Friday, May 29, 2015

Bits May

We are in our new house. It took a bit, but we moved on May 9th to a mostly finished house. Now at the end of the month it is more finished, but still needs a bunch of little details (which will be the case until we are 80). This has not kept us from using the house! We had a birthday party for Anna Claire (a postponed birthday party) and the following day we grilled out and had a potluck style meal in which we had around 20 people, two unchurched families and a couple families from our groups. We are going to try to do this once a month. Last week we had our first Sunday night group and had more than normal. Sarah also organized a play date for some women to bring their kids, learn a new recipe and hear a testimony that came from another colleague who was visiting. She is looking forward to doing this again while my sister is here from the states.

Pray for rain! Usually it rains a bunch around this time of year, but it hasn’t rained much so far. Mentally I equate the lack of rain to the lack of the gospel in the area; pray the gospel will continue to spread here in Arcoverde. This month saw a growth of unity in the pastor’s group. We have talked several times about uniting for the gospel which would jump a cultural barrier with the churches here. Cooperation between the churches has never been the norm. Usually the members transfer between churches generating hard feelings and few new converts, but the churches seem to be better focused now. 

I was able to teach the first theology module in the church in Recife this month. I always enjoy teaching theology. Please pray that doors would open here in Arcoverde to teach Old and New Testament, and then theology later. This month we did start our seminars in Arcoverde. The first one about finances saw some new faces to our training building and generated interest in our church. Pastor Claudio from Recife taught it and did a great job. Next month I will be teaching on Constructive Conflict. 

The main prayer request and reason I am writing a day or two early is because tomorrow night (Saturday night) will be our first service here in Arcoverde. We are really excited and inviting lots of people we know. There is a group of almost 50 coming from Recife to pass out pamphlets as well as participate in the service. Please pray that it all goes smoothly and that there will be fruit from this meeting! 

This month we received news of a possible future missionary here. We also will have some visitors; my sister Kim and her husband Kevin will be here next week and stay for a couple weeks. Right after that my parents will be here for a couple weeks while Sarah goes to the states and spends a couple weeks with her family; particularly her sister Anna and her new baby that is supposed to be born tonight in China (there is another immediate prayer request). The girls are staying here with my parents and I. :) So that might need a little prayer. :) 

May God bless you and keep you and make His face shine down upon you! With lots of love from your friends down south.

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, my bilingual chatterbox, and my big two year old monkey who is also starting to talk away; both went with me two days in a row for an early morning walk to the church property where we have been able to pray for God’s work here, in the church and in our lives.  

Saturday, May 2, 2015

A relationship that works

The last few months have been very exciting and difficult. We are building a house in Arcoverde, Northeast, Brazil and it is the first (and probably last) time we have built a house. I was warned it would be difficult and so I shouldn't be surprised that it has been.

When I go to work on the house I feel as if I am doing it for my family and thus feel as if it is family time. My wife and I have talked about this because being gone so much between ministry and building a house has been hard on the family. In my mind I am doing it for them, but my wife brought in a new perspective. She said that she appreciated my work and knew that my motives are good, but that what she really wants is to spend time with me. All the work I am doing for the family is good, but means

nothing without the relationship. What a great point. A point I must learn from not just inside our family, but in my relationship with God.

Many times we want to work, work, work for God and do everything for Him, but that cannot go without a relationship with Him. This is the same thing Jesus was saying with Mary and Martha. Perhaps the better part is not in the service, but in sitting at Jesus' feet. God desires mercy and not sacrifice (Hoseia 6:6). Our works for Him will never mean more than our love for Him. Of course the love should be what drives the works (Ef. 2:10).

A few years ago the book "The Shack" came out with a little bit of controversy. I usually do not try to sign bad intentions to people and read it for what it was worth. And I learned something very important to me from the book. The author concentrated on the relationship and interaction between the persons of the trinity. They are three separate personalities that have different roles, yet they are one in Spirit and with their unity. God wants us to be part of that relationship. He wants us, not to be God of course, but to be part of that very close relationship.

Many work to provide a better life for their family, but remember that the family will only be there as long as the relationship is there. And remember that God wants that same relationship with you.