Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Watchnight Service starts at 10pm

I had a walk at Green Pastures this morning and checked over details with Tarcísio on the new layout for the expanded ecological reserve. One fence is already well on the way to completion and should be ready next week. I took a photo of the lovely White-browed Blackbird and of an interesting Bat which is very pale in colour.


We are in gear ready for tonight's watchnight's service at which I will preach and baptize. I will travel early tomorrow morning for the State Governor's induction in João Pessoa.

A very Happy New Year to you! Thanks for reading this blog now in its 11th year! Thanks for all your prayers and support.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Hamper distribution

The Christmas/New Year Hamper distribution went off very well this morning. We started at 8am and finished about 9.30am distributing to 200 very poor families. This means at least 1,000 people were blessed by this! You can see the queue below. A few from the local church joined Liz and I to help in the distribution - 2 deaconesses, 2 students, 1 young man off work and 1 Care Centre worker. The local press covered the event. It was lovely to see so many smiling happy people as a result of this simple expression of God's love.


This afternoon I have had a computer technician in sorting out a few minor problems on my lap top. I am also preparing the order of service for tomorrow's watchnight service. My sermon is ready for that.

I have received an invitation to go to the State capital João Pessoa on January 1st for a thanksgiving service as the re-elected State Governor is sworn into office for another 4 years. You may remember that he invited me 4 years ago when he was first elected. There's always plenty to keep us busy!

Monday, 29 December 2014

Christmas/New Year Hampers!

Tomorrow we will be distributing the Christmas, which have become New Year, Hampers to the poor in Patos. Things were put back from the usual around Christmas Eve distribution to the around New Year's Eve distribution owing to all the work we had finalizing the work refurbishing the church and re-opening it. One can't do everything, and even less so all at once! Nobody is worried here about it anyway as long as they get their hampers!

Last night's service went very well. PTL! The deaf had a special worship slot which was lovely and Pastor Angelo from our Soledade church preached well.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Two murders in Patos last night!

Two men were murdered in Patos last night - exactly in 2 of the 3 boroughs where our new project against drugs and domestic violence is starting. These are the boroughs of Placas and Rua do Meio. The police suspect teenagers as the murderers. May the Lord help us!

News on our church leader Tica at Curral Velho is that she has been released from hospital with a broken arm in plaster. She is all bashed, bruised and sore but we praise God that she is alive! Thanks for praying. Please don't stop.

EAB/ACEV Leader injured in accident

Please pray urgently for our dear sister Tica (photo taken at Leadership Conference in September) who leads the Curral Velho (Old Cow Pen) church. She apparently had travelled with family members in a minibus to Bahia State which is the southernmost State of NE Brazil. They went as people do at this time of year to visit other family members.


On the way home yesterday their minibus was hit by a lorry and Tica was one of three who were injured and admitted to hospital at Itaporanga (so they weren't far from home). News is that she may be sent home today. We await details.

Youth

I hear that the youth, led by Philip & Gylmara, had a great day of fun and fellowship at Green Pastures yesterday. They got back very late to Patos so it must have been good! I await details.

Sabrina, Liz's sister Esther's daughter, gave birth last night to a little boy weighing 3.855 kg and named Lorenzo. Both Mum and baby are fine. Congratulations to Sabrina and Daniel!

I prepared my sermon yesterday for the watchnight service on Wednesday.

Now we have Sunday School here in Patos at 9.30am and the big weekly celebration with praise and the ministry of the Word of God at 6.30pm back in our own church of course! Thank you Lord. We no longer have any noise from the busy streets outside with the new acoustic church. Really wonderful!

'Christians in Action' went to Ipueira in Rio Grande do Norte State last night for another church plant service where we already have 5 Christians. PTL! This is wonderful in a very tough pioneer place. Maybe some of the folk from there will be coming to the celebration in Patos tonight which would be nice.

The deaf brothers and sisters will be taking part in the service tonight in Patos. They were supposed to a week ago, then it was put off to Christmas Eve, but they finally assure me that tonight is the night! Oh Lord! We just take it as it comes! Watch this space!

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Improving

Sacha left hospital about 10pm yesterday having spent 24 hours on a drip. She is on the mend. The girls stayed with us again last night. I woke very early (3.40am) and couldn't get back to sleep. I watched the 5am news on BBC World.

I am now preparing the service for tomorrow in Patos. Pastor Angelo from Soledade will be coming to preach. The youth will be spending the day at Green Pastures today.

I must now prepare my sermon for the watchnight service as well, when we will have communion and baptize some.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Boxing Day

As I say every year, Boxing Day is a normal working day in Brazil. We woke up this morning after a complicated night as Sacha was taken into hospital about 9pm with some sort of gastritis which got steadily worse and infected and so she is on a drip and on the mend today. This meant that we had her daughters with us for the night.

Liz woke up this morning, not having slept much, and feeling a bit lost as she didn't have to rush to the church to sort the workers out! I went off early to Green Pastures for a good walk.

This afternoon I watched QPR lose to Arsenal 2 x 1. I predicted a 3 x 1 loss with 1 x 0 to Arsenal at half-time (correct) and that Austin would score for us (correct) - so I reckon this should keep me in pole position in the QPR prediction league. On Sunday we play Crystal Palace at home which we must win.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Bread sauce but no stuffing!

Right  - well I was going to say it was me but I'll come clean and admit that it was Liz who cooked the turkey! No sage and onion stuffing I'm afraid but Liz did manage to do very well making a pretty good bread sauce. All the family was present for the meal prior to which the kids received the traditional presents and Liz and I dished them out just like my Mum & Dad used to do!


I have now had my siesta and Liz is now having hers. The kids and their families have gone their separate ways. Just Louisa is still with us probably snoozing too!

Christmas Service & Supper

The traditional Christmas Eve service in the Patos church went off well and we managed to sing 6 carols (5 international and 1 Brazilian). I must admit that there is not a lot of enthusiasm here to sing Carols. Is there anywhere anymore? Anyway we made it, but it was a bit of an effort! Added to this was the problem that we had not had time to properly adjust the sound equipment as the electricity board finally did there thing so late nor did we have a full P&W group as there was no room for them with the Cantata to come later in the service. Oh well - we survived!

The cantata was brilliant. The best part of the night. How they did it so well I will never know as the poor kids had little chance to rehearse owing to the electricity problem or lack of it. The cantata was wonderful!

We then went on to the presents round the tree for all the church kids and bags of sweets for kids old and young! 

Following this we went to our eldest daughter Deborah's for the traditional Brazilian Christmas Eve supper with all the family present. It was a lovely meal and get-together.


Now it's Christmas day and most here in Brazil are sleeping off their hang-overs - but Liz is cooking the Christmas dinner without many of the traditional British trimmings this year, but that's no problem. Happy Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

We have lift-off!

I was up at 5.20am today and left for Green Pastures an hour later. I had a walk, took a few photos and chatted to Tarcísio - the usual routine. However I was anxious to get back to Patos as still there had been no link up to the mains by the electricity company and I was feeling unwell with all the stress that this was generating. The infuriating thing is when you have done everything correctly according to the rules and the law - yet still the company does not link you up or guarantee when they will!

