Well, folks, take once last, long look. That’s the month of January fading off into the distance. Can you believe it? This month has been a busy one in the Carmichael household. Ever since we got back from camp a couple weeks ago it seems the FastForward button has been pressed (I’m dating myself. Kids, do you know what the FastForward button is? VHS, anyone?). A couple days after getting back from camp Brandon started a seminary class to continue his master’s degree through Maranatha Baptist Seminary in Wisconsin. The class is online, allowing flexibility among our other responsibilities. Emily’s piano lessons continue to go well, and Brandon is still discipling a couple different young men in the area. Last Sunday we visited Bethel Baptist Church where Brandon preached all day. The pastor there has been a good friend to us since we arrived, so when he asked Brandon to fill his pulpit for him while he was gone on vacation, we said of course! Though Brandon has preached many times it was his first time preaching without any kind of a manuscript. This made it much more challenging and intimidating, but it went really well (at least that’s what Emily said – though she might be biased, or “suspeita” as they say here). This last week in language school we passed an exciting landmark: we finished our primary textbooks! Woohoo! Our professor has a lot of supplemental material which we will work through over the next couple of months, so there is no danger of being bored. But it was an exciting milestone nonetheless.
A couple weeks ago we had the opportunity to welcome a brand-new family here to Brazil. The Evans arrived about 2 weeks ago fresh off the Deputation Trail, making a new home here in São Paulo. We had gotten to know them a bit when we were all on deputation, and look forward to seeing what God does with their ministry here in Brazil.
This coming week we are headed off to a conference with leaders from many other Baptist churches in the area. We are looking forward to a good time of fellowship and practicing our Portuguese. Please be praying for safety on the drive up for us and all the others who are going (the conference is being held in a town a few hours away) and pray for a profitable time while we’re there. A week from tomorrow, Brandon’s parents are coming for a visit! We are looking forward to having them with us for about a week. It will be their first time here in Brazil.
We also would ask you to be praying, not just for us but for the entire country, with regards to the Zika virus. Most likely you have been hearing about it in the news. The outbreak of the virus began in Brazil and has spread extremely rapidly this past year across Latin and South America and has been found in the US as well. The virus has been linked with a serious birth defect in babies whose mother was infected while pregnant. It is so serious that a number of countries have advised women to postpone pregnancy for a couple years until there is a better handle on the virus. So wherever you are, please be aware and be careful, and pray for those in areas of greater risk.