Saturday, December 31, 2016

Bits December

Well, last month I told you we were going to party a lot in December. I think I underestimated our partying. We did birthday parties, end of the year parties, wedding partying and family partying. I guess we are turning Brazilian! They love their parties! 

Gabriel and Andressa have been going to our Bible studies for a while now and have been pretty consistent. In November they were married in the civil court and did not have a formal ceremony. So on Sunday the 11th we told them we were having a get together that night for just our Bible study group (we had service that morning) and we planned a surprise wedding for them. Yeah, sounds kind of funny...well, it was kind of funny. But it was also beautiful and fun. (more pictures are on facebook of all these events!) A wedding planner in our group had a dress for her to change into and we had the ceremony planned out. Everyone had a blast and Gabriel and Andressa were thrilled.

The following week we had a service with a baptism followed by the end of the year parties for our Bible study group as well as the football and cheerleading teams. Gabriel and Andressa were baptized as well as Pedro, Bia's brother. The get together was a lot of fun as we had team awards and then games. 

A couple days later we went out to Tupanatinga to have our party and last study for the year. The new couples have been consistent in coming to the studies and are really involved in the studies. It has been neat to hear many changed life testimonies for this year. Rodryggo and Danielle have not made a public decision but ask many questions and have been understanding a lot! They don't miss a study! 

Christmas Eve brought some surprises as well. Walter, who often attends our studies, is from Afogados, a town we considered moving to in our arrival to the Sertão. His family from Afogados was all in town and he invited me to give a Christmas devotional to them before their Christmas Eve dinner. It was a neat opportunity to meet people from a future town we would like to get a church in! Due to traditional tardiness, we were able to get to know them a little more as well! 

On Christmas night we had a dinner at our house with our Bible study group and had basically a Thanksgiving time (they don't have thanksgiving here....). We are grateful for all the friends we have here and told them that they are family to us. So many here go above and beyond for us and we are so grateful. Sounds similar to you all who are reading this who have done so much for us that it leaves us humble thinking of what little we deserve.

On January 13 we head back to the US for three months! Please pray for our travels as we will be in North Carolina, Virginia, Michigan, Georgia, Tennessee and I imagine a couple more places. Let us know if you want us to come to the church. We will be showing a furlough video that will be posted online soon and all the love offerings this furlough will go to the church construction that is really looking sharp lately! My course right now is Strategic Planning and so I am evaluating most areas of my life now. Let me know if you have anything I need to get right! haha.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! May this year bring you closer to Christ and may we all make more disciples together!

All for HIS glory,
David, my beautiful bride of 10 years as of this month, our little two Polly pocket lovers, the older of which is loving her new roller blades and even can go backwards, and the other who thinks the has two moms in the house most of the time; I don't know how Sarah does not get confused when Anna Claire is calling Evelyn Momma! 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Misconceptions about China

We just took a two week trip to China a couple weeks ago and I noticed a few differences than my previous conceptions about China and thought I would share them. Of course, it was only two weeks in just a couple of towns and so it can in no way be for sure; so I wouldn't state these all as facts, just my opinion. 

1. Dangerous. My first thought about Sarah’s sister being in China is that she is in grave danger. But there is little dangerous crime in China. The Chinese are not really violent. Honor is very important to the Chinese. So to be caught doing anything dishonorable would be very shameful. So while they may do petty thefts at the right opportunity, the major stuff is not too common. Even in the sense of not allowing certain religions to act. They may not allow it, but they are not going to imprison foreigners for doing anything; worst case scenario would taking away their Visa. It seems that living in China is much safer than living in South America. (not a fact, just opinion).

2. Food. Chinese mainly eat dog and cat. Not necessarily true; it seems they ate more chicken and pork. Although I did find out that dog is acceptable in the winter months because it is a warm food. I didn’t really see the grilled scorpions and cockroaches, which does not mean they don’t exist. 

3. Everything is made in China. Not true. Just 99% of things. The ports in Hong Kong are huge! Lots of containers all over. There is a lot of money in China too. I am sure there are parts of China that are poor, but it seems like the Chinese are doing alright for themselves. 

4. No structure. Well, I guess I shouldn’t label this a misconception since I hadn’t heard anything before about the structure. But China seems well structured. Sarah and I were amazed by the complexity of the cities. How difficult it must have been to have an adequate transportation for so many people. There are a lot of people in China. All over. Traffic could get pretty heavy; trains were loaded and buildings were everywhere. 

