May 2021 Newsletter
We trust that all of our ministry partners are doing well. The Lord is good and we continue to rejoice and praise Him for His blessings and faithfulness. We desire to be faithful to Him as well. The past couple of months have been full of opportunities to witness and shine the Light of God’s love.
CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TURN THE LIGHTS ON?
This was the theme of our recent men’s retreat. We were privileged to have a guest from our home church, missionary Jay Aarseth. We had 15 men attend our men’s retreat and we learned about something that really gets in the way of our growth process in the Christian life: idols of the heart. One thing that made my heart glad was that throughout the days and evenings the men discussed the topic and its implications in their own lives. I love it when the sermon and teaching continue on through personal application after the “service” is over!
Bro. Jay also preached to our entire church on missions. It was a blessing to us all to be challenged in our responsibility as individuals and collectively as a church to have the heart of God for missions. My prayer is for God to raise up men and women who would respond to God’s call to take the Gospel to the world, both near and far.
Another result of Bro. Jay’s ministry here was an increased interest in studying theology. Several men commented on their interest in further study throughout Bro. Jay’s time here. So we are excited about holding our very first theology module later this year. So far, we have 14 men and women that want to study. We will be conducting the module during a two-week period with classes each night. Please pray for further details to all be worked out according to God’s perfect plan!
I’m thrilled with the response of our people and with Bro. Jay’s willingness to minister to them. I’m also thankful that even in the midst of the pandemic and even though Brazil is considered an epicenter for Covid-19, we are still able to preach and teach God’s Word which knows no limits. We do ask that you pray for this teaching ministry. We are confident that God’s Word will work powerfully in the lives of the people here.
DEALING WITH COVID-19
On a sad note, we have recently walked with church family though the loss of loved ones. One of our young men lost an aunt due to complications from Covid-19. Also, one of our faithful ladies lost her father to the same situation. For both of them, the situations were similar physically. Intubation. Heart failure. Kidney failure. And ultimately death. As usual, death has brought a sudden reality check for many of those family members.
One contrast between the two was the financial situation which resulted in drastically different levels of medical care. One family was able to provide a private medical evacuation jet to take their loved one to a highly advanced medical facility. The other was at the mercy of the public healthcare system with a waiting list of 100 people for a spot in ICU. The end result was the same. This was a difficult yet real lesson to learn. Financial abundance cannot buy health. In the end the final say isn’t up to those who have more.
Obviously we don’t come out and say that to grieving people. They themselves have admitted this reality. In those times, we have one response: Be prepared to meet your Maker. It’s an open door to point someone to the Savior. Please pray for the young man and the lady in our church as they respond to their family members by pointing them to God’s Word and God’s Son.
Locally, our city has been dealing with max capacity at the medical facilities. ICUs have been at 100% capacity for several weeks. Due to this, we are under restrictions. As far as the church is concerned, we are permitted to hold in-persons services. However, they are being limited to 25% max capacity. Curfews are in place. Supermarkets and all other businesses are limiting the amount of customers who enter, etc. We do ask for your prayers for this matter as we have had quite a few church members hospitalized over the past few weeks.
UPDATE ON THE FAMILY
The kids are on their summer break now! Melissa is enjoying a well deserved break from the daily homeschool routine. Our three youngest children celebrated birthdays in April. Joshua turned 9, Liam turned 7 and Lívia turned 5. We definitely had our fill of birthday cake last month! Alec, Joshua and Liam continue to play soccer twice a week. Eli and Alec continue to develop their running skills. Troy is excelling at running and cycling and beginning to seriously thinking about college. Where does the time go?
In a couple of weeks we will make a quick trip to the USA to spend some time with family. We are looking forward to this opportunity to rest a little bit and make memories. The kids are super excited about seeing grandparents and playing with cousins. And Melissa and I are looking forward to eating our mothers’ cooking once again.
We want to thank you for your encouragement, continued prayers and support!
Taking the Light of Christ to Brazil!
Josh, Melissa, Troy, Eli, Alec, Joshua, Liam & Lívia