I phoned Liz as soon as I got to a place on the way back from Green Pastures where my mobile phone could get a signal at about 8am, and still there was no sign of the company Liz said. I got back to Patos and to say Liz was fuming would be to put it mildly. She asked me to ring the company boss once again and just ask do we cancel tonight's Christmas service or not? I phoned him and his assistant, but both had their mobiles switched off!

Liz was on the look out at the church and noticed an electricty company vehicle go past and then a bit later go past again! Liz took the bull by the horns - ran after the vehicle and ended up directing the chaps to our church which they were trying to find not having been given the address or anything by the company! Liz phoned me immediately to tell me it looked like the victory was about to be won!

They started work and Liz plied them with coffee and cake and a couple of hours later the job was done and what a relief! All our dear kids and youth have been rehearsing a cantata for ages and it looked like all was lost. But the Lord undertook. It was like scoring the winner in the last minute of extra time!

So it's all stations go for tonight's Christmas service at 7.30pm with presents and sweets for crowds of kids - many very poor - at the end. Then we will go to Deborah's house for the traditional Brazilian Christmas supper. Happy Christmas everyone and praise the Lord with us for the great victory today!

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Nearly there!

It would seem we are nearly there with the electricity link up for the Patos church. I phoned the director of the Board late this afternoon who said he had emitted the document authorizing the link. We believe and hope this will be done tonight or tomorrow morning. Please don't stop praying.

A Banana State!

With our big Christmas service scheduled for Christmas Eve, as it is every year, here we sit waiting and praying and hoping for the electricity company to link up our Patos church to the mains! How long will this mess go on? Yesterday morning an inspector from the company went to the church and gave the all clear. However he then turned round and said that they can only link us to the mains when authorization comes from the State capital! I phoned this morning and this OK has still not come! This is absolutely ridiculous! Things you come up against in a banana state! Outrageous!

Monday, 22 December 2014

A night of blessing

We thank the Lord that all went off really well on the re-opening night of the Patos church. The Lord really undertook in so many ways. We had all sorts of problems with the electricty board digging in their heels forcing us to rent a portable generator and it turned up two and a half hours late in the afternoon thus setting back the band's practice and so it went on. But we made it!

The P&W band did brilliantly. The sermon from Gleydice (Campina Grande) was good and Liz's part was really beautiful. The church was full to overflowing.


Liz told everyone how she was a child of 5 in 1954 when she went to the land (on which the church today is built) with her Dad, to take part in a little prayer circle of Christians asking for God to enable them to one day build a church there. She then went on to tell of how she helped carry bricks some years later to start the work on the building, and she was present at the 1963 opening of the church. Liz then went on to talk about how good it had been to lead these last 7 months of work to renovate and refurbish the old church and transform it into a comfortable modern building for the next generation. She spoke of how her Mum had given the doors to the new church. In all it was a very moving and encouraging message which Liz brought. A living example of faith and action in the long-term. PTL!

Liz is already back at the church this morning battling to get the church linked up to the electricity mains in time for the next big service on Christmas Eve when we will have a presentation from the Deaf Fellowship and a Cantata from the children and youth.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

A Child Prayed

One day this child prayed on what was just a piece of land bought by EAB/ACEV and on which our headquarters church is tonight to be re-opened. This child will tell her story of faith and action in tonight's celebration! To God be the glory!

The Big Service!

I will be leaving in an hour or so for the re-opening service of the Patos church. What a mammoth task this has been! Today the electricity board people turned up to put the pole in place in the street on the side of our church for the eventual link up - but that will be another day!

We booked the external mobile generator for 1pm, but the driver went to sleep after lunch and only linked that at 3.30pm! There have been a series of last minute complications but... but... praise the Lord we will be back in our church tonight one way or another and we look to God for a great time of blessing! We value your prayers.

Thanks again at this moment to everyone who contributed to this project in someway or other - with little or with much. May God bless you. You have no idea what an impact this project is having in and around Patos. To say it is the talk of the town would be an understatement and we don't quite know how we are going to cope with the large crowd expected tonight! 647 people have already "liked" the new church's page on facebook in less than a week! We look to God for a greatly blessed Christmas period continuing into a wonderfully fruitful year for the Gospel in 2015. May God bless you in the same way.

This is the Day!

Today is the long awaited day when we move back into our Patos church after 7 months putting on a new roof, ceiling, re-wiring, new lighting and temperature control & sound systems - including accoustic panels which will protect us from the noisy traffic outside (our church is at a strategic crossroads point) and on the other hand will avoid us disturbing neighbours. The service will be at 6.30pm (9.30pm UK time) and we are happy to have received a message from EAB's UK Chairman of the Board Roy Dyer to be read at the event.

Yesterday I dedicated 7 children and baptized 12 people at EAB/ACEV's Green Pastures Church. I then preached the Gospel to about 70 people there present. It was a lovely service. You can see in the photo that there are only 11 in the photo as number 12 arrived late for the photo! This is typical of time attitudes here and we take it in our stride!



At night we went to a school ballet festival where our granddaughters Alice and Bia were taking part. It was really lovely and very well done with a strong Christian message as a result of some Christian teachers' influence. PTL!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Baptism - here we go!

I am just off to lead a service, preach the Gospel and baptize 12 in the pool at Green Pastures. God is good! I am really looking forward to it. Liz can't go with me unfortunately as she is fixing final details for the Patos church re-opening tomorrow night.

The church is all washed and shining and ready for tomorrow. The team of volunteers today was great. The last 6 pews missing should arrive before nightfall as they all went for a fresh coat of varnish.

QPR did beat WBA today 3 x 2 so that was good. This takes us out of the relegation zone again. Lovely stuff.

I have a lovely nativity photo for circulation when I can get to it to send out as a Christmas card! Watch this space!

Friday, 19 December 2014

Outrageous Electricity Board!

With still no electricity linked to the Patos church I have phoned the electricity company boss this morning who now says they can't link us up this week despite having told us he definitely would! We are furious! We will have to use an expensive mobile generator to not cancel the church re-opening service on Sunday.

I have been to the end of year fellowship breakfast of the leadership of the Patos Bible College this morning. It went off really nicely. A real blessing. PTL!


Thursday, 18 December 2014

Still no electricity linked to the Patos church

I phoned the head of the electricty board yesterday morning who assured me that all was on target for the desperately needed link up and asked me to go and sign some relevante papers in the afternoon -which I did. However that was Wednesday afternoon and still on Thursday evening there is no sign of power! Today we contracted a mobile generator to be able to carry out tests we have been waiting to do.

I went to Green Pastures this morning with Philip, who is on holiday, and had a good walk and both of us did some photography. The environmental people came a bit after 9am and their visit went very well. I brought in to Patos some vegetables from our little plantation, but that is being run down now for lack of water. This will only improve when the rains come or if we had a dessalinization unit for one of our deep bore wells.

There are so many bits and pieces to finalize in time for the re-opening of the Patos church on Sunday. Liz is stretched to the limit.

