The house is quiet today, at least for the moment, so I thought I’d try and get a letter off to you. We hope you are enjoying the blessings of summer and vacation time and, most of all, the blessings God wants to pour out into our lives day by day. His faithfulness and mercy to us continue to amaze and comfort us as we labor and live for His glory. Life is not without hardships and trials but there is such peace in knowing that we are safe in the palm of the Father’s hand, protected and loved.
The last of our children left home this week. Andrew left at the end of June and Matthew left Monday. We have no idea how we will adjust to life and ministry without them, but with joy we send our children on their way to discover God’s plan for their lives. It’s an exciting time in their lives and a time of adjustment for us as parents. God graciously sent us another temporary “son” a week ago – a 23-yr. old Canadian named Judah who loves the Lord and wants to invest a few months of his life helping in ministry here. I am so thankful to still have a boy around the house! Marcia and her two daughters continue on with us, too, and we always have plenty of people in our lives, but our kids are irreplaceable.
We celebrated Andrew’s 20th birthday before he left in June with family and friends. Last Saturday we had a big farewell party to honor Matthew and celebrate his 18th birthday (which is only in Sept.) Over 150 people joined us at the ARCA for an afternoon of fun and games and a special evening service to honor Matthew and bless his life. Matthew also received a special ring as a symbol of our love for him and as a reminder of his commitment to sexual purity. We continue to pray that our children will be instruments of blessing in the lives of many.
During July we planned and directed a Bible Camp for 90 adolescents, ages 11-16, at the ARCA. Our theme revolved around hearing the voice of God in the midst of so many other voices vying for attention. We tried to help the kids realize how media influences them and how to make good choices concerning what messages they allow themselves to hear. Many young people accepted Christ during the week. The majority come from extremely difficult family situations. Coming to Bible Camp for a week was like having a taste of heaven – good food to eat every day, beds to sleep in, people caring for them all day long, opportunities to be in the presence of God and His people. We have a big group of adolescents coming to church regularly – they come whenever there is something going on which is usually five times a week. Our desire is to help these kids know God and begin to write a new story for their lives and future. Yara and Pastor Joel have started a soccer club at the ARCA, twice a week for boys and twice a week for girls. Soon they hope to start a parallel program to teach them computer skills. In order to participate the kids need to get good monthly reports about their behavior and progress from school teachers, parents, and Sunday School teachers.
During the month of July a couple from our Bateias congregation has been in the Amazon on a missionary trip. Juliano and Claudineia are seeking the Lord for His direction in serving full-time in one of the many ministries they were involved in during their trip. It’s exciting to see our local congregation producing pastors and missionaries and praying for those who are sent out from our midst. The seven
In between company and lots of regular activities we manage to find opportunities to be with our darling granddaughter and other family members. These are always special moments and reason for rejoicing. In June I had surgery to correct a problem that resulted from my hysterectomy and bladder repair a year and a half ago. I am finally feeling like a new person and praise the Lord for healing. Paul has had a terrible cold and laryngitis for the last two weeks, but he is feeling better and plans to preach on Sunday. Monday we look forward to welcoming Pastor Martin Horn who will be teaching in our churches and seminary and Pastor’s Conference in Campo Mourão.We never cease to be thankful to those of you who enable us to do ministry here. May the Lord continue to remind you to pray and give so that others may live! Bye for now, Paul and Becky