Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
We picked Odair off the streeet on a rainy night after a long conversation about how he had decided to get clean and start a real, healthy journey. That same night we contacted a recovery center and took him into the blessing of the Sition Shalom. Even though Odair remained only for 2 months, our relationship with Sitio Shalom has developed, and Mark has become a weekly volunteer. As a social worker, Mark is naturally passionate about these programs and has much to offer the guys and the directors.
Our semester has been very influened by our interns, Amanda and Carol, who have integrated themselves beautifully into the rhythm of our lives and have exceeded any standard for interns we could have set. They impacted the youth group by connecting to each teenager. The four of us implemented a rotation of Social Saturdays and Service Saturdays; where one week there would be a social activity, and the next we would serve together. We have watched the youth group merge into a community that seeks time together, accepts outsiders wi love and desires to serve together.
I should also mention that our home becomes some sort of hostile on the weekends. We receive between 4 and 8 friends from out of town, who come for food, conversations, prayers and fun. This group has become a family that is pursuing God and truth and spreading the good news of love.
We were also involved with the married couples ministry this semester. It is a ministry that we enjoy because we are the youngest couple, and it gives us a chance to be with a different, more experienced crowd.
We rejoiced with 2 very special people in our lives that proclaimed their faith in Christ publicly: Bruninho, who we met thru the first Highland Campaing in 2000; and Myuwa, who came to church thru Yeski, and English school owned by a couple of our church memebers.
This fall has also been marked by conferences that have helped us mold and mature our ideas and philosophy of minitry. Lou Secker offered a leadership retreat for the Itu church leadership, Chris Frizzel brought the Itu church a wonderful seminar on unity in the body of Christ, a group of Continent of Great Cities women treated all missionary women and wives to an enriching and restorative week of rest and encouragement. Mark and I and a few of four friends also drove south to participate in an Alpha Course Conference, a great evangelism tool developed in England and Just translated into Portuguese this year.
Mark and I were blessed by our American community as well. We received several visitors and family members that came to meet and love our world. Many came and blessed the church with their gifts and offerings. April, a cousin from Seattle, heard we were gathering clothes for Sitio Shalom, so she brought a bag full of men clothing. Rolando Diaz, a Cuban-Ameircan artist friend of ours, wanted to help the church with the building construction, so he came and did several art shows and all proceeds went to the building fun.
What does next semester hold?
Mark and I will participate in several youth camps and conferences as leaders of the teenagers all around Brazil.
We will be hosting two interns, one as a returnee, and the other fresh out of college.
We will begin a young married and engaged couples group.
We will be planning and hosting a bilingual youth camp, our first medical campaign, the building’s innauguration, and Praise Festival in June/July
We pray that the community around us will continue to grow in depth and numbers.
greater things have yet to come --