Friday, 31 October 2014

Anniversary of the Reformation

Today being the 497th anniversary of the Reformation I should think it ought to be celebrated big time in 2017.

My day was good, long, tiring but worthwhile. A group of 20 evangelical leaders from the neighbouring State of Pernambuco asked to come for the day and learn from my experience of 42 years of Integral Mission in this region so as to see what then can learn and apply where they live and work. As things usually happen here, they turned up late, but once here all went very well. I shared with them experiences from over the years of all shapes, sizes and sorts. I pray that the Lord will bless them in the pratical application, within their context, of the Christian principles we discussed.

Early this morning I popped out quickly to Green Pastures to pay the workers and bring the week's vegetables in. I was encouraged by the fact that at the Woman's Rock our worker Pipa has put in some tree branches into the watering hole there. He had done this off his own back so that birds could get down to the water better. How encouraging to see that I am slowly getting through to people and changing their attitudes regarding caring for nature.

Now I must polish up my sermon for tomorrow night in Princesa Isabel.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Enough to keep you out of mischief!

My schedule from today through the weekend is:

Today: Try and finish the EAB Nutshell Update I have started and dispatch it / Get a bird song I recorded yesterday at Green Pastures identified by a professional ornithologist in Recife / Prepare Bible study and give it tonight in Patos.

Friday: 10am - Give a talk to about 25 pastors coming from Pernambuco State to learn about community involvement & think-tanks & continue discussions after lunch.

Saturday: Travel up the mountains to Princesa Isabel (2 hour drive) and preach in the anniversary service to be held in the open-air infront of the church there.

Sunday: Lead the service back in Patos in the evening.

I value your prayers, and so does Liz who is exhausted and rushed off her feet too as she continues to coordinate the final stages of the Patos church refurbishment project. The ceiling looks beautiful now.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

A Ducky Day!

This morning I was up at 5am and at Green Pastures by 7am. It's funny how things go but the other day I had a Woodpecker day and photographed 3 new species on the same day. Today was a Duck day. I photographed a pair of Muscovy Ducks flying and a load of Southern Pochard Ducks swimming plus masses of Grebes and Moorhens. 

Once back from Green Pastures I went to my doctor's with all by blood test results and was given 10 out of 10 + blood pressure spot on as well as weight. My visits to the doctor have now been reduced from every 2 months to every 3 months. PTL!

I have now just received a phone call inviting me to speak at the Inter-varsity student Conference on November 14th at Pombal so that's yet another speaking engagement for next month which is pretty full including one trip to Princesa Isabel and two to Campina Grande.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Great Action Child Meeting

A 5 hour meeting of the part of the EAB/ACEV leadership linked to the Action Child Programme has just ended in perfect harmony and inspired vision for the future, with a lovely working lunch. Thank you for praying.

From left to right those present were: Flávia Marques (Social worker and the programmes coordinator for our projects), Pastor João George and his wife Jacilene (Teaching specialists), Liz and myself (overall Chair people), Pastor Wostenes (executive Director of our projects) and Gerlânia (Head Teacher of our Patos School and Pedagogical specialist).

The wonderful spirit in the meeting was tremendous! The commitment of these guys to helping desperately poor kids out of the poverty rut often brought tears to my eyes. We put together in 5 hours (although we've been thinking and praying about this for months) a draft new programme minute for Action Child in a way we have never been so organised before. I cannot publish these details as yet because the team will now write up all the notes into a complete document, circulate them via email for all to correct and adjust, prior to the production of the final document. I will then share this with the EAB UK Board and Action Child Team hopefully in November so as to be in place for its launch as from the beginning of 2015.

In January 2015 all the Action Child teachers and coordinators will have a workshop so as to make sure everyone is on the same page and ready to move forward together in 2015 and beyond for the glory of God!

Action Child Day

Today is a very important day for the EAB/ACEV Action Child Project as project leaders gather at our headquarters in Patos for a day of metings to discuss the future shape and format of this project. Pastor Wostenes is coming from Campina Grande as is Social Worker Flávia. Then there will be João George and Jacilene from Imaculada and Liz, me and Gerlânia from Patos. Please pray for this important day of meetings.

All the Action Child report packages have been sent to the UK office now. Well done Sacha for doing a very difficult job. Thanks also to the UK team for their corresponding input.

Monday, 27 October 2014

QPR Win!

For the second time this season QPR win... I think! The internet link has been terrible and I was getting an occasional score line on Twitter. Marian Rashleigh emailed to tell me Rangers had scored the second! Thank you Marian!

