Dear Friends and Family,
We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. (Pr. 16:9)
How can it possibly be Easter already? As I begin to write, it seems that I am coming up for air, after a near drowning…my own!! Read below, and I’ll explain. It is Good Friday, and Mary Jo and I pray this Easter will be your most blessed ever! It will certainly seem like the strangest ever, right?! Yet, the essentials of Easter remain unchanged, only our traditions for its observance are being altered. Tetelestai…it is finished/our sin debt is paid!!
While in São Paulo in late February and March, I talked with Board members about plans for my second trip of 2020 to hold a team meeting in May or June and asked for suggestions of dates and venues. I was super-excited when a low-cost venue surfaced from those conversations. None of us imagined that most ministry plans for 2020 were about to be severely impacted, and that the rest of our evangelism training clinics and workshops, scheduled for the first half of the year, would need to be shifted to the second half, and beyond! Gratefully, the Lord was determining our steps early in 2020, too, by allowing us to conduct eight workshops and one clinic.
Shifting gears to new pandemic realities: God has been encouraging, as He determines our steps!
- I had to “flee” São Paulo, not out of fear of COVID-19, but because the airline was canceling all flights.
- The things I imagined that we would have the opportunity to talk about only when we meet in late May or June, we are now discussing via weekly videoconferencing of our team members…not at a low cost, but at NO COST! While we had already used the Google Meet app a good deal, we had not contemplated a weekly virtual meeting, still thinking in traditional terms that we must meet at some physical location to discuss some subjects. On March 25th and again on April 1,7 & 9, we had team meetings. The team members themselves have suggested we keep meeting, rather than me suggesting it as their Coach! So, we will meet again next Friday afternoon.
- Are we meeting because we have nothing else to do? No! To the contrary, we are sharing ideas and experiences of how to encourage EE pastors/leaders to keep their training ministries alive and functioning! Iron is sharpening iron! As we gain confidence in the video-conferencing model, we share the tool with local church leaders, suggesting that prayer partners and EE teams can still function, praying as a group and reaching out as a team to the recently converted who need discipleship AND to the lost who can hear a Gospel explanation via apps already on many computers and smartphones. That is the Lord determining our steps!
Specifically, we have talked about:
- preparing simple audio-visual materials, which can be shared with local church EE leaders via social media and video-conferencing apps;
- conducting “review” classes of some the clinic topics, using the same means;
- Trainees recording their Gospel explanations and sending them to their Trainers for review, evaluation and suggestions; and
- personal contacts at all levels: active and inactive churches; churches where workshops were held but not yet a clinic; contacts to reestablish dialog about the importance of equipping ministries; contact with one’s prayer and financial supporters; and contact with potential new ministry partners.
The Lord is revealing that we can continue conducting significant portions of our ministries while sheltering-in-place! Frankly, it has been as though ministry accelerated, which is what I meant by feeling like I was coming up for air after nearly drowning! Part of that is the learning curve of new ways of doing certain things. It is all good…even better, as we allow the Lord to determine our steps! And, true leaders never stop being learners!
It was December when we last wrote about financial support. God blessed us through people like you by allowing our year-end goal to be met. We are most grateful!! We now count on monthly gifts to keep coming in to provide for our family. Practically speaking, if you typically mail a check, you may want/need to try secure Online Giving by clicking here in order to comply with current closures/restrictions. We will continue to look to our Provider to determine the steps of those He has called and is calling to support our family and this ministry. Thank you so much for being a vital part of this ministry of evangelism training!!
We are well and unaware of anyone in our family who has contracted COVID-19. Thank you for your prayers! But there HAS been a direct impact to our family: Brian’s job was eliminated by his company, as a result of being directly tied to a sector of the economy impacted by the economic downturn. Please pray for God’s provision for his needs and a new job. Since it looks unlikely that pursuing a new position in his industry can be immediate, please pray that nothing will exclude him from provisions of the government’s CARES Act, designed to aid the millions who are losing their jobs. We look forward to seeing how this, too, is nothing less than God determining the steps of one of his children! If you, too, have a prayer request, please share it with us and let us join you in prayer.
It is only Friday…Sunday’s a comin’!!
Prayerfully desiring good health and God’s blessings for you and yours,
Robert & Mary Jo Foster,
Serving Evangelism Explosion-Brazil
* Atualidadesis a Portuguese word that means news or up to date information. We want you to have the latest information in order to support us in prayer, as well as financially when the Lord leads/enables. Thank you!