Art’s Story

Good morning friends and family,
The ladies had a fantastic weekend of teaching and  receiving prayer. I heard from Cyndi just how many of the ladies and teens were met by God in very real, deep and practical ways. All received some type of healing in their lives and some type of burden was lifted from them. They freedom and lightness that I witnessed Sunday night at our service was so apparent. The ladies were ‘glowing’ and laughing and so full of joy. It was so evident and so attractive. Many of the family members came to the service just to hear the testimonies. People came early and people stayed late. 
Before the service, the men decorated the church. We were told that one of the things the ladies were hearing all weekend was that God sees them as princeses. So the men did the best job they could at making the place look beautiful.
The ladies all dressed up and looked fantastic.
As the ladies walked up the hill, from the mission property and entered into the church property, they were met with whistling, clapping and many, many …very loud fireworks. It was quite a sight.
When we finally entered the service and started our worship time, all the ladies rushed the front of the church , like they were at a rock concert, and started to sing, dance, laugh and enjoy each other as they worship.  
As we all watched, it was hard not to think….” I’d like what they have”. 
Many family members and husbands came to church that do not normally come. It was evident that they were impacted by what they saw.
Almost all of the ladies gave testimonies to what God did in them that weekend. They spoke of freedom, being loved, valued, being God’s princess , being whole again, having a fresh start, having a new and real family, being light…What a great weekend had by all.
Thank you for your prayers and loving support. We sure do need it.
The Men’s Encontro is this weekend. If you could remember us again this weekend, we would greatly appreciate it.
Have a great day and a great week!

Last Sunday Night

Last week-end we closed off the mission property so we could host a Women’s retreat. From Friday night to Sunday night the women prayed, ate, heard sermons, received council and prayer, and reflected on their lives. Sunday night the week-end ended with our church service. I gave my camera to one of the young guys, who walked around during the service and took photos. Here are a few of my favorites.

When the FIFA World Cup Soccer Tournament was hosted in South Africa in 2010, Ivanildo bought a TV and a dish so he could watch the series. He also bought some fireworks, to celebrate when Brazil won the World Championship. Brazil did not w

in. The fireworks were not lit. Every so often Ivanildo would take them off the shelf, look at them, and wonder when another suitable occasion would come. Here in Northern Brazil, lighting off fireworks in someone’s honor makes them feel really special. Last Sunday, when the Ladies finished their Encounter Week-end, Ivanildo brought up his box of fireworks and lit them off as the Ladies were entering the church.

These friends of ours travelled 13+ hours by bus Thursday, helped lead the Women’s Encontro Retreat Fri-Sun, and then at 5 a.m. got back on the bus to ride 13+ hours home again. And they over R$100 each, a large sum in their economy, to get to help like this.

Deanna’s Monday

Sometimes you are more ready for a challenge than you expect.  Monday morning I was told that there was a “crazy lady in the church yard.” Then came word “and she is no clothes on.”  I quickly grabbed some of Bella’s clothes and ran over to see how I could help.  A large group of neighbors had gathered to watch for sport but some were genuinely trying to help.  There was even a news crew filming a very large unclothed lady. I quickly deduced three things.  She was not going fit Bella’s clothes, she was deeply troubled and all the sightseers were aggravating her even more.  I asked Ivanildo to keep everyone away from her as I ran to call Dr Fernando for advice as both the ambulance and the fire department did not want to take responsibility.  

Maria wandered back out to the road and would not let anyone near her.  She threw bricks, metal and wood at anyone who tried.  She yelled obscene, jumbled nonsense.  Suddenly, a black dog barked at her and she started to cry.  Maria turned, reached out her arms to me and began to cross the road crying “Mamãe, Mamãe.”  I gulped, asked God for courage and opened my arms.  Miraculously Maria let me put a dress on her and her aggression calmed momentarily.  She agreed to go on a short trip with me (to the hospital)  but our car was not available.  Maria took off towards the river.  Two neighbors were very concerned for her safety so we went to the river to find Maria.  By the time we trudged through the bush trails to the river’s edge, Maria went floating by with her bright orange flip flops sticking up in the air, a good sign of her buoyancy. After following her progress to a bend in the river and feeling there was nothing more I could do, I went home to make lunch.  30 minutes later a crowd was yelling at my gate.  Maria was back.  
Two young men were holding her hands. One of them had swam out and brought her back to shore, dressed her and came to find her “mamãe.” Even though Maria did not remember me, she agreed to go for a ride with me.  The two gentle body guards agreed to come with us and Art drove.  Divine intervention allowed for us to get Maria into the car and arrive at the local hospital.  Since she had escaped from there the night before, no one was too thrilled to have her back so soon.  But I insisted and Maria agreed to go inside with me.  Her nephew was there with his sick wife and introduced himself to me.   
Mr Life Guard, Maria and I all waited for over an hour in a bare room.  Art stood guard outside.  The hour included spoon feeding Maria lunch (at her request), convincing her to stay in the room and listening to her disturbed raving.  After her three injections, Maria got even more aggravated and began to wander all over the hospital.  We finally decided to drive her home to help her nephew who felt responsible but had no support.  After a long hot, noisy drive across town, we were all thrilled when she went into her father’s house.  But he was angry and frustrated because he thought I was from an official organization for mental illness.  Maria’s parents are elderly, tired and not capable of giving Maria her medications rigorously.  