Yes -  I now have confirmation that QPR have beaten Aston Villa 2 x 0 via an email from Marian! Oh yes! Wonderful! Rangers are now off the bottom of the Premiership! Great stuff!

QPR are in the lead

QPR are 1 x 0 up against Aston Villa at half-time which is exactly what I forecast. It's not on TV and the internet is slower than a cart horse and I can't get radio commentary, but I do know we just have our nose in front with a goal from Austin. If the Southampton mantle has come down upon QPR we have 7 to go in the second half.  I forecast a 3 x 1 win for Rangers. We shall see!

This blog has today reached the 131,000 visits mark. Many thanks.

I am fed up seeing all the squabbling and nastiness on the internet over the elections. It is sickening.

I should think so too!

BBC online reports: "South African prosecutors say they are going to appeal against the conviction and sentence given to Oscar Pistorius for killing his girlfriend."

Dear Lord!

I have just got back from Nenem's mum's wake and oh dear - what poverty! The whole house is no wider than 9 feet and the first room is only just big enough to fit the coffin and to get round it. Nenem was clearly pleased I had gone to the house right on the southern outskirts of Patos. Nenem will be living between our house and Sacha's from now on. Her father went off years ago. Please pray for this young woman that she will be comforted by the Lord and give her life to Christ. Alice preaches to her all the time!

The morning after

I got to bed late after such a tense evening with the close calls in both the election for governor and for president... but gratefully all worked out as we had hoped. In the case of the governor it is a great result for Paraíba and in the case of the presidency it was the best option that we had.

I stayed up writing a longish reflection of the tight election results for my Portuguese language blog as many people do seem to look to me for my thoughts.

I will be going to Nenem's mother's wake this morning.

Tomorrow we have a meeting of the Action Child project leadership team all day. Please pray.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

President Dilma re-elected

With 98% of the votes counted for the presidency the incumbant president is re-elected with 51.45% of the votes. A majority of about 3 million votes out of an electorate of 142 million. It was a very tight victory but she made it! Both the governor and president in which we voted were elected.

Governor Ricardo re-elected

Our Governor Ricardo Coutinho has been re-elected, as with 97% of the votes counted he is over 100,000 votes ahead and in an unassailable position!  We are very happy!

80% counted in Paraíba

The incumbent governor continues in front with 52.51% of the votes

Two-thirds of votes counted in Paraíba

Current Governor continues in front with 52.45% of the votes.

Vote count reaches 42% in Paraíba

The incumbent Governor Ricardo Coutinho has 52.9% of the votes and his opponent has 47.1%. It's tight but looking good for our candidate so far.

Polling ending

8 states in the south + the Federal capital Brasília have just ended voting. Next come the north-eastern states which end in about 30 minutes and then we go across the other Brazilian time zones to wrap everything up at 7pm (10pm UK). Only then will we get the first president results but our state governor's results will be in before then.

Last minute polls suggest our 2 chosen candidates for re-election have their noses in front, but Brazilian opinion polls are notoriusly unreliable so we will have to wait and see.

As a kid I always used to stay up with my Dad all night on election nights. Nowadays it's a lot simpler with electronic balloting giving results within 2 or 3 hours over a vast country like Brazil!

Late voters!

Philip and Gylmara have just got back to Patos with about an hour and a half to spare before the voting stations close! Phew! They were in João Pessoa.

Another death

For those of you who know Nenem please pray for her right now as she has just lost her mother who was quite young. Nenem is the young woman who looks after our grandaughters Alice and Bia when their mum Sacha is working. She has been doing this work for years and is very much part of the family and more like an adopted daughter to Liz and I. Nenem's mum was diagnosed with cancer a few months back and finally lost the battle. Nenem is beside herself with grief. Please pray.

Preached, Praised and Voted!

I led the service this morning which had an early start, owing to the elections, at 8am. It was a really lovely service with even one visitor in to hear the Gospel. PTL! I preached on Colossions 1:1-14 and it flowed great. God is good. 

After the service Liz went with Sister Socorro Help to her Mother's funeral to support her and I went to vote. Voting was very quick today as there were only two votes to make, as opposed to 5 last time. So now we await the results this evening which with the change in clocks in the UK means we should have the result for Governor at about 10pm (UK time) and midnight (UK time) for President. The UK is only 3 hours ahead of us now.

