A Little Later Summer 2015
Hello all! In our last letter we were playing catch-up with all that's been happening. Life has its ups and downs. Here are some of each here in Sobradinho, Bahia, Brazil:
A seminary nearby has Music Week and this year not only did Greyson go, but another youth from our church, Anderson, went too. Anderson has been leading the church services since William moved out and is learning to play the recorder. (Not the tape kind.) Right after that there was a shorter night seminar "next door" and 4 from our group went. It is especially good for them to be where conservative music is valued as opposed to modern worldly music whitewashed with religious words.
The same seminary started night school in the neighboring city and two from here are attending. The congregation is helping with the costs. Anderson is one and the other is Eliana who made a decision some years ago through the Source of Light courses I used to deliver. It's funny to hear her tell about a scrawny old man on a beat up bike coming every week - until I realized it was ME! But I have been impressed with her from the beginning and it is a continued answer to prayer as she and her boyfriend, Ian, prepare for Christian service. Pray for her and her unsaved family.
You may remember a couple of years ago William went to Mozambique. The same Brazilian group created for that trip continues and is organizing a mission trip from here to Venezuela. These three (Anderson, Eliana and Ian) are among those who feel called to go. Financially it will be almost impossible for them. Pray that God will provide according to His will and if He leads and you'd like to help them financially send me an e-mail to set it up.
The young people helped run a Bible club near-by. It didn't go as well organizationally as I'd hoped but maybe it was a learning experience. Sometimes we think that just voting on it in a meeting (or passing a law) will resolve the issue. But someone's got to tie the bell on the cat. While it didn't go smoothly, it did go and there were a fair number of children that came through as we did the wordless book. Some still ask us to come back.
The last week before our trip was rushed as I wanted to squeeze in a baptism. We had been having the studies for several weeks. I didn't think to check out a spot before, so Sunday morning I went up to the lake early to be ready. A fisherman was cleaning fish and had a strange look on his face as I got off the bike and walked into the lake in pants, shirt and a necktie all the way up to my waist. I thought he might shout "the sermon wasn't THAT bad preacher!" I moved on looking for deeper water with less mud, weeds and without fish bladders floating past. A little later we baptized one teen boy and 3 giggly girls. We were also excited when 2 other pre-teen girls made decisions one Sunday night. They are both from unsaved families, one of which sometimes visits. Pray that their testimony might win their families "without a word."
On the down side, if we were to try to baptize today it might not even be possible to find a suitable spot. The lake is nearing record lows and if it doesn't rain well this year, there will be a crisis in the region. The church also seems to be rather bedraggled. As they chase the "American dream" to have it all - money, status, career - there's not much time left for family and God. They seem to drag in rather frazzled, and, while they leave looking more refreshed, I think it's mostly from the nap during the sermon. Our absence wasn't the stimulus to step up to the plate that I hoped it would be, although there were some bright spots. Pray for rain and for wisdom in setting priorities.
One last bit of news: the Brazilian economy is headed to recession. This makes for a strong dollar for those who live by it, easing some of the strain from recent years, but it will get rough for Brazilians and will impact churches.
Well, the paper is shrinking faster than the lake so I'd better stop rambling and get busy so I'll have something to write about in the next letter. Thank you for your support and your giving.
The Athas in Brazil