Visiting Igreja Batista Pioneira

When I returned from the youth retreat last week I immediately left to go and visit Igrejas Batista Pioneira in Santa Cruz and Vera Cruz.  I was very encouraged to be able to meet with these like minded men.

Santa Cruz

Cal, Jair, Marco, and Me at the Church in Vera Cruz

One of the great things that happened during this visit was being able to hear the philosophy of ministry for these churches.  I was impressed by their articulation of the philosophy of ministry and it excites me to see these men desiring to radically pursue Christ and see the church body also do likewise.

Santa Cruz 2

Listening to a presentation on the Philosophy of Ministry

With any good church there is a group of men who lead the church.  It was great to hear the excitement of the men on the leadership team at the church in Santa Cruz.  I am thankful for the opportunity to spend the day with such great guys and to have so many good encouraging conversations about ministry and the churches.

Santa Cruz 1

Enjoying a meeting with leaders at the Church in Santa Cruz

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All Brazil Conference

My first all Brazil conference was a great experience.  It was about a week long and had all of the ABWE missionaries from Brazil who were not on furlough.  It was great to have all of the visitors from the states there.  One church even sent 7 individuals to serve us at the conference.  There were also 13 other people who came to serve us at the conference.  I am so thankful for all of the different ways that these servants blessed us missionaries.

Conference

Introductions to the team from Bethesda that served us

We had a great time singing together during the conference.  It seemed like we would sing before and after each session.  It was the first time in 9 months where I was able to sing each song that was played during that part of the worship service.

Conference 2

Worship as a group

4 mornings during the week we had a training session for at least 3 hours.  The topic of this conference was Essential Mission Components 2.  During EMC 2 we learning about holistic ministry, networking, partnerships and some other topics.

Conference 1

EMC 2 in the mornings

At EMC 2 all of the different teams worked at different tables to go through all of the different topics.  It was a great opportunity to get to know my team better and to work as a group to better understand our region and how to strategically reach Rio Grande Do Sul.

Conference 4

Singing before each Session

One of the ways that us missionaries were blessed was all of the different candy that was brought from the US.  Our table especially liked the Reeses Peaunt Butter Cups.  I had some fun with our answer paddles on the table.

Conference 3

Fun with the answer boards

One evening we got to hear a story of how Al Yoder almost crashed his airplane once.  He was a great storyteller with not only great verbal inflections but also fantastic mannerisms and expressions.

Conference 5

Listening to Missionary Stories

A favorite part of the conference was talking with many of the veteran missionaries.  I was extremely blessed to have them drop some serious wisdom on me about missions and some practical tips specific to Brazil.

Wisdom

Receiving Wisdom from Veteran Missionaries

 

A Missionaries Real Day

After giving my perspective on what I thought was the ideal missionary day I want to give you a picture of an actual day in my life.

I wake up early so that I can study, pray, and exercise before class.  After reading my bible I normally begin to do some studying before it get’s light enough for me to go and get some exercise.  The bible reading and prayer times are not as rich as I would hope for.  At times it feels like I am talking to a wall instead of the God of the universe when I am praying.

Real 4

How devotional and prayer time feel at times.  Just empty framework.

The day continues with me not understanding what is going on during my Portuguese class.  It seems like I am starting to understand what is going on during class but my mind is not functioning properly.

Real 3

Pictorial representation of the mess in my brain during Portuguese class at times

I get to go and have lunch after class with friend.  We talk in English and for that I am thankful.  At the end of lunch I forgot that I had a meeting later that day.  I check my phone for the time and figure out that I can actually make the meeting on time.

I get to my meeting and the person that I am meeting is going to be getting there late.  We had a great conversation and I eventually look at my watch and realize that we just spent 3 hours at the meeting and not 1 hour like I planned.

Real 2

Empty Parking Space means I get to walk to class

After the meeting I run to the auto mechanic to get car fixed.  The day before I noticed that my air conditioner was not working and my car wouldn’t two minutes after I turned it off.  I get to the mechanics and thankfully he is still there.  I then called uber for the first time in my life to get home.  I am now going to have to uber back to the mechanic tomorrow to pick up my car in the afternoon.

Real

Time to clean so I can study

When I get home I remember that I still have to clean and do laundry today before I begin to study for class tomorrow.  I am actually hungry and open my refrigerator to reveal that I have some pasta left over from earlier in the week and not much else in the fridge.

Real 1

Home to an almost empty refrigerator

I was able to study for 2-3 hours at night before I got too tired and began to watch the Thursday night football game until I went to sleep.

 

Building Dedication Service

Dedication

Outside of Church Building

Last Saturday evening we had a building dedication service.  It was a great event that is the culmination of lots of work but the beginning of lots more.  The building is awesome.  When I visited South Brazil in 2015 the church was in the process of purchasing the land for this building.  I can remember talking with the missionary about his dream for the building.  I think that this building is different than his dream but it is still awesome.

Dedication 1

Pre Service Conversations

The dedication really showed off how large the church building is.  There was plenty of room to have 200+ seats for a service and then to also have enough room to have an after service hang out area.  It was very encouraging to see people from 5+ churches attend the 8 pm Saturday night service.  I was so encouraged to see all of excitement that the church body had at this dedication.

