Saturday, September 30, 2017

Go or To Stay: Part 3

Two months ago our congregation voted to ask a national pastor to come and start work here in Sobradinho.  It was a big decision since in many ways.  The congregation was started almost twenty years ago and has always had some sort of missionary assistance.  We ourselves have been here for close to thirteen years now.  The vote to call a pastor was a little scary for our small group because it meant making a commitment to give regular tithes and offerings to pay the salary of the man or his family will go hungry!  So far, so good!  Giving is okay.  The mother church across the lake is helping and we made a promise to give a good size monthly offering until next year.  But hence the old missionary question arises:  Where are you going now?

Seems everywhere I go people ask:  Where are you going?  You aren't leaving, are you?  So going back to the US, hey?  Going to go live near your grandbabies now?  I even had a man pull me aside a few days ago and tell me that it was okay, that he totally understood why we were turning the church over a national pastor so we could go back and take care of those beautiful grandbabies.  Okay?  They are beautiful.  He got that right!  Sorry friend, our commitment to missions isn't quite that wishy-washy.  

{Although, come to think of it?  Nah...
let's not add that to the equation.}

William had to make some tough MK choices a few years back about coming and going.  He left, came back, then left again.  Greyson had a tough choice about school and chose to go now and hopefully come back later.  Dalton's made some hard choices along the way.  Maybe God will lead him back yet!  Now it's the old folks turn.  Go or Stay?  Go where?  Stay where?

Seems many missionaries our age are heading for home - the States.  #1 reason we hear is - health.  #2 is - to be close to our grandchildren. #3 is - to be close to aging parents.  It's a big pull.  But friends, our call to Brazil hasn't changed in spite of some new tugs on the heartstrings and we are still healthy and our parents are still healthy, thank the Lord. I'm super thankful for the grand people in our little grandbabies' and our big MK boys' lives right now, and for Internet that keeps us in touch.  

So are we leaving?  Probably, yes.  We are most likely leaving Sobradinho.  We have no plans right now to leave Brazil.  No, we don't know where and we don't know exactly when.  We are actively looking!  Byron is right now sitting in an airport in a little town called Santarém waiting for his delayed flight to Manaus.  He spent three days this week at a missionary conference for those who work along the Amazon River basin.  These next two weeks he will be visiting many cities and works around Manaus as he looks to see where God would lead.  The Amazon River basin is one of the neediest areas for evangelism.

Another super needy area is not too far from home.  It's the desert Northeast especially the states of Bahia and Piaui.  Imagine that!  After Byron's big jungle trip we will be visiting a couple of cities with the least amount of biblical churches in our area just a few hours away!

There are many possibilities as Brazil is mega country with many regions that have little gospel witness.  Pray with us as we seek God's direction for our future.  We still have some good years left and want to use them well!  Here or there.  Going or staying.

 The groans of the dying rise from the city,
    and the souls of the wounded cry out for help.
Job 24:12 

The need in Brazil is still great.  
The work is not done.  
Won't you come and help.

For your information... the top 8 unreached people groups of Brazil: 

1.Indigenous people
With 117 ethnicities without a missionary presence and without the knowledge of the Gospel.

2. Ribeirinhos
In the Amazon basin there are 37,000 riverside communities along hundreds of rivers and streams. The most recent surveys point to the absence of evangelical churches in about 10,000 of these communities.

3. Gypsies (especially the Calon people)
There are about 700,000 Calon Gypsies in Brazil and only 1,000 claim to be believers in the Lord Jesus. Gypsies spread throughout the national territory in large and small cities, living in nomadic, semi-nomadic or sedentary communities.

4. Sertanejos
There are still 6,000 settlements in the desert Northeast without the presence of an evangelical church.

5. Quilombolas
Formed by Afro-descendant communities that have been living in more or less remote areas for the last 200 years. There are possibly 5,000 quilombola communities in Brazil, of which 3,524 are officially recognized. It is estimated that 2,000 still remain without the presence of an evangelical church.

6. Immigrants
There are more than 100 countries well represented in Brazil through long-term immigrants with a population of almost 300,000 people.

7. Deaf people with communication limitations
There are over 9 million people in this category in our country and less than 1% declare themselves a believer in the Lord Jesus.

8. The richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor
The eighth segment is not socio-cultural like the others, but socioeconomic. It is divided into two extremes: the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor. In some Brazilian states there are three times fewer evangelicals among the richest and the poorest than in other socioeconomic segments.

Summarized and translated from

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