Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Patos Bible College

I have done quite a lot of work linked to the Patos Bible College today. We had some things outstanding from May and finally we seem to be getting everyone's act together! Liz and I endeavour to take on a more advisory counselling role in the College leaving younger one's to take on the detailed nitty-gritty. I was principal for 17 and a half years and Liz has been treasurer for a long time now. Hopefully by next month we will have it all sorted.

With the general elections in Brazil this Sunday there's a lot to pray about. I have been working quite a bit on political matters. We have to elect a president, governor, senator, federal deputy and state deputy - so there will be 5 votes to cast and all, as usual, via eletronic ballot boxes. I have decided on my 5 candidates. It looks like the president Dilma will be re-elected, but she is facing a strong challenge from a very good well balanced pentecostal evangelical Christian called Marina Silva. I will be voting for Marina Silva. I will also be voting for the re-election of our state governor Ricardo Coutinho who served a superb first term of office.

I have prayed a lot for the Iraque/Syria situation today. It is unbelievable that the west let things get so out of hand. Though a supporter of Barack Obama usually, this time I am sure he has dithered far too long and have written to tell him so. I have also written to complain to the BBC who is giving little and poor coverage of events in the middle-east. I pray for God to overule in that terrible situation.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Lovely walk

I had a wonderful walk at Green Pastures Reserve this morning and to see the Brazilian native Mulungu tree (Erythrina mulungu) in all its glorious orange blossom was fantastic! Birds were almost lining up to feed from the blossom! I have planted many seedlings of this tree and am producing more now, so in a few years time it will be a glorious sight.

There were other trees in flower as well this morning and some beautiful blue wild flowers also. But at the lake there were a large number of Brazilian Teals which are so beautiful in flight with their blue wings glinting in the morning sun. Amazing!

Last night in the Patos church the service was good and at the end two people made commitments to Christ. PTL! The deaf pastor Luiz Carlos also told me that on Saturday night there were no less than 35 deaf folk in the main deaf service of the week. Fantastic!

A ministry which is developing more and more for me (on top of everything else - but I am very happy about it) is that of ministry to people online. People contact me asking for prayer and I always pray for them on the spot so as not to end up forgetting. I think that this thing about "I'll be praying for you" without actually doing it is a bit of a spiritual rip off. At other times people want advice on problems or encouragement. Sometimes I know the people involved and other times I don't, but the Lord knows them all. Thus recently it has been especially nice to minister to EAB founder Albert Mundy's granddaughter Beverley who had spent years away from God. Last night she was in the main EAB/ACEV church in João Pessoa where she lives, and came back to God. PTL!

I have learnt today of the death of Liz's cousin Paul Dyer who lived in Australia. He was 64. It was good to know he had come back to God some time ago and that his sister Ruth and her husband Stan were with him on a visit from the UK when he died. Our prayers are with all the family.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

From Weymouth to Mecca!

May God help us! I have just watched the BBC documentary 'My Brother - The Islamist' and it is one of the most alarming things I have seen in a long time showing how extreme fundamentalist Islamism is growing in the UK. The brother in question from Weymouth in Dorset is an articulate intelligent fanatic utterly devoted to promoting his version of Islam at any cost. He is now in prison for inciting terrorism in the UK.

Having watched this 45 minute documentary makes me realise why the UKIP party is fuelled to expand in the UK. The whole issue of Islam, Sharia law etc. is a terrific challenge to the very fabric of democratic pluralistic societies the world over. May God help Christians to wake up and be more active and devoted to the Faith in a tolerant, loving and peaceful way.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

EAB's Annual Celebration

EAB's annual celebration will we held this year on Saturday, October 18th at 7pm - so it's just 3 weeks away. It will be held at the Lighthouse Community Church, Hardley Green, Southampton, SO45 3NZ. I will be the speaker via Skype. Please plan to be there!