Thanks for Christmas cards received today from Don & Pearl Skivington, Rose Callaghan, Steve & Jose Valentine, Mark, Angela & Emma Chafe, Beth Meachen, Vivien Warne and Gill Parsons. 

My prediction for QPR's match at home to WBA on Saturday is a 2 x 1 win for us, with 1 x 0 lead at half-time and goals from Austin and Vargas. I will be attempting to stay at the top of the QPR prediction league!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The run-up to the church re-opening

This is a hectic week with the Patos church to be re-opened this Sunday evening at 6.30pm (9.30pm UK time). Hence all the final touches are being given to the building and its new instalations. A new Bible has been made to go on the front of the church and the support for this is in place and can receive the heavy new scultured Bible on Friday. The electricity is still not linked up. I will phone the head of the electricity board this morning. We value your prayers for all the preparations and for the service itself.

I went to Green Pastures yesterday and learnt that my sermon I recorded for them has been listened to three times by the congregation! I also sent them a recorded message about baptism and this has resulted in the number to be baptized this Sunday going up from 9 to 12. PTL!

I had a good walk at Green Pastures reviewing the fencing for the increased nature reserve and counting trees and finding 92 of one variety and 150 of another - both fairly rare.

Tomorrow we will receive another visit from government environmental people very enthused by the Green Pastures project and developments, and at the Federal University 3,000 seedlings of native trees are being prepared for when the rains come to Green Pastures.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Mad Monday!

Last night's service went well despite the hangover from the awful morning business meeting. Many non-Christians came to church and a good number turned up in general. The P&W was nice and I  preached fairly well. The sermon was good, I felt, but I don't think I managed to fully get through to everyone somehow. Deborah did a good resumé and that is online for all to read - so we leave it with the Lord.

This morning we received firm assurances that the Patos church will finally be linked up to the electricity network this week so we have gone ahead announcing the opening as confirmed for this coming Sunday evening. I initially was more explicit as to the assurance received on this matter, but later adjusted announcements and adjusted things for "technical" reasons which I can't explain here. I will only be relaxed when the electricity company actually does the job but we are doing our part and getting everything else ready down to the finest detail.

In the light of the church's re-opening I decided to go for it today and create, launch and publicize a new Patos church facebook page, as it is a great way of communicating with everyone and build's excellent bridges with the community and results in non-Christians coming to church. So it has been a very full hectic day with 250 likes already on the page as opposed to 403 on EAB's page after yonks! We'll soon pass that!

I see QPR lost tonight. Oh dear! I will probably actually pull further ahead in the prediction league though, as Zamora scored for us as I predicted.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Difficult meeting

We had a two and a half hour church business meeting this morning which was far from easy. Very stressfull. Sometimes as pastors we do all we can to be merciful, protect people's reputations and help them in the process to survive spiritually - only to get our "secrecy" thrown in our faces. May God have mercy. Please pray for us and all who were dragged downwards by an incredible lack of wisdom and grace.

Now to dust myself off and get ready to preach tonight and lead the service too.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

EAB now on worldwide TV broadcast!

Oh my word! I've now learnt that this TV interview I did on November 19th at Green Pastures will not only be broadcast nationwide in Brazil tomorrow but will also go worldwide via the Brazilian Globo TV channel which Sky carries! 

All that's left is from them to broadcast it on that comet via that thingamibog they put there recently as well as the moon I suppose!

My interview on nationwide TV tomorrow

My interview on Globo TV (produced by EPTV) and filmed at Green Pastures was broadcast today in the south of Brazil and various people have contacted me telling me they watched it and enjoyed it. Now I have just learnt that it will be broadcast nationwide tomorrow! Wow!

It is online anyway - but it's nice that it's going nationwide on TV tomorrow as well. 

I have just completed my sermon for tomorrow based on Matthew 12. In the morning we have a church business meeting.

TV Programme now online!

Sorry it's in Portuguese (of course) but you see a bit of Green Pastures in the present drought and me being interviewed on Brazilian TV. My part starts after 7 minutes. http://redeglobo.globo.com/sp/eptv/terradagenteeptv/videos/t/edicoes/v/terra-da-gente-pico-do-jabre-bloco-02/3828055/

The actually use two clips of my film with my permission of a wild cat and a raccoons! It's very good all in all. PTL!

Green Pastures on TV

Today is the day we've been waiting for when the interview I did a while back with a TV crew at Green Pastures will be broadcast. It will be broadcast on EPTV which is part of the biggest Brazilian TV network "Globo". They have already put a trailer online. It's in Portuguese of course, but you can see a bit of my interview and Green Pastures. http://redeglobo.globo.com/sp/eptv/terradagenteeptv/videos/t/edicoes/v/chamada-terra-da-gente-13122014/3827763/

I will post the link to the full programme when it is put online later.

Party & Problems

Our grandddaughter Louisa's 15th little birthday party last night went off beautifully. A nice group from the church + family and friends was there.


The problems with the electricity board just get worse and worse. They just get more and more awkward, unhelpful and determined to be party poopers. Very sad after so much work to have everything messed up by red-taped obsessed people. Please pray.

I am now trying to prepare my sermon for tomorrow in Patos.

I have entered my prediction to QPR for the match at Everton on Monday. I have gone for a draw by faith! Everton to be 1 x 0 up at half time but end up at a 2 x 2 draw with goals from Zamora and Vargas. As QPR have won no points away this season it is a bit of a long shot, but Everton are not exactly brilliant at home and lost in Europe this week - so here's hoping for our first point away (or even a win?)!

Friday, 12 December 2014

More Raccoons

More Raccoons have been filmed with our infra-red camera as well as foxes and giant Tejo Lizards. On my walk today I was impressed with how many Armadillo burrows I found and the Burrowing Owls were at their usual spot. They just stayed put as I photographed them and talked to them.


Frustrations

This morning was extremely frustrating because when I got back from Green Pastures Liz phoned me asking me to go urgently to the Patos church. There I met with the electricity board people being as awkward as possible despite having finally approved our new link to the mains project. At the end of a lot of heated discussion and arguments they now say they are going to see whether the transformer in the church's part of the town can cope with the load and will carry out tests and give us an answer on Monday! May the Lord help us. 

I have just done some counselling which went well. Earlier today I had a look at the new fence being constructed at Green Pastures to expand the nature reserve. It was interesting to see how the workers had found an old cow's skull, left by a previous owner whose cattle had died in the drought some years back, and put it up on a pole!


We have now passed the 133,000 visits mark on this blog! Many thanks. QPR don't play till Monday so I haven't had to make my match prediction yet for the game away at Everton - but it will at best be a draw and most likely a defeat I'm afraid.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Great Bible Study

I have just got home from a lovely Bible study which covered Jesus refusing to "perform" for the pharisees and masters of the law as portrayed in Matthew 12:38-45. Jesus knows that putting on a "miracles show" is know way to change hardened cynics. Rather He points them to God's Word as the source of true spiritual life - specifically the Prophet Jonah and the wisdom of Solomon. The study really flowed and was nice and participative too. It was great to have Philip back in church after his India trip.

Let there be light!