News from João Pessoa is of rampant vote buying by the candidate trying to defeat the incumbent governor. Sadly he never changes! In general it would seem that things are peaceful around the country. We watch and pray.

Election Day (final run-offs)

In less than two hours the polling stations will open in Paraíba State where we will be voting in the second round of the general election for State Governor and National President. The top two candidates from round one on October 5th now will find out who is to be the Governor and President for the next 4 years. I am voting for both incumbant candidates - Ricardo and Dilma.

In the light of the election we will be having our service today at 8am so I will have my breakfast now and then head for church. May God bless you this Sunday!

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Spiritual Midnight

I have just got home with Liz from a wake where a 91 year old lady is laying in her coffin and will be buried tomorrow morning. She is the mother of Sister Socorro Help - a member of our Patos church. 

The atmosphere at the wake is indescribable! It is total spiritual darkness. It is absolute oppression. 

I have been to hundreds of catholic wakes over the years... but this was so so different! It hit me the minute I walked in the house. It was like a flashback to the middle ages!

The dead woman was probably one of the leading... perhaps the leader... of radical middle age Mariological ranty catholicism. Catholicism at its worst. The catholic taliban. Liz tells me she has been receiving letters from this woman for years trying to convert her to Mary!

At the wake one shift after another of chanting women, all glassy eyed, keep chanting memorized prayers. It is haunting. It is oppressive. It is spiritual darkness. Everything is Mary. They are all dressed in identical blouses with Mary written all over them.

I thought within one minute of getting in the place... get me out of here... this is serious oppression. Then God spoke to my heart and said: "Look what I have done for Socorro Help (our church member - the daughter)! I have saved her from this together with her family"! And not only saved her but kept her for years despite intense pressure from the taliban! Lord have mercy! Thank you Jesus for your grace! I could almost hear Luther shouting out: "The just shall live by faith"! "He who the Son sets free is free indeed"!

We went and visited Socorro Help to talk to her and pray with her and she commented that she can't stand it at her own mother's wake. Please remember this dear sister and her family in your prayers! Her son is married and they go to our church but the taliban tell them they are not married and are living in sin because they weren't married in a catholic church! Boy... Patos sure needs the Gospel!

Election run-offs tomorrow

The second and final stage of the Brazilian general elections will be tomorrow, with voting from 8am to 5pm. We will be voting for the State Governor of Paraíba and the national President. I have long declared my support for the re-election of the Governor of Paraíba - my friend Ricardo Coutinho. I will of course be voting for him and hoping and praying for success as he has been a fantastic governor in his first term of office and we badly need him to carry on the good work. He has, for example, over the past 4 years tarmacked more roads than could ever have been imagined! This is a fantastic help to EAB as we can get round the field so much easier and quicker. Places like Curral Velho and Passagem are now reached by tarmacked roads. It is wonderful! Even the road which links Ibiara to Manaíra has been tarmacked and that was an unbelievably terrible road.

I have only this morning declared my vote for president as this has been a much more difficult decision to take. I will be voting for the re-election of President Dilma. The decision has been difficult because on the one hand I have long recognized the tremendous social benefits to the poor that her party has brought since it came to power 12 years ago. On the other hand they have serious internal problems with corruption and some positions which I do not like as a Christian. However one never finds the ideal candidate so weighing everything up I have come to the conclusion that the work done for the poor is outstanding and this has tipped the balance and decided my vote.

Having declared my vote I said on facebook that I am just being up front, but will not get involved in arguments about the matter and asked people to respect this. Those who don't - like one brother who has told me that evangelicals couldn't possible vote for the re-election of Dilma - and went on with loads of arguments about different things - has had his comments eliminated from my page as I am just not going to be drawn in to arguments about this. I have prayed and thought and read a lot for weeks to bring me to my decision which I take very seriously - so there we are.

We should have the result for Governor probably by 7pm tomorrow (11pm UK time) and the result for President about 9pm I would guess (1am UK time). We watch and pray.

I have just heard that Sister Socorro Help's mother has died. Sister Socorro Help is a member of our church and her mother was a staunch Roman Catholic in her 90s. The funeral will be at 8am tomorrow morning which is the same time as our church service - so we will have to somehow do both. Liz has just gone charging over to Sister Socorro Help to support her as she is very dependent on Liz in times likes these. Please pray.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Back from Birdwatching

I got back to Patos at 11am after two exhasting but exhilarating days in the dry woods of western Paraíba in the County of Conceição and in the more humid state of Ceará in the County of Barbalha. I made little contact here on my blog as the internet link in my little hotel at night was useless.