I wasn't far off

I forecast Southampton would beat QPR 3 x 1 today and it was slightly better at 2 x 1. Oh well... at least they did a bit better overall. Nothing else to say about it.

I spent all morning working flat out on my sermon for tomorrow. I will preach on the third of the 7 "I am" statements by Jesus in John's Gospel. This time it is 10:9 and "I am the door". The preparation is going well and I am two-thirds done. This time round I have gone back to the importance of the "I am" theme in Jewish/Christian theology and worked a bit on origins issues prior to pressing in to Jesus as God being the only door to salvation. I value your prayers.

Philip is away in João Pessoa with his wife and son, but plans to be back for the evening service in Patos. Their daughter has stayed with us, though I am sure her boyfriend in Patos is more the attraction than us! However we love having her with us anyway.

I have dispatched the latest EAB Diary Update with my diary/blog jottings over the past couple of weeks or so.

The Patos church building project plods along. I think that's the ideal verb at the moment! We seem to be at a slow stage waiting for bits and pieces to be done before we can start putting it all together in the final push to finalize everything. We certainly want to be back in our church for Christmas and hopefully this will be in fact by the end of November. Thanks for prayers and support which are welcome and appreciated.

Friday, 26 September 2014

General Election

The general elections in Brazil are a little over a week away and will be held on the first Sunday in October (5th). Please pray for peace, justice and competence to reign. Last night I went to the final political public rally in Patos where our Governor will be present as he stands for re-election which we hope and pray for. If the numbers last night are anything to go for then he is doing well, but the election itself will decide everything of course.

Prior to going to the rally with my daughter-in-law Gylmara, I gave the Bible study in the Patos church. This went well.

QPR go to Southampton tomorrow. I have forecast a 3 x 1 defeat for Rangers. Of course I hope I am wrong. A draw is all I can have wild dreams about I'm afraid as Saints are at one end of the league and the Rrrrs at the other end! Oh dear!

I must get on with the preparation of my sermon for Sunday now as I will be preaching in the Patos church.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Two State Day

Yesterday I worked in both the States of Paraíba, where we live, and Rio Grande do Norte.

I picked up the visiting journalist, who has now left Patos, at 8am, and off we went to Itaporanga County to visit the Capim Grosso Plantation and Fish Farm Project. However we had a bad delay on the road as the MST (Landless Movement) had blocked the main road and would not let anyone past. This happened all over Brazil in a coordinated protest. They have a right to protest but I can't see how this sort of protest should be allowed. Anyway the journalist lapped it up and interviewed them, with me interpreting, and photographed them.

Once through the aggressive road block we got to Itaporanga where we met local pastor Oseias also doing church building work like us in Patos. He then went with us to the project right out in the dry wilds. He was impressed to see the two fish farming ponds in full production from where they sell 60 kg of fish each week. Then we went on to the horticulture, fruit and vegetable sections where you name it they plant it and sell it. They are doing so well that they can't meet demands and are working long hours and planting more and more. Praise God for this amazingly successful community at which the local folk who now follow the Lord have already set aside some land to build a church. They have regular services there already. PTL!

I got back to Patos mid-afternoon and then prepared to go with Liz to Ipueira in Rio Grande do Norte State to preach at the end of a day of door-to-door evangelism led by a 35-strong team from our Patos church. The service was great and my sermon went super well as I held the 80 locals listening in the village square.

I was amazed afterwards because some "knew me" through radio broadcasts and others "knew me" through my nature photography. After the service people kept coming up to me and felt like a sort of bit of a star!

We got home and boy was I tired - but it was a great day. PTL! Slowly a church plant is taking shape there at Ipueira. Very slowly yes... but surely!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

National Jornal

Jason Platz is a journalist who works in Washington DC in the USA for the National Journal and is with us this week from Monday to Thursday researching how the Christian faith and environmental concern and action come together. I took him to Green Pastures this morning to give him a better picture of our work.