5. Everyone looks the same. We all have this idea about Asians that they all look alike. But in my experience there were all kinds of different people in China and they did not look alike. I thought that interesting especially since we have that misconception. It is neat to know that God has made us all different and loves us all the same. There are so many Chinese and God cares for each one of them! 

A couple other notes: There are people people everywhere! Not many speak English; I thought a lot more would. 

Note:Both these pictures were actually taken in Hong Kong on our way out of China. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Bits November

Our monthly service this month shocked me. The night before, our boss Cal, who had visited for a few days, asked me how many people I thought we would have suggesting maybe 50. I laughed and said, no, that would be nice, but probably more like 25-30. The next day people just kept showing up. It was neat to see Cal get it right and neater to see everyone come in. A few days later we concluded our Thursday night study through the Story of Hope with all three ladies choosing to believe! They want to continue the study going through the Way to Joy.

The following week the football played in the semi-finals versus an experienced and undefeated team. We went up on them at the beginning and gave them a good scare, but in the end our inexperience, injuries and exhaustion caught up to us and we lost. It was Tyler’s last game with us and he was a pleasure to have with us for almost 5 months. We had a going away party for him after our Sunday night Bible study. The house packed out and they talked about how his testimony had affected them. It was neat to see the fruit of his labor. 

A couple days later we all drove to the airport. Tyler headed to Minnesota and we started our trip to China. What a trip! We flew to Rio, then Amsterdam and then Hong Kong where we got in a car for three more hours. After battling the travel we battled the Jet Lag. Fortunately, living in Brazil, we have never had to deal with it. As I type on the plane headed back I ask for your prayers as we will be battling it again for a few days!

On our first Sunday I was able to preach in the Brazilian service at the church. The Brazilians in China were very receptive and interested in our lives. The backgrounds of each of the Brazilians there are very different religiously and so it was interesting speaking and then later teaching the Good Soil seminar. That Saturday we started at 9 in the morning and ended a little before 5 in the afternoon with a good Brazilian churrasco (barbecue) for lunch! The day was fun and filled with learning. The Good Soil seminar seeks to equip the learner with a good theology of evangelism as well as being able to teach a chronological Bible study (Story of Hope) as well as a discipleship book (Way to Joy). 

Towards the end of the day the students were writing out their testimonies, which are normally divided in before salvation, how God changed you, and your life since being saved. Ivoni had written out her life before salvation, but then was stuck at that point as she knew she had not really been saved. The ladies Bible study leader Gabi called me over and we were able to help Ivoni know exactly how to be saved. After telling this to the group a few minutes later, many went over and gave her a big hug. 

On Monday Sarah taught the women's Bible study. Evidently there was laughing, crying and lots of food. I know that Sarah did a good job relating with the women who all live overseas. 

Soon I will put a more lengthy post about China on our blog. Daniel and Anna work in an international school there and do a great job. Lives are certainly impacted in the school as they mainly reach internationals that live in China. It is good to know we have family making a huge difference in people’s lives! 

This month we will be partying! Some of you know that I am a bit of a tight wad. In Portuguese they say I have a cow’s hand (tightfisted). The last time Sarah convinced me to throw another birthday party she used the excuse that parties are ministry. They get people connected with us, church members and wherever our church meets. She convinced me. In China the other internationals said about the Brazilians that they will do whatever as long as there is a party involved. So we are going to party through December as we celebrate Christmas, year’s end and Sarah and I’s 10th anniversary! Pray our partying is impactful! Also pray as I am planning on teaching the Good Soil seminar possibly two or three times. Speaking of partying; a couple weeks ago a big gift came in for the construction! End of the year is a great time to give, so let us know if you would like to help out; or don’t let us know, just send it in! :)

Thanks for your love. Thanks for your sustaining prayers. Thanks for your support. Thanks to God for His many blessings on us and you all. We love you all and have a wonderful December!