Day one (Wednesday) saw me undertake the most strenuous decent and climb back out of a deep canyon at Mata Grande in Conceição. I was so pleased with how I coped physically with hours of walking and climbing in very hot weather and stony uneven terrain. The most exiting finds were three new Woodpeckers, which takes me up to 301 registers of Brazilian birds! There was the Golden-green Woodpecker, the Crimson-crested Woodpecker and the Ochre-backed Woodpecker! All are absolutely beautiful! Staggering!

Day two (Thursday) saw me setting out 15 minutes earlier than the previous day at 4.45am, having got up at 3.45am. We drove into the State of Ceará and I photographed again the fantastic 'Araripe Manakin' (see photo)

which was only discovered in 1996 and which is on the international Birdlife list as "in critical danger of extinction". These are breathtaking moments! David Attenborough was a great fan and supporter of this bird.

We got back to Conceição at 7.30pm and still went out looking for Nightjars/hawks till about 10.30pm! My Baptist pastor friend and I are as mad as each other! I got to bed just before midnight having not found a thing for our night travels!

I called in to visit the local EAB/ACEV pastor in Conceição this morning together with his wife. I had a lovely chat with them and was so pleased to hear how well the church is now going there. They are discipling 10 new converts which includes an entire family which used to be a regional music band and who now praise and worship Jesus. 

Upon driving through Ibiara on the way back to Patos I spotted Ben Price's vehicle and tried to see in which shop he was, but as I was unsuccessful I pressed on home as I was ready for a cup of tea! Thank you Lord for a lovely week! "The earth is the Lord's and everything that is in it"!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

On the road

As I am on the road I have little time to blog and I am very tired. I got to Conceição at about 8pm last night and was out birding all day with my friend Fred. I will be off again in the morning early at 4.30am. It has been a very good day with my tally of bird registers in Brazil passed the 300 mark at 301. Today I photographed 3 new species of large woodpeckers! Absolutely beautiful!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Empty arm day

Having had my series of routine bi-monthlyish blood tests done this morning I have survived to live another day despite a morning with an empty arm! The results thus far received online are excellent:

Glucose before breakfast 5.5 / Glucose HBA1C 5.3% / Thyroid T4+TSH levels correct / Cholesterol fine. So PTL!

I have been working on a variety of administrative issues and will be shortly going on a bit of a trip with my Baptist pastor friend who is a nature lover like myself, so I will keep you informed of any good sightings or discoveries.

Monday, 20 October 2014

A good Monday

Last night's service in Patos was good and the sermon on the "Joy of the Lord is our Strength" seemed to encourage many people, so that's good.

Today has been a good day. I was up at 5.20 and was off to Green Pastures after an early breakfast. There I discovered that the Mucuna Pruriens giant creeper plants (see photo) I have planted there, and which are appreciated by the animals as food, are being attacked by the wild guinea pigs, so we took emergency measures with old pipes to protect them up to a height that the wild guinea pigs can't get them. I also collected a couple of carrier bags full of Tamarind fruits as these are excellent to combat glucose in the blood. They have quite a twang to them!

Tomorrow morning I have my bi-monthly routine blood tests to do so no eating for 12 hours prior to these - and another empty armed morning to face tomorrow!

The politics is very hot now with the second round run-offs on Sunday for Governor and President. By Sunday night we will have the results. Watch this space!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

QPR score 4!

QPR scored 4 but lost 3 x 2 to Liverpool with 2 own goals. Vargas was brought on with 12 minutes to go and scored twice for the Rrrrs. Definitely lock up 'Arry in some place for treatment! It's no good talking about who deserved what. Football is won by who scores more goals and that's it. But it was heartbreaking to lose it like we did after coming back from behind twice. Very sad. By the way Balotelli is a pathetic replacement at Liverpool for Luiz Soares. Luckily for him the QPR defenders put the ball in the net when he couldn't despite an open goal.

Oh well - that leaves Rangers more rock bottom than ever. I think I've seen this film before.

Donating to EAB

Anybody who is able to and would like to donate to the work of EAB (Evangelical Action Brazil) can please do so online at . The Mission has worked in NE Brazil for 76 years and has an integral mission vision for the work of the Church of Jesus Christ. That is: we believe in and seek to live out preaching and practicing the Gospel - which is the whole of God's message of love for the whole man - body, soul and spirit. It's no good just talking about it - you've got to DO it!