As we were leaving the State environmental agency (Sudema) arrived to release 3 birds on our Reserve. The Lined Seedeaters had been taken off someone by the Federal Police. The 3 birds are a mother, father and offspring!

Liz took the journalist to visit our Patos Action School this afternoon and tomorrow I will be taking him to visit our Plantation Project at Capim Grosso in Itaporanga County. 

Tomorrow is a local holiday here in Patos (for its "Patron Saint") so our church will be going to spend the day evangelizing at Ipueira in Rio Grande do Norte State. I will be preaching there at night.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Journalist from Washington DC with us in Patos

Talk about hectic days! Crumbs! Yesterday was incredible! I spent the whole morning preparing Raquel's funeral service. Then straight after lunch Liz and I headed for Pastor Edson's wake on the way to conduct Raquel's funeral.

Pastor Edson (Baptist) was converted from spiritism and a few months after conversion asked to start study at the Patos Bible College as a mature student with no time to lose. I broke all the rules about at least 2 years as a Christian prior to entering the college and it was the right decision. The man turned into an excellent pastor and exceptional Gospel communicator on radio. However on Saturday out of the blue God said his time was up and took him home. We praise the Lord for his life and ministry.

Raquel's funeral went off well with an excellent crowd present. We then went to the cemetery. Then we had a quick cuppa before getting to our evening service which I led and school teacher Jarbas preached. Philip led the worship on his own as he had no time to set anything else up.

This morning I was at Green Pastures by 7am and did a couple of hours work with the environmental people. Then this afternoon a journalist arrived from the USA to see our projects and discuss our Christian environment mix. He will be with us till Thursday. Never a dull moment!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Up just after 5am

What a day this is. I was up really early preparing the funeral service for 3.30pm and have just completed that. I have to go to the wake of the pastor that has died as his funeral is virtually the same time as the one I will be conducting. So it looks like we will leave for Pastor Edson's wake at 2.30pm, then conduct the funeral at 3.30pm and we need to get to our church service for 6.30pm. Oh boy! Please pray.

I have had no time to work on the report and photos of the Leadership Conference. I will get to it eventually!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

EAB/ACEV Leaders' Conference

Here are just a few initial words about the Conference which went very well with 100 participants. A new pastor was given probationary status and 2 congregations moved up to full "church" status. The new projects' team board was elected and hopefully some problem shooting for the Princesa Isabel church helped.

Sadly Raquel Macena and an ex-Bible school student Edson Poujeaux died today. I will be conducting Raquel's funeral tomorrow afternoon and value your prayers. I then will be leading the Patos church service straight on top of this. We are very tired.

Thursday, 18 September 2014


I am very happy with the news first thing this morning that the Brazilian National Government's environmental organization (IBAMA) has accepted Green Pastures as a reserve for the freeing of wild birds and animals when they are saved from the hands of hunters, poachers and traffickers. What is more they are going to bring over 200 of such wild birds tomorrow to let them loose at Green Pastures during our Leadership Conference! Wonderful! PTL!

People are now travelling to Green Pastures to arrive this afternoon for the start of the Conference. One leader will be given probationary pastoral status at the event and two church plants will be upgraded to full church status. The final module of a Christian leadership course, which we have done with the leaders over the past 4 years, will be taught on Saturday. We are looking to God for a great time of blessing.

I am going to try and update this blog and the EAB facebook page direct from Green Pastures whilst at the Conference via my smartphone! I have never done this before so please bear with me! I have got my smartphone all set up (I think!) for this and the technique will be to find a high spot at Green Pastures where I can get a reasonable signal! Watch this space!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

All is ready for delayed Leaders Conference

I went to Green Pastures this morning to check things over for the Conference about to start tomorrow (a day later than planned) and all seems ready to roll. I say "seems" as sometimes we check with the workers and are assured all is well, only to find later that this was not the case. Oh well... we press on.

