Mid-Semester Blessings

Good afternoon, friends and family. We’ve had a few blessings over the past couple weeks that we wanted to share with you all. First off, we continually thank the Lord for protection and provision, even during the mundane parts of life. Here in Belém it rains just about every day (hence “rainforest”), and many times that rain is accompanied by strong winds. Last week during a daily rainstorm a large branch from a tree behind the boys’ dormitory fell down. I was sitting on the veranda at the Academic Center when we heard the branch crack, and we watched it fall. Thankfully it did no damage to the boys’ dorm (or any other property). It’s fall-path was just inches from the roof in the picture, but it did not hit the building. Praise the Lord with us for His protection!

Also last week I had the opportunity to speak at a preaching point in another part of the city. One of the churches in the city is working to plant a church in an unreached neighborhood, and one of my students, Israel, is responsible for the ministry. He asked if I would come out and preach last Monday night. Israel has been preaching a series from the Gospels, and I continued that series by preaching from Jesus’ call to discipleship in Matthew 16. Currently the group is meeting in a small civic center in the “square” (praça) of the neighborhood. Israel’s home church, which is investing in this church plant, was able to purchase a piece of property in an excellent location facing the direction of the “square.” Israel is hoping to move into the neighborhood early next year so that he can devote more time to evangelism and discipleship. Praise the Lord with me for this student, who is willing to put into practice the things he is learning and is so energetically serving the Lord with his gifts.

Finally, this morning Emily and I were able to go and visit a lady who has been attending our church for the last couple of weeks. She has a lot of questions, and we are not sure of her spiritual state. The Lord is certainly working in her heart, but she was not able to clearly articulate her personal faith in Jesus as her Savior. Please be praying with us for her. Her name is Sílvia. We were able to clearly share the Gospel with her, and also answer some questions she has about who we are as “Baptists.” She seems eager to learn, so please pray for continued opportunities with her, and that she will understand that her salvation depends on Christ’s finished work, not on her works.

We have one more prayer request. Next week I am scheduled to be travelling to another state to preach at a conference. Please pray for safety on the roads, and that the conference would be an encouragement to the churches in that area. Also, a fellow missionary who works in that city, with whom I will be serving at the conference, was just diagnosed with a relatively serious medical condition. Please pray for his strength as he is presently shouldering many of the responsibilities of preparation for this conference.

Thank you all for your prayers.