Merry Christmas from Germany,
We hope that during this Christmas season you are able to take time to rest and enjoy family, friends and the celebration of our Savior’s birth. At church and during our Bible studies, we’ve talked a lot about what it must have been like during that first Christmas and how it probably wasn’t as neat and clean as our Christmas pageants portray. Heather and I were able to watch the movie “The Nativity Story” and were moved by how hard it must have been for Mary and Joseph. In a video on youtube by “The Skit Guys” one of them describes a time when he had a newborn at Christmas, and his son was Baby Jesus in the nativity play. He recalls sitting in the front row and watching a teenage girl come out holding his son. During that moment it hit him, “This is what God did, sent his son to be taken care of by a teenage girl, to grow up and die on a cross to save us from our sins.”
Dear Friends & Family,
2019 has been an exciting year for our family and ministry, and the Lord has taught us many things, proving over and over again his love and faithfulness to all of us! Now, as the Advent Season is upon us, we are encouraged to prepare our hearts and homes to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus. We pray that you, too, will have a very Merry…Blessed Christmas!!
In early November, I presented to our National Council EE-Brazil’s Action Plan & Budget for 2020. The name of the plan is nEExt. It is a common marketing tactic in Brazil for an English word to be used. So, we have adapted the word “next” into nEExt. Here are some highlights of our vision for next year:
- to bless the Brazilian Church and generate financial resources for the ministry, we will pursue publishing again four books by our founder, Dr. D. James Kennedy;
- the fourth module of our training will be printed and made available to churches in the first semester, AND the fifth module will be translated, edited, published and made available to churches in the second semester;
- a web-based system will be launched for churches to manage their outreach ministries, helping them keep up with those being trained and those being visited, reached with the Gospel and discipled;
- and a project called Local Teams, which will bring together the pastors of implementing churches, in order to provide motivation and encouragement.
Family and Friends,
While in São Paulo, I noticed again what has become a trend in recent years, i.e., the internationalization of the distinctly US holiday we call Thanksgiving. I see it being referred to in Brazil and other parts of Latin America, where there were no pilgrims and Indians who came together to share/celebrate a harvest meal in the year 1621. It seems to me that Latin Christians are the ones who have picked-up on our tradition and decided it is a good idea to have a day dedicated to thanking our Lord for his bountiful provision!
At EE-Brazil, our vision is to train and equip church members across Brazil to confidently explain the Gospel to family members, friends, and others they come into contact with in their communities, on their jobs and in their schools. Sounds great and really IS a vision 100% in line with God’s Word! But, it is not always an “easy sell,” as many good opportunities, in the form of projects and ministries, compete for the time and attention of pastors and church leaders. Therefore, we are grateful for recent advances in further penetrating existing fields like Rio de Janeiro and entering into new ones like Rondônia in the vast territory known as Brazil!
Family and Friends,
I read something in Portuguese recently that stopped me in my tracks, and I began to think about it in very personal terms! Maybe it has been around even in English, but I saw it for the very first time. It was a series of statements that begin with: It would be easier to…
- …have a less hectic routine. (I thought of trying to keep up with the challenges of having one foot in the US and the other in Brazil.)
- ...have set hours to work and others to relax.
- …to take time off and not feel guilty or be unable to disengage from the demands the first few days, only to realize the time off was half over.
- …to not have to raise financial support for family & ministry, which sometimes feels like a second full-time job.
- …to not have to write newsletters when other work is piled up around you. (I made that one up on my own! 😎)
- …to just think about me and have as a reference for my life someone who had not emptied themselves of their glory and died on a cross for my sins.
- …etc. etc. There are too many to continue here…another day.
Hello Friends and Family,
It has been a crazy last month, and we would love to share what God is doing and how to pray for us right now.
As you may remember, we started the foster care process/paperwork over a year ago and finished last spring. We also knew that when we returned from our trip to Oregon we could be called with a placement at any time. God, in His timing, knew that we were not ready for the first two months of school. Then, the day before the first day of fall break Heather received “the call.” A baby was in the hospital, his mom was in a coma, and he needed a family. When Heather asked me, my response was, “Ready or not, here we go.” Because how can you truly be “ready” for a monumental task of being a foster parent. Heather visited Leon that day, and for the next six days, she was going back and forth between the hospital and home until the doctors gave him the all-clear and he could come home to us. We knew his mom used crystal meth, which is what induced the coma, but, at the time, we did not know that she also drank hard liquor, smoked, and took meth regularly throughout her pregnancy. So poor little Leon is dealing with drug, alcohol and nicotine withdrawal. This means that he is either sleeping, eating, screaming, or being held most of the time. Sometimes screaming and being held at the same time. It has been taxing on the whole family, but we keep reminding ourselves that God was the one who led us to this task, that often He doesn’t call us to do the easy things, and He will give us the strength that we need. We have also been amazed by the love and support we have received from friends both near and far away. Food, physical help, and other gifts to help us in this process. We are only doing short term care, so the youth services are currently looking for a long term home for Leon after they figure out who the father is. So our role is to fill the gap and love him for the season God has him with us.