All for HIS glory,

David, Sarah, our firstborn, who wants to be involved in organizing and carrying out everything, daughter Evie who seemed intrigued with speaking some Chinese, and our imaginative Anna Claire who flip flops on whether she wants to be bossed around by her sister. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Disagreeing without unfriending

The polarity of beliefs and passions in the world right now seems to be shattering relationships left and right. Last week I was eavesdropping on a conversation in the airport where a grandfather was not going to be able to see his grandchildren for Christmas because of how he voted. His children would not allow their children to be around anyone who would vote for a certain candidate. I constantly observe unfriending project declarations on facebook. Boycotts are declared through hashtags and trends. 

I wish that I could say I have avoided unfriending and all arguments and that no one has ever been mad at me, but that would not be true. I have said my share of stupid and enraging comments. But I have also learned from reading, research and experience that there are ways you can state your point without losing friendships. 

Listening and learning about others’ point of view is important to earning respect in conversations. Stephen Covey says to seek to understand. Do not assume you know the others’ argument. Ask yourself the question, “why would a rational human being think this way?” Most people are not clearly off their rockers. People are influenced often by people they care about or stories or statistics they have heard. Listen for those stories as well. The LGBTQ community is  hurting, minorities have been hurt, Christians are nervous about their rights. Passion is usually not driven by empty substance. Recognize good points and common ground with the other person. 
Make observations, not accusations. We are quick to judge. Instead of jumping to the accusation, state how you think they feel and ask if what you are observing is correct. When they reply and you do not agree, talk about the issue, not the person. Attacking someone will rarely win them over to your viewpoint (I only do not say never, because you should never use the word never when arguing). Attacking does nothing positive for any argument. Remember that there is another person on the other end of the argument. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you! The popular thing to do is attack and polarize, but how about deciding to be part of the solution here and take steps to building bridges rather than bombing them. 

Explain how you feel while being respectful to the other person. Remember,  a soft answer turns away wrath. I have witnessed many arguments be defused by a soft answer. I guess people think the cultural norm is to attack and when they realize their responder is not attacking they seem to be pretty likely to calm down. Always focus on the friendship in arguments. Do what is right for the friendship. Abraham Lincoln said “Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends with them?” When explaining your argument, talk about how something makes you feel; people cannot argue with your feelings. Also, leave a way out for those with whom you are discussing. Do not back people into corners, they may bite. 

If you are a Christian, be salt and light. Someone losing their respect for God because of the viewpoints of one of His people is not worth it. Viewpoints come and go but eternity is forever. Also remember that we cannot expect non-Christians to live with Christian standards (even if the good ole USA was founded on those values). 

How about listing some more tips below. These suggestions are not end all. There are many tips that can go with this theme.

(Tips from this article come from Stephen Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people, the Bible and Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People).  

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Letter to the President Elect

Dear President Elect Donald Trump,
Congrats on your win! You overcame a lot of adversity and were courageous to take on the Washington machine. You do not seem to bend to government norms which could be good for all of us. We live in an ever-increasing dangerous world that will require much wisdom to navigate. One aspect that I appreciate you is your understanding of surrounding yourself with experience that you need to be successful. I hope that you realize how much that helped you win the election and that you will not discard that upon being President.

I also pray for your humility. You barely won a race against a lifetime criminal in a country with growing suspicion of politicians. Most who voted for you were really voting against her. Few people trust your words and you are going to have to earn that trust back. Earn it through humility and respect. Words are powerful and can both build and burn bridges. There are many burnt bridges around you. Look to mend them as you try to mend that country. Your speech of unity is a very good start, but is also a common theme in post election speeches; don’t let it fade. 
The Bible makes it clear that God is in control and can change that control at will. You have surrounded yourself with God fearers like Ben Carson and Mike Pence. Learn with them how to fear the Lord and walk in His way. God has given us keys to life, governing and getting along with people; use them! Be an example in word and action. I know that you have a long past, but God forgives and changes people; seek Him. For some reason you awakened the evangelical vote in your favor, now may their God be awakened in you. 

Lastly, get some sleep! There is a lot of work to be done! God bless America!


Thursday, November 3, 2016


I finished a book yesterday that I had started the day before. Rarely does that ever happen. Fortunately someone drove to the park two hours away on a day off and I sat in the back and ignored everyone (not completely to give myself a little credit). Developing oneself is one's greatest asset. No one needs to remain ignorant in life. In the internet age, knowledge is at our fingertips; no one can say they do not have access to more knowledge. Even in remote places one can always talk to someone older to learn.

