March 2015 Baptisms

Belem Sunset
Twelve people were baptized last Sunday, at the river at the foot of our property.

Many people from the church showed up to suppport those being baptized.

This couple was baptized. They have 5 small children.

Five girls from the Wednesday night “Girl’s Group”  were baptized.

The twelve who were baptized, plus the four who baptized them.

Most of these people have been coming to church for years, and decided to take this next step.

The Wednesday Night Girls Group.

Planning Ahead

This fellow wanted to buy our old car but he did not have enough cash. We traded for paint for the inside of the church and hours with his loader. Here we are moving dirt from one sloping area of our property to put beside our existing church building. We are preparing our nets for a bigger catch. As the group grows, we want to double the size of this building, and go to multiple services. One of the principles we follow is the principle of good restaurants, “If the food is good, the people will come.” While we are mostly thinking of spiritual food, we like celebrating too, as often as possible.

I call this section Inching Forward because we are planning for the years to come, one small step at a time.

I love the smell of freshly moved earth, and of freshly cut grass.

Complexity Theory

This week-end (in March 2015) we had our first TLC (Training Leaders of Communities) week-end. We have not done an event like this before so we decided to make it simple and to monitor the results. After identifying eight topics that center around church leadership we decided to make the meetings as interactive as possible, that each leader should make sure there were lots of good snacks, and to finish the week-end with a meal. Mostly, within this Complex Framework, things went really well.

In a Complex Framework there is a link between the cause and effect, but it can only be known after the fact because there are so many variables. Afterwards, when we evaluate what we did, we will identify what went well, and do more of that, and what did not go so well, and do less of that.

There are three other organizational frameworks. Each one is right for a certain setting, and each one requires a different type of leadership. And then there is the fifth area, known as the Difficult Framework. This is where we are most of our time as we are trying to identify which of the other four will best help us solve our current leadership challenges. (Our professor posted a Prezi, a type of slideshow, that explains the four organizational categories known as the Cynefin Framework. If you are a leader, you may find this helpful when your group encounters challenges. Click here to start the Prezi.)

The Worship Team Ministry

The Greeters and Servers Ministry

A God-sized Challenge

I was talking to a young fellow this week who wants to leave a life of crime. It is not easy. “I used to make R$150-R$200 a day. Now, if I can get one day’s work for R$50 I think that is really good. So how can I support my family?” A long-term solution may be to help families learn to help their children, but right now we young adults from dysfunctional families who would like to become responsible community citizens. This is a prayer request, and a complex problem for which we don’t have any really good ideas yet. If you have any good ideas or if God says anything to you, please let me know.

Baked Bean Recipe

If you come to visit us, and if you like hot food, I will make a batch of these baked beans. Here is how I cook them, and how you can make them where you are too. Note: I use our pizza oven, but I think this recipe will work with a slow cooker too.

1. Wash a kilo of black beans, and pull out all the not-good ones, and check for little rocks and pull them out too.


2. Add a package of chili peppers, hot paprika, and half a package of pepper corns.

3. Look in the cupboard to see what else you have, and add a generous amount.

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4. Add sausage or bacon.


5. Mix it all up and add water.

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6. Let it bake by the fire all day, about eight hours or so. Add more water every couple of hours, when you add more firewood. Near the end of the day, do a taste check for salt. It is kind of hard to predict how much will come out of the bacon or sausage, so if it needs a bit more you can add it near the last hours of cooking.


7. For supper, you can have a bowl of the best baked beans you have ever tasted.


8. The next morning you can have refried beans, fried tomatos, and fried eggs. It’s a meal that will keep you going all the way till lunch time.