This morning we received the long awaited news that the electricity board has finally approved our project for a new underground link to the mains at the Patos church. This doesn't mean we are linked up yet, but it does mean that we have overcome the bureaucracy and now have the green light for them to come and do the job. Please pray that they will do this quickly!

Our target now is to reinaugurate the EAB Patos church a week on Sunday (21st). We are all in gear for this and hoping and praying that this will all now work out.

Happy 15th Birthday Louisa!

Today is our granddaughter Louisa's 15th birthday - the big birthday for girls in Brazil. Louisa is a lovely intelligent Christian girl who loves (and we love) staying at house. Last night her Dad (Philip) stayed up late putting this video together for Louisa. It is beautiful. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmrzwYFKmRY&feature=share

Last night Liz and I spent a lot of time at the Patos church checking on final details needed to be done in the restoration. It is looking really lovely. We also did some more work preparing for the Patos church administrative meeting to be held this Sunday morning. I also recorded another message for the Green Pastures church.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Administrative meeting

I spent much of yesterday preparing for our end of year administrative church members meeting in the Patos church, to be held this Sunday morning. There's a lot to think through and organize for discussion and prayer.

The Patos church revamp still awaits the electricity board's link up to the mains. They really are being an awful pain. We hope for an answer on the matter this afternoon. Watch this space!

I went to Green Pastures this morning so got a good walk in. I checked the work on the increased Reserve area.

I dispatched the latest EAB Diary Update yesterday too.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Another Wild Cat

I went out to Green Pastures this afternoon as I hadn't been there for a week and it was good to see all is well there. The water fountain is now functioning better to the joy of the birds! I walked round with Tarcísio (trying out my new walking boots as my old ones are worn out and have a hole in them - and these give me better protection from snakes). I have now defined where to make a new fence so as to increase the Reserve area where no domestic animals are allowed in. Such a reserve increases vegetation and tree growth, wild flowers etc.

Whilst there I picked up the memory card from the infra-red camera and now back in Patos have just checked it. One has to wade through loads of clips of birds, but you never know what might have been caught on camera! Lo and behold suddenly there appeared on my screen a lovely 30 second clip of another Puma Yagouarandi Wild Cat at a different watering hole from where I filmed the last group. This is wonderful! I have seen that Racoons are drinking at this hole as well. Please take a look at the lovely wild rusty coloured cat. https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnmedcraft/15953203086/in/photostream/

"The earth is the Lord and everything that is in it"!

Flickr Photos - naturally!

Flickr stupidly stopped the statistics records for some months, but their system is now back up and running. Hence my total number of visitors has passed the 138,000 mark to see my nature photos. The latest posting is a snake from last week. https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnmedcraft/

News just in

News just in from Pastor Lindon Carlos visiting EAB/ACEV churches in the State of Ceará is that 5 more new converts were baptized at our Felipe Church in the county of Saboeiro yesterday. PTL!

Add this to more baptized at Juru (I think it was about 10) and you have a real festival of end of year baptisms around the EAB/ACEV churches. PTL!

Tea in bed

I gave Liz a cup of tea in bed at 5.45 am this morning! Now how about that? I fed the birds whilst the tea was massing (or brewing - but my Mum always says massing so like mother like son!). The bird food goes on a bird table in our front garden. I can hear a Roadside Hawk calling in the vicinity!

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Brazilian Nutshell

I produced and dispatched the latest EAB Nutshell Update this afternoon so if you don't receive them, and would like to, just email eabrazil@gmail.com

The communion service went well tonight in Patos. We had a full house which was surprising as so many are away, with tomorrow being a public holiday.

Tiring but terrific

Liz and I travelled yesterday afternoon to the EAB/ACEV church at Portelo in the County of Puxinanã which is a two hour drive east of Patos. It was the church's 24th anniversary and the day on which it was given full church status as opposed to being a daughter congregation of the large 1st Campina Grande church.



Despite this church being in an off-the-beaten-track rural community the Lord has really blessed in recent years and the work is going forward with great enthusiasm. The church was full last night and I preached the Word with great freedom. PTL!

It was quite a tiring trip back - but we were in bed by 1am. On the way there and back our vehicle becomes an office and Liz and I have noted discussions on all sorts of church issues that need our attention. Not a moment is lost and it makes the journey go quicker. God spared us from one very near accident on the way there when a motorbike in the right lane suddenly decided to take a left straight in front of me without looking in his mirror to see me in the fast lane. My screeching brakes made him swerve back to where he had been and his possible death was avoided gratefully. However these things do shake you a bit.

Philip got back in the early hours from India and is in João Pessoa resting up. Also in João Pessoa are Sacha and family + Deborah and Arthur, The senior grandchildren Felipe (now enrolled as a university student for 2015!) and Louisa (15 this Thursday!) are with us, which we love.

Now I must prepare for tonight's communion service in Patos.

QPR beat Burnley 2 x 0 yesterday so that was good and it takes them just out of the relegation places. However despite me having predicted a draw I in fact increased my lead in first place in the QPR prediction lead as I got the half-time score right and predicted correctly one of the QPR scorers. We have hope. Not a lot - but we have hope!

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Preaching at Portelo

I am back from my short break at Areia. I walked for endless miles in the forest there down into deep valleys and then climbing up out again. Tiring but exhilarating! I photographed new species of birds as well as butterflies, giant ants etc. Brilliant stuff!

Today I am going to preach at Portelo where the Lord has been really blessing over recent years. The pastor is Sílvio who was kidnapped together with his wife and daughter a couple of years back. Praise God they are well today.

QPR will be playing Burnley at home today - another 'must win' game. I am top of the QPR match prediction league and have predicted a draw. I hope we win, but... Burnley have been doing quite well away so I've opted for 0 x 0 at half-time and 1 x 1 at full-time with Rangers' goal to come from Austin. 

Tomorrow I lead the service in Patos. Philip is now flying back to Brazil from India and is on the 15 hour stretch between Dubai and São Paulo.


Last night I went to look over the church renovation project with Liz and it is really looking lovely. However we still can't set the re-opening day owing to the dilly-dallying of the electricity board. The light you see in the photo is a temporary link from the Care Centre. Please pray.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Areia

Areia is a county about 50 km north-east of Campina Grande. It is at a fairly high altitude, has quite a bit of good forest and a cool climate. I travelled here today with my Baptist pastor friend Fred to have a bit of a break observing nature. One new bird I photographed was the large East Brazilian Chachalaca (see below). It is as large as a turkey and there was a group of them which really took us by surprise. I photographed an inoffensive cockroach-eating snake too and a sadly dead Skunk.


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Another well inaugurated

I'm back from São Mamede where a lovely thanksgiving service was held for the latest EAB/ACEV well to be drilled and completely set up and functioning.


70 gathered on a lovely Tuesday evening. The Secretary of Agriculture came as well as the President of the Rotary Club. I preached with great freedom.


The P&W was lovely from the local folk. You can hear the singing with some comments from me at: http://www.4shared.com/mp3/Yd4jsxIMce/141202_006.html

Monday, 1 December 2014

Where do I start?