But often we are lazy about it. We scroll down and numb ourselves with superficial information like how many pieces of pizza your childhood neighbor ate last night and seeing a puppy follow a goat around.

When I read my mind goes crazy; I dream bigger, am more inspired and grow mentally. Life skills are in all kinds of books, articles, videos and audios and are there to make the world a better place. Take advantage of the minds that have gone ahead of you.

The book that I read is from a marketing company that sells information. My thoughts are "why buy information that I have for free?" But then I realize that I do not take advantage of the free information I do have. This company compensates you for getting smarter, which is a pretty interesting idea.

So instead of scrolling down as your mind numbs up, try a TED talk, documentary or book. When this becomes a habit you have nothing to lose!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Bits October

I talked with Robson and Nilson about the future of the Cetak training center as we ate a cultural dish of escondinho (meat, cheese and a root similar to potato called macaxeira). Robson just moved into one of the 11 houses that are now right around our church property. He is catholic and his wife is spiritist, but both are excited about the courses we will be offering at the training center. He also would like to play some soccer there at the property soon. I was able to share the gospel that day with these two, but the gospel here takes time to sink in, for the people to fully grasp what salvation really means.

People here are very open to God, the Bible and Jesus. Our football team received Bibles and have loved having them and thanked me often. They ask for me to pray during our practices and games and I have often spoken the gospel to them, but it takes them a while to understand their need for repentance and salvation. Soon and very soon there will be more and more disciples here and we are excited about the huge platform God has given us through football, cheerleading, English and other opportunities. 

This month I was invited to a school in a nearby community called Caraibas. From the highway you can barely see that there is a community, but the school has 600 students! They asked me to come talk about the US to the English students. Upon arrival I saw that it was a school assembly with all 300 morning students (and 300 more in the afternoon)! What a neat opportunity. They asked about Trump and Hillary, the economy and many other interesting questions. Of course, my favorite is when they asked why I live in Brazil which allowed me to freely talk about God’s calling in my life. We were invited back to the school to watch their very first basketball game. Tyler and I were honored as special guests! I am not sure what God has for us in this contact, but it is neat to see God opening doors. 

Another neat open door has been Tupanatinga. We went there three times this month, 2 Bible studies and 1 birthday party. This has been a neat opportunity to have a point of ministry where we can involve others from the church in using their musical gifts for the Lord as well as minister to new people. Rodryggo and his newlywed wife Danielly have never gone to church before and now look forward to the studies. We pack out Chico and Bia’s living room and have a good time. We plan on going tomorrow (Tuesday) night for another Bible study. 

Pray for our China trip as we leave in 2 weeks! We made a video to advertise for the course we will give and the Brazilian community was excited! We will leave November 15 and arrive back in Recife at midnight on the 30th! We are not looking forward to this whole jet lag thing; so I am going to look forward to your strong prayers on our behalf!!!!!

During the last couple years with the property here God has provided finances at just the right time. Ideally we would have a few hundred thousand dollars and assurance that we can build exactly what we want as fast as we can, but God has not chosen to provide in that way. The last couple of weeks we have had meetings about how much more we can do before pausing, but then yesterday we received news of a $2000 gift that keeps us going for a little longer. It seems like it has worked that way for the last year or so. The Brazilian church continues to give some, churches in the US have come through, and individual donors have given. It is neat to see where it all comes from. Below are some amounts that we need in order to finish the first phase of the project that will last us for a good amount of time! 
Iron and cement to be the second floor ceiling/third floor- $8,653.13
Electric on the first floor- $6,562.50
Finishing the rooms on the first floor- 3,250 per room (6 rooms)- $19,500
Two bathrooms- $6250
Roof- $5000

If anyone wants to donate it all, you are welcome to, or even cover a room or phase; that would be wonderful, but what we have seen is that God has worked through many people and smaller donations to put it together to get the work done and we are grateful for every gift. 

Thanks so much for your prayers!

All for HIS glory,

David, Sarah, our big 7 year old cheerleader Evelyn minus two lower front teeth, and our OCD Anna Claire

Friday, October 21, 2016

Is the Election a Reflection?

A couple days ago I went to a school in Brazil as an american representative. The school assembly met in the gym and had representatives ask my friend Tyler and I questions about the United States and being an American. I shook my head in both in the morning and in the afternoon as they asked me about Hillary and Trump. Of all the Americans there are in the US, how did we find these two representatives?

