Monday, March 31, 2014

Bits from Brazil March

The church in Recife prayed at a park three years ago for the ministry here in Arcoverde. Most afternoons we go for a walk at that same park. Evie rides her tricycle or pushes her baby stroller and Anna Claire puts up with it for a while, but begs to be out of the stroller and roaming around on her own picking up whatever is on the ground. We receive all kinds of looks and conversations naturally happen very often. There are two families that we have spent more time with as a result of these conversations. Francisco and Bia have a 5 year old girl named Alice. We have been to their house and both of their parent’s houses about an hour away. Evelyn is going to take ballet classes with Alice and we look forward to spending more time with them.

Roberta stopped to take a picture of the girls at the park. Since then she has recommended and gone to a pediatric appointment for Anna Claire. We have gone to eat with her, her husband Jajilson and daughters Bruna and Maria Valentina. She calls often to check up on us.

Dhiego I met playing soccer and we have since been biking together and had he and his girlfriend Juliane over for pizza. We look forward to hanging out much more when he is off work for a shoulder surgery he is going to have. 

I continue to play soccer, basketball and we all walk in the park. On the training side of things Pastor Roger Smith started a Pastors fellowship group in Arcoverde and I will be able to participate in that. Through that group we hope to have more contacts for some of the training courses we have to offer. 

I did start the Story of Hope with Adegilson who made a decision with Carlos several years ago but has never gotten into church. He seems excited about the study and we hope to soon include his wife. 

We did make a trip to three more cities this month and saw the many needs there. The trip made me a little sad for the lack of vibrant churches, but excited for the future opportunities. It enforced our burden for a strategic location for church planting and training that results in leadership development to enforce local churches and plant new ones. Pray with us that we would be able to dream big, pray hard and be faithful with the little things!

God bless you all for your faithfulness in prayers!
All for HIS glory,

Monday, March 17, 2014

Visiting friends

Sunday morning we drove to the city of Triunfo where Brazilian missionary friends Francisco and Dalva work tirelessly with the endless needs in the Outback. We spent some time with them talking and then I preached at their afternoon church service on their front porch/garage. They have recently taken on more responsibility as the Pastor at the other Baptist church in town had moral failure which caused many problems in the church. Francisco had started helping out there. Before I preached he "sold the fish" (tried to give us some reasons to work in Triunfo) and they were very convincing.

After I preached we drove down the mountain to another town where Francisco helps out as well. Fortunately I was invited to preach as I met the Pastor for the first time. He struggles there with less than 20 or so in the congregation. He said that he was the only Pastor in the whole city (partially true as there are some other denominations there with Pastors, but just a couple). He asked us to go work there as well. Both Pastors have been receiving invitations from other area churches to be their Pastors.

On Monday morning we headed to Afogados da Ingazeira and were able to meet with a Pastor there. He said most churches were very small and usually a result of a rift in another church. There is a lot of jealousy and a lot of loyalty to their church (usually the Catholic church).

The three towns made me both excited for the opportunities we have in working here and sad about the current situation. The reputation of Evangelicals in Triunfo is terrible because of the moral failures of several Pastors. Most churches are small and dying rather than large and growing (not that small is always bad).

The workers in the Outback are few. It is not an easy place to live because of the heat and the lack of water. Apparently religious persecution drives people away as well. Pray that God would 1)Raise up workers to go to the Outback 2) Raise up leaders in these churches 3) Through these steps the Outback would see a significant rise in Christians in the region resulting in more leaders, more churches, and a passion for missions. May God's name by mightily proclaimed and glorified!

Monday, March 10, 2014

A good work

As I prayed for my wife this morning I realized how excited I am about her spiritual growth. I can see that she has really matured in her trust in God. This takes so much time. The older I am (I am still really young), the more I perceive the quantity of time and experience it takes one to mature. Our microwave society does not produce maturity at the touch of a button. It is more like a crock pot set on warm that takes its time. 

One of my favorite verses to use in preaching is Philippians 1:6 that says, “Being confident of this very thing, that HE who began a good work in us will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” We can have faith in this; God is working in us! He is allowing experiences, trials, friends and influences in our lives that will mold us to be more like Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:29). 

I am amazed by testimonies. I often tear up hearing of God’s grace in lives. I have had the unfortunate experience of counseling people in affairs, drugs and other difficult situations. Is life over for these people? No way! In fact, a few years after the fact, these are Believers. I mean, genuine, Spirit filled, grace giving Believers who have had a marvelous work done in a difficult situation. 

It is our job to first of all; allow God to work in us! He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be... Secondly, have the eyes to see God’s grace in others’ lives. Don’t give up on them yet! Thirdly, help others as they grow in grace! Goethe said “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being.” Beautiful! We can help others in the process of growing in grace rather than complaining about their lack thereof. 

To God be the glory for the work He has done in our lives. May we bring praise to His holy name!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Getting offended

Why must we always be offended? I am easily disturbed by “my rights being violated,” someone saying the wrong thing to me, or my name being pronounced wrong. Think about it. Are people really out to get you? Do they really not like you so much they are trying to destroy you? We take ourselves too seriously. 

The media has a lot to do with it. No matter what side you are on, you have a news show you can watch that tells you what you want to hear regarding your rights being attacked by your enemy. Conflict sells. We become emotionally involved in checking the news to see who offended us today. 

After the Nelson Mandela funeral, photos emerged of the Obama and Bush families sharing laughs as they travelled together to South Africa. Yet the media would have you believe they would never cordially speak to one another. I fear the politics of media have created a debate atmosphere which has fostered much unnecessary hatred. It filters down in society to where we have learned to trust no one.  

Why must it be that way? I do not have to give in to those emotional appeals to hate my neighbor. Abraham Lincoln said “Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends with them?” Why not reach across the aisle and get to know those by whom you are offended. If you reach with sincerity in love, I doubt there will be many who will shut you off. 

