Wow! Where do I begin? I certainly could write a book about the last three months (don’t worry I don’t have the time or energy to do so). One day blends into the next as we tackle the task at hand for each moment. The days have been filled with activities, ministry, blessings and lots of people. With the people come joys and sadnesses, ups and downs, moments of rejoicing and times of stress. Missionary life is certainly NOT what some believe to be “an easy life.” Pressures surround us daily as we carry out ministry, make plans for the future, and work on problem-solving. Why do I mention all this? Because we need your prayers. Perhaps you don’t know how to pray for us – that’s nothing new. The Apostle Paul says in Romans 8:26 that we do not know how to pray as we ought. But that should not stop us from praying because the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in accordance with God’s will. Thank you to those of you who take time to pray for us. And for the rest of you, perhaps you would consider adding us to your prayer list. “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
Christmas was a joyful time shared with family and church members. The choirs and theater groups did a great job presenting at the churches and we enjoyed special meals and fellowship times with several groups of people. It was a special blessing to have Matthew home with us for three weeks. We took a couple of days at the beach between Christmas and New Years to relax after all the Christmas rush and to prepare for the next stage of ministry.
A group of five Canadians arrive the first days of January to spend the month with us. They blessed us with their presence and labors and gifts. It was fun for them to participate in our Children’s Camp at the ARCA. Our theme this year was about prayer and missions. The following week we hosted the Annual Conference at the ARCA. And the next week we geared up for our youth camp. The Lord worked in our lives as we learned about discipleship and how to prepare for the Great Olympics of Life. Our son-in-law, Silvio, was the morning speaker for camp and he did a great job! Camps are always such a blessed experience and spiritual motivation for our youth and all involved. This year over half of the 130 campers were over the age of 18.
At the end of January our family grew to include three more young people – Paul’s niece Melissa and nephew Jonathan from Arizona and Ryan, a college student from Minnesota who will be teaching at the English School for six months. So, those of you who were feeling sorry for me experiencing the “empty nest” can be assured that I haven’t had to go through that challenge yet. We are also happy to have Paul’s folks with us for about three months. Plus, my two neighbor girls spend quite a bit of time here and eat with us three times a week. I’m glad to have young people in the house because there is always something fun happening. I must admit, though, that I do get more tired out than I used to with all the constant activity.
Joanna is miraculously juggling her responsibilities as mother of two darling little girls, director of the Lighthouse School, English teacher , and choir director and cell group leader at church. Silvio is just as busy at work, school, church, home and play. I worry about them being too busy, but I can’t say much J Christina and Daniel are nearing their first year anniversary and seem to really enjoy married life. Daniel is in his last year of medical school and Christina is in her last year doing internships and working on her senior project. Andrew is happy at Bible School. He was chosen to be the leader of the Ambassador team from AFLBS so he will be traveling and ministering all summer throughout the US. Matthew has raised a good part of his support for mission trips to China and Mexico and plans to leave on March 19. Besides all his other activities he is now working on his part as Bert in the musical “Mary Poppins” to be presented at the end of the year.
The big push now is getting ready for the Passion Play. Easter is very early this year, so we are pressed for time. The next weeks will be filled with practices and preparations. Pray that it will be a wonderful evangelistic impact. I am also going on a trip with the ladies for a Women’s get-together in Iguacu Falls for the International Women’s Day March 7-9. We all have to get yellow fever shots because that terrible disease has become a threat in several places in Brazil. During this month we are expecting three more visitors from the States – Del Palmer, Dick Gunderson and Lester Hill.
I have not even begun to scratch the surface of the real “stress” factors in our life. As if having all this activity weren’t enough, we’ve been going through many difficult times with relationship difficulties between people in our church (very emotionally draining) - moral failure on the part of some key people, marital separations, etc. Pastor Jaime is separated from his wife at this time and therefore has stepped down from his responsibilities as president of the AFLC and pastor of the local congregation. Paul is taking over some of the preaching and teaching in his place. Pastor Nilson is taking on more responsibility in the Campo Largo church to help us out there. We have meetings and counseling galore. So, I just want to ask again in closing that you remember us in prayer. I hope to get a regular newsletter out soon with pictures for you to enjoy. One thing is for sure, the one thing we can count on, the one thing that never changes – God is in control and He is faithful. May we all be found at rest in Him. Thank you for your continued support. Sustained by grace, Paul and Becky