Saturday, February 18, 2012

They're Back!

I can't tell you what a blessing it has been to have James and Christen back.  We've had many, many conversations, often late into the night, and that's just in the first week.  It is so encouraging to have family who are our close partners in ministry, who love Jesus, who share our love for the people we work with, and value the things we value. 

The day they arrived, David, Gabriel and I headed to the airport to pick them up.  We were right on schedule and had planned to stop at a church member's house to pick up his car since not everyone would fit in ours.  It was raining, and about 10 minutes into our drive, our car broke down.  Thankfully, this ...

... is the place we broke down in front of.  Rough translation:  "Did your car break down?  Badu fixed it."  However, the sign does not include the disclaimer that if it's between noon and two, Badu will not be available to fix your car.  So David called a friend to come pick him up and Gabriel and I got a city bus back home to wait. 

Gabe enjoying the bus ride

6 people and 2 suitcases and several carry-ons fit into this car

Both David and Neguinho missed James' company :)


Big cousin Hannah has lots of fun stuff for Juju to play with

Brazilian pizza for their first night back
The next evening, our church group surprised James and Christen by all showing up at our house, serenading them with a couple of songs and bringing lots of food for us all to eat.  It was their idea and I thought that it was a really special way to make James and Christen feel welcome.

 (you'll never guess what that cake is made out of -- layers of sandwich bread with beets, carrots, ham and chicken salad, all covered with mayonnaise "icing" and decorated with peas and tomatoes -- it was delicious)

It was great to have a good group of people out for our Sunday services the next day.  Please continue praying for us and our work here in Brazil.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Random Thoughts

Life has been keeping us busy these days.  David is preparing 8 messages to preach at a youth retreat next week, and we are getting things in order for James and Christen's arrival this week (yay!) and the transition that will follow as we get ready to leave for furlough. 

We have been blessed with the arrival of three new families in our church.  They are believers and are already jumping in and helping where they can -- music, cleaning the church, taking care of the nursery, and this week the men are going to help David clear off the empty lot beside the church building so that it can be used.  It has been so encouraging to see them embracing our little group of new believers as their brothers and sisters in Christ, even though they didn't know them until about a month ago.  The body of Christ is awesome. 

On Saturdays, David goes out and does some door-to-door witnessing.  Usually he goes alone, but this week he had someone unexpected join him.  They came to one house and clapped (the Brazilian version of ringing the doorbell), and then they clearly heard the lady of the house yell to her daughter, "I don't want to speak to evangelicals!"  David was ready to walk on, but Roberto, who was with him, suggested he wait a minute.  When the woman saw Roberto, her expression changed as she recognized him as the photographer who had recently taken some family pictures of them.  She invited him and David in, and listened while David presented the gospel to her.  She said that she plans on taking her two teenage children to visit our church sometime, so please pray that she does.

Thank you letters were given to the parents of the kids who came to our club a couple of weeks ago, and in the letter was the address for the church website.  One girl, who has been coming to our services since the club, left a comment on the website saying that she loved our church and that her life is already being changed and that she wants to accept God.  Please pray for Duda, that she will understand the gospel, place her faith in Christ, and be transformed by God.

I was recently giving a gospel presentation using the worldless book bracelets to my Wednesday night children's class.  Larissa, a little girl who has been coming with her family for almost 2 years now, asked me how does someone place their faith in Christ.  She and I talked after class about it, and after our conversation, she said that she would like to place her faith in Christ and prayed, asking God to forgive her of her sins and asking for His help to trust in Him.

Larissa, on the right

We are so glad to have James and Christen and their kids back with us.  We've had a lot of good conversations, but there's a lot to catch up on after 8 months apart.  Their arrival here deserves its own post, so I will blog about that later this week. 

Cousins Juliana and Hannah getting reacquainted