Half an hour to go

There's half an hour to the QPR x Liverpool kick-off and 'Arry has made 5 changes, but still leaves Vargas on the bench who scored 2 for Chile last week! Why buy him? If 'Arry can't cope with Spanish speakers who aren't fluent in Cockney it is a problem. Oh well! My forecast is 0 x 1 at half-time and 1 x 3 full-time. I can't see us getting even a draw but I hope I'm wrong of course.

I have done a good bit of exercise in the pool this morning early. I need to round off my sermon for tonight in Patos now. Looking forward to it. I love preaching more and more!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Photos of the EAB Celebration

An album of photos of the EAB Celebration is now available at

'Sweet & Sour' - My sermon at EAB's 76th AGM

The Psalmist exclaims in Psalm 126

“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy… those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping carrying seeds to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him”.

The sweet and sour of Christian service has been our experience throughout another year working with EAB in north-eastern Brazil. EAB never hides the tears just to tell the good stories of joy – and this year has been a roller-coaster ride in the Mission – but as I come to report back to you tonight I am happy to say that God is faithful and the final result of the mountains and valleys is expressed in the words of the Psalmist: “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy… those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy”.

The sour side of 2014 started back in January with my ill health which really was a headache and saw me having more tests and medical exams over a period of months than you would want to imagine! I became very ill with eyesight difficulties, hearing impaired, speech difficulties, concentration problems and even my ability to walk was affected – and the problem was that the annual Carnival Camp was fast approaching in the first week of March at Green Pastures and I just couldn’t lead it as usual.

The sweet side to this was that God raised up our son Philip to take on this responsibility and he did a great job. God really used him, gave him the calm authority needed to lead 400 mainly young people throughout the four to five day event and the Lord also gave Philip the spiritual wisdom and anointing to lead all the services. The result was a resounding verdict by those present that it was “the best camp ever” over the past 35 years since we started when Philip was just a year old! All glory be to God! “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy… those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy”.

Prior to this camp EAB had held its annual 10-day Outreach at Itaporanga with a 60-strong team from a variety of our churches. This brought a new lease of life to the local church and a number of new converts. At Itaporanga they are now in the process of increasing the size of the building to cope with the people.

However it was immediately after the Carnival Camp that something we had all been praying for finally happened. For the heavens opened, bringing two and a half years of drought to an end, and just in the month of March we had 16.5 inches of rain! This eventually added up to double that, at 32 inches of rain, by the middle of this year. “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy… those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy”. Thanks very much to everyone who took it on their hearts to pray for rain!

Well, of course time waits for no man – especially in the work of EAB – and the annual May Field Conference was fast approaching, held in João Pessoa this year - but I was still really unwell. There were other decisions to take too regarding ‘to go or not to go to the UK’ and ‘to start or not to start on the Patos headquarters building project’?

Well we prayed and we thought and we discussed, and came to the decisions that we would postpone the UK trip to 2015 (DV) and we thank everyone for their understanding and encouraging messages when we broke the news. We’d already booked all the churches we were to speak at – but I just did not have the health and strength for it.

We also had to decide on whether to start EAB’s headquarters church new roof and refurbishment project as we either had to start in May or not have time to complete the work prior to the 2015 rainy season hopefully soon to start in January. Liz was decisive here, and said she felt we ought to go for it by faith, and said she would run the project despite me being ill. I agreed and we started! And Liz has been absolutely fantastic coordinating brick layers, labourers, electricians, architect, sound engineer, carpenters, painters – the lot – and has them all eating out of her hand! The end of this story is that the work is nearly complete – the church has a new roof, new ceiling, is fully rewired with new illumination and is now being painted. It’s the talk of the town for the glory of God and we just feel it’s going to attract many to hear the Gospel when we re-open in about a month’s time. Bert Mundy & Frank Dyer coordinated the original building 51 years ago and now Liz has done what 2 men managed then. We thank everyone who has prayed and contributed to this project and believe we now will have a headquarters church fit for another 51 years should Jesus tarry! “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy… those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy”.

Right – so having started the building project in May we set out for the EAB Field Conference held in João Pessoa this year, and somehow I dragged myself round doctors’ surgeries on the days prior to and following the EAB Field Conference there and managed to lead the event with great difficulty. However the reports were so encouraging that it certainly made me feel it was worth the effort. For as the reports were delivered by all the EAB churches we realized that we had 12% more Christians in our churches than one year before and that during the year we had managed to evangelize no less than 144,419 people and that our projects of social action had benefitted 132,849. To help cope with this situation of blessed growth we commissioned 3 new pastors at the Conference for the glory of God!

