March 8, 2014
Dear Prayer Partners,
Psalm 100:2 reminds us to “serve the Lord with gladness.” Part of our joy in serving the Lord is to serve with you, our prayer partners, our missionary colleagues, and the national believers.
Last month we were well served by our pastor, Brett Williams, from Grace Baptist in Austin, MN. During his ten day visit, Pastor Brett got a first-hand look at the ministries in which our church has invested for many years. He also preached ten different times to our NE Region missionaries as well as in various churches. On one of these preaching occasions, Jim and Pastor Brett shared the messages for the installation service of Pastor Marcelo, the new pastor at Source of Light Baptist Church. It was fun to serve with our pastor in this way.
Jim was also invited to preach at the commissioning service for Fernando and Lany, who are leaving this week for Venezuela. After a short six-month term last year, this couple returned to Brazil to finish raising their support and are now headed back for a long-term ministry. They will be working to start churches, strengthen existing churches, and help in the formation of pastors in southern Venezuela. As they serve in Venezuela, they will be contending with crazy inflation, food shortages, and an unstable government, so please pray for them.
Last month we enjoyed a three day conference with our colleagues in Northeast Brazil, where we combined fellowship, spiritual feeding, and business. Jim, serving as regional president, lead the business meetings. This week we are meeting with colleagues from the All-Brazil field, where Jim serves as treasurer.
We are glad to serve in the training of others who will serve, through our teaching at the Seminary, which just began another year of classes. Julie is teaching Special Events (her favorite!) and Culinary Arts. She is keeping busy by preparing a baby shower, “celebrating” one or two holidays each class period, and arranging menus for her student’s cooking labs. Last week’s bread-making class was a yummy success. Jim was recently invited to be a part of the Seminary board of directors. He feels that he can be of better service in this position. Because of this change, he will no longer be the director of student ministries or a part of the faculty, but he is teaching missions as a “guest” professor. This year he has about 40 students. We continue serving as advisors to the student missions fellowship and are busy planning the Missions Conference to be held April 21-25.
We continue serving the congregation in Parque Grangeiro as senior advisors. Fransico Carlos is developing well as the leader of this church plant. His wife, Fátima, is working with the women’s society. Franklin and Suzi are coordinating the Kid’s Club and Franklin teaches the adult Bible class. Alan and Jacqueline have just joined us and are caring for the youth and adolescent groups. Over the Carnaval holiday we had a short retreat with lots of fun, fellowship, and really good food! These three couples are our students at the seminary, with very busy schedules. It is a joy for us to serve alongside them.
We’re looking forward to receiving a group from Tennessee who are coming to serve in the finishing work of our missionary houses. They will be here from May 18th-27th. We have been waiting over one month for the iron for the roof structure of the houses, which needs to be in place for this team to be able to do its work! Please pray with us that the roof will be up soon. We look forward to having these houses serve our national missionaries as they return from their fields of service for a time of refreshment and to report to their supporting churches.
We do count it a privilege to serve our Lord in Northeast Brazil. Thank you for your part as we “serve the Lord with gladness.”