Going back to last Friday (Nov. 28th) - I left Patos about 2pm in the company of Bible School student Ricardo from the EAB/ACEV Patos church who is married to our social worker Marah Danielle. He was to be really good company on all my travels which ended about midday today. Liz couldn't go on all the travels with me owing to her needing to be at the Patos church etc. Liz led the service in Patos last night and Ben Price preached.

We arrived at Tavares about 4pm and drove out into the rural area arriving at the Arara Community about 4.20pm. I had a good look round the plantation project about to be officially inaugurated and took photos. On top of all the green products growing healthily I was pleased to see the 4 Legs and 2 Wings projects flourishing too as well as a biogas producer in place. I have been on to our team about this option for the rural poor for years and finally won the battle. They put in cow/goat dung and get good quality kitchen gas free. This means they no longer either chop down trees for firewood or buy cylinders of gas to cook with. The thanksgiving service went off very well and I spoke at this as always.

We slept at Princesa Isabel and on Saturday morning both pastors Lindon Carlos and Wostenes + Liz went to Princesa Isabel for a trouble shooting meeting which was very tough and often bitter. I can't go into details here but ask for your prayers. It is a typical sort of situation that sometimes evolves when a logstanding leader dies or leaves. After the meeting Ricardo and I travelled 3 hours west to Nova Olinda whilst the others went home. It was nearly 10pm by the time we got there very tired. No internet was working so we couldn't communicate. The little boarding house was pretty rough, but we survived. In the middle of the night I heard Barn Owls making a lot of noise and got up to try and see them, but couldn't.

On Sunday morning, still feeling somewhat down (to put it mildly) as a result of the awful meeting the previous day I just asked the Lord to lift my spirits so as to be able to minister to these dear people in Ceará State. God did help me and the baptism in the morning was lovely with 6 men and 6 women being baptised. 


We then went and had a church lunch together in the forest and I went for a walk for an hour and a bit whilst the food was being prepared. On the walk I managed to record the song of a new bird for me called the White-browed Antpitta but I could get a photo of it.

After lunch we went and visited a group now apparently joining EAB/ACEV in the neighbouring county of Santana do Seridó - so God is sure moving! PTL! From there I came back to the doss-house for a snooze and then had a shower prior to going to preach at the 7pm communion service which was great. God is really blessing this new church. 

I was up at 5.30am today, had breakfast an hour later and hit the road. Back safe and sound I am exhausted but praising God for much more positive than negative on the journey. 

Tomorrow we inaugurate another well nearer to home at São Mamede - a few miles from Green Pastures.

Liz is pulling her hair out with the electricity company which is being really difficult and awkward about relinking us to the mains power at the Patos church. Without this we can't get back into our church as planned on Dec. 13th. Please pray hard!


Friday, 28 November 2014

Here we go!

I'll be leaving at midday today to go to Tavares County in the mountains where we will inaugurate another new well - this time for another ex-slave community at Arara. I will sleep the night at Princesa Isabel.

Tomorrow morning I have a trouble-shooting meeting at Princesa Isabel. Oh boy! I worked 40 years with Pastor Manoel Jorge without a hitch, but now he's gone to glory... crumbs!

In the afternoon I will travel on a long journey to Ceará where on Sunday we will baptize 12 (I think) and I will preach at the communion service. I will be back in Patos on Monday.

On Tuesday we will have another new well inauguration in São Mamede County so it's non-stop!

Another church situation is presenting problems too so I have to sort this out as well. Help! Please pray for us at this time.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Rare Tree found at Green Pastures

Yesterday we received at Green Pastures the second university professor now working with us there, and what an afternoon it was. We walked in a southerly direction along the dry river bed and after a while the professor shouted: "Look at this! You've got a Vitex Gardneriana Tree! Why didn't you tell me"! I explained that I was only learning at that very minute what the tree is, and this morning I have discovered we have lots more of them!


The thing is that when you have a jungle-like environment with lots of trees of all shapes and sizes then many species can be hidden in the entangled branches, twigs and leaves. It needs an expert to turn up and spot and distinguish things. I am over the moon! What is more the tree is producing seeds now and when they turn black they are ready for picking. I will now collect the seeds and pass them on to the university to produce seedlings so as to propagate the species.


Now I have just received a phone call from someone wanting some leaves from the tree (she saw the photo I posted on facebook) because they are a herbal medication prescribed by a doctor for her kidneys! So it's all happening! She has been sending to get the leaves from a great distance until now.

However not all is joy and problems in one of our churches are giving me a real headache and I ask for prayers for wisdom and tact in dealing with the whole situation.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

It's raining Professors - Aleluia!

I have just received word from another university professor, other than the one already involved with research at Green Pastures, that she wants to go there with me this afternoon and view the land with a view to helping us plant lots (I mean LOTS) of trees there in the coming rainy season hopefully fairly early in 2015. This is an interesting development as this professor is responsible for the production of native tree seedlings at the university. Watch this space.

Liz and I watched some of Paul McCartney's live concert in São Paulo last night on TV. It was brilliant and very moving at times. A great musician and what life for 71!

I have just taken the plunge in the QPR prediction league for this Saturday at home to Leicester as follows: 1 x 0 at half time + 2 x 1 at full time with goals from Austin and Barton. I was severely tempted to opt for a draw, but looking at Leicester's season decided to take a chance with a win. Let's hope I'm right as we sure need it!

I have already exchanged emails with Philip in India this morning and had discussions with someone regarding housing for the poor. I have also lined up some counselling for a deaf person with our deaf pastor.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Memory stick Ministry

I was surprised last week when Tarcísio, who leads EAB's Green Pastures church, asked me to start sending them recorded teaching on a memory stick, of about 15 minutes in length, for him to play to the church leading on to possible group discussion! Modern technology is out in the sticks alright and I have just recorded my first message for this which lasted just over 11 minutes. We shall see how this develops!

I also had a message from a young man in our Imaculada church who is very hungry for the things of God. He told me that he had got someone (I don't know who) to record my Sunday sermon in Patos and that he had already heard it and been greatly blessed by it. So praise the Lord again!

Then there are a constant stream of people who send me questions via private messages on facebook. Sometimes these are Biblical questions about passages they don't understand and sometimes they have problems in their lives or families and ask for advice. I never ever sort of suggested this but it is just happening so PTL! "By all means save some" comes to mind.

I guess it would be nice to be able to set something up on the internet for both preaching and teaching and communicating in general either via audio or video. I have no idea how I could actually start this, but we shall see. I value your prayers.

I continue in 2nd place

I continue in 2nd place in the QPR prediction league as I predicted a 0 x 0 scoreline at half-time on Saturday and won 5 points for that. Now comes Leicester at home which we all say is a "must win" - but will we? I'll decide to go for a win or a draw in the next couple of days. http://qprtillidie-predictionleague.webnode.com/table/

I have worked all morning on a project report and completed that. PTL! I have a bit of a cold today which is a nuisance.

Where's Father Christmas?

This morning has been a difficult one with no signs of any presents whatsoever from Father Christmas! What is this world coming to?

Then I heard his factory was on strike... and then I saw a note on facebook to say that the reindeer had come out on strike in sympathy! (Memories of Arthur Scargill's days!)

Then I woke up... and realized it's the 25th of November and not December! What a gigantic relief!