Liz is now off to Green Pastures with a Kombi load of food and Josinete is going with her. There's a lot of logistics involved in organizing such events.

I had a walk on my own this morning whilst there and found part of a perimeter fence down so I had to get the workers on to that quick so as to avoid domestic animal invasion into the nature reserve. I suspect it was the work of poachers however. They are a constant menace. 

We are in the process of getting Green Pastures officially recognised and registered by the Government Enviromental organ so I hope this might help make poachers a bit more scared of encroaching into our place. 

People still to pray for are Maria from Green Pastures who is doing radiotherapy and not as well as she was. Raquel (41), who was the first child I dedicated, continues seriously ill in a João Pessoa hospital still surviving with the help of a breathing machine.

We are awaiting the news of the Scottish referendum tomorrow and hopeful for the maintenance of the UK as it has been for 307 years, but with the necessary federative adjustments including eventually an English assembly too.

In Brazil we are two and a half weeks away from the general elections with the incumbant lady president Dilma facing a hard fight being put up by another woman candidate and ex-Senator Marina who is an evangelical well-balanced Christian. We will vote for Marina for president and for the incumbent Governor of Paraíba, Ricardo Coutinho, to be given a second term in office after an outstanding first term. Please pray. 

I continue fascinated by the variety of countries from where this blog gets readers including Hong Kong now and South Africa. I can see that perhaps my comments on the Pistorius verdict were picked up, as could be the case with a lot of readers coming on board in Ukraine owing to my comments about that. However I can't figure for the life of me what I have said about Hong Kong! (have I?)

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Radio interview excerpt

If you have a moment just to listen to a part of my radio interview yesterday it has been published on the main Patos news site. I know it's Portuguese (of course) but it should give you a sort of feeling of how these things are here and how they go. You might even learn a bit of Portuguese in the bargain! Just click on the arrow beside my name at the bottom of the article in the following link http://www.patosonline.com/post.php?codigo=42832

It's all happening

Oh boy! Late last night (10.30pm) I received an email from our Manaíra church contingent coming to the EAB/ACEV Leadership Conference to say they could no longer come on Wednesday but would be coming on Thursday. That for Liz and I was the last straw as so many had already said the same thing. Thus I phoned other leaders this morning and we agreed it was best to delay the start altogether until Thursday and this has now been announced to one and all. I told everyone last year this was going to happen (kids getting older and can't miss school / some leaders have jobs outside of EAB/ACEV to help boost their income a bit etc.) but the folks insisted on the normal Wednesday start. Well... as it's worked out we have been forced to change to the Thursday start as the few who turned up early would have just been twiddling their thumbs!

In EAB/ACEV we have to adapt to changing circumstances so next year we are thinking of starting on Friday evening and running through till Sunday lunch. I have been discussing other issues linked to the Conference with leaders this morning.

I've received some nice feedback from the radio interview yesterday so that's good. Liz is charging round with the church building project and the Conference preparations this morning. She darts from place to place like a humming bird!

Monday, 15 September 2014

QPR annihilated again

I was sad to see QPR lose 4 x 0 again yesterday for the second time in 4 games this season in the Premiership. TV commentators were less biased than in the UK as QPR supporters report that it was just a Manchester United show as far as the TV commentators were concerned in England. QPR hardly got mentioned.

As regards the match we badly missed Joey Barton (injured) and Clint Hill is too slow at 35 to cope. Taking him off at half-time improved things but by then it was too late. It's a job to know what QPR are going to do as the players clearly lack self-belief and are far too respectful of the opposition. I just hope we now beat Stoke at home on Saturday!

Good weekend

I slept so well last night that everything looks brighter this morning! Not that things were bad or stuff like that - but it's nice to have had such a good night's sleep. What a different a good restoring sleep makes!

Anyway... the weekend was hectic but good. All went well up in the mountains at the Imaculada church where 13 new converts were baptized and 3 new people came to Christ. PTL! In Patos I preached again last night and the service was good. 

