Friday, January 23, 2009

Current Events

Hello All,

As of recent the Lord has encouraged our hearts in very visible ways. Unfortunately we are more inclined to notice and cling to these blessings, as if they were better simply because we notice them. May God help us realize that each day comes loaded with benefits from the Almighty!

First off - we are grateful to have been with family for Christmas, and for the opportunity to survey the city of Florianópolis in Southern Brazil. We drove up and down different neighborhoods, looked at real estate and rental options, and even slipped in a steak house. We believe God is directing us to a city of 200K called São José, just outside Florianópolis. We believe this to be an area deficient of gospel proclamation. May God direct and bless our endeavors!

Second, we had a wonderful week of teen camp last week. 85 teenagers showed up and I believe God visited us there! We encorporated a stronger emphasis on spiritual matters, and the difference was evident. For example - one cabin of guys showed up on Monday ready to party, but by Wednesday, they repented of their attitudes, and even shared the gospel with a lost soul in their cabin. The comment as I heard it was: "We have'nt acted like Christians yet this week, but we are committed to doing that now!" This kind of change of mind seems to be evidence of the Holy Spirit's work! I was very encouraged on Friday evening as one of the teens gave evidence of saving grace in his life with a wonderful testimony of genuine conversion! Praise God!

Last, but not least, we are grateful for a 21 year old named Israel. He attended our church all day on Sunday at his own will. After the service, one of our deacons began sharing Christ with him. After a while I was invited to the conversation, and so I too questioned his reasons for wanting to be saved. Israel made a profession, but I would ask for your prayers for him. He seemed to be looking for relief from his problems, vs. redemption from his sin! I was as clear as I know how and my visits to his house have already begun! May this be true repentence and genuine conversion, and may Israel follow Christ all the days of his life!

These are some of the joys. There are many more that are brewing and we will keep you posted! God bless you all and please do not forget us in your daily talks with our Sovereign Lord!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy 2009!

With all the Christmas activities at church and then getting ready for a three-week trip to visit family in South Brazil, I've neglected to keep up with our blog. This will be a quick summary of the month of December for us.

Since every Saturday night, the men, women and teens each have their own meeting, they each also had their own Christmas party. I spoke at the women's Christmas get-together and David spoke at the men's and teens' get-togethers.

This is a pretty typical cake to have at parties. Gotta love the huge chocolate shavings on top. So good!

One of the families at Valentina have a little beach house that they graciously make available to the church for special occasions. The men had their Christmas party there.

The teens went to the beach at night and had fun playing games in the sand.

I taught the kids a couple of new Christmas songs and had them present them at our Christmas service. The picture doesn't do it justice, but the kids all dressed up in costumes -- angels, shepherds, Mary and Joseph, wise men -- and sang their songs. The first song started off by inviting children from different lands to come see the newborn Jesus, so some of the kids were dressed in outfits from different countries (hence the little boy wearing a sombrero in the manger scene) and they gathered around Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus. It was a lot of work to put that short presentation together, but it was worth it and the kids did a great job.

The past couple of weeks we have been in Curitiba spending time with our families. We had some difficulty getting here since we forgot to take any kind of document for Gabriel to travel and then our flights kept getting delayed, but we made it only about 7 hours after we were originally supposed to have gotten in.

Gabriel is having fun playing with his cousins. He especially loves to follow Jeremiah around, who is less than a year older than Gabriel. I can see those two getting into a lot of trouble together ...

David and Gabriel model their Christmas presents -- their soccer team jersey. Note: I do not claim this team. I cheer for a team that's actually good. Haha.

My parents, Gabriel and I at the New Year's Eve service at the church where David grew up. The service started at 9 PM and David was the special speaker. Then we had supper around 10:30 and everyone stayed until past midnight to bring in the new year together.

So that's it in a nutshell. Tomorrow David heads to Florianopolis with his brother and Dad, so I'm guessing our next blog will be about his trip. Happy New Year from the Taylors in Brazil!