Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Bits September

Last day of September, 12 days until we leave for the USA, 4 days until our first football game, and 11 days until our monthly service. We are ready for our short furlough. I wrote a blog post about furlough that you can read here, but we are ready to get a breather for a few months, (even though furlough is not usually a breather). I just mean we are ready for a little break from our schedule here. We also do not want to be gone too long and have to start everything over, so we chose this time that includes 2-3 months where people in this area do little (December-February). If everything continues as planned we go into furlough not needing to raise more support (although if you want to start supporting us we will not impede you) and we have a car to use, housing, and cell phones! Let’s just say my in-laws are great, but then again so are everyone else’s, right??? :)

This month Gabriel finished going through the Story of Hope. He repeatedly said it is true about the gospel in regards to God, man, sin, death, Christ, cross, faith and life and walked away believing in God’s promises. We are excited to have this new brother. Pray for him this month as he takes a big test in trying to study to be a doctor. He is a good guy and certainly deserves it.

Our study group on Wednesdays has had a faithful group and Sundays for the first month ever has consistently had a good group as well. I have been especially excited about the football players. Four of them have been very consistent and a few others have showed up a couple times. We have also had another English student that has been the last three weeks. We are studying stories in the Old Testament and the gospel is constantly brought up. This week after studying king Josiah I talked about him not knowing about the Bible, to finding the Scriptures and deciding to obey them and how they could do the same process with God. 

Alison is really involved in the church. He is an architect and on the football team. He comes from another church in another city and has taken ahold of the music team. This last week Pastor Roger had him teach the lesson and he did a great job. That night Chico jokingly said he would be teaching soon as well. We quickly informed him that he wasn’t joking. Chico and Bia have shown tremendous faithfulness and dedication to their newfound faith. It is great to see that we are not just in the gathering stage, but also growing into leadership development. 

Saturday I play football here. I am the quarterback of the team and am asking for your prayers. :) I am not old, but I am not that young to be competing like this, but I am looking forward to having fun. 

Alright, well we will see some of you soon! But to all of you we thank you for your faithfulness in prayers and support. God bless!

All for HIS glory,

David, Sarah, our big 6 year old who thinks she is running the show now, and our little energy bug who is talking away and slowly arriving at a place where we can understand a good bit of what she says.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Being understood

To be understood is to be loved. To understand someone takes time, patience and lots of questions. In our busy world understanding others rearranges our agenda and for this reason is not a top priority. But people need to be understood in both the private world and the business world.

We have a Pastors group here in Brazil that meets and the Pastors are greatly encouraged. Not because the topic of conversation is anything great. The topic is each other and we share about our lives. We can understand each other because we all lead similar lives of busyness with ministry. Pastors are generally misunderstood people, and just the knowledge that there are others in the same boat you are in is an encouragement to keep moving on. Pastors do not have many places to go where they are understood.

The keys to understanding are listening and asking the right questions. I will never forget my wife having a crisis of faith early in our marriage. She called her mom and sister and they came straight over, sat on the bed, looked in her eyes, asked questions and listened. That is understanding. Sarah felt ok in pouring her heart out. The opposite would be showing up, asking questions, then interrupting and talking about one's own experiences, which is what usually happens. Most people in today's age are not listeners. Cell phones might help with this fact. I don't think I have to explain that one, just to say that our attentiveness to our cell phone keeps us from the reality of the face to face conversation we are having in the moment.

When listening, look into the other person's eyes. Confirm that you have heard by your body language as well as your speech. Ask questions like, "let me make sure I am understanding you correctly." Then summarize what they have said to show you heard them.

Christians should also do this in evangelizing. We need to understand those to whom we are talking. Their viewpoint will help you know where to start with them with the gospel. Not everyone will understand John 3:16 right away; they might have misconceptions about the God of the Bible. Or they may understand who the God of the Bible is but not understand the concept of sin. This is why we must understand their viewpoint before we tell them to bow their head. We also need them to know that you truly care about them and are not just pushing your beliefs on them.

Understanding others is serving others, loving others and as Christians we have a great opportunity to lead this chaotic world in understanding each other better and uniting us more.

PS: Don't ask my wife if I am 100% perfect at this, but you can ask her if I have gotten better since we got married.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


18 days until we leave for a four month furlough. I have been ready for this furlough for a few weeks now. I really didn’t like our last furlough too much, but I am looking forward to this one. I am ready to rest and refocus. My mind has been scattered lately. Things are going well here, the study groups are growing and our friendships expanding, but my long term goals have fogged up. I have gotten into a daily rhythm that does not address those goals and lives for the present ministry, which could be fine if it were not for these other goals. 

I am ready to go out with my wife by ourselves fairly often. I am ready to watch football all day on a Saturday with chips and cheese dip. I am ready to see my in-laws new farm/house that they bought and we are going to stay at. I am ready to eat out at good restaurants. I am ready to take my girls to Disney and spend, oh wait, no I’m not…(but we are going to go for a day after our conference).  

