Nate and Rhoda Jore have announced the birth of Julia Hope. She was born on Thursday, April 19. Check out the pictures by clicking here.
Thanks for all who have been praying for the Jores during this time.
Carnival is over; for most Brazilians that means 11 and a 1/2 months to the next big party, but for us the celebration has just begun. We have entered the Lenten season and are setting our eyes on the love of God poured out for us. During this precious time of year we are able to consider the depths of our own needs and the amazing provision of God’s grace and mercy.
Last month you met eight young people, residents of the Miriam Home. Since then six others have arrived, of which only one is still here. The Miriam Home is sort of like Minnesotan weather - always changing! Having a part in the lives of the children that pass through this home is a constant reminder of our dependence on the grace and mercy of the living God. Let me give you an example: three girls who spent just two days here last month.
Even though Campo Mourao is a relatively small city by Brazilian standards, there is a high crime rate, with many deaths (both homicides and suicides) of very young people involved with drugs and gangs. Two weeks ago two young girls were killed and three others ran for their lives. The three survivors (13, 15 and 17 years old) were brought to the Miriam Home, accompanied by a police escort. The gang the girls were involved with had already made known their intentions towards the witnesses and the juvenile authorities scrambled to find a safe place for them outside of Campo Mourao. While the authorities looked for alternatives we tried to comfort and minister to these frightened young women. As amazing as it might sound, one of our biggest challenges was just keeping the girls here. Knowing that there were people looking for them, to do them harm, the girls still did everything they could to sneak away. The desire to smoke, be with their boyfriends and do what they wanted was stronger than their fear. They couldn’t see that the risk they ran was the consequence of the lives they were leading; they didn’t have any understanding of the value of their precious young lives.
With the help of the police escorts (who stayed with us the whole time the girls did—48 hours, we were able to keep the girls safe until they could be moved. And more than a physically safe place to be, the girls heard words of hope and life. Please pray that the seeds planted in those 48 short hours will be watered, grow and bear fruit. Please pray the Rubi, Taina and Camila will find real life in Jesus Christ. During these days, more than any others I am so aware of how far the Father goes to reach His lost little ones!
Editor’s note: Jonni has so much more to share. Please click here to read her entire newsletter.
"And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, 'Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?' And He said to him, 'What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?' And he answered, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.' And He said to him, 'You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.' But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, 'And who is my neighbor?'" Luke 10: 25-29
So-Pastor Palmer informed me in mid February, that March was my month to prepare a devotional for the WMC. This notice has been on my mind since that time. What could I share that would enlighten and encourage a group of men whom, when they speak-I take notes? I decided to turn to my weekly source of greatest inspiration and greatest frustration.
As I think you all know, I teach a class of 2nd graders ( 4 boys) every Sunday morning. Last week, we were on the 5th Commandment: "You shall not kill." The lesson was great on Cain and Abel and of course, in the lesson Cain kills Abel in the heat of bitterness and anger. I didn't share with you that all 4 boys in this class have brothers. What amazed me-and probably shouldn't have-was that the general feeling among the boys was that killing your brother maybe is a necessary, and even welcome event at times. In this world of video games, death is only temporary relief-until the next game-and I think that thought process of temporary relief controls these young minds. I felt at the end of the class that I had miserably failed portraying the reaction of Cain as a sin. All week long, I reflected on that failure with the question-how could I have presented the Commandment differently-how does one impart to these young souls the gravity of this commandment?
As I contemplated, my mind wandered to Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan where a Jew is robbed, beaten and left to die. Jesus tells of the priest and the Levite who when they saw him, both passed by on the other side of the road. The thought then occurred to me: what if this wounded, dying man had been a physical brother to the priest or Levite-would they have still passed by on the other side? We, of course, hope not. Yet, just a year or so ago, not far from us, a man shot and killed his brother over a land dispute. The parable was given in answer to a lawyer's question: "but wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, 'Who is my neighbor?'" Why was this lawyer seeking to justify himself? Who had he passed by and left behind that was wounded? My guess is that it was someone who was close to him-probably a brother.
The problem with Cain's actions toward Abel is that it's not only difficult for 2nd graders to grasp as sin, it is a challenge for us 'mature' adults. We can justify hate in the event of an offense. The Law as summarized so well by the lawyer in Luke 10:27 is absolutely impossible-I, just like the lawyer, cannot love the Lord, nor my neighbor (brother) as it is written. The Law, as simple as it sounds, frustrates and condemns me. Yet, at the end of the parable, Jesus tells the lawyer, "Go and do the same." We now see that frustration is not limited to those teaching 2nd graders, it is universal-but we also see again the great joy of Easter-if this Jesus can defeat death, His Spirit can bring forgiveness and love through me-even to the point of loving my brother!! Amen and amen!!
Editor’s note: This devotional was written by Lyle Mattson.