“Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day
after day, rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole
world and delighting in mankind.” Proverbs 8:30,31
I am trying to imagine God delighting “day after day” during creation
when He made an extra ugly bug, or when He gave the elephant the long
nose, or when he made the edelweiss and put it on the top of the
Matterhorn. It’s like the little girl asked her Sunday School teacher,
“Did God mean to make the giraffe with such a long neck?” Solomon goes
on to say that God delighted most in mankind. It is easy for me to
imagine that God is disgusted with the world. But maybe He is actually
delighted with the world? Maybe He chooses not to look into the
darkness too much, except with the intent of bringing people out and
into His light, where He can delight in them? Maybe God has a filter,
and He is actively seeking out people to delight in?
Jesus says God highly values people with the following characteristics:
-the poor in spirit
-those who mourn
-the meek
-those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
-the merciful
-the pure in heart
-the peacemakers
-those who are persecuted for righteousness
-those who are insulted and criticized because they are Christians
Last Sunday we had a glimpse of God’s delight. We had planned a baptism
and a potluck. We woke up to dark clouds and rain. By 9:30 a.m. it was
still raining, but the first people started showing up. The rain worked
like a filter. Only those who really wanted to came. After a short
service we walked through our fields to the river. The joy of the Lord
was among us. The things of the world grew dimmer for awhile, and the
delight of being with God’s people and in His presence was all around.
After the baptism someone ran for the volleyball and the youth stopped
at the flooded volleyball court for awhile. “Today, the rain doesn’t
matter.” Then we had lunch together. The youth were just acting crazy,
singing Christian songs out loud, no instruments, off key. The word
“carefree” comes to mind. It is kind of like when people first get
saved and the heavy weight of sin first falls away. Maybe the children
of Israel felt like this crossing through the Red Sea. Maybe the
Russians felt like this when the wall came down. Maybe the Americans
felt like this when they burned the tea in Boston. Maybe the pioneers
in Manitoba felt like this when they first got a homestead. For awhile,
nothing matters. Freedom is within sight. This feeling really makes
missionary work feel like a worthwhile endeavour.
For a couple of weeks now a loose paraphrase of Paul’s feelings when he
was before King Agrippa has been ringing in my head. “But for these
chains I wish all people could become what I am.”
…except that I don’t have any chains.
Thank you so much for your prayers, support and friendship, and for
working with us on this missionary endeavour. May God bless you with a
sense of the hope you are giving to many people, and the great
multitudes you will bless through their testimonies and activities in
the years to come.
Rick Bergen.
PS We captured some of the emotions of last Sunday on a four minute
video: .
PPS After watching this video, if you have a youth group who would like
to challenge us to a game of volleyball, please write me an email. Hey,
you might even be able to talk us into a small soccer tournament.

You are invited to watch a video of our Easter Highlights, including

our Passion Play. It is 4 minutes and 33 seconds long. Just click on

this link.

After our big Easter service last night, when I finally stepped into

our bedroom about 10:30 p.m., I surprised a big rat. I stepped into

cartoon character big hunter mode as I chased him around our crowded

room with the big pellet gun I got from Ross. It took about an hour,

and I had to move all our furniture and unpack some shelves, but I

finally got him, much to Deanna’s relief. That part of our Easter

week-end is not in our video. Still, the video has a lot of action,

thanks to our great team, and I highly recommend it.


Rick Bergen.

PS If the video link does not work, type in and then

type rickbergen in the search box.

Maraba Encontro Retreat Jan 2010

Please watch this short video of the testimonies of the youth in our
church in Maraba. We are so grateful for how God is working in the
lives of people in our neighborhood. It is very difficult for me to
watch this video without weeping because of God’s mercy and love.
During one of the first week-ends of this year we planned a spiritual
retreat. Thirteen leaders came from Altamira to help. From Friday to
Sunday the guys sought God in one camp while the girls sought God
another camp. The retreat involved silence, teaching, repentance, good
food, tears and joy. At the Sunday church service we asked if anyone
wanted to share what God had done in their lives.
Video in English (6 minutes):
Video em Portuguese (9 minutos):
This is our most important video to date. It captures the process of
God transforming lives.
After the mountaintop experience we all returned to the where we live
everyday. What the video does not show is the homes these kids returned
to. One boy’s dad stabbed his mother before Christmas. She blocked the
knife with her arm, so the knife cut right through her forearm. Another
girl’s brother was shot and killed a few doors from our house, while
she and many of this group were practicing the Christmas play. Other of
these youth need to stay awake all night on party nights to protect
their younger siblings from their mom’s drunken boyfriend and his
friends. But things look different now. (Interesting to me, these
disfunctional parents are just big, broken kids themselves. They
welcome us into their homes. We’re becoming friends. Their own stories
tear you up).
Please pray for Dianne, Jobel, Romulo, ZeZinho, Yara, big Luanna,
little Luanna, Anni, Via, Emma, JohnLennon, Maico, Adriana, Sarah,
Pablo, Marques, Kayele, Aline, Bruno, Sammi, Fransisco and Barbara, to
name a few. They are at a very tender place in their spiritual lives.
The devil would love to take them out, but greater is He who is in us
than He who is in the world. These are becoming the pillars of the
Maraba church.
And please don’t forget to pray for Ivanildo and Monica, who work with
us. They do a large percentage of the day to day pastoring, along with
Deanna, Anni, Via and Emma. Bella and I play support and coaching
roles. We appreciate your prayers too.