Monday, 24 November 2014

Orange Insect

I popped out to Green Pastures late afternoon and photographed a beautiful orange insect catching an ant.


I discussed with Tarcísio the special end of year service I am going to conduct at Green Pastures on December 20th when I'll be dedicating 5 children and baptizing 8 adults (at the latest count).

I got back to Patos to face yet more problems at the Princesa Isabel church. Oh Lord! Please pray.

UK's Top 20 for funeral songs!

This list says it all about a pagan lost UK - a post-Christian nation which only faces the reality of death because it has to! May the Lord have mercy on the once "Great" Britain! http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-30143250

I say this, not to be offensive to non-Christian friends who might read this, but to simply express my shock at the state of things in a land which still sings (I presume?) "Abide with me" at the FA Cup Final and that played "Nearer my God to thee" as the Titanic went down. It would seem to me that with the Titanic went down a lot more, and one just wonders where it's all going to end?

Moringa Tea

I am drinking at this moment my first mug of Moringa Tree leaf tea because I have read that it is good for lowering blood glucose levels. I figure like this that Moringa leaves are fine for eating so to make tea from the dried leaves (which we dried at Green Pastures) should do me no harm! If this blog ends abruptly as from today you will know I was wrong! I will now start observing my glucose levels and see if this tea does have any positive effect. I am therefore, as from now, a sort of Moringa 'guinea pig'! (I made this mug of tea by the way!)

News from the the Mandacaru church building project is good. They are getting on very well. News from Ceará is also good where I will be going to baptize 12 at the weekend. PTL! We also held our first little communion service at Ipueira in Rio Grande do Norte State on Saturday where the church plant has its first members. PTL again!

Romans

My sermon from the Epistle to the Romans last night went amazingly well, considering how tired I was. The service as a whole went great.

Liz has already gone to the church renovation project with some supplies. The heat is on with less than 3 weeks to go to the inauguration and still no electricity company link up! Please pray.

Philip continues in India with his work and is not finding it easy to cope with the 9 hour jet lag. Please pray for him.

This week I have trips for ministry at Tavares and Ceará ahead so value prayers for all this too.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Back from Campina Grande

I am just off to lead the service in the Patos church and preach on the first 3 chapters of Romans in one go! Pretty ambitious! What an epistle it is! 

We got back at 9.45am from Campina Grande and I immediately started working on tonight's sermon which I completed at 3pm. Liz and I worked on it on the journey as she read the first chapters of Romans to me and we discussed it all. Fabulous stuff.

The graduation went well in Campina Grande - just a bit long (two and a half hours!) and tiring. Nevertheless it was great to see 8 graduating including 3 from EAB/ACEV churches - including Rafael who leads our Teixeira church. A lovely lad.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Graduation

Liz and I will leave shortly for the EAB/ACEV Bible College graduation service in Campina Grande where 8 will be graduating. I prepared my message this morning. I still have to prepare my message for Patos tomorrow. Help!

QPR have just lost 1 x 0 at Newcastle which was about what I expected, though I officially forecast 0 x 0 at half-time (correctly) but I gave it as a draw at the end too, which was unfortunately wrong. Oh dear. It's not looking good for Rangers!

Friday, 21 November 2014

He'll be coming down the mountain when he comes!

I've just come down the mountain from another well inauguration in Imaculada County which went very well. Lovely spirit - people so happy - let off loads of bangers with joy at the end of the thanksgiving service. I spoke and Lindon Carlos led. There were also special sessions prior to the service for kids, women and men to teach them about health issues. Both the Mayor and Deputy-Mayor were present.


I gave our social worker Marah Danielle a lift home after the event and so was able to have a lovely chat with her about the work throughout the hour long journey. So encouraging!

Our son Philip has left today on his latest business trip - this time to India. Please remember him in your prayers. He should be back in about a fortnight's time.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Bible + Well

The Bible study went well in the Patos church this evening. We covered Luke 8:1-3 which took us into some good discussion on the role of women in God's work. We then went on to Mark 3:20-21 which makes you reflect on prejudice against the Gospel and Christians. It was a blessed evening.

Tomorrow I have a meeting at Green Pastures with the university folk and then in the afternoon travel to Imaculada to inaugurate a well with a thanksgiving service with the community. I always enjoy these joyful occasions very much. I value your prayers for the journey up the mountain.

Research at Green Pastures

I had a great meeting yesterday afternoon with a Federal University forestry engineer professor in which I agreed for new research to be carried out there starting tomorrow! The plan is for it to initially follow 3 phases:

1. A team of 5 students under his supervision will do research over a period of months defining which species of native trees are where, their state of health, quantity etc. in the eastern section of Green Pastures in the sprawling area on each side of the lake. This will be done by a scientifically approved method chosing 20m x 20m example chunks of the woodland from which to arrive at the overall totals.

2. At some point next year, following this, a detailed individual count and definition of tree species will be carried out in the Reserve around the stream/dam area. This is an area of intense reforestation and preservation.

3. At some point next year work will also be done with all the neighbouring farms, small holdings and farm workers so as to understand their perception of the importance of the Green Pastures Nature Reserve and to seek to educate them concerning the environment so as to seek their cooperation as neighbours in our work. For we can't stop birds flying for a visit to neighbouring farms and need the neighbours' backing, as far as is possible, in this venture.

I am now preparing the Bible Study for tonight in the Patos church.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Green Pastures on TV!

I spent the whole morning at Green Pastures filming with a TV crew for a programme they say is to be broadcast in about 2 months time. Watch this space. They seemed to be fascinated with the place and with the way it has developed as a Nature Reserve. They saw photos on the wall there of what it was like 35 years ago! They asked me for the originals of my films of Raccoons and Wild Puma Cats and for my authorization to broadcast them as part of the programme! Of course I agreed. This could almost put me in line for an Oscar!

At the end I gave them lots of EAB/ACEV literature and online links + my book 'Notting Hill to Brazil'. I told them lots about our projects and they were very interested. I hope the programme comes out alright as it is going to be available online so everyone will be able to see it anywhere.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

TV Film Crew coming

I have known about this for weeks, but said nothing because the last time a TV crew was supposed to have come it turned out to be still photography and an interview. OK this ended up as a big article in a nationwide magazine, but it is not the same as TV and people were asking me how they could see the programme from different parts of Brazil - and this never happened being outside of my control.

However I have now had confirmation direct from the TV crew whom I spoke to on the phone a short while ago confirming that this time they have come to film me and my environmental work and will be arriving at 6.30am tomorrow. Should be interesting. 


 I went to see the work in progress at our church here in Patos this afternoon and it is good to see the new lights now installed in the new ceiling. It's looking good! We have fixed the date for the opening of the refurbished church for 13th/14th December with 2 visiting speakers - Gleydice (Campina Grande) on the Saturday and Ângelo (Soledade) on the Sunday. Please pray for this event and for the final work still to be done in the build-up for this.

I've received news of 2 coming to Christ at our branch church in Princesa Isabel and 1 coming to the Lord too at the Green Pastures church. PTL!

