Saturday, July 31, 2010

Our God is Still Saving Boys and Girls

About 12 boys and girls made the decision to accept Jesus as their one and only Saviour, Lord and new Friend this week out on Treasure Island Camp. With the help of 7 American girls, 2 Brazilian young ladies, and 8 Brazilian young men and many others, 27 children heard the Gospel presented over and over during the course of our 3 day, 2 night retreat.

I am so thankful for all that volunteered their services during this work for God's glory including a very special couple - Sr. Carlos and Dona Regina of Juazeiro da Bahia. Dona Regina is the cook for many of our retreats. She willingly came to work in the kitchen and receive no pay knowing that none of the children could afford to come and were being given these 3 days free. Sr. Carlos worked extra time to be able to come as well and help both in the kitchen and in the camp canteen.

I wept tears of joy on the last morning of the retreat knowing that little lives were going home changed because of Jesus! Thank you to all who committed to pray for this venture.

Today I visited 3 boys and 1 girl who live up near where we always park the camp boat. One of the houses was a little hard to find and included fording a small stream (I'm sure the boys would say - very small, Mama!). 1 of the boys and the little girl had made salvation decisions at camp. Please pray that they will come to church with us tomorrow. It will not be easy to pick them up and bring them home again with all of our Sunday responsibilities, but with God's Great Help it will be done.

 Some who made decisions this week at camp.

AV/TI 2010 Slideshow

Friday, July 30, 2010

What a Blessing!

Tuesday morning was harried which many things to do and yet to get ready for the Big Retreat.  I found myself wondering if perhaps our retreat was going to be a very big flop as my phone was ringing every few minutes with people who were calling to say that kids as well as some adults were not coming!  Winds were strong.  It was drizzling some.  The skies were dark.

I had to run out to the paper store which had been closed on Monday to make copies for our programs.  It was my intention to hurry on my bike leaving the truck for my husband and his last minute errands.  All I had to do was drop off my masters and then I could send someone else out later to pick them up.  Half way there I realized my back tire was getting flatter and flatter!  So much for speed and efficiency!

I called home for a boy to come and rescue me with the tire pump.  One of the boys came alright - without the pump.  No worries!  I left the boy with my bike to push home and I took off like lightening on his good bike.  I even took a few minutes to pause while waiting to turn into our street to breathe deeply, look up at the big white fluffy rain clouds and ask God for strength, safety and sanity for the day and for the retreat.

And I was richly blessed!  In spite of only having 27 out of an anticipated 40 campers, in spite of rainy, windy, chilly weather, and in spite of not having all the adult helpers I had anticipated - I believe the retreat was a wonderful success.  All things were not as perfect as could be, but all things went smoothly and children got to hear that, "Yes, there is someone who loves you, and wants you, and wants to see you succeed now and for eternity!" 

10 - 12 boys and girls made decisions to accept the Jesus Christ as the Lord and Saviour of their lives during the events at Treasure Island Camp.  What an incredible joy to see counselors helping children through the verses of the plan of salvation on Wednesday night after our Bible lesson teacher carefully told about the Red page of the Wordless Book.  The red page that represents the Blood of Jesus that washes away the sins of the world.  Wow!

Thursday morning I was awakened early as my boys were taking a small group on an early morning hike to the far side of the island.  I could not get back to sleep for thanking God for allowing me to be a small part of this event.  I began to thank the Lord for each person that had helped to make this possible.  Tears streamed down my face as I considered how many more lives God can now touch as we continue to reach out to these children in the days to come.

Thank you to so many who prayed this past week for our retreat.  This next week our family will travel with the Aventura Brasil group who helped with the children to host another retreat for children in the state of Ceara.  Please continue to pray for us and the Aventura Brasil 2010 group all during the remainder of their time in Brazil.  Pray specifically for the salvation of lost boys and girls and the call of God for missionary service for the young ladies on this year's AV team.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Free Kids' Camp 2010

John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

My thoughts today are centered on an upcoming event out on the island. It's a camp for children. Years ago when we came to Sobradinho to work with the Treasure Island Camp we soon sensed the camp was under-utilized especially for children, evangelism and the people of our little town itself in direct connection with our church.

