Love from the States

It is so encouraging to know that there are many people in the United State who are praying for me and care about me.  I know that every missionary enjoys to hear from the people who helped send them to their final destination.  There are four specific ways that I have felt encouragement from those back in the states.  The most simple was is the e-mail and phone communication that I have received from supporters in the United States.  I really enjoy reading all of the e-mails that I get in response to the prayer letters and updates that I send out on a monthly and quarterly basis.  If you want to receive the monthly prayer letters and quarterly updates please sign up here.

The second way that I feel encouraged is by the communication that I have gotten from my sending church.  I have gotten messages from different leaders who are my friends.  One of the other major ways that I have felt encouraged over the past couple of months is a Skype call that I have received from my sending church pastors.  I remember talking with another missionary who had been on the field for over 11 years before getting contacted by their sending church.

Sending Church

Skype with Placerita Church Pastors

The third way that I have been encouraged is from receiving gifts from different families in my sending church.  These gifts have normally come in the form of different items placed into a white envelope.  Each envelope contains different items which represent the individual or families who have filled it.

May Gift

Contents of a Gift Envelope

The fourth way that I have felt encouragement from the states is to have my sending church and many others lifting me up in prayer.

Sending Church 1

Sending Church Updating the Body

 

 

 

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.

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Expression of Gratitude to Missionaries

 

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

 

Missions Team

A couple of weeks ago we had a missions team visit our field.  It was my first missions team experience that I had as a missionary.  The team was made up primarily of college students.  The team was lead by future members of the South Brazil field team.

Missions Team 3

Missions Team

One of the events that the missions team did was to help paint sealant on the new church building.  It was great to get all of us together to do some painting.  I really enjoyed my time with the team.

Missions Team 2

Painting the exterior wall with sealant

I had the privilege of reaching the high panels while others were painting the lower panels.

Missions Team 1

The short and tall

Sometimes it is good to be tall and have long arms.  We were able to pant most of one exterior and interior wall.  Check out the progress that we made.

Missions Team 4

Painting the interior wall.

 

Enjoying the New Diet

I am really enjoying my new diet in Brazil.  I am a fan of many different foods but I especially enjoy different meats.  Churrasco is Brazilan for BBQ.  The classic BBQ is done over a wood fire with simple seasonings like rock salt.  I enjoyed the beef, pork and chicken BBQ one Sunday afternoon with some people from the church.

Food 3

Backyard Churrasco

Schneider’s is a very nice and expensive Churrascaria (BBQ Restaurant) that I had the privilege of going to one day.  Some of the best things that they do is cow hump, filet minion, garlic roles, mozzarella balls, and their roasted pineapple desert.  Being a missionary is tough some times but for the sake of the gospel I will rough it.

Food

Schneider’s Churrascaria

As I was car shopping with one of the missionaries it came time for lunch.  We were driving by a place and he told me that this is the best Thai food in South Brazil.  The name of the restaurant is Thai in a Box.  I have to say that I was disappointed because I went to a good Thai food place just two weeks earlier before I left the states.  However,  I am told that in about 6 months to a year this will be a great place for Thai food.  On a side note this may be the only Thai place in South Brazil.

Food 2

Thai in a Box

One of the meals that I had was a great fresh chicken, fruit, and nut salad.  It is great to enjoy some awesome food.  This might have been the most healthy thing that I ate in the 3 weeks that I have been here.  I do have to say that I have been enjoying the food here and have found it good to only eat a couple of meals a day with the major meal actually happening around lunch time.

Food 1

A Healthy Salad

 

Discipleship in Nepal

There are a great many opportunities for discipleship all over the world.  One of the best discipleship training organizations is the Gospel for Life.  Jay Wegter is the Executive Director of the Gospel for life and was invited to come to Nepal to do some discipleship training for pastors all over the country.

gospel-for-life

Presentation on Gospel for Life Nepal Trip

In December Jay was able to travel to Nepal and hold 20 training sessions on Discipleship.  It was so encouraging to hear all about how the pastors responded to the exhortation to become Ephesians 4 pastors who disciple others and not just preach from the pulpit.  It is exciting to be able to see national pastors who are prioritizing discipleship.

gospel-for-life-1

Excitement about Discipleship Opportunities in Nepal

It is my desire that there be generations of pastors and church leaders all over the world who will be disciple makers.  In the future I am praying that there will be many pastors and church leaders in Brazil who are disciple makers.