I have a problem, well, a blessing with having all these ideas that I want to do to change the world. Occasionally I realize that the possibility of accomplishing a great idea is not likely and start to give up on them. Then sometimes I am really motivated. Lately the motivation has been random. In the last couple of months I have pulled out two different book files and randomly worked on them, have worked on the Servant Leadership translations for a new website to launch to help Brazilian leadership with training materials, have started doing short podcasts in English for Brazilians, and have worked on a long term business idea to supplement support for missionaries. But these tasks are all just in the beginning of the long processes it will take to accomplish them. 

The word the Brazilians use for furlough is the same word for vacation. That always bothers me cause it usually isn’t. We will arrive in Chattanooga on a Monday and leave for a conference on Friday. So far we have a couple of meetings in November and then a couple in January as well as visiting our Chattanooga churches. If you want us to go to your church, let us know. Fortunately we are not needing to book new churches for support at this time, but we are available to speak if it works out for both of us. We look forward to meeting up with many of you! But I also look forward to focusing on the tasks we have in front of us.  

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Presidential Qualities

I am glad I am not a politician. The family and personal attacks would really bother me. Last presidential race Herman Cain dropped out because of such attacks. I liked him because he had the main idea down. The President does not have to know everything, but he has to surround himself with people who do.

Here are a few characteristics we should look for in a Presidential candidate:
1. Humility- Someone who is humble will be willing to admit he doesn't know everything. No one knows everything, but there are plenty of people who think they do. If you think you do, you will not seek out advice. Proverbs says there is wisdom in the multitude of counselors. A humble person is also able to admit their mistakes. People are much more forgiving of mistakes when you take the blame. It is hard to attack someone when they are already pointing to themselves.

2. Service- Can we say of any presidential candidate that they are there to serve the country? I know they are there to serve; serve their own interests or the interests of special interest groups. This is not the right service. The office was created for service to the American people. I can imagine how interest groups started in politics and I can only imagine it starting in secret; now it is in the open, everyone knows and it is still allowed. Why? Can we not find someone with the service of the country in mind?

3. Courage- Tony Dungy in his book "Uncommon" refers to courage as standing by one's convictions. First of all, one has to have the correct convictions, but also be able to say no to what is wrong, or even to what is not right at that moment. The country right now is in lots of debt. Plenty of people "need" the government's help, but if the politicians keep saying yes to everything, they will soon have to say no to everything when there is no longer any money left to spend. Can we find a President who will have the courage to say no to the norms of present government to return the country to the government our founding fathers created and the one which made this country so great?

4. Honesty- Integrity is not common these days. Dishonesty is the norm, especially amongst politicians. Everyone can point to promises that were made and not fulfilled. If you are honest, you never have to remember what you did or didn't say. A trustworthy President would go a long ways in gaining confidence with the American people. But the American people also pressure presidential candidates into making promises. Can we look for a candidate that has priorities rather than promises?

5. Leader- We need a President who can lead our country back to greatness. A President who finds the right people for the right job independent of anything else. A leader who will pass down high requirements for leadership so that those high qualifications will be esteemed in the eyes of us everyday Americans. Brazil right now is suffering economically largely because of the corruption within the government, but the word on the street is that it is not just the government. The everyday Zé (Joe) is corrupt as well; so how should they expect the government to be any different. The same goes for the US.

Truly the President is just a representation of the American people and if the American people like you and me are not displaying these characteristics, how will we expect a President who does as well? Take the steps you need to take to stay informed about government through reading and research, but also take the steps in character development. If we are not where we should be character wise, how should we expect our government to be?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Bits August

Disciple making is the main command of Matthew 28:19-20. Lots of times we immediately think of conversion as the command, but it isn't; it is the whole process. As we ponder this, we realize that every step in disciple making is important. This month we have seen many steps made in this process and it is pretty exciting.

I thought about stopping with the football ministry for a while. It seemed no one was interested in the studies from the team. But this month, in most of the studies there have been 3-6 guys coming out. A couple of them have been very faithful and even though they have not made a decision yet, they are enjoying the study, coming back, learning, and more importantly, hearing the gospel just about every week. 

Besides this, the team is having me do a short devotional talk each week. The team is very respectful during these times and I am grateful for these opportunities. We have also continued to have English conversation which has opened more doors as far as kids interested in other studies.

Gabriel is over halfway done with the Story of Hope with me and really enjoying it and wanting to dig deeper. His study time is a highlight in my week as his interest really encourages me. I am sure you will hear more about Gabriel in future emails. 

Sarah has been busy with Evelyn doing school. Evie was also able to go back to her Brazilian school and visit her friends there. She constantly invites her friends to our studies. 

We are supposed to start construction on the walls of the church this month! The floor plans are just about ready for the church and so Carlos is working on contracting the workers for the start. Pray this goes well! Pray he finds the right workers for the job, as good trustworthy workers are hard to find. Then pray that the money will come in for it. The dollar is super high right now, so our money goes a lot further! If you want to give towards it, let me know, we will let you. :) 

Once again, we will be in the states from October 12 to February 8, so if you would like us to speak at your church, please let us know. As of this moment we do not need to search for new churches to support us during this furlough, Praise the Lord! God has provided through many of you; Sarah and I are amazed at you all's generosity lately. God bless you all!

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, and my soon to be 6 year old (Sept 20) who is doing well in school, riding her bike without training wheels, and rattling off in English and Portuguese, and our little energizer bunny that is jabbering away, running away, and taking away our hearts with her extreme cuteness.