Restoring walk

Yesterday I tried to take it as easy as possible as I was so tired after everything that happened and had to be done last week. I gently went through different administrative stuff in the morning and chased up a few people that missed church on Sunday.

In the afternoon I went to Green Pastures after a siesta and walked and photographed. It is always refreshing good exercise and so enjoyable. You can see my photos at https://www.facebook.com/john.p.medcraft/media_set?set=a.10152854835926240.1073741918.538751239&type=1&pnref=story

Monday, 17 November 2014

That was the week that was!

Oh boy! What a week we have just come through! In a nutshell it involved:

A young couple in the church having a baby which was born with a defective leg - so joy mixed with sadness.

A 7 year old boy from the church died having crashed through a glass door. The ensuing wake and funeral to conduct and now the follow up help and support for the bereaved family.

Speaking at the Inter-Varsity Conference in Pombal which was lovely but ending a message at 10.30 pm was a bit late!

Speaking at a Theatre in Campina Grande where EAB/ACEV's praise and worship group recorded their second DVD in a mega production. This was on the same day as our 45th wedding anniversary!

We had a full house last night in the Patos church service which was great. 2 men made commitments to Christ, the P&W was really good and the sermon flowed wonderfully.

I am now utterly exhausted and aim to rest up today. Liz has already disappeared to church to check on the builders! Bless her heart! The re-opening of the EAB/ACEV Patos church has been fixed for December 13th/14th with special festive services on both the Saturday and the Sunday. This means we only have 3 more Sundays without being at home in our church!

This week I have a TV interview at Green Pastures on Wednesday - Bible Study in Patos on Thursday - a well inauguration at Imaculada on Friday - speak at the graduation service of our Campina Grande Bible College on Saturday - preach again in Patos on Sunday. We value your prayers and support.

Please pray for my 90 year old Mum who is not so well, my sister Jean tells me.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Campina Grande Trip

Liz and I travelled to Campina Grande yesterday afternoon and made the journey in two hours as there was no traffic. We went to take part in the recording in a theatre of the new and second DVD of EAB/ACEV's praise and worship group there called "Tenda do Encontro". I gave the opening message of the evening prior to the start of the music.

It was an interesting evening with various contrasting styles in music and dance. It started with pop/rock and as the night went on went through regional folk music, then what I would call Gleydice music, with Gleydice being the leader and singer of the group whose compositions have a distinctive style. There were also songs from other composers and there was also a sort of classical quintet towards the end. So variety is the spice of life!

Gleydice certainly has amazing self-confidence and goes for things in a big way. It was a fairly mega production and she managed to just about pull it off recording 16 songs live on stage in one night - though it did finish late. Of course there are studio resources to patch and fix so we now wait for the final product to see how it all turned out. Going on the basis of the first DVD I am sure it will all work out well and be a blessing to many.

The message of Integral Mission was loud and clear throughout the night. That was important and distinctive as few do anything like it in Brazil. A few years back I challenged Gleydice to communicate the Integral Mission message in song - and she did!

Liz and I stayed the night in Campina Grande getting to bed a bit after midnight. We drove back to Patos this morning where we arrived at 11am - and I got straight down to finishing my sermon for tonight in the Patos church. Liz has been out visiting a lady in hospital from our Ibiara church with a broken arm and visiting a young couple who had a baby this week.

OK... it's off to church now in Patos! We value your prayers.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

It's our 45th Wedding anniversary!

On 15th November 1969 Liz and I were married at the Millbrook Christian Centre, Southampton, England and today, 45 years later, we celebrate in Patos, Paraíba, Brazil going later to speak at a DVD recording by the EAB/ACEV P&W Group 'Tenda do Encontro' in a theatre in Campina Grande.



Liz and I are reckoning that this marriage gives every sign of being on track to work out! However, as I always say to Liz: "If you did ever think of leaving me, just make sure you take me with you"!



We've got lots to thank God for over these years, especially for our 4 kids, 7+ grandkids and for all the spiritual children God has given us along the way.

Last night my talk to the university students in Pombal went well despite a late start. My talk started at 9.30pm instead of 8.30pm - I spoke for an hour - and then had to drive home to Patos. I got to bed a bit after midnight. I enjoyed doing this. It just would have been better had they started on time!

Now I've got to prepare my sermon for tomorrow in Patos. Help!

Friday, 14 November 2014

Inter-varsity message ready to roll

I stayed up late last night and finished my message for the students of the Brazilian inter-varsity (ABU) conference at which I will be speaking in Pombal this Friday. I was extremely tired after the stressful funeral of a 7-year old child, but I had no choice but to go for it. I will be speaking on "Christianity, Environment & Sustainability".

Now I need to complete the message already started for Campina Grande tomorrow - day on which Liz and I will be celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary! We usually end up celebrating it with me preaching somewhere or other! Then I need to prepare from scratch my sermon for the Patos church on Sunday. Help!

This blog had passed the 132,000 visits mark today. Many thanks and hi to all readers from the UK, Brazil, USA, Russia, Ukraine, Canada, Switzerland, France, Belgium, New Zealand, Germany, Australia, India, Spain, Portugal etc. May God bless you all. Please keep praying for us and EAB and please keep or start supporting EAB via online giving at http://www.eabrazil.com/ or direct to the UK head-office speaking to Beryl Gough (Treasurer) at eabfinance@gmail.com

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Not easy... but victorious

Well I have just got back to the office from an exhausting stressful difficult funeral, but the Lord really helped us and I preached the Gospel hot and strong and everyone felt the mighty presence of God and we really felt spiritual victory by the end.

Philip, Louisa and Lucas Silva were great with the worship songs, Liz was as amazing as ever, and in the end everything really came together. There was a big crowd present and lots of emotion of course.

The order of service just kept getting altered as we went along. In the end the little boy's mother who abandoned him as a baby asked to sing (and it was pretty bad), a cousin asked to read a message (good), the boy's school headteacher asked to speak and she was good, the father (who also abandoned the child) spoke a few words, and an uncle spoke (well). Then finally the grandmother from our church, who brought the lad up, also spoke nicely. There is a lot more about this whole story that I can't write here. All I can say is that the whole story is very sad and drugs are involved.

Well, now I must get on working on sermons for the weekend. May the Lord help me!

Liz is going off now to see Felipe, our 17 years old grandson still in hospital, who is no better and now has an abcess inside his throat and his fever will not recede. Please pray.

Outrageous Journalists!

I sometimes get sickened by unscrupous insensitive journalists who create news for their own (often political / financial) ends at any cost. So often photos are published here with such gruesome close-ups of people injured in accidents and things like this. This morning I am informed by the bereaved family that members of the press (who exactly neither they nor I know) have been hounding the Grandma, whose 7 year old Grandson died as the result of an accident yesterday, wanting to interview her inside the wake at our church! They are trying to apparently build a story of hospital negligence in the case which would be a blatant lie as Liz was present throughout and saw how wonderfully the medical team ran and desperately tried to save the lad's life. I have just posted a protest about this on facebook and challenged whoever these people are to come and speak to Liz and I! If they do come, which I doubt, they they will hear a few home truths! Honestly! What next?

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

What an awful shock!

