We have had a month of rain and cold and gloom. Here in Curitiba we have had more than double the normal rainfall. It is quite miserable without heat anywhere. We are thankful for our little fireplace and woodstove to heat up our living room area. The threat of swine flu is very near and many people are sick with colds and flu. The schools have been closed all this week and will be closed until Aug. 10 because of this threat. I have had a terrible cough for over three weeks now, but am feeling better. Rain accompanied us to Campo Mourão for our two camps there. The first camp was marked by non-stop rain, but the second week we enjoyed a couple days of sunshine - such a relief! There is more rain and cold in the forecast.
Enough for the weather report! The spiritual report is more positive. Our time in Campo Mourão was very encouraging. We had special times of fellowship with our Christian friends in the churches, and our weeks at camp were blessed moments of investment for eternity. A majority of the campers had not camped before. We were happy that the children from the orphanage were able to participate as well as several other children from difficult life situations. For them, eating three meals a day, sleeping in their own bed and having adult attention all day long was a new experience. Ten children accepted the Lord at camp, and six teens made a first-time decision for Christ as well. We continue to believe in the importance of camp ministry to help young people realize the wonderful plans God has for them if they choose to follow Jesus.
Our hearts went out to the kids who have been physically and emotionally abused during these early years of their lives. Only Christ can heal and restore and lead them into a fulfilled life. A little 7-yr.old had been raped by her father and her stepfather and had lost all will for living, several of the young teens from the orphanage have lived promiscuous lives, a family of four children all have different fathers and are facing eviction from their present “shack” where they live with their irresponsible mother. How thankful we are for the privilege to preach the Good News of Jesus to these scarred lives, offering them hope and a different kind of living. When you talk to the Lord today remember to thank Him for the blessed life you have, and ask Him to bless those who have not been so fortunate.
While in Campo Mourão we had a fun time celebrating Yara’s birthday and participating in the local churches there. Paul and I also took a trip to Maringá to visit his brother Jonathan and his family who are planting a church in that city. We took four young men from Curitiba with us to help as camp counselors and enjoyed fellowship with them during the weeks we were at camp. Marcelo (who lived with us about twenty years ago) was one of the camp speakers. He is the tall fellow between Paul and me on the photo. It was great to be together and reminisce about the “good ‘ole days!” We also enjoyed having Pastor Joel with us as a speaker for the youth camp.
Now we are “back in the saddle” trying to catch up on visiting and other activities around here. Saturday we had a Movie Night in Campo Largo to show the film “Fireproof.” It was a great testimony and encouragement for our couples. The church work there continues at a slow pace. We ask for your prayers that more people would come to our church and that those who are with us would be encouraged in their faith and motivated to reach out more.
Today we were happy to do our job as “grandparents” as the little girls spent the afternoon with us here at the farm. For a time there were six little girls here vying for the attention of the charming Grandpa. We hope to be a positive influence on this next generation that they, too, might put their trust in God and live according to His perfect plan.
We were reminded in our devotions today the importance of our responsibility to preach the message of repentance and salvation and of the necessity to make God’s Word an indispensable part of our diet. The reaction of those who hear our message is not our responsibility, and God has already warned us that many will have a rebellious spirit and not accept the message. Yet, we are commissioned to announce the message and leave the results in His hands. “You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you.” Ez. 2:7-8
Listen and obey! Simple? Definitely not! Yet possible by the grace of God!
Thanks for your continued prayers for us.
Love, Paul and Becky