I have just been interviewed by a journalist and he has invited me to his programme at 6pm to do a live interview as well. Never a dull moment!

I continue to be horrified with the world islamic threat. It's alright the politicians always saying that this is not true Islam and all that - but who keeps chopping off heads, causing widespread slaughter and blowing themselves and lots of others with self-detonated bombs are Islamic folk - fundamentalists maybe - but Muslims. It makes you feel pretty fed up with all this. Absurd! We pray every week in church about this.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

She'll be coming up the mountains when she comes!

Yesterday's trip up the mountains to preach at the EAB/ACEV Imaculada church was fairly eventful on the way there, but we made it OK and the service was really good - crisp, cold (temperature!) and blessed!

To get out of Patos on the south side was the first problem. Initially the town centre is blocked off by a fair set up in honour of "Our Lady of Guidance" - the patron saint of Patos according to the Roman Catholic church. Every year they say that next year they will set up the fairground somewhere not to block the traffic, but always the catholic leaders backtrack, dig in their heels of power, and we have 10 days of mayhem plus the days needed to set up and dismount everything. It really is ridiculous, but I keep quiet about it or else they will say I am complaining because I am an evangelical pastor. There are plenty of catholics who complain so they will have to sort it!

Once we negotiated this obstacle we got caught up in a funeral procession so there was more delay. Then when we got outside of Patos I had to swerve quite violently to avoid some irresponsible dangerous drivers coming the other way... but we made it up the mountain eventually taking about half an hour longer than usual. However in true George Medcraft style we still arrived with 10 minutes to spare! Dad would however have had time to make a cup of tea on his primus stove too! Anyway the service started half an hour late too, but unfortunately that is usual here - so in the end we were ages early for kick off! (Talking about kick-off... QPR do so in 2 hours time against some little team in red shirts. They may be communists!)

The service was held in a gymnasium like it always is every year. There were about 300 present with support coming from our churches at Patos, Teixeira, Tavares, Juru, Princesa Isabel and Flores. It was a lovely service. Pastor Lindon Carlos is not a waffler and organised this crisply so as to flow quickly. You can see a photo of the local P&W group, in regional dress, on EAB's facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/eabrazil . I preached and the Princesa Isabel & Patos P&W bands sang too. 

Our journey home was a lot simpler than the one going and we were in bed by 11.45pm.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

With the Lord

We have just heard of the death of Mike Sowa married to Pam (née Preudhomme of Peniel Chapel days). They are EAB Action Child sponspors. We had no idea Mike was ill but now understand that he had been ill for some time. Please pray for Pam (ex-EAB UK Chairman Bob Dalton's niece) and all the family.

I have also just heard that ACEV's Pastor Schoeps, who is in England at the moment, has received news of the death of one of his brothers who lives in São Paulo. It is not absolutely clear if it is Schoeps's brother, but I think it is. It certainly is a close relation of his. Please pray for Schoeps and family too.

Pastor Lindon Carlos at Imaculada, where I am preaching tonight, has phoned to warn us that it is very cold in the evenings there at the moment so suggests we take some warm clothing!

Hello to all who are reading this blog far and wide. Thank you for your prayers, interest and support. The UK and Brazil vie for 1st place in readership numbers followed by the USA. Readers also come from Canada, Germany, Switzerland, France, Ukraine, Poland, India, Australia, Belgium, Turkey etc. A big Brazilian hug to one and all!

Sleep over

That our different grandchildren sleep at our house from time to time is common knowledge and we love it. Every Friday night Alice and Bia, for example, sleep at our house because their mum Sacha has to teach early on Saturday morning so it would be impossible for her to give the girls breakfast etc. and get to the School - and her husband goes early to work too. 

However last night it was a bit different because Alice (aged 7) came and asked us in the week if she could have two friends from school with her in a sleep over. We agreed, so last night we had Julia and Clara joining the ranks! They are the same age as Alice and all worked out very well. They were well behaved and quiet. We noticed that Bia was a bit jealous of sharing her sister, but we managed to overcome that!

