June 13, 2015
Dear Prayer Partners,
Greetings in the name of our Lord! Last week Brazil celebrated a national holiday called Corpus Christi; a religious holiday with an obscure history having something to do with the body and blood of Christ, but which nobody seems to know. All that seems to matter is that workers get a day off and schools are closed for the day. At our church in Parque Grangeiro, Jim reminded the folk that Jesus Christ gave Himself once and for all to restore us to God. Recently we saw two souls saved: Dalva now joins her husband, Dunga, who received Christ as Savior a few months ago; and Dalva’s teen niece also made a profession of faith. We have several other regular attendees for which we are praying for their salvation.
We have often asked you to pray for Fátima, a sweet Christian lady who suffered with a chronic disease. She was actually one of the key players in the beginning of the church in Parque Grangeiro. God graciously called Fátima to her heaveny home where she no longer suffers physical pain neither does she suffer the social neglect of her family due to her faith in Jesus. On the night of her death, as the entire neighborhood gathered around her house for the traditional wake, our church was able to hold an evangelistic service in the street to present Fátima’s hope of eternal life. Hundreds heard the gospel. Her family asked us to have a similar service at the cemetery the next day just before the burial. Pray that many of these will be saved.
Last week we had the 15 graduating seniors and their families over for a soup and homemade bread buffet. We had just over 30 present. We are closer to this group than we’ve been to most others in the past. Sadly, we won’t be here for their graduation in December, as we will be on furlough in the USA. Pray that God will direct each one to the ministry for which they’ve been prepared. This class has amazing potential, as they all have huge servant’s hearts.
This weekend we were to be receiving a missions team of 10 from our home church, Grace Baptist of Austin, MN. We had 8 very full days of adventure planned with them, including street evangelism and an English Retreat involving mostly unsaved people. Unfortunately, they did not receive their visas so we had to cancel this trip. Though there is much disappointment in Austin as well as in Crato, we are reminded that God is still in control of all things, even when they don’t happen the way we had planned.
Next week marks the end of the semester. This means evaluating final projects, exams, and calculating grades. A horrible virus and dengue fever have made the rounds on campus twice this semester. Only Jim was affected at our home, but he was still able to preach a Family Conference at a local church last weekend, feeling very weak with a low-grade fever. This coming Thursday we’ll be joining the single students for a final meeting before we all go our separate ways for the vacation period.
On July 1st, we leave our home in Crato and travel to Fortaleza to begin our journey that should take us to Des Moines, IA, two days later. Jim’s Mom and Jennifer will be traveling with us. This trip brings with it several prayer requests:
– We need to leave everything in order for the OASIS to operate for the 6 months we will be away. During this time we will have some national missionaries staying here. Please pray that every detail will fall into place. We did get the solar-heated water system hooked up last week. We now have lots of hot running water!!!
– Pray that our ministry bases will be covered here. The first phase of construction on the Parque Grangeiro church building should take place while we’re gone and Jim needs to leave some things lined up. We are praying that our Wednesday Bible Study group in a nearby village will remain faithful and be able to get to the nearby town for services and fellowship with other Christians. They have been slow to take this step because of the convenience of us coming to their “door-step”.
– We are beginning our furlough in Iowa to help take care of Josiah and Nikki’s three children while they welcome their 4th (a boy!) sometime in July. Please pray for a safe and normal delivery for Nikki and the baby, and that we will be able to keep up with the grandkids.
– We will need a place to live until the end of the year. We hope to settle near our church and family in Austin.
– We are setting up meeting dates in about 15 churches.
– We hope to have a bit of rest and recovery or energy, but also have some urgent ministry projects to work on. – Julie’s parents will be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary and 80th birthdays in July. All of the kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids will be together, Lord willing, for the first time. This includes Joy Anna and Fabio, along with Kristi, who are being brought by the family in mid-July
– Jennifer is still searching for God’s direction in her life. She plans to return to the USA with us to look into various options. She’s busy sorting and packing her things. We have been blessed to have her with us this semester, with her servant’s heart.
Well, there you have just a few things to keep before God’s throne. Thank you for your fervent, faithful prayers. We love you and appreciate you!