As part of this growth we could see how God had opened a new door into another ex-slave community where more descendents of African slaves from Angola have stuck together 150 years in extreme poverty, discrimination and need and waited till 2014 to hear the Gospel through the ministry of EAB – and already a number of the inhabitants of this community have come to the Lord! “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy”.

Some think to themselves: what is EAB doing in Brazil when there is so much church growth there? Well, I’ll tell you what EAB is doing. It is evangelizing communities of African descendents who had no Gospel witness in their community till this year. I’ll tell you what EAB is doing. It is pioneering with the Gospel in three such desperately needy communities of ex-slaves at Fonseca, Barra de Oitis and now Arara – it’s evangelizing African descendents in Brazil! But of course it’s not just African descendents who are being reached with God’s love and truth but many native Brazilian communities like that in Rio Grande do Norte State at Ipueira where we are rejoicing because two people have come to Christ in a village where there are virtually no Christians at all.

Well – our Field Conference was over and we were into the month of June and with all this work going on I was still really ill. So it was that the Patos church said enough’s enough! We are going to fast and pray for our pastor’s health – and they did – joining with all your prayers in the UK and around the world. And the next week I went back to the doctor’s once again and she said, “I have a new plan. As all the medicine you are taking is getting us nowhere let’s experiment and stop taking it all and monitor your progress”. And to cut a long story short I was back in her surgery a couple of weeks later feeling much better and I have not had to return to any of the medication again and even my diabetes is now unmedicated and just controlled by my diet! God answers prayer! “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy”! And that day a non-evangelical Christian doctor raised her hands to heaven as she saw my improvement and said “thank you God”!

Brothers and sisters – committee members – supporters – prayer warriors. Thank you each one for your prayers and support! “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy”! The Lord is using the multiple ministries of EAB 76 years into the Mission’s history and we are humbled before the Lord at His goodness, and grateful to God for the privilege of being able to serve Him and our fellow man! We are workers together in Christ Jesus!

Let no one doubt that the Devil has raised his ugly head in this past year, but the one who is mighty is within us and amongst us and the victory is ours in the Name of Jesus!

The Bible Colleges press forward training new workers for the vineyard and I have taken on a more advisory role in this sphere after 18 years at the front.

The EAB Action Schools also are in a period of transition as we adapt to a second generation of schools and kids with many of the original sponsored children now married. The schools carry on doing an excellent work, and we thank all those in the UK who sponsor them and coordinate the sponsorship programme, but we ask for your prayers as the national leadership here in Brazil is in the process of a reorganization of the project in accordance with changing circumstances and laws here in Brazil. Between now and the next EAB annual Celebration we should have a new plan of action to present to you all pointing to the way ahead for this wonderful project in its second phase to a second generation of pupils. Please pray with us as we take the decisions here that we need to take in the final months of this year.

Thankfully last month I was back in good health for our annual Leadership Conference when all the workers and their families gather at Green Pastures for a few days of fellowship, prayer and planning together. It was a real time of blessing and coincided with the National Government’s environmental organization recognizing Green Pastures as a nature reserve and turning up at the Conference, amidst all our workers and their kids, to return to the wild over 200 native birds they had recovered from poachers and saved from hunters. It was a joyful afternoon with all our leaders’ families helping set free the birds. It was an afternoon when we declared that “the earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it” and that EAB believes that this too is part of the church’s mission. It was as if that afternoon the setting free of those birds, into the trees we have planted over the past 35 years, was like a symbol of our freedom in Christ. Freedom to serve Him! Freedom to live for Him! Freedom to proclaim his Gospel! I think that the three Government environmentalists with us that day were quite taken aback by our joy and commitment. Their leader at the end said, “Boy! This was wonderful! We never expected this”!

So brothers and sisters – it has been a year of trials and triumphs! EAB’s 76th year was the year in which our veteran pastor at Princesa Isabel – Manoel Jorge – received his home call to Glory! It was also a year when our annual Youth Conference was held outside the State of Paraíba for the first time – in the State of Ceará, further west, where the Emmens ministered back in the 50’s! This is clearly a symbol of EAB’s expansion in spreading the good news of Jesus far and wide. For our vision is to spread out into all 9 northeastern States and we are now in 5 of them!

“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy… those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping carrying seeds to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him”.