As always happened with me as a kid when I got excited, Alice was up early this morning being sick. Bless her! However she is fine now and the sleep over has gone into a play over or whatever! It is lovely when we see our grandchildren enjoying being at our house - even the older ones!

A busy weekend

Today I'm going up into the mountains with Liz to preach at EAB/ACEV's church at Imaculada celebrating its 30th anniversary. Philip will be taking a kombi load of the youth too to support the event. Our Care Centre team is already there for a day of action in the street.

Tomorrow I'll be leading the service in Patos and preaching the Gospel too. I value your prayers.

Yesterday I went to Green Pastures and Liz went twice. All this is work in preparation for the Leaders' Conference starting on Wednesday. Unfortunately when we ask if everything is ready we are told it is, but when we ourselves check we find it isn't! Extremely annoying. Liz discovered yesterday that two new basins are needed and a new key tap in the kitchen.

I picked up the memory card from the infra-red automatic camera that we set up for wildlife at Green Pastures. You can see the register of a fox in the night at https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnmedcraft/15036795408/ and that of a Southern Caracara Eagle/Falcon destroying its prey at https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnmedcraft/15223433145/

Thursday, 11 September 2014

He's got away with murder!

Joey Barton has just tweeted that Pistorius is in the process right now of "getting away with murder"! It's not so bad when this happens in a film but in real life it is real bad! The whole world can see, but we are told that murder has not been proved according to South African law. Oh dear!

I had a very long hectic day yesterday. I prepared my sermon for this Saturday at Imaculada when the EAB/ACEV church there will be celebrating its 30th anniversary. I also started preparing my sermon for Sunday in Patos but couldn't get it finished. For me sermons have to be well prepared. I can't stand waffling preachers who go round in circles. Well prepared preachers speak and shut up. I try to live and practice this.

I also had to do a difficult counselling session yesterday having done a parallel session earlier in the week  with another person which was also difficult. I also had considerable discussions with Pastor Wostenes in Campina Grande. I also wrote and dispatched a circular email to all the EAB/ACEV leadership in preparation for our leaders conference starting next Wednesday. 

Prior to going to bed Liz and I watched President Obama's speech to his nation on CNN about the new strategy to combat IS fanatical terrorists in Iraque and Syria. It was a very good speech on the whole. May God help the allied forces getting together on this matter to defeat evil.

I now press on with my sermon preparation for Sunday and the Bible study for tonight in Patos. Liz has already been to see the church building work to check that. We press on and value your prayers always.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

One week to Leaders' Conference

A week today the annual EAB/ACEV Leadership Conference sort of starts at Green Pastures. I say sort of starts because I warned everyone that this was going to happen, but nobody would listen so it means that those of us who turn up on day one will be a small minority. It had become increasingly obvious to Liz and I that we are all getting older which means the leaders' kids find it more difficult to miss school and so on. Hence most leaders and their families will only turn up on Thursday (day two). Oh well - hopefully everyone will see sense for next time round. I went to Green Pastures to check on everything for the Conference and all is pretty well ready to roll. We value your prayers.

I had a good meeting with Pastor Gersé who now leads the church at Princesa Isabel following the death of Pastor Manoel Jorge. He is not finding the job quite as simple as he expected. I gave him quite a bit of advice today. Please pray for him.

I also had a meeting with Chico Pinheiro who is the number one leader of the Patos church Christians in Action group. They are such a blessing. To me this group is such a lesson in how church should be as the group has no top preachers, singers or musicians but is doing a great job for God and being a real blessing - especially with the church plant in Rio Grande do Norte State at Ipueira. Sometimes church leaders only want to give space to the more polished elements in the church, but we must remember that Jesus had room for polished Paul and unpolished Peter! Everyone needs equal treatment and opportunity in the church as well as in society at large.