We drove away feeling relieved yet burdened.   Maria is falling through the cracks of a system that tries, but cannot keep up to the demand.

The next day the news showed Maria in my arms in front of the church.  Not much of my 5 hours with Maria made much sense but the fact that she “chose” me and actually listened to me at times, felt like a Jesus deal.  Somehow in her troubled confusion, Maria sensed love and comfort.  Since I was trembling at times, I know that all I had to give came from Jesus. His love penetrated Maria’s tormented mind and wrapped His arms around her. I was just the white lady with the bright red sunburn He chose to flow though.

Women’s Encontro Retreat

We are having a week-end women’s “Encontro” (Encounter) retreat on our property. This is the culmination of month’s of hard work. I can hardly believe it’s happening.

To get started, we decided we needed to wall off the church, and put in a gate, so that we could close the property to the general public, but still leave the church open.

So we started building a 70 meter brick wall that is 8 feet high.

As we were finishing some of the neighbourhood ruffians beat someone really badly behind our church. Somebody else caught it on video, and wanted to go to the police or tv. Long story short, the police could not help, but they advised us to build our walls. We still had about 90 meters that was really old, broken down fences. So, we kept the bricks and cement coming, and built another huge wall.

We had to prepare a place to sleep about 25 people, and cooking and eating. For the meeting place we converted the tractor shed. The gates were installed days or hours before the event started. But it all happened…its all happening. Months of teamwork, and it all came together. May this be the first of many retreats like this.

Many of the women brought their own mattresses and electric fans. Most just brought hammocks to sleep in.

Garden of Eden Tree

We have a tree in the center of our property with big, red, mangos. All the other mango trees, and all the other different kinds of fruit trees are available for the neighborhood kids to pick and eat at will. This tree is out of bounds. Only on rare occasions will Ivanildo gather a group, pick a few, and share them around. The kids have started calling this the Garden of Eden Tree. “It is in the center of the property, and we have to walk right past it, and it is so tempting to us.”

Soccer Sunday Afternoon

Some churches here in our city teach that Christians should not play soccer. This is considered, “of the world” and considered to promote anger and discord. We take the other approach. Let’s invite God into our daily lives, and as He helps us work through the frustrations of soccer, let’s take these new disciplines into our marriages, our workplace and our personal lives.

Part of making disciples is doing life together with people.

Just so you know, I’m talking, but I spend more time with people in other ways. Still,…for those who like sports and hanging out, I am happy we can provide this opportunity.

Girl’s Club

Deanna, Emma and Bella host a Girl’s Night on Wednesdays which usually includes an ice breaker, a game and a Bible study. Here are some photos of a Dress-Up night. Many of these girls come from difficult home situations. Most are crazy for the wrong kind of attention on the street.  Of the Girl’s Club Deanna taught before we left for furlough last year, many are now single moms. They have not thought things through too well, and in many cases they simply doing what their mom did as a young girl. Is there any way to rescue them, or stop the trend? This is our hope.

Building trusting relationships where their is fun, food, a safe place to ask questions and share stories, and to ask for God’s help is a good place to start.

Family Days

Do you ever wish you could have been one of Jesus’ disciples? What if you could have walked this earth with Jesus for three years, asking questions and watching how to do things?
What if God asked you to do this on earth? What if God asked you to spend quality time with a few people, to show them how to think about and work through the tangles of this broken world. He has! For those of us with families, the disciples God has given us are our children. And God is nice enough to give them to us with a clean slate.
When our girls were little I got in the habit of making up “Big Man” bedtime stories. This fictional character had a lot of similar experiences that I did growing up, and he worked through many complex situations. This gave me a way to communicate values and ideas to our girls. As they grew older I read them many books. We listened to audio books while painting pictures or doing road trips. Playing games like Halo and Age of Empires taught us about teamwork, attitudes and short-term wins and losses. Watching movies together gives us an opportunity to talk about life and its complexities, and hopefully shows our children how to fast forward parts of some movies, and walk away from others.
We try to take a Family Day once a week, a sabbath rest from work. This is a challenge for me, as I love to work. This is not my only challenge. Walking with our girls from diapers to children to teen-agers to young adults has been the joy and challenge of my life. My work includes long hours and quite a lot of travel. Having a weekly Family Day whenever possible gives us all something to look forward to.