EAB's 76th Celebration was blessed

The annual EAB Celebration has just ended and it was really good. The P&W was excellent and a good number of supporters turned up. The live Skype link worked well as it has done so all day. Thanks to everyone who made the effort to be there. It is encouraging and appreciated. I felt free and well preaching. PTL!

EAB Board Meeting

I have just finished taking part in the EAB Board meeting via Skype and all went very well. Many important subjects were discussed like adjustments to the Action Child programme in 2015 and general discussion on the annual field report.

Now it's all stations go for the buffet tea at 5.30pm (I filled Hazel in with some last minute recipes) and then the 76th annual Celebration starting at 7pm. May God bless us all!


I did not have a good night's sleep. I had my first Hypoglycemia (low glucose level in the blood) crisis for a long time. I had a shower before going to bed and then started to shake and felt awful. I immediatly checked my blood glucose level and it was the lowest I've recorded ever since I was diagnosed a diabetic. I then ate and drank appropriately and within an hour I was back to normal. However it messed up my night which was very disturbed and I only managed about 4 hour's sleep.

Nevertheless I am now all ready to roll in the office with the EAB Board meeting in half and hour's time. My message is also prepared for tonight's EAB celebration and I have nearly finished the preparation of my sermon for tomorrow in Patos.

Watch this space and I'll let you know how the Board meeting goes!

Friday, 17 October 2014

Green Pastures

I went to Green Pastures twice today so today was a very good day! I love going there and it relaxes me so much and makes me feel good. This morning I went for a nice long walk along the track following the river bed downstream (if there was a stream!) from the dam and soon walked into two Limpkins (large aquatic birds) which I hadn't seen around for a long time. They were gone in a flash before I could snap them, but I have set up my automatic infra-red camera in the pond by the dam where they must be hanging out. I then walked up past the "Woman's Rock" and up right round the lake coming back down to the dam in the shade of the Tamarind trees, laden with fruits, as far as the dam again where I had started.

This afternoon I returned to Green Pastures because I had a message from the Environmental authorities telling me they would be arriving with more birds to set free at Green Pastures. It was lovely doing this and then having an excellent long chat with the leading environmentalist of the 3-man team which came.

The church ceiling was finished late last night, so I am very pleased about this too! The new aluminium window frames are now being fitted and the painters press on too. The work is progressing extremely well. PTL!

I have prepared most of my sermon for Sunday night in Patos so that is good. Tomorrow I will be speaking at the EAB annual Celebration via Skype and taking part in the EAB Board meeting earlier in the day. I'm looking forward to all this and hope to see you at the Celebration.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

New Ceiling

The new ceiling in the Patos church is nearly completed and certainly will be finished by tomorrow, possibly today. It really does give you the feeling that finally we are getting there! You can see it at

I have already set aside two weekends as our options for the church re-opening celebrations; either November 29th & 30th or December 13th & 14th. On the Saturday the 'Tenda do Encontro' P&W group (whose CDs and DVDs many will have) have reserved both Saturdays for us and the Patos Worship team will lead on the Sunday. We can't define which weekend it will be as we don't know yet how long all the finishing off final details are going to take, but obviously we would prefer the November weekend if possible.

Thanks to everyone for their prayers and for all those who helped us financially achieve this tremendous achievement for the glory of God!

2 days to go!

2 days to go to the 76th annual EAB Celebration - this Saturday (18/10) - 5.30pm (buffet/chat) & 7pm (Celebration). Liz and I will be the speakers live direct from NE Brazil with the latest breaking news! The place to be is the Lighthouse Community Church, Hardley, Southampton, SO45 3NZ. We look forward to seeing you there!

Bia better

This morning the investigation into how Bia became so ill last night is certainly going to be carried out! It was scary! The poor kid was apparently unconscious for about an hour and a half and when she eventually came round and came home from hospital it wasn't until 3.30 am that her temperature got above the lowest point on the thermometer at 35ºC.

Anyway she is fine this morning, but Liz and Sacha slept little all night. We thank the Lord for bringing little Bia through this.

Yesterday I finished the preparation of my message for the EAB Celebration on Saturday so that is good. Please don't forget to be there if you can!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Bia rushed to hospital

Our granddaughter Bia has just been rushed to hospital by her mum Sacha and Liz. The doctor is keeping her in under observation. She has now come round, thankfully, as previously she was out like a light. Her blood pressure is very low so clearly too much medication was given her I would guess. Please continue to pray urgently.