In a democracy the people choose their President. When our founding fathers set up the system it was  a brilliant system because the President would reflect the people. Fast forward to today and we see little satisfaction in our country's candidates. How could our country choose these two? But then I go on Facebook and see the debates on people's pages and I realize exactly how we have these two candidates. They are a reflection of the people. We have turned into a bunch of debaters calling ugly names disrespecting each other! This is a true representation and it grieves me to the bone!

The truth is that both of these candidates break codes for which we, the American people, are passionate about. Trump has utterly disrespected women! Hillary is going after the unborn! What American does not have something against these ideas therefore making them passionate against either one of the candidates! Then we look at our neighbor, who is passionate about one issue that is very legitimate and we accuse them of being for an issue we are passionate against! It is a doomsday spiral!

We need to stop this disrespect for our neighbor! They are probably an entirely rational human being that is just a little different rationally than you are. Do not lose their respect and friendship over this election. Instead of looking at individuals as entirely disappointing, let's look at our culture as disappointing. We have fostered this type of negative culture and it needs to stop if we are going to survive!

Love your neighbor as yourself. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Americans are strong, patriotic, thoughtful and proactive. Let's emphasize these qualities. The difference starts with the individual and moves to the culture. Be an advocate of peace and love, not of division and hatred!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Bits September

This month we went on vacation on the beach for 5 days. We had a great time and had been looking forward to it since March! It was relaxing and healthy for us and the girls had a great time. 

This morning I woke up at 4:30 for the second time in a month to go carry concrete for the Cetak construction. We finished the first floor finally (after three phases of pouring the floor). They like to get up early and get done early with this few hour job where we have 10-20 people working. 

Our service this month went well especially considering that we moved location, day and time. We are trying Sunday mornings at a nice area right beside our house. The football guys are less likely to come in the morning, but we had people from other places including the Story of Hope study I have been doing on Thursday nights with a family of one of our study participants. We are in the NT already studying the life of Jesus and in a few weeks will be concluding. They have been around churches for a while, but are not in one currently, nor do they fully comprehend the story of the Bible.

Sarah is having a good time with cheerleading as she is up to 10 girls now and will present during the football game this month. Pray these contacts translate into disciples! 

Last night I delivered Bibles to the football team! We received a great discount on some really nice Bibles thanks to our coworker Roger Smith and the money came from Faith Baptist in State College, PA (my uncle Drew is the Pastor and my Aunt Diane organized the VBS project to raise this money). We were able to buy 50 Bibles and gave out around half last night (that is about the amount from the team that shows up to practice…). They were all really excited to receive them; one guy came over after practice to sleep and get up early and he was reading his before bed at midnight. Please pray that these guys will follow this new playbook they have!

The Servant Leaders development has been going great! Check out the site in English and think about whether your church wants any free material or mentorship to develop leaders inside the church! If you are interested or curious, shoot me an email and I can talk to you about what that would look like for you! It is probably easier than you think! 

This month we applied for Visas to go to China! Sarah’s sister Anna and her husband Daniel have lived there for a few years and we have an opportunity to go teach the Good Soil seminar to the group of Brazilians they have as well as some in English! We are planning this trip for next month! It is a pretty crazy opportunity for us! 

Also, we are planning a trip to the US for January until April. If you would like us to speak at your church, let me know and we can work on setting that up. We will be based in Chattanooga and go up to Michigan late March into April. Will be great to see the people who hold us up! Thanks so much!

All for HIS glory,

David, Sarah, my big seven year old Evelyn who got to celebrate with a tent PJ party the weekend before her birthday and on the beach for her birthday, and our little merpup(that would be a mixture of Mermaid and puppy from Paw Patrol) Anna Claire who loved the water and sand at the beach! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Downward Spiral

I originally heard about the downward spiral in the marriage book “Love and Respect”. The husband does something wrong, the wife reacts negatively; no one wants to take the blame and so it just spirals downward from there. Mainly when no one is willingly to break the cycle. 

While the spiral happens often in marriages, it happens just as often in other organizations. A team, a family, a business or in a nation. 

