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!