I’m really not sure how almost a month and a half has passed since our last update, but it has. And so much has happened! We have so much to tell you all about!
So in our last update we told you all that our second year of school has gotten underway. We are now only a week away from mid-terms. The semester has gone well. It’s incredible how much we learn as we teach. I’ve been working through the Poetic Books with my students this semester, and we have dedicated the first half of the semester to the study of the Wisdom Literature (Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes). It has been a great learning experience for me. I had studied this literature several times, both in undergrad and grad levels, as well as in personal study. But working through it all again this year in preparation to teach has been a wonderful experience.
Emily has been faithfully working in the library, and her consistent dedication is paying off in a number of ways. Each week the library looks better, as she puts final touches on the remodel. Students spend a lot of time in the library each week during study halls, and we trust they are choosing to reap the benefits of the work that has been done. 🙂
In early March our Brazil mission family got together for our “Family Conference.” We have a Family Conference every 3 or 4 years. All the missionaries from our mission (and a few from other missions) get together for a week of business meetings, preaching, and sightseeing. This year the conference was held in the city of Manaus, further up the Amazon River. Though it did not turn out to be a very relaxing time (our red-eye flight on Monday morning was cancelled, and we were put on another red-eye flight on Tuesday morning, which meant we arrived late for conference without having slept for two nights!), it was an encouraging time. We had great times of fellowship with our many friends from around the mission, and heard pastoral preaching from the president of our mission, Dr. Vernon Rosenau.
We spent a day of the trip on a tour of the Amazon region of Manaus. We took a boat trip to see a unique joining of rivers, ate an amazing fish lunch on the river, and got to swim with fresh-water dolphins! It was a lot of fun.
We spent the week after conference trying to recover. We all got sick, probably mainly just from the lack of rest coupled with a virus some of the families carried with them to the conference. But recover we did, and just in time! Because the following week we were able to host our first short-term missions group!
A family from one of our partner churches in New York got in touch with us last year and asked us about the possibility of coming down and spending some time with us as a missions trip. They wanted their kids to experience ministry in another country before any of them headed off to college. We were more than happy to host them for this experience.
The Henry family arrived the day after Palm Sunday, and we put them to work! We had planned a children’s day Easter outreach at our church for the Saturday before Easter, and the Henrys had responsibilities in the game and craft departments of the outreach. Mr. Henry also taught my Poetic Books class, and everyone gave their testimonies of salvation in church. We also took them to the interior (“upstate,” for us New Yorkers) to see the church ministry of one of our students here at the college.
The trip seemed to have a pretty good impact on them, and we are thankful for how they and their church will be able to better pray for our ministry in Belém because of the things they experienced.
We have settled back into our “normal” routine now, with Brandon teaching class on Tuesday and Friday, and Emily working in the library every night during the week (except for Wednesday night, of course). We are thankful for all these extra activities, but also thankful for the normal ebb and flow of life and ministry. Thank you all for your prayers!