May 24, 2010

I was getting a building permit from the Marabá Department of Public Works a few days ago, glad for the shelter of the small crowded office. Sheets of driving rain, thunder and lightening do not combine well with motorbike riding. Four men and a lady were passionately discussing the future of Marabá, the rapid growth and the the possibility of becoming a state capital. The “chefe” behind the big desk asked me if I was with a Canadian mining company. “No. I am a missionary.” The man in the corner with the big muscles and the black “fiscalização” shirt looked up, “Are you the guy who is over there in Folha 6 working with the youth?” The word “fiscalização” carries the idea, “We try to find things that are wrong in order to give you fines!” “Yes,” I responded. “We are planting a church and helping our neighbors” Raised eyebrows peered at me from under has black ‘fiscalização” ball cap,“But don’t you have a soccer field?” I nodded and invited him to come see us. “I already have. That is a very good thing you are doing.” Immediately everyone in the room started thanking me for helping the youth in our neighborhood. “Thank-you.” “Yes, thank you for helping our youth.” “Yes. Thank you for working there.” The chefe gave me a 40% discount on the building permit. This was way across town. I extend their thanks to you. Your prayers and donations make this work possible.
It has been a busy year and a half as we work to plant this church in Marabá. We are so grateful to be developing this community of peace. We have fixed up a meeting place, a mission office, a guest house, done grounds work, built fences, a shop and a house, and we bought a tractor. Most importantly we have hosted several conferences and established weekly worship and small group meetings. Our small church is packed every Sunday. The Lord is transforming lives.
Our youth are asking for more training. They eagerly participate in everything. Several are starting to lead smaller discipleship groups. In order for our church to grow we need a bigger building. We can do one more expansion on our existing meeting area. This will move us from a packed out 100 to a reasonable 200. From there we may be able to go to two services as we plan for a bigger building. And the “carrot” our youth are dreaming about? “We are going to plant our first church in the interior soon.” We really need a good van to do outreaches with these youth.