We keep praying for Raquel Macena who remains in a critical situation in intensive care in a João Pessoa hospital. She has cardiac insufficiency and pneumonia and continues to breath with mechanical help. Please keep praying for Maria at Green Pastures who is undergoing radio and chemiotherapy.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Putin, Obama and Darling

Whilst one can understand Russian discomfort at losing its sphere of influence in Ukraine, their cynicism throughout these months of intervention (which they say was not intervention) by Russian troops (they say were not Russian Troops) must only strengthen the resolve of the pro EU population to withstand Russian imperialism at all costs. The BBC Panorama programme now has produced evidence to support, what we already suspected, that it was a Russian fired missile that shot down the Malaysian airline which, if confirmed, would only show further what Ukraine is up against in terms of corruption, expansionism and outright uncontrolled wickedness. The Russian people now find themselves without democracy and dominated by a regime of terror. We must surely pray for God to intervene again in Russia and surrounding nations.

On another international note I applaud President Obama for his non-trigger happy caution in Iraq, but I am glad to see him finally taking on the ISIS terrorists, together with a new Iraq government made up of cross-ethnic and cross-religious components. We pray for God to help this phase in Iraq especially thinking of the religous and ethnic minorities so disgustingly persecuted of late.

Finally, dare I say it, whilst I understand something of the strong feelings in Scotland calling for independence from the UK, which are based on historical facts of the often perverse domination by the English north of the border, I personally hope that a satisfactory common denominator can be found to unite a federal UK where each of its four component nations have equal rights and opportunitities working together for the common good of the inhabitants of those islands and the world. Mr. Darling would seem to me to have been a bad choice for leader of the "no" vote, but we pray with the Queen for God's help in the dark UK which has largely forgotten and abandoned the wealth of its Christian heritage.

Happy Birthday Liz!

September 8th is the day on which Liz catches me up age wise! Since early this morning the phone has not stopped ringing with well wishers, and at times we have had a queue with her mobile, the landline and my mobile! So Happy Birthday! May the Lord bless you always. Lots of love! 

We will of course have the cake and pop-drink session this afternoon as always because the younger grandchildren believe this to be the essential part of anyone's birthday. I take the photos and then withdraw as I do not consume either cake or coke! 

I've had a good telephone meeting with Pastor Wostenes this morning. We had the son of the very sick woman in João Pessoa on the phone till late last night. Raquel Macena has been transferred to the intensive care unit of another hospital where she continues to breath thanks to modern technology. We still have not understood what the diagnosis is.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Communion Service

This morning's communion service in the EAB/ACEV Patos church was a real blessing. Being independence day we started by singing the national anthem and praying for the nation. The P&W group then led 3 songs of worship positioned in the Marian Rashleigh garden at the end of the projects' building meeting hall. 

Later we heard an announcement from Gerlânia Carneiro who is the headteacher of EAB/ACEV's Action School in Patos. She was overjoyed to announce that our school, which bears the name of Frank Dyer, has just won top place yet again in the government evaluation of schools in Patos, but this time has done so well that it has won second place out of all the schools throughout the State of Paraíba! PTL!

I preached the Word after this and then conducted the communion service. It was a lovely morning in the Lord's house.

The battle goes on concerning 41 year old Raquel Macena's health, who is from Patos but in a João Pessoa hospital. It still is not clear what exactly is wrong with her, but apparently she has some sort of pneumonia plus heart problems. She continues seriously ill and needs our constant prayers. 

My blog has now passed the 129,000 visits mark. Many thanks to people far and wide including those from India, Germany and Switzerland these days!

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Preparing for Independence Day

Brazil will celebrate its 192nd Independence Day from Portugal this Sunday. This means that there will be the traditional civic marching and displays in the town centre starting late afternoon and overlapping with the time of our evening service. Thus we have cancelled that and will be holding a special Independence Day Communion Service at 9.30am. I have spent a lot of time preparing my sermon for this, which is now done.

