a few days I went up to Akron, Ohio to meet with Dr. Ken Lowe who is a Pastor at Hope Baptist. He spent twenty years as a missionary in Portugal and has a theological education system that he has been working on. I met him through Servant Leaders and he is partnering with Servant Leaders to come alongside churches to grow their leaders. We bounced ideas off of each other but mainly he taught me about how people learn and grow spiritually. I was also able to interact with the members of his church and preach and teach for the Sunday morning Sunday School and service. We are most excited about the mentorship partnership with him for Arcoverde and his plans to visit and teach once a year. 

Our round trip tickets for this furlough has us leaving for Brazil on March 21. We are really excited about heading back. However, we still need our clearances to leave. Please pray that they will all come in. The main one is our financial clearance. What started out as under $200 to raise per month went up to over $400 a month to raise due to a couple supporters that stopped supporting and raises in health insurance and our overall support level. 
Evie and her soccer team

This can be raised rather quickly whether by current supporters raising our support just a little or by new supporters or past supporters making new commitments. However, if no one can do anything, it could prohibit us from going back on the 21st. Please pray for the support to come in! God has always supplied our needs and we do not doubt He will allow it to come in before we leave. If it doesn’t, we know He has a plan regardless and we will see what we need to do….but we reeeaaaallly are ready to get back! 

At the Keys feeding Tarpon
Thank you so much for all of you who faithfully support us. We have been so blessed. God has been so good to us! So many have loved on us, especially the girls, as we have travelled. Evelyn and Anna Claire were able to go to the Christian school for a couple days in Miami and they loved it. They make friends really easy! Pray for them as the life of a third culture kid is rather unique and can either be seen as a huge blessing or a difficulty, depending on our choice of how to see it. Last night Anna Claire asked me to tell the yellow man story:

There was a man from yellow land that decided to go live in blue land. As he lived there for a while he saw that he started turning color. He ended up being green! He now looked neither blue nor yellow and stuck out in both yellow land and blue land because he was different. 

My girls had some interesting comments and questions with that story, but it is reality for any missionary kid, whether they like it or not. You all have been awesome with the girls. They see love from all over the country! ok, enough for now. God bless!

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, my runner up for her indoor soccer league who scored a goal in the championship game, and my little kitty cat lover who has a great friend in Rocky Balboa Carrel (I find it hilarious how much this cat loves Anna Claire and goes to her and lets her cuddle with her). 

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Bits January

Not sure exactly how many miles we have put on the car this month, but it has been quite a bit. We were up in Michigan; then went to Atlanta area, over to Raleigh and Hickory, NC and now we are in Chattanooga until Saturday when we head to Huntsville. We have been overwhelmed by the graciousness of the churches in which we have spoken. God has blessed us through them and we pray we have been a blessing as well. I feel like we are transitioning from having great supporting churches to having partnering churches. What I mean is that the relationship truly has grown with many of these churches. We recognize this difference and it is much more biblical and exciting for us! Sarah was also able to speak to a woman’s group in Chattanooga! 

This month (February), Sarah officially starts her master’s degree in counseling. I have mentioned this but not explained much. In the Amazon we worked with Al and Kim Yoder to a certain degree and they were very influential in Sarah’s spiritual growth while we were there. Kim used nouthetic counseling to show Sarah areas in her life that needed spiritual growth. I was really proud and still am of how well Sarah responded and now of how much she is helping others in their discipleship.

One area that she and I both want to be able to help more is in the area of counseling. Where we are at in Brazil there is a belief that any mental issue needs to be addressed by a psychologist or psychoanalyst and pastors are not equipped to handle these cases. In the US, Pastors counsel quite a bit and we believe that we should be able to. We actually do counsel, although we do not always say it is officially counseling, but we do meet with people to help them with their growth and to talk through issues. Yet we do not feel we are totally equipped for this. We have seen from Al and Kim that counseling is growing in churches in Brazil. They hold conferences with 500+ pastors and that is awesome to see! They will be Sarah’s professors for this course. 

So this month, although Sarah will not be present for the first module, her class will start taking four modules a year for three years in the city of Fortaleza and then do online work in between these modules. This will mean Sarah getting a ride by bus or car to Recife and taking a quick plane trip and being gone for 4-5 days. Then it will require quite a bit of extra work/reading (it is in Portuguese) and more classes in between the modules on top of her homeschooling, women’s ministry and new discipleship activities. She already was busy! :) Pray that God will provide the right help/scheduling/flexibility as we do this as a family. We are super excited for it and I plan on going through the material with her as well to glean as much as possible (minus doing the modules). 

The discipleship I am talking about with Sarah is from a dynamic conference she just attended with Reba Bowman with a plan to multiply strong mature disciples in churches. Sarah looks forward to implementing this when we arrive. Pray for wisdom with that as well (and if you are curious for more info, feel free to write us). 

Pray for our monthly support level! We are down more than I thought! We are not nervous though as God has always provided. We do need to raise it before we leave at the end of March.

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, and my two singers (we do not make them sing in churches but they have sang a couple of times and enjoy it; although they do sing in tongues, we do interpret :) Also, Anna Claire got a kitty cat (a little after Christmas because it had conjunctivitis on Christmas Eve and then we went to Michigan). She really enjoys playing with it though and so do I. 

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!