We trust that this letter finds you all doing well! In our last letter I mentioned that we were entering our spring season. We are now in full blown summer! It seems that from one day to the next the temps soar. Currently we are in the driest and hottest part of the year in our region. The usual characteristics for this time of year include fires all around which leave the air with the looming smell of smoke and floating black ash. As we drive around we see many black fields where the fires have left their mark. We’ve been experiencing temps above 100ºF the past couple of weeks. However, the rainy season is upon us. It’s around this time every year that people begin to get anxious for rain. The heat leaves everyone feeling “blah” and we all talk of the coming rains. When will it rain? I hope it will rain soon!
What strikes me most about the annual cycle this year is the fact that we should apply this longing desire for rain to our spiritual lives. I’ve thought lately about this question: “What if I wanted the Lord Jesus to return as badly as I wanted the rain to fall?” What if our conversations were so consumed with the groaning of this broken world and the longing for the return of our Savior to take us home to glory? Do you look for (wait for; long for) His coming? That has been the Holy Spirit’s lesson for my heart lately.
One of my favorite things to do is baptize believers. Here in Brazil baptism seems to be a much more serious decision for most people than it does for those in the US (at least for those in the Bible belt where I was raised). People here want to learn abut the importance of baptism. They want to know why they should be baptized. Many of them were “baptized” as a baby or young child in the Catholic church. So this often creates opposition from their family. This has been our experience over the last nearly 13 years we have served in Brazil. And it was no different the past few months.
On last Sunday (10/4) we celebrated that baptism of 6 people! It was a joyous occasion. It was especially so for Luciana because her husband and two children were baptized together. I’ve requested prayer for Ederson in other letters. A couple of months ago he indicated that he was ready to be baptized. It was a long process for him to come to this decision. His mother expresses a lot of ridicule for the evangelical church that “baptizes people over again”. He knew that his choice to be baptized (along with his two daughters) could stir up some strife within the family. But he was ready. He understood the importance of obedience to this command of Jesus as well as his public profession of faith in Christ and expression of the Gospel that is clearly revealed in baptism.
Another young lady, Karine, also faced opposition from her family. The night before the baptism she was saddened because her father, mother and sister denied going to the baptism. But Karine was sure of her decision. Then at the last minute, on Sunday morning, her mom and sister changed their minds. They were present to witness Karine’s baptism and expressed joy to see what it was like. Later, during the church service, Karine’s mom and sister heard a clear presentation of the Gospel message (along with several other unsaved visitors). Please pray that they also will come to faith in Jesus Christ.
In September we finished up a couple’s Bible study. We enjoyed our weekly meetings with these couples and are excited about what all we learned and applied to our marriages. Please continue to pray for growth and wisdom as the enemy continues to attack families.
I’ve probably said this a hundred times, but we are getting closer to being able to use our church building. It has been a slow and tedious process but it is going forward. One of the things that we’ve faced over the last several months is the soaring prices of construction supplies. For example, in the last three months electrical wiring has doubled in price. Although it is disappointing to see that happen so quickly we still have seen the Lord provide for each step of the way. As I’ve mentioned before, it seems that as soon as we finish one phase (and the money seems to be depleted) then God sends more so that we can continue. We are grateful for each of you who have been a part of this process.
Our hurdle right now is the race to get in the building before the rainy season starts. Since we are meeting in the garage/front yard area of our home, we know that we are on the countdown before the rain starts. Right now we are concluding the electrical wiring and window and door installation. The next steps will include finishing up the bathrooms and also installing the plaster ceilings.
We are grateful for one of our members who volunteered to purchase and install a security fence around the top of the wall that surrounds the property. We’ve had a few attempted break-ins and a couple of successful ones as well. Fortunately the things stolen were less expensive. But, nonetheless, it is frustrating that people break in and steal what people have worked hard to buy, especially for the church.
Would you consider helping us with these final details and projects on the building? You can donate via the mission agency either through mail or the website (listed at bottom of page). If you choose to send a donation by mail, make the check payable to GFMA and include “Barreiras Project” in the memo line and send to GFMA, PO Box 3326, Chattanooga, TN 37404. A big THANK YOU to all who have helped!