Liz phoned our EAB/ACEV Pastor Umbirajara in João Pessoa and asked him to visit Raquel Macena, from our Patos church, who is gravely ill in hospital in the State capital. She was taken ill suddenly yesterday and I still can't find out what is wrong with her. The pastor only was allowed in to visit her because he is a minister and that was a brief visit. He said she is intubated and on assisted breathing being sedated or unconscious. Please pray for Raquel who was the first child I dedicated 41 years ago so we have always had that close link. She has had a difficult life, being married and widowed three times. 

I have also been involved in different counselling sessions. Church life is never without its ups and downs! I also went with Liz to sort out further things linked to the Patos building project which is now gathering pace. PTL!

Friday, 5 September 2014

EAB/ACEV Leadership Conference approaches

I have worked a lot on the Leadership Conference organization, programme content etc. today. It has been a lot of hard work. There is so much to think through and plan so that the event can run smoothly. The event will start on Sept. 17th and end on the 21st. Your prayers are valued.

The work on the Patos church restauration is now really moving forward well and Liz now talks of us getting back to our dear church before Christmas, which was the original plan. I hope she's right.

The first baby I ever dedicated about 41 years ago is Raquel. I was sorry to hear today that in João Pessoa she has had some sort of heart attack. Nobody seems to know the full story but I hope I will get more details in the morning.

I went to the big anti-corruption rally in the Patos Town Hall tonight and after a Judge and a Priest I was asked to speak - which I did. Fighting corruption here is an uphill battle, but I won't give up. May the Lord help us with the elections just one month away.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Right to the top

On Tuesday and Wednesday I went to the highest peak of the State of Paraíba with my friend Fred who is a Baptist pastor and a nature enthusiast like me. We both love God and love God's creation. We believe it is right to defend and protect God's earth because the Bible says that "The earth is the Lord's and everything that is in it"! We photograph wildlife and publish our photos to try and wake people up as to the beauty of creation all around them and of how important it is to not destroy the environment so that the wildlife can live!

I had only just switched into 4-wheel drive in the jeep so as to climb Jabre Peak, when on about the second bend of this narrow track through the woods, we were, to our delight and surprise, faced by three White-browed Guans - large Turkey-size black birds with red throats. Absolutely beautiful! I managed to get a reasonable photo before they disappeared into the trees.

During our time in the mountains I photographed some 30 species of birds + bats + frogs and lizards and saw many more. The climate is much cooler there and much more humid. Simply paradise! However on a late-night outing we saw hunters and poachers at work and have denounced their activity to the authorities.

Tonight I was back in Patos giving the Bible study in the Patos church. It was a nice little service with 16 present. Prior to this Liz and I went to the funeral of the ex-town Councillor Chico Bocão ("Big Mouth Chico" as he was known) who died, aged 82, having served on the Council for over 40 years.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Intrepid explorers

My pastor friend from the Baptist church in Conceição was supposed to be here in Patos at 7am, but there's still no sign of him. We are supposed to be going out on a day of nature trecking together...

The meeting with the Judge went very well yesterday afternoon and all is organized for the public anti-corruption rally on Friday. Please pray.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Sign language sermon

Last night in the Patos church we heard a very good short sermon by EAB/ACEV's pastor Luiz Carlos, who is deaf and only communicates by sign-language, which was interpreted by one of our interpreters Jarbas. It was very good and attracted two visiting deaf people who came for the occasion. PTL! I preached later in the service a second shorter sermon.

I have another meeting with my friend the electoral Judge Ramonilson this afternoon in my office in preparation for a public rally in the town hall combatting corruption this Friday. Please pray.

Tomorrow my Baptist pastor friend Fred comes to Patos for us to do some serious nature photography together again. I am looking forward to it.

Liz has already been to the church to check the work and workers and all presses on!