No one likes the results of the downward spiral, but most people dislike the out even more. The out being to admit your mistakes. A knock on your pride; a lesson in humility. No one wants a piece of humble pie!

I coach an American football team in Brazil. It has been challenging in a different culture teaching a sport that requires such discipline. How do I enforce showing up to practice when the culture so easily accepts whatever excuse? I have wanted to just play those who come to practice every time, but playing with 5 players pretty much guarantees a loss. Some on the team get mad about those who don’t practice; in turn they tend to have a bad attitude. Others on the team get mad at those who have a bad attitude. Throw in some other excuses as well and you have a team full of excuses as to why they should not buy in to the program and go all out in training for the team. It is a downward spiral! 

As I mentioned I live in Brazil, but am American. Both countries have their share of problems. I think of the racism problem in the US right now. There are plenty of people that are not racist and want to help solve the problems, but there is enough that just point to the “problems” on the other side of the fence and are not willing to point to their own problems. The quick downward spiral has been intriguing for those in the country who thought the racism problem had greatly diminished! 

Brazil is going through a crisis right now mainly due to dishonesty and theft. Many high ranking officials have put lots of money into their own accounts. The people are furious at the politicians and are trying to take them down one by one. But the very way the election process works almost requires every politician to be corrupt. When you look at the culture, there are many norms within the culture that are dishonest. The people in general are dishonest. But the finger is pointed elsewhere when looking to discover the problem. (To some people’s credit, this has been pointed out before by people saying that they themselves are the problem). 

The gospel saves us from downward spirals. Built into the gospel is the fact that we mess up; we are wrong and deserving of the worst of consequences if it were not for Jesus being humble, coming down as a man and giving His life for us. The gospel driven life triggers a humility (at least it should) that can reverse the downward spiral. Accepting that you are a sinner in need of a Savior (that is not yourself) is very freeing. Instead of pointing fingers, we inwardly realize that we need to work on ourselves first and as much as we work, it is really only God’s grace that saves us! This helps us in not so furiously accusing others. We can help to build solutions not confusion! 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Bits August

Back to school! It is back to school time for many students. I know some are excited, some aren’t. Evelyn is either or….excited or dreading depending on the different day. I, on the other hand, am nervous. It appears that I am starting school again this month…after an eleven year absence. I was reading some course description stuff wondering if my mind can handle school again. 

This month was exciting. I went to Rio for the Olympics, (you can read about that here) and had a good time as we handed out a ton of little booklets with information on the Christ Redeemer statue as well as containing a good explanation of the gospel. 

When I arrived home I had just a couple days before we played our second league football game. We were down at half 7-0, but then Sarah’s little 4-8 year old cheerleading crew did the halftime show. They did great and had fun, the fans enjoyed it, and our team went out and won 22-7 after their performance! Sarah is enjoying this new role as well as learning new information on organizing/managing. 

After our win we had our Bible study and had 30 adults and 8 kids! It was packed at our house! Sunday nights go like this: They start arriving around 7; the starting prayer usually happens around 7:30; we sing a few songs, do a Bible study as the kids go upstairs and have their own time together with Sarah; ending prayer at 8:30 and then everyone is usually out the door around 9:30! We talk and sing for a while after the study. The name of our church is Koinonia, which is greek for fellowship….so we try to hold true to our name! :) 

This month a couple that has been a part of our group since the beginning and also have their own ministry (Teen Challenge) started organizing a kid’s club together with Samaritan’s purse and we have been involved in that. The first week they gave out Christmas shoe boxes (I know….) and the second week they started the discipleship aspect of the program. The gospel was presented both weeks and the kids seem like they are having a good time. Please pray for that ministry! Saturday it rained and so we had about 75 kids and a few adults packed into a 10x20 room. 

Right after the club, while it was still raining, Tyler and I went to English conversation in the park and met with the one guy who came; João Marcelo. He has been in our group for a while and we had a great conversation. We went into the gospel and he really opened up. It was really neat! 

Construction at the church continues and hopefully the first floor ceiling (2nd floor floor) will be done this month. Lots to do still, but we are praying for us to have the space to use soon. Please continue to pray for the funds to come in. This Sunday our study was on giving out of II Corinthians 9. 

