Dear family and friends,
“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death,” Phil. 3:10. We pray that as you meditate upon the deep significance of this Lenten season, you will come to know Christ better and enter more fully into His power and fellowship. We have just come out of a very full, but blessed season of ministry here and are moving on at a bit more normal pace. In January, we were blessed with a mission team from Hosanna Free Lutheran in St. James, MN. The days were full, but we were blessed with sweet fellowship with the team members. The next group was from a non-AFLC church led by a previous missionary to Ecuador, and Justo wasn’t as actively involved with the group, though he did drive them around to a few places.
After the teams left, we enjoyed a restful, enjoyable two weeks with a visit from Tricia’s parents. They were an encouragement to us, a huge help with the kids, and a blessing to the church as they also shared at a
couple of cell groups. We were a bit sad when they left but grateful for the effort they made to come. Right after they left, we attended a family church camp celebrating carnaval here in Ecuador. Justo has also been Vieworking on his various other ministries, including starting the third and final trimester of the Bible school. He will be teaching I and II Corinthians this term.
Looking ahead, Justo has several all day youth activities lined up in March and then we get to welcome a team of Bible schoolers led by Kevin Olson in April. Our big news is that Tricia is expecting another baby! The all-day nausea has set in again, so please pray for grace for the whole family as we run on “survival mode” for the next couple of months. Having two little ones while sick in bed is quite a challenge!
Thank you for your continued faithful prayers for our
busy, growing family!
Justo, Tricia, Nathanael, and Hannah
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Tuesday, March 11, 2014
A Tale of Two Parties
Marcia is ten years old and adorable. She arrived to the Miriam Home on the 30th of December 2013. She ran away from the Miriam Home with an older teen-ager on the 31st of December 2013. Now, that short a stay may make you think that she really hated the Miriam Home, but no, both girls returned of their own free will on January 1st. They just really didn’t want to miss the party! And what a party they had. Both of the girls were still drunk when they arrived home, but Marcia, younger and smaller suffered the most. She spent most of the day near a bathroom or with a bucket close at hand. Her head hurt and all she wanted to do was sleep (a desire that went unfulfilled—the house mom kindly explained that both of the girls were going to stay awake all day so that at night they would remember that the dark hours are for sleeping, not for sneaking out).
Though the New Year’s Eve escapade included drinking more than she ever had it was not the first time Marcia had run away to go to a party. Sneaking out her bedroom window and staying away for days on end where the very reasons she had been brought to the Miriam Home in the first place. Marcia simply couldn’t see the danger she put herself in every time she spent the wee hour of the night out with her friends. She didn’t see that the only reason she was able to return to our home on the 1st of January was because God’s gracious hand had protected her - that she had been completely defenseless as she wandered the streets of Campo Mourao.
Marcia wasn’t with for a long time, she went to live with her aunt and uncle in a neighboring town just a month later. But during that month we found that Marcia wasn’t as hard headed or hearted as her first couple of days would indicate. She was, however easily influenced. Initially the older, tougher girls seemed to be the people to imitate, but as the days passed, with the remembrance of the hangover fresh on her mind she decided that, perhaps she didn’t want to hang out with them. She began participating in devotions in the house and in Sunday School, and one day, just a week before she left Marcia prayed with our house mom, Odette, to turn her life over to Jesus.
Last week we called Marcia to see if she wanted to come to our annual youth camp (Brazilian FLY), held every year during Carnival. I was a little worried; Marcia had responded so well to the Word here, but back with her family, surrounded by a lot of her old friends (her aunt didn’t live far from her mother), how had she responded to the old influences?
Marcia jumped at the opportunity to come to camp! She chose to study, play, pray and celebrate with 160 teens she didn’t know instead of staying home and sneaking out to a street party! And she not only came, she dove in to the camp life, making friends and participating in every thing. Please continue to pray that this sweet young lady will grow up to be a mighty woman of God!
I was reminded recently that I almost never mention the Bible School and I have to apologize for that! God is doing wonderful things in our southern AFLBS (here it is called SETELL), and it is truly my privilege to have a part in it!
Among the returning students we have five seminarians in their last year. Each young man is spending one week per month at churches in Curitiba, Campo Largo, Vitoria, Campo Grande and here in Campo Mourao, serving the churches as interns. They each began their internships by offering up one month of their summer vacation so that they could spend a longer time with their assigned church, letting the congregations get to know them and finding their place in the body. It has been a wonderful win, win situation where many people have already been blessed.
I am starting the school year teaching the Biblical Basis for Missions and Missions History, and though I have only had two classes so far, I really enjoy my gang of first and second year students. We have 20 young people in the class, and it is thrilling to hear their questions and observations and to see the hunger and thirst they have for the Lord and His Word.
Please Keep Praying!
Please continue to pray for our little Raphael. He is returning to Curitiba for a second surgery, this one is much more complex, involving the stomach and intestine. Please pray for strength for the baby, success-ful surgery and good healing. I will give updates on my Facebook, feel free to check in. Also, please pray for his birth mother. Because of this situation we have a lot of contact with her and we have had to oppor-tunity to share the gospel in many different ways. She desperately needs the Lord and this is a door that the Lord has opened!
Please pray for brother Ali (5 years old) and Miguel (2 years old). They have only been with us a little over a week and sadly, they are perfect-ly happy to be here, never asking for mom or dad.
Thank you for your prayers, my trip to Curitiba was wonderful. I had the opportunity to not only visit all of the churches I also got to interview many of the SETELL Alumni. That is our first step in preparation for the 50th Anniversary of the Bible School in 2016!
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Posted by Matthew at 3:40 PM