Dedication 2

Packed House – Church members brought their own chairs

I am looking forward to all of the different ways that this building is going to be used.  It is my prayer that the LORD would use this building for his glory and many opportunities for ministry would be facilitated through this building.

Dedication 3

Someone Wanted a Picture with Me

Culture Shock: Battle for Control

I still battling culture shock on many different fronts.  One of the fronts which I have seen the war rage is that of control.  When I first arrived in Brazil I was warned by other missionaries that control would be one of the areas that I struggled.  I have strived in my life to be under control in many ways.  It actually scares me to not be in control.  In Brazil I am not in control in many ways.

food 1

Cheese Stuffed Bacon Avocado Burger

The lack of control has been difficult to deal with.  I find myself complaining when I am not able to control the situation.

food 2

Grilled Chicken and Pad Thai

I am able to control what I eat when I cook the food.  It is good to be able to cook different kinds of food that feel like eating.  I really enjoy using all of the fresh ingredients and great meat which are available around here.  The only draw back for all of this cooking is that I have to do all of the cleanup after cooking.

food 3

Steak with Bell Peppers and Onions

As I battle culture shock by exerting control I am continually reminded that I need to trust that the LORD is in control even when I am not.  I have found myself thinking of Proverbs 3:5-6 continually and trusting in the LORD to work everything out.  I am also thinking lots about Romans 8:28 where simple truths are presented that are a great comfort to me.  The truths which bring me comfort are “God is actively at work,” “God is working these events together for good,” and “God has made a plan.”

food

Chicken Fritters and Rice

Church Building Dedication Service

Lots of work has gone into completing the church building for Ministerio Biblico Ivoti.  I have had the joy of helping with many different parts of this construction.  I am looking forward to the dedication service which will take place on July 8th.  However before the dedication service the church will be hosting a missions conference on June 30-July 2.

 

building

Dedication Service Poster

 

Church Building Construction Continues

Over the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to work on different parts of the church building.  I have enjoyed constructing some of the cabinets.  I am so thankful for having the tools that I brought with me from the United States they have been very helpful.

construction 5

Constructing Cabinets

The second floor is a great place for ministry.  There is a huge room which is great for ministry.  The picture below also shows the two offices on the second floor.

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Second floor Ministry Room

One of the most beautiful parts of the new building construction is a mural which was painted by a short term missionary.  I know that the little kids and especially the teachers/parents are going to love viewing it.

construction

Mural in Kid’s Room

There are two beautiful bathrooms in the building.  It is great to see the church coming together.

construction 1

Beautiful Bathrooms

New and Old Buildings

The new building was not completed in time for the dedication service last Sunday.  Instead we had a time of prayer and gratitude before the church service.  It was great to see the looks on some of the people who attended the time of prayer and gratitude.

church

Entrance into New Building

Everyone enjoyed the progress that has been made on the building.  The main area will be a great place for church services, soccer, basketball and other activities.

church 1

Gratitude for New Building

After seeing the new building we came back for the church service in the current building.  It was great to see all of the people worshiping.

church 2

Packed Service

This church service also was a send off for the missionary who helped start this church.  The Richner’s are going on furlough and last Sunday was their last service in Brasil.

church 3

Expression of Gratitude to Missionaries

 

Construction Continues on the Church

The construction has continued on the church building.  It is so cool to see it going up.  We are hoping to have the dedication service this Sunday.  At this point the outside is looking very good.

construction 1

The outside is painted and really coming together.

Looking forward to the floor being painted in the sports area.  This will be where lots of activities happen and the church meetings are held.

construction 2

The inside is painted and the sports court/sanctuary looks great.

The rear of the church had to have fire resistant drywall and a small wall by the stairs needed to be constructed due to fire safety regulations.  The building code required the redesign of the building to include the fire resistant drywall and wall blocking off the stairs.  I am glad that this issue was found before the building construction was completed.

construction 3

The rear area and second story are progressing very well.

The room’s on the second floor consist of two offices and a large multipurpose room.  This room will have games and activities for all ages.

construction 5

The main room on the second floor will be huge.

A surprise for me when I last walked through the building was a mural that a short term missionary was painting.  It looks very good.  I can’t wait to see the completed mural.  I know that the kids and their parents will enjoy seeing this mural when they have church on Sunday mornings.

construction 4

The mural in the children’s room.

 

Baptism

On last Saturday I was able to attend a Baptism.  I was so excited to come to this baptism because I remember sharing the gospel with Carlos when I last visited in November/December 2015.

Baptism

Pre Baptism Fellowship

Carlos was one of the stories that I shared about my visit to Brazil while I was raising support to come back.  Carlos was one who attended the Hangout but didn’t want to talk about spiritual things.  While I was visiting the Hangout one night he asked a question that lead to a conversation where I was able to present the gospel to him.   He did not repent at that time but eventually he did repent.

Baptism 1

The Immersion

Over the last year and a half Carlos has repented and been discipled by one of the missionaries.  The missionary who has been discipling is going on furlough and he wanted to be baptized before the missionary left.  It is great to see answered prayers.

Baptism 2

Post Immersion