Also, in case you missed it: Here is the link for the message magazine! In it is an article on the football ministry as well as an article on the people behind the Olympic ministry. As a special added bonus, there is an article on our friend’s Maicol and Mandy who are our partners in crime for Servant Leaders. He and I are working on the translation and development in Portuguese and it is going well! Check out the English website to see about how local church leaders can be trained; there are already many videos in English and many free resources for churches to use on practical classes you don’t see everywhere! :) 

So much to say! Thanks for your patience, love, support and prayers. You all mean so much to us!

All for HIS glory,

David, Sarah, my big two schooler (that is meant to mean that Evelyn is going to two schools right now, home school and Brazilian school) and doing well in both, and our little kitty cat Anna Claire (if her five hours per day acting like a kitty cat persist we may have to survey our constituency for a free psychologist, but for now we enjoy the cuddles she gives us in the morning while acting like a cat). 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Olympics in Rio de Janeiro

On August 8 I flew from Recife to Rio de Janeiro in order to participate in the Olympics. Although rumors might have accidentally been started by me about competing, I was not there as an athlete. A group led by Dr. David Crandall, an ABWE board member and leader with Answers in Genesis went to the Olympics to evangelize. Dr. Crandall has been active in this type of large world event evangelism for the last couple of decades and has seen a great impact. I heard about the cause through our mission board ABWE as the missionaries from Brasil were asked to translate for the groups.

I thought it might be right up my alley since I do enjoy sport's ministry and so I signed up almost a year ahead of time. Upon arrival there was a diverse group of people from Peru to New Zealand, China to Brazil, and US groups from Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, California, Texas, Michigan and everywhere in between. There were around 85 of us in all with varying personalities and styles.

We started going out on Tuesday and my group went to the Ipanema beach where almost everyone accepted the booklets we had. The name of the book is "The 7th Wonder" and talked about the Christ the Redeemer statue as well as talking about the Christ of the statue. The book is very well written and provides lots of interesting information. The Brazilians in Rio took the books like candy and we soon realized that we had not printed enough in Portuguese.

We switched locations most days and only a couple days did I go back to a location. During the 10 days in Rio I went to the Christ Redeemer statue, Ipanema beach, Copacabana beach, Olympic Boulevard, Olympic Park, a major bus stop and one rainy day to a mall. Most locations had crowds of people walking past us and we just handed them out with people on the run. We did not have many lasting conversations on these days, but were very successful in getting the books into the hands of people. During the week we were told that on average each book you hand out is read by 7 different people. Since the trip we have already heard of someone from Italy getting saved upon returning home and reading the book. God chose to give us His Word in written form, which probably means that is pretty effective.

The beach days were nice to be able to talk to more people. One day I hung around a few different groups and talked for a while. I met a girl whose boyfriend was participating. She asked prayer for his grandmother since she was really sick and they didn't want to tell him before he competed. A couple other conversations went deep into the gospel and it was neat to see people thinking about their lives.

After 7 days of passing out booklets our group had passed out over 108,000 books. The 55,000 Portuguese books quickly disappeared which stalled our effort some the last couple of days. Around 20 people had made professions of faith and many more deep conversations had occurred. We received many thanks from Christians who were impressed that the group cared that much to make the trip.

One other part I enjoyed was the networking aspect of the trip. I was able to connect to a couple pastors who have been begging for someone to go work in Rio. We were able to get some leftover books to them as well as maintain contact. There is so much work to do in Brazil and around the world! It is neat to see a trip where we could help both the world and Brazil in hearing the gospel. By the way, we were able to hand out books to closed countries; people who would not be able to hear the gospel in their own country. The popular refugee team from the Olympics all received these books! We also were able to get a box of books from 10 different languages into Olympic Village to be passed out to the athletes. I watched some of my teammates congratulate a girl from Hong Kong who had participated and it was a huge step for their country.

Below is the link to the Message magazine where there is an article about this Olympic ministry (as well as the article on our football ministry here in Brazil). It has more info about the trip and the ministry Dr. Crandall is involved in.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Football opportunities in Brazil

The doors are open for football in Brazil. But what does that mean? How can Christians take advantage of this growth? I have heard of a couple of missionaries being involved with teams, but there is so much more we can do. We are already involved in camps/clinics, coaching, playing and networking. We teach character as well as the fundamentals of football during our clinics. If you played in high school or above you are probably qualified to help out. We usually have a camp in early June. We could also setup another clinic as well. If you are interested in being involved in a camp, please let me know using the contact info below.

