Today is an exciting day here on the campus of SEBREN: we celebrate the conclusion of our first year of classes! The Lord has faithfully brought us through this semester and year, and we have learned so much! Today all the professors and students will gather here on campus to celebrate and give thanks. We will also introduce the students to a couple of the new professors who will be teaching next semester. Our celebration today will include a Brazilian cookout, lots of Coca-Cola, and a thanksgiving service.
Speaking of Thanksgiving, we celebrated Thanksgiving this year in the “interior” in a town we have mentioned a couple of times. There is another missionary family with our mission board who live about 3 hours away in the interior. They are planting a church in the town of Quatro Bocas (Four Mouths). We spent Thanksgiving day with them and another family. It was a good time of fellowship with them. We taught Chloe all about the Pilgrims who came over on the Mayflower and the First Thanksgiving. And of course we showed her the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. What could be more patriotic?!
The day after Thanksgiving the youth group of one of my hermeneutics students hosted a mini-conference on “The Christian Worldview.” I was asked to give the opening lecture, introducing the framework for a Christian worldview. I had spent a lot of time in preparation for it, and was encouraged at how well it went. This was the first such conference hosted by this church, but they desire to host other conferences in the future. Though it started out small, they are hoping to see this conference grow and help the young people in this area be established in their faith.
The week before Thanksgiving Emily joined many of the other ladies from the state fellowship of churches at their annual Ladies’ Retreat. It was held at the camp owned by the state fellowship. Our coworker’s wife, Sofia, was the speaker this year. Emily said it was a good opportunity to get to know many of the ladies from the area. She left Chloe and Daddy at home to fend for themselves for the weekend…and we all survived! Chloe and Daddy actually had a pretty good time! We went for a run together, something we had not done in quite a while. And the ladies came back with much to talk about. We have done some visiting in the past few weeks, and Emily has recognized and been able to chat with several ladies who were at the conference.
Last weekend a local church asked us to come and fill the pulpit for them. They are a church plant from one of the older churches in the area, and are currently without a pastor. This year the church has had a particular focus on the family. Each first Sunday of the month they have had a “Family Sunday” which was designed to particularly emphasize a godly home. Each “Family Sunday” they have had a special speaker come in and preach. This past Sunday was the last “Family Sunday” of the year, and they had a small reception after the service to commemorate the series. It was a good time of fellowship with this church family.
Earlier this week my hermeneutics class celebrated their final lecture. We did it in style! I gave a special reading assignment, ordered a bunch of pizzas, my students brough lots of Coca-Cola, and we sat around for three hours discussing this reading, eating pizza, and drinking Coke. It was incredible. My students all had a blast and seemed to learn something along the way as well!
Last week we finally put up our Christmas tree! Emily is always very excited to pass this milestone and finally begin to listen to Christmas music. Though the temperature outside is 90+ every day, Christmas is indeed approaching. It still feels strange to be celebrating Christmas in this heat.
With that, thanks for reading and for praying! Keep tuned for some exciting updates over the next few weeks. We’ll be off for some real adventures here shortly!