I want to thank everyone for your prayers and support and especially your patience. As many of you know I traveled to the U.S. in late December to spend Christmas with Mom and give Andy a break to go up and be with his children and grandchildren. My original plan was to return to Brazil the second week of January. However Mom’s health began to decline and she went to be with the Lord on January 12th.
I needed to stay on for a while to help Andy with some of the matters related to Mom’s passing and estate and was encouraged to take some time to work through my own grieving. It was good in some ways, though I now wish I had returned to Brazil sooner. I did return in early April after waiting to get my COVID shots and have been pretty busy ever since then.
I’ve been dealing with some personal issues along the way, but always finding fulfillment in service. I guess some of us have to go through the “desert” more than once in a lifetime, but we trust that’s just so our loving Father can make us stronger, right?
Ministry to the Homeless and Needy
As you may also know, Brazil has been having high rates of COVID infections and deaths. A lot of our customary ministry initiatives have been put on hold because of quarantine restrictions on gatherings of people and also the high risk of infection. However, I have been able to keep up with some of our ministry partners in their work to the homeless and also online leadership training.
Our partnership with “Church in the Street” (Igreja na Rua) continues and I often accompany them on their distribution of hot meals to the homeless and needy at night. Here’s a few pictures of recent outings.
Most of the people you see in these pictures have already been evicted from the abandoned building and are either on the street or living in shacks in the shanty towns that ring the slum areas of Recife. Some of them we still see at night downtown.
COVID has had a devastating effect on the Brazilian economy and as always the poorest are the hardest hit, the first to get laid off, and the ones facing the toughest time getting work. And these are all good, honest, hard working people. There are just no jobs for them.
Another area where I minister is in leadership training, a lot of which is done teaching the International Leadership Institute’s Eight Core Values. With the pandemic making leadership training retreats impossible, starting in April 2020 we hosted our first online ILI leadership training seminar and were able to host six training events last year.
Since January we have already hosted another six events with three more to conclude in the coming weeks. In these events comprised of ten classes each about one and a half to two hours in length we will have trained by the end of July over 500 church leaders through the full ILI course of Eight Core Values.
In most of these seminars I have taught the opening and closing classes with others teaching the remaining classes. Most of those leaders either trained under me, or were trained by other leaders I trained. The attendees range from church leaders to Sunday School teachers, to ministry leaders in different areas of service.
Despite being online the engagement level is really high and we get a lot of feedback and focus on practical application from the students through frequent “workshops” in each class. The way the Lord has multiplied this ministry has been nothing short of amazing! And I want to thank all of you for your prayers and support.
Pray the Lord will continue to provide the support we need to help the least and the lost, and to continue to raise up servant leaders in all areas of His church.
grace and peace to all,