Dear Prayer Partners,
“Feliz Ano Novo!” Only two weeks into 2014, we’re clinging to 2 Corinthians 12:9. “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Praise God, when we are weak, He is strong. We’ve had to remind ourselves of that promise every day.
The evening of Christmas Day we received a phone call from Fátima, our dear friend from the Parque Grangeiro congregation who suffers from lupus. She had spent ten days in the hospital before Christmas, was very weak, and couldn’t handle the many family problems that bombarded her in her own home. So, we opened our home to her for a quiet, safe place to recuperate. During the nine days she spent with us we experienced a few stressful moments, as would be expected with any type of care-giving, but especially in the spiritual realm. She is being plagued with anxiety attacks and is struggling with trusting God through these difficult times. This is unlike the Fatima we know. Yesterday morning, after a tearful time of counseling and sharing, she returned to our home for a few restful hours after church. Please pray that Fátima will gain the victory in this battle. Her lungs have been affected by the lupus, and the rest of her body is being affected by the strong meds she takes daily. Her family has actually rejected Christ time and time again. She is a wonderful witness to God’s power everywhere she goes. Please pray for Fatima and that her family will accept Christ! His grace IS sufficient!
Jim is very busy with some major projects: the continuing construction of our missionary houses and surrounding wall, the repair and painting of four recently vacated houses in order to receive new married students, the re-organization of the Source of Light Correspondence School, preparing for various preaching opportunities, caring for Baptist Mid-Missions NE Region as president, serving as national treasurer for BMM business, trying to help Julie and Jennifer with computer trouble-shooting, and running all kinds of errands involved with the above. He hasn’t begun to prepare for his upcoming missions class; it’s hard to find the time. Julie is working on reformatting the cookbook for her culinary class and needs to make a power point for the other class she’ll be teaching, “Evangelism Through Special Events”. Please pray for wisdom, strength, and protection during these busy, busy days. His grace IS sufficient!
Last week was very difficult for us as it involved two funerals. Our colleague, John Peterson, missionary with ABWE, suffered a stroke on Monday afternoon, went into a profound coma on Tuesday morning, and passed away early Thursday morning. Jim was asked to lead the funeral service on Thursday afternoon which was a true celebration of 75 years of life and 47 years of ministry in Brazil. John and his wife, Jean, were instrumental in creating Brazilian sign language as they opened ministries for the deaf and trained workers for the deaf. Their children, James and Sara, were able to make it from the USA before he passed away and will be here for a few days to help Jean with future decisions. Please pray for the Peterson family and for someone to replace this great man on our Bible college staff. His grace IS sufficient!
On Friday morning, we received word that the mother of Lany, our missionary daughter-in-the-faith from Parque Grangeiro, had passed away very suddenly. Lany and her husband, Fernando, were at a remote camp in a neighboring state presenting their ministry in Venezuela. It was difficult to get the news to them and there was concern about Lany’s reaction to the shock, as she is 3 months pregnant. They were able to get back here late Friday evening. On Saturday afternoon, Jim preached a clear Gospel message and some believers came along and sang some very pertinent hymns at the wake. Lany isn’t sure about her mother’s salvation, so this was very difficult. Her brother, who attended our Kid’s Club and often went to SS with us, and her father, who traveled with she and Fernando on most of their pre-field meetings, have not yet accepted Christ as Savior. Please pray for their salvation and for comfort for the entire family. PTL, we just heard that, in spite of the abdominal pains Lany was feeling on Saturday, the baby is doing fine. His grace IS sufficient!
The Parque Grangeiro leadership is taking more “ownership” of the congregation and not depending so much on Jim for decisions. They will begin a soccer training camp for boys this Saturday morning. Pre-requisite: attendance at Sunday afternoon Bible Club! There were over 40 kids yesterday. The week before had fewer than ten!
Please pray with us as we have a full calendar of events within the next month.
Jan. 25-26 – Jim will be preaching at a couple’s retreat in a nearby city;
Feb. 1 – Julie will speak to the area ladies, based on the 1st chapter of “Lies Women Believe”;
Feb. 5-6 – Jim will travel to Fortaleza to take care of mission business;
Feb. 7 – Our pastor, Brett Williams, will arrive for a 10 day stay! YAY!!!
Feb. 10 – We will drive to João Pessoa for our NE Regional conference, with Pr. Brett as speaker;
Feb. 14 – We drive back home (8 hours);
Feb. 15 – Jim has new student orientation for Christian service ministries at the seminary;
Feb. 17 – Jim and Pr. Brett fly out to Fortaleza for Pr.’s return home;
-Julie will stay home for student registration for the new year at the seminary
His grace will HAVE to be sufficient!
We appreciate your faithful friendship and prayers.