How do you talk to someone who is so different than you? Ask questions. Ask about their kids, school, sports, work, favorite teams, foods... Diverse people have much to offer when it comes to knowledge. You can learn from almost anybody. As you get to know other people, you will learn from them and find that you grow as a person. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


In soccer practice we used to have a drill where we would have to pass it 10+ times before we were allowed to score. Sometimes the process is slow before the goal is accomplished. Roger Smith (the veteran missionary we are working with) has planted a couple churches in middle to upper class neighborhoods in the city of Recife. With these type of people it takes much more contact than just a chance encounter in the street. 

The plan in Arcoverde is to both have a resource/training center and eventually a church in the middle to upper class neighborhood in which it is located. A national Pastor recently said that the walls are high and people are rarely seen there. 

Several times as I have thought and prayed about it I have been unsure of where to start. The obvious answer is prayer. While we could just stay in the apartment and wait for God to send us members, we are getting out to places where we can meet people. Fortunately we have had a good bit of shopping to do. We are regular walkers at the park as well. I have found some time and places to play soccer and even basketball. 

People here seem to be really nice and I have wondered what would happen if we just started having services to see who would come. But I know that is not wise. A good goal would probably be a year from now before we had services. It seems like a long time, but setting a good foundation is important. Just like in practice when we had to learn to pass before we could score, we must be patient in our work so that when we do start services it will have results. Pray that we would have patience during this process!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Bits February

This month has been pretty fun. One month ago I was picking up the girls from the airport and was so excited to see them and get ready to start our time here living in Northeast Brazil. I took a day trip with my brother-in-law Robert and Carlos (our Brazilian evangelist/missionary/negotiator friend) to Arcoverde to scout out the area. We found out there were no houses available to rent, but were satisfied with the apartment our colleagues had rented. We checked out some of the stores to see what was available and then headed back to Recife.

A couple days later Sarah went shopping with Marcy (ABWE missionary) for some of the furniture that we would need. We went millions of dollars into debt and now we don't have money for break or milk. ok, just kidding. She did a good job shopping, except our bed, table and chairs and a few other things won't be here until later this month. She got good deals and good quality items. After that we headed to Arcoverde on a Friday morning. After arriving and scouting things out at the apartment we found out that we did not have water or electricity. So we stayed at a hotel for the weekend and just went to the apartment during the day to paint and organize. Due to our address from the renting place being completely wrong, we did not receive our mattresses, fridge or stove until that Monday. 

But on Monday the 10th, we moved into our apartment. Much to our surprise, it is so cool on the hillside in the shade with a nice breeze that we do not need air conditioners! We got running water later that week and we were set to go. Until the running water ran out six days later. We have been officially introduced to life with water rationing and it is an adventure. As of right now we do have running water (in fact, it even runs out of the sides of the faucets) and everyone says that this month or next will bring rains that will halt the water problems. I figure that we need to go through these times to better understand the people here anyway. 

Over the weekend of the 14th we went back to Recife and I was able to preach in the church with whom we are partnering (Koinonia Baptist Church). I talked about how they could be a part of what is going on with planting churches. We have met some new friends from the church and we looked forward to their visit here with us. 

Our main ministry right now is meeting people. We go to the park almost every afternoon and usually meet people there. As often as we are out we are explaining why we have an accent. I am playing soccer with one group on Tuesdays and Thursdays and basketball with another group. I have met some people that way and I hope it brings even more contacts in the days to come. We inaugurated CeTAK on the 22nd with a group of fifty from Koinonia and about 15 area pastors there who were excited about having a resource center and a united effort to reach the Outback for Christ! It was neat to see the missionary vision for this area shared by so many pastors and I know there are more out there. Arcoverde is a strategic city as it is the gateway to the outback. We pray this center will train many for ministry both there and abroad.

We appreciate your prayers so much. Several of you have written asking for prayer requests and here are a few for this month. Pray that we meet people! Pray we can start some Bible studies; either individually or with groups. Pray that our furniture arrives so that we can have people over, and for other selfish reasons, like being somewhat organized inside our apartment. Pray that people will hear more about the resource center and come visit us. Pray for the sale of our car in the US to be finalized (we had it sold, but it is experiencing some mechanical difficulties). And pray for RAIN!!!

Thanks, God bless, We love you all!
All for HIS glory,
David, an extremely hard working Sarah, an imaginative, energetic fashion show expert, whose favorite story right now is Adam and Eve (video of her telling the story herself coming soon), and then an early rising, walking, almost 11 month old who can be both fussy and very happy. (In case you have forgotten their names since I rarely post them it is Evelyn and Anna Claire).

Resource Center (CeTAK) inauguration

Saturday night we had the inauguration of CeTAK, (The Center for training and support of Koinonia). Around 50 members of Koinonia Baptist Church from Recife came to Arcoverde on a big bus for this special service. Around 15 Pastors from area churches came to the service as well. There was excitement about the vision for this area in terms of missions and the gospel bring spread around. 

We had a praise service as well as an explanation to the Pastors about what the center is all about. Pastor Roger Smith told them the center would serve to support the Pastors with a Pastor’s group to meet and encourage one another, resources for their churches such as theatre, puppets, Sunday school material and books, and then a place for Bible study. It was neat to see the realization of a lot of groundwork done by Roger and Marcy Smith, Carlos (a Brazilian missionary) and the church. Praise flowed bountifully as we felt united with a common goal to reach this region.

There are many ministries here in Arcoverde that are doing a good job of reaching the community. Roger emphasized that we wanted to increase the work done here. Afterwards I was able to meet several of the Pastors and talk to them about their ministries. We are looking forward to the opportunities this center will bring!