Our church work in Sobradinho has actually shrunk in numbers since we first came in 1994. My husband and I have tried it all and with lots of prayer and counsel. We have done all the things that have worked in other places plus a few more.

Once a friend told me that perhaps there were just not any more of God's "chosen" left in Sobradinho. Wow! Knock me down! That is not true! It is against all my beliefs and the core of all I know about the Loving Eternal Creator God.

Two years ago we decided to try another NEW idea - a camp for the poor children of our town. It worked out that another colleague also had a new idea - to host a group of college students and teens from the States who were interested in learning about missions with the hope of recruitment. My husband and his colleague combined their goals to create Aventura Brasil - a two week summer experience which would include a retreat for children on the island.

The first Aventura Brasil went well and the children's retreat was a huge success. It was not as easy as we had thought to round up children for a FREE camp.  But finally with the help of a teacher and a local school 40 boys and girls from our town went to camp for three days. Afterwards my husband started Source of Light Bible studies with each one camper. Many continued faithfully with their lessons and are still involved today! Several campers made decisions during the retreat and because of the lessons.  Others, friends and family of those 40, saw the lessons and began as well. But, rarely have any of them come to our church which had been a main goal and hope of the big plan - to bring in new faces to our little work. Even though the camp was a success and the Bible studies continue - we once again felt disappointed. Only recently have two girls who made salvation decisions as a result of the courses began to attend Sunday School regularly. Ironically neither of them even attended the first retreat!

While numbers are not our desire - Souls are!  We want to be able to count more souls saved by faith in Christ in Sobradinho. In less than 11 days we will host about 40 children on the island for the second of our Treasure Island/Aventura Brasil retreats. At first it had been decided to gather children from several area towns and churches.  Through an interesting twist of "fate" I have been once again left to gather all the campers for this retreat.  What a privilege!  Yes, and what a chore as well!  Could it be that this is the miracle for which I have been waiting during these past six long years in the desert?

Pictured here are some of the boys and girls at a school where I visited this morning. In the middle are three workers at the school. The lady in the purple polo shirt is the teacher of the class and a personal friend. She will most likely go along for this retreat. She has never made a decision for Christ but has heard the Gospel more than once and often attends special church events with me.  In the middle is a lady that I have known now for several years as she worked with me to help the three little girls from Fortaleza who lived out on the island and came in to school. The third I just met this morning.  She is a special ed teacher.

This one event has already allowed me to share my faith with these three and other adults at the school as I explain the purpose of our camp.  Soon these lovely boys and girls will hear God's Word preached as well. May God be glorified through this work.
Oh Lord, may your Word go forth to touch these and other little hearts! And somehow may these boys and girls and other come to know You and wish to learn more about and serve You in our little church. Because I know that You are still saving souls all over the world and there is no place where You have given up or ran out of souls to save!

This is my prayer! Would you pray with me over the next two weeks to these ends:  salvation of boys and girls, desire of Aventura Brasil participants for missions, growth of the Sobradinho congregation!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Little Friend


Would you pray for my little friend, Amanda? Her parents are our island caretakers. They are making very poor decisions in their lives right now. Amanda is only 8 but has been kicked out of school two different times. She is not living on the island right now so that she can go to a new school in our town. She has been coming to our Sunday School at church.  This past weekend our boys were invited to join in as campers at the retreat on the island since it was for children.  I asked if Amanda who was out on the island this week could participate as well.   I spent most of the second retreat with her since she did not know many of the other boys and girls.  She told others that I was her counselor.  Each morning she was waiting outside my cabin before the crack of dawn.  One day coming up from the beach she told me that "Jesus is the best way!"  I am praying and speaking with her about how she can be a successful young lady and how Jesus is the way to find that true sucess and happiness in life!


Crazy Experience

And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you,  he shall by no ...