The Battlefield of the Mind

Every believer has a great battle field upon which a war rages almost without a break.  This battle field is that of the mind.  I have to say that recently it feels like I have been lazy in my approach to this battle field but I have been reminded of the importance of this field through some sermons that I listened to and also at a time of discipleship on Friday January 6.

mind-notes

It was during the time of discipleship that my friend Jay Wegter drew this picture.  I know that he has referenced it before but for some reason it stuck out in my mind this time so much that I had to take a picture.  The battle field of the mind can be broken up into 4 quadrants: Intellect, Affections, Will, Conscience.  These can all work together to glorify God or they can be at enmity with one another.

intellect

The Intellect quadrant is the front line of this battle.  The intellect is the first faculty of the mind that wages war with the external or internal inputs.  It is here where many people think that the battle is won or lost, but that is not the case.  This is the easiest place to win the battle but if a foothold is established here the battle can still be won.  Victory after loosing the battle in the intellect is simply more difficult to achieve.

james-1

James 1:14-15

The second quadrant is that of the Affections.  It is this area where what a person desires will bring them closer to action.  James 1:14-15 talks about being enticed by your own desires and those desires eventually bring forth sin and death.  Affections is that which describes your desires or wants.  We can be either overcome by our desires to please ourselves or to be overcome by the character of God.  In Romans 12:2 Paul talks about renewing the mind of the believer so that you will not forget how great your affections should be towards God.

romans-12

Romans 12:2

The third quadrant is Will.  Will is the implementation of actions that you desire to do.  It is not too late to stop sin in this quadrant but one who finds themselves fighting in this quadrant are most likely to loose the sinful battle.  Romans 12:2 talks about how we can approve of and know what is good and pleasing in God’s will.  The thought is that when your will and God’s will are aligned then your actions will be pleasing to him but when you do your own will then it will definitely not be pleasing to God.

 

right-and-wrong-decisions

Was that a right or wrong decision?

 

It is here that the conscience takes over in the fourth quadrant.  If your will leads to actions which are not in accordance with what God desires than you will be condemned for your actions.  This condemnation will normally lead to a deterioration between how close the 3 other quadrants are.  If your actions are in accordance with the will of God than your conscience will affirm the actions your will, affections and intellect which will draw them all closer together.

Head Band Game

I have enjoyed many evenings with the Silverman’s.  I had an opportunity to spend time with the Silverman’s recently.  This might be the last evening that I spend with them for a long time.

head-band-game

Guess what I am?

I didn’t think that the headband game would be as fun as it was.  I really enjoyed my time playing this game.  I think that it would be a fun game to play again in the future.

head-band-game-1

Headband Game with the Silverman’s

 

Send Off Service

It was a blessing to be sent off by my church this past Sunday.  It was awesome to get up in front of a packed out church and be able to preach the word.  I was so excited to be able to share my heart with Placerita Bible Church.  I preached from 1 Thessalonians 1:2-8 on the Results of Gospel Transformed Life.  This passage is near and dear to my heart as it describes my desire for the ministry in Brazil.  If you want to listen to the sermon please use the link.

send-off-service-1

Preaching the Word

I was very encouraged to have my elders pray for me before I leave for Brazil.  I am so thankful to enjoy a great send off service on January 8th at Placerita Bible Church.

send-off-service-2

Being Prayed for by the Elders

Prayer is a very important thing for every missionary and I appreciate all of those who are holding “The Rope” for me.  “The Rope” is my monthly prayer letter which is sent to everyone who wants to pray for me.  PBC gave me a plaque with a picture to remind me that they are praying for me.

send-off-service-3

Reminder of PBC’s Prayers

 

Results of Discipleship (Discipleship #6)

Discipleship is not always a linear process and you should not think about it like a cause and effect type situation.  Discipleship has two general categories of results those which are discouraging and those which are encouraging.  If you are discipling people you need to remember that the results which you see should not determine if you are successful or not.  Success in discipleship is determined on if you continue to disciple people no matter if the results are discouraging.  Jesus, who was the greatest disciple maker of all, disciple 13 men and not all of their results were encouraging.  Judas did not continue to walk with Christ.  Don’t be discouraged when not everyone who you disciple follows Christ closer after being discipled. I could give you personal examples of all of these but if you start discipling then you will have your own should you persevere in your discipleship.

Discipleship 4

Discouraging Results

  1. Not all Disciples will be true Disciples. Example: Matthew 27:3 – Judas Iscariot
  2. Disciples will not always turn immediately from their sins. Example: 1 Thessalonians 5:14 – Be patient with all
  3. Disciples will disappoint you. Example: Acts 15:37-38 – John Mark
  4. Disciples will not always get along with their discipler. Example: Acts 15:37-38 and 2 Timothy 4:11- John Mark

Friends

Encouraging Results

  1. Disciples will make other Disciples. Example: 2 Timothy 2:2 – Timothy
  2. Disciples will turn from their sins. Example: 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 –  Sinner needing to be welcomed back
  3. Disciples will encourage their discipler to become more like Christ. Example: Proverbs 27:17 – One man sharpens another
  4. Disciples will get along with their Discipler. Example: Acts 9:27 – Barnabas