I have been working all day on my messages for Friday and Saturday and was starting to wind down late this afternoon to get ready to go to a 'think-tank' meeting when... the phone rang and an hysterical Sister Socorro Help from the Patos church yelled at me screaming for Betinha to help her immediately at the Patos Children's hospital. I contacted Liz on her mobile and she set off to the other side of town to find out what the problem was. At that point we had no idea.

Liz phoned me from the hospital and told me that the 7 year old grandson of the lady who had phoned had dived through a glass door and been torn to shreds by the glass. Whatever made him do this we have no idea. Liz went into the emergency room at the hospital where they were fighting for João Marcos's life. The nurse asked if Liz was strong enough to cope with what she was about to see and Liz was and did go in and tried to cofort and calm the little boy who was desperate and terrified. Liz said she had never seen anything like it!

Sadly there were some internal deep wounds and they took him into intensive care to try and save him, but without success. 

Liz took the Grandma home and Philip set things up in the side hall at the church ready for the wake. I visited the Grandmother at her home and prayed with her before going to the wake from where I have just come. To see the little boy lying so sweetly in his little coffin is a sad sight. Liz is still at the wake. The funeral will be tomorrow at 4pm (7pm UK time) so please remember us in your prayers as I conduct that.

In the middle of all this, but before I had understood how seriously the lad was injured, I called in to visit Felipe at another hospital. He is a bit better but still has a fever and is very weak. Please pray for him too as he remains in hospital and still on a drip.

Grandson still in hospital

Please continue to pray for our 17 year old grandson Felipe who was admitted to hospital yesterday with a ghastly throat infection and resistant fever. I visited him last night and he looked brighter as the fever, under heavy medication via a drip, had receeded partially. The hilarious thing was to see how the hospital has had to dismount the hospital bed to cope with Felipe's length! They have removed the end of the bed and his lower legs and feet overshoot the runway, so to speak! The doctor doesn't think Felipe will be released till later in the week.

I made progress with two messages yesterday - the one for the Inter-varsity students on Friday at Pombal - and the other one for Campina Grande on Saturday. I would really love to finish both today so am into this now before 8am. I value your prayers. 

Liz is out on church refurbishment matters already. I contacted somebody in the hierarchy of the electricity board last night in the State Capital João Pessoa asking for him to give our local subordinates of his a shuv for them to get a move on linking us up with the new mains connection which only they can do. Please pray.

Now I hear that my son Philip is not well with similar symptons to Felipe. Oh Lord!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

I'm now second in the QPR prediction league

With my accurate forecast for Saturday's game against Manchester City I have just learnt that I moved up in the QPR prediction league from 8th to 2nd place! Fame at last! Now to figure out what to forecast for QPR at Newcastle on November 22nd. Another tough game. A win's very unlikely there!

Deadly Coral Snake at Green Pastures

The deadly Coral Snake (Micrurus ibiboboca) is known as a snake with one of the most potent venoms that exist. I watched one for half an hour this morning and photographed it as it swam around in the first of our wide-mouthed wells which supplies the water for our vegetable patch. It was hunting the frogs in the water. It was a beautiful, colourful but most poisonous sight!



Felipe in Hospital

Felipe has been admitted to hospital this morning after spending the night with a very high fever which refused to subside with medication. Please pray for Felipe, who is now on a drip with antibiotics, and watch this space.

I had a good relaxing long walk at Green Pastures this morning and photographed a snake deep down in one of our wide-mouthed wells as well as 3 largish frogs together in one of our now 17 watering holes for wildlife. I also picked up the memory card from the infrared camera and to my delight saw we had managed to film two South American Raccoons drinking at 2.38am at one of the watering holes and standing up to keep an eye out for potential predators. It is the first time I have caught them on film standing like this. Simply wonderful! You can see the 30 second video by clicking on the link below. Remember that the animals were not aware that they were being filmed as no flash is used. They are in this way not disturbed at all in their habitat.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnmedcraft/15763250141/in/photostream/

Monday, 10 November 2014

Eye eye!

I went to the doctor's today to have a full annual eye test including the back of the eyes, eye pressure etc. Thankfully all is very well. PTL! Diabetics need to check these things regularly. My glasses do need a fractional adjustment which I will get done.

Last night's service in the Patos church went well and my eldest daugher Deborah has again written a superb resumé (with her comments) on my sermon and published it in Portuguese on facebook. 

We will be so glad to get back into our church building. Finally the electricity company has come and removed the entire old linkage to the mains outside source so that is progress! Now we need them to turn up and put in the new underground link for which our part is ready to receive.

I have handled umpteen other matters today talking to people who didn't show up in church last night and exchanging emails with EAB in the UK on the Action Child programme in a phase of transition. We value your prayers.

I now need to prepare 3 messages for Friday (Inter-Varsity), Saturday (Campina Grande) and Sunday (Patos) and I have a 'think-tank' meeting on Wednesday and need to check things at Green Pastures tomorrow. Help!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Responsible citizens vote!

The idea of a no-show or spoiling the ballot paper in the next UK General Election, now just 6 months away, is certainly not an option for a responsible citizen in a democratic society, no matter how much he or she is dissilusioned with politics. Democracy is about choosing and electing the party which is the nearest to our view of what is for the common good, good for the nation and in line with our vision of justice, ethics and principle. No party's manifesto is going to be identical to what we would want, but democracy is all about defining our priorities of choice and what we consider to be important and thus opt for the party most in line with these for us.

With the social media available to all it is probably not too late to influence the manifestos that will be published next year. What do the Brits want for Britain? What is right and wrong in your view? At least read the outlines of the manifestos and compare them!

As Christians we do not have the right to impose our values on wider society no more than any other religious or non-religious group has, but we can seek to live out and show the importance of Christian values and convince people of the importance of including or maintaining such values within our laws and society. When I speak about Christian values I do not limit myself to issues such as abortion, euthanasia and gay issues. Christian values are much wider in scope than these matters. What about war and peace? What about hunger and disease? These and many other wider issues must be considered by the Christian citizen. For what good would it be saving lives with anti-abortion laws yet approving ones which irresponsibly bomb people out of their minds and kill many more in the process. I am not saying that we are wrong to raise ethical questions about abortion or euthanasia, but we must also raise the same ethical questions about peace and war, for example. There is such a thing as a "just war" but there is also a problem with being "gun happy"!

Here ends a bit more of my British politics ramblings!

A Great Christian Concert

The Christian Concert was superb tonight because the band actually managed not to do a show and in fact lead a real service of praise to Jesus and dynamic preaching of the Gospel. Thousands gathered from the region for the famous group "Diante do Trono" from Belo Horizonte which is 2,000 km south of Patos.

Alice, our 7 year old granddaughter, is a long time fan of the lead singer Ana Paula Valadão, and will not sleep tonight after having her photo taken with the singer!



I met the singer's husband a couple of years ago and took him round some of the EAB/ACEV churches and projects so after the service they filmed an interview with an update on EAB's work for their site which was nice. It's gone 1am, but I am still bubbling with tonight, but I guess I'd better get to sleep now. You can see further photos of tonight at https://www.facebook.com/eabrazil