Somehow we are quickly approaching the end of the semester here in Belém! The past few weeks have been flying by, and we have a lot of interesting things to share with you all.
First of all, the weather has begun to change here in Belém. We have moved from the “wet” season to the “dry” season. Which basically means that rather than the afternoon rains pretty much guaranteed every day, there’s now about a 50/50 chance we will see rain. Because we have not been getting the normal rains, the temperature has crept up a little bit. Though the temperature change has not been very significant, in general it “feels” warmer because the afternoon temperature dip that comes with the rain just isn’t happening.
Every month we have a regional gathering of pastors. Each gathering has a particular theme. This year we are studying the various aspects of Baptistic theology. Last month, in May, I had the opportunity to present the theology of the ordinances: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. It was a neat opportunity and provoked some interesting conversations afterward.
Otherwise things are going well at church. We recently began our evangelism outreach, and I have been encouraged by the commitment of our members to be involved in this outreach. We’ve also seen our attendance increase a bit, and a few members who had been away from the Lord and away from the church have recently recommitted themselves to the Lord and begun discipleship. We are encouraged to see the Lord working in this way.
The last Saturday night of the month we had an “in-home service.” This is apparently a cultural event unique to this area of Brazil. The whole church goes to the home of one of the members where they have an evangelistic service. The host family has the opportunity to invite neighbors and friends to the service. It was a neat event, and we plan on doing it again in the future.
Last night something really funny happened at church. After the service we were all standing outside getting ready to leave. As we were standing there a couple of well-dressed couples came up to us. I immediately thought “Mormons” in my mind, and sort of ignored the proceedings, since I figured my co-worker Rubens would take care of the situation. But when they approached us and asked who the pastor was, instead of identifying himself as the pastor as I expected, he pointed to me and said, “he’s the pastor!” As you can imagine, this caught me quite by surprise. Turns out they were seminary students at a Pentecostal seminary somewhere in the area and were looking for donations. I politely explained that I wasn’t interested, and they left. As they were leaving, my co-worker Rubens started to laugh about how he had “thrown me under the bus.” He thought it was quite funny. And truthfully, I did too.
Things in the Seminary have been going well. Here are some pictures from some recent classes and chapel services:
Emily has been working hard in the library
to update the card catalog. Meanwhile my coworker Rubens and I have been working hard to add books to the library. This is a picture of us last week at a large book fair here in Belém. The Lord was good and we were able to find a number of the books that we need for next semester, and we were able to take advantage of a very significant educator’s discount.
Last Wednesday Emily and I celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary! It is hard to believe we have been married for nine years! The time has just flown by! Our coworkers watched Chloe on Thursday evening so that Emily and I could enjoy the evening out. We found a good burger place and ate amazing burgers and fries. It was quite the event! We were even provided with plastic serving gloves to eat our burgers with, so that we would not get too messy! It was some good thinking! And yummy burgers.
Chloe is growing up so fast! She’s been watching her Daddy direct music, and picking up the idea. A few weeks ago at a ladies event Emily caught this on video:
Emily has been teaching her about the days of creation and life in Eden over the past couple weeks. We are excited to see her growth in so many areas. Her vocabulary has really taken off! She can count to 10 and is making more and more abstract connections in her speech.
Please be praying for wisdom over the next few months. Our housing situation is temporary, and we would like to begin to look for a place long-term to settle down – perhaps even buying a house. We are as certain as we can be that we are where the Lord wants us, and are planning to be here in Belém for the foreseeable future.
Thank you all for your continued prayers for us and our ministry. We are thankful for each one of you.