Wednesday, May 25, 2011

We're Still Here!

I'm sorry for the lack of blog posts recently. There has been so much going on, and besides that, we were without internet for about three weeks. So I'm going to try to be concise and fill you in on the different things going on around here.

1- We moved out of our rental house on April 28 into our own newly-built home. It's not quite finished, but things are falling into place and we are loving it. Christen wrote a great blog about our move which you can read about here. We are so thankful for all the help we got during our transition from James and Christen, my parents and some of our church people. We couldn't have done it without them. Someday, when things are a little more organized, I will post pictures of the inside of our house. Give you something to look forward to. :) But here's one for now of our main living area: living room, dining room and kitchen all in one.

Mom was SUCH a great help, taking care of the kids (and cooking and cleaning and doing laundry...) so we could pack and move.

Dad worked HARD to help us prepare the yard for grass and to get the garage cleaned out for our first service in our new house.

2- Mother's Day -- we didn't have a special program for the women, but we did have a little gift to give them and the kids sang a little song for them. We are very thankful for these women and the evidence of grace in their lives. Christen and I are doing a weekly study with them on 1Peter and it has been so encouraging to see them learning and growing in their Christian walk.

3- Baptism -- A Baptist church in a neighborhood nearby graciously lent us their facilities for us to hold a Sunday afternoon baptismal service -- our very first one! Four people took this very important step of obedience in identifying with Christ.

David gave a short message on the symbolism of baptism, being careful to explain that baptism does not play a role in our salvation, something that many churches here teach. James performed the baptisms and it was fun to see the people's reactions. Many had never seen baptism by immersion and commented on what a beautiful service it was. It's interesting because there's not much that's beautiful about someone being dunked under water and walking out soaking wet, but the joy on their faces was so obvious as they understood what their baptism meant. Buried with Christ and raised to walk in new life!

4- Church services -- Not too long ago, we moved our Sunday morning Bible study hour to Wednesday nights. The main reason was low attendance on Sunday mornings, and after a month-long trial period of offering the same study on Wednesday nights and having that service be very well attended, we made the change. Sunday mornings we meet for prayer at our house. This has turned out to be a very special time of fellowship with the ones who come as we seek God's help and guidance together. Sunday night services are also held at our house in our garage and this is working out well enough, but please continue to pray for us to find a more suitable meeting place.

Wednesday night Bible studies are currently being held in the homes of different church people. It has been a little tight to fit people in at times, but it always works out.

5- Upcoming transition -- James and Christen are wrapping up their first term here in Brazil. Praise God that everything went smoothly with them leaving their rental house and moving their belongings into a storage space. They are currently staying with us until they leave for furlough on June 6. This means that we will be on our own in ministry responsibilities and we ask that you be praying for us during these next few months.

We are thankful for Agostinho and Cristine, the Brazilian Christian couple God brought to us about a year ago, who will be stepping in to help out with some of the teaching responsibilities.

So I think you're pretty much up-to-date now. Things are happening and God is working. This morning, David is flying out to João Pessoa, the city where we worked our first year here. He was invited to be the speaker for an evangelistic conference at our old church. Please be in prayer for him when he comes to mind.