At 6:30 a.m. Phil and Jen, Ivanildo and Monica, and as many youth as they could fit in their vehicles, headed out to a conference in Altamira. They allowed two days to get there, stopping along the way to visit the church in Pacaja.
Since Emma went with the group, that leaves just Bella and me home for the week. Eliel, Aline, and Edilton are sleeping some of the days at the chacara, to help keep an eye on things, and to keep the church programs running.
Phil puts their house garbage on the roof of his kombi, to drop it off at the gate on his way out.
And they are off, in a cloud of dust.
The Leaos drove their car, so more people could go.
Nine People Baptized!
Last Sunday morning many of our church members had breakfast together and walked down to the river on the edge of the church property to baptize nine more people. Felipe was in trouble with the law not too long ago. Now he is training for the worship team, and his life is turned around. Other baptism candidates included Eliete and her daughter Shianne, the Snells daughter, Faith, the Leao’s daughter, Bruna, and several others. It was a great morning.
First Josias started coming to our church. Then a girl started coming with him. They are both not from our immediate neighbourhood. Here is how some conversations went. “Who is the new girl?” “Josias’s girlfriend.” “Ohhh (and an opinion).” After several months, Josias and Vanessa started to think seriously about marriage, and Ivanildo and Monica set up regular pre-marital counselling meetings.
Yesterday, at the wedding feast, at about 10:30 at night, I was walking along the food line-up, talking to people, and reflecting on what a beautiful wedding it was. One of the 14 year old girls had a different expression on her face, so I stopped. She said, “One day I am going to get married.” It seemed to me like this was a new thought for her. Many girls in our neighbourhood get pregnant young, and go from their boyfriend’s house, or his mom’s house, and back to their mom’s house when things don’t work out, and many relationships are full of pain and difficulties. The beauty of a community of people supporting a young couple as they make marriage commitments is very profound.