Besides taking a 1-2 week short term trip, we could also use players to come down for 5-9 months. We currently have a graduate from University of Northwestern in St. Paul who played four years of college and has come down to play a little more as well as help with the church plant here. With football experience under his belt, he already comes out with a leverage on the players here. He can be great influence on them in little time. Brazil has many more teams and some of them are in cities with missionaries in them. You can come down with one of your friends (or we can hook you up with another player), live, work and play with them and help out a church plant as well. One cool thing is that you probably won’t have to raise support or self support yourself that much. Some of the teams have money to pay your passage and visa as well as living costs. Some might just be able to do living costs, but either way, you won’t have to self support your self that much. Some places would even find you some sort of work you could do to make some extra money (don’t expect too much though). 

We have already started looking for players to come next year in either February, March or May to stay through November or December. Ideally we would like players who have played in college and already graduated. We also need guys with character and a passion to make Jesus’ name known. Come be a part of what God is doing through football in Brazil! 

David Carrel
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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Bits July

We have a major change here that started this month. Three days before our first important game, Tyler Rust moved in to our house. A year ago I wrote 12 Christian college football coaches and told them about football in Brazil. One way I said they could help is by sending players that would be willing to help plant a church and play football. One school showed interest and out of 4 players who contacted me, Tyler ended up coming. He played four years at the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota. You can read about our exciting first win here as we beat a good team in our league 14-13. 

Last Sunday night Tyler gave his testimony to 26 adults that came to our house for our study. The Sunday night group is really growing and we have several committed faithful families! On Thursday we started another Story of Hope Bible study with the extended family of one of our families! We are excited about this! 

We have also continued to go to Tupanatinga (50 minutes away). We did two trips this month. I have taken three different musicians with me on these trips! The first time Gabriel, second time Alison and third time Pastor Ruy. Each time has been a blessing and seen different people listening to the studies. I am discipling Pedro with the Way to Joy book; studying a Proactive parenting seminar as well as teaching a Bible study. We cram it in, but it has been good for Chico and Bia there! 

Next Sunday I leave for Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics where I will be translating for an evangelistic group sent through Answers in Genesis. Pray for Sarah as she will be at home for 11 days by herself with the girls. Fortunately we have a good amount of support around us here in Arcoverde, but neither of us like being away from each other for long! (that is a good thing….) Pray also for the opportunities we will have in reaching the nations as the nations come to us in Brazil! Through this evangelistic idea many people have been reached and even churches have been planted at past Olympics and world events! 

This month we have received a couple VBS offerings with creative ideas! The whole football team will be receiving Bibles thanks to Faith Baptist in State College, PA! Then one VBS adopted one of our kid’s rooms and sent a bunch of money for decorating it! The construction has been slow this week due to the worker’s occupation at other works, but it should be starting up again soon. Our funds are up and down! Every time we raise money, we use what we raise! :) I guess that is how it works... Pray that God will continue to provide at the right moment, just as He has through this whole process. We are amazed to see where it all comes from!

This month an article about football in Brazil will come out in our mission’s “The Message” magazine! Be sure to check it out! Tyler and I are working together to invite lots more players for next year to play for different teams and help different churches throughout Brazil! I continue to be amazed at the doors God is opening through football! Please pray for this ministry. After a very exciting, strong, unifying team practice on Thursday I told them we needed to sing our hymn, or say the team prayer or something. Instead they told me to pray. I thanked God for the team and the spirit, and asked for us to be able to honor God through our team. They continue to be open to the gospel, more and more become faithful to the studies and a couple of them are thinking about salvation. 

Also, I am looking to start a Master’s program this month using the development of Servant Leader’s as a project. We developed more material this month in the program. 

We thank God for you all! Last month someone wrote saying he felt nervous about writing us and taking up our time with questions, but I assure you all that any email or letter is very encouraging; shows us your reading, and we greatly welcome and appreciate it! 

All for HIS glory,

David, Sarah, my entrepreneur Evelyn who started a cookie selling business that operates one day every other week and sells out every time and who also sends encouraging messages to all her friends on whatsapp, and my little food processor Anna Claire who eats like a teenage boy and somehow manages to spend all the energy she has just gained

Celebrating our first win!!!