Please pray for Bia

Please pray for our 4 year old granddaughter Beatriz (Bia) who has suddenly become quite dramatically unwell. She was fine this afternoon and then developed a 38ºC fever and was medicated by a doctor. However it is as if she has reacted to the medication or it was too strong for her and she looks really poorly. Please pray urgently!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Ben Price

Ben Price is the pastor of the EAB/ACEV church in Ibiara and he has been into Patos today so we have been able to have a good chat about all sorts of aspects of the work here. Very good. Sad that he keeps on "blowing bubbles", but apart from that he's fine!

I am preparing my message for the EAB Celebration on Saturday today. I have started and will now endeavour to press on. I value your prayers.

The Patos church ceiling installation is progressing well, having started yesterday morning. The company doing this is saying it will complete the ceiling by tomorrow night so that will be good. The workers start early in the morning, work till 8pm and then sleep on the job! Amazing stuff!

Monday, 13 October 2014

Don't miss it!

EAB's 76th annual Celebration will be held this Saturday at the Lighthouse Community Church, Hardley Green, Hardley, Southampton, SO45 3NZ. 5:30pm: celebration buffet and chat.
7pm: service with special guests - John & Elizabeth Medcraft, live on video link from Patos, Brazil. Don't miss it!

Oh goodie!

I have just seen the great news that this coming weekend QPR has one of those easy games... at home to Liverpool! Flippin Aida! May the Lord help us! I'll think about my forecast to put on the QPR fans page but it's a question of guessing by how many goals we will lose? The mind boggles! Oh dear! The team is in disarray - Ferdinand came from Man. Utd but should have retired - and Vargas, who scored twice for Chile last week is not even picked to play. Please get your act together 'Arry and quick or else I'm gonna be over there at Loftus Road to fix you!

Good night

I had a much better night's sleep last night than the night before (which was awful - don't know why) so feel good this morning. How apparently insignificant is this matter but in fact so important a good night's sleep!

Our crowd of young people got back from the Youth Conference in Ceará State late last night. I just saw Gyl quickly who said all had gone well. I should get more detail later today. Gyl came to pick up Lucas who stayed with us over the weekend and was a very good lad despite being without his Mum!

I have understood thus far that the Youth Conference was different (yet to understand what this means!), good and that there were a number of decisions for Christ at the event from the population of Nova Olinda in Ceará - so PTL for that.

News from my Mum's 90th birthday knees up is that all went extremely well. Mum forgets most things these days, but remembered some people, all the words of the hymns they sang with all her friends at the home, and all the words of the national anthem. There's a lovely photo taken yesterday at her party on

Last night's service in the Patos church went well though numbers were down. I think everybody will be glad to get back into our church next month! My sermon went well and Sacha did very well with the P&W just with one chap on an acoustic guitar as everyone else was away at the Youth Conference.

I need now to work on preparing my message for the EAB Celebration this Saturday. Don't forget to be there!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Ten Virgins

The Parable of the Ten Virgins will be the text for my sermon in the Patos church this evening. I spent all day yesterday preparing it. This is sermon number 7 in a series on the Parables of Jesus.

Today is my dear Mum's 90th birthday. There will be a little party at her home at 2pm organised by my sister Jean. A few friends and family members are expected. Happy Birthday Mum!

Today is Brazil's patron saint day which we ignore of course. More importantly it is celebrated as Children's Day here too.

The EAB/ACEV Youth Conference continues in Ceará today. Philip arrived there at the nearby airport ahead of schedule only for the people who picked him up to turn up late! Oh boy! I have not received any more news as yet on the Conference.

Friday, 10 October 2014

The birds have flown

The birds have flown (or are flying) is a reference to the youth group from Patos which left a little after 6.30pm for the State of Ceará for the annual EAB/ACEV Youth Conference. The group is travelling under the leadership of Philip's wife Gylmara. They should arrive at their destination sometime around midnight. Liz went to see the mini-bus load off and asked the driver if he had the directions. He replied that he knew he had to drive them to Nova Olinda in Ceará State, but it soon became apparent that nobody knew the address! A frantic phone call to the local pastor soon sorted that out!

Philip is also flying to the same destination from New York via Miami, Recife & Juazeiro do Norte - so a slightly different and longer route, but he should join all at the Conference by tomorrow afternoon as long as all the connections work out as planned. At least his first flight out of New York was on schedule.

I went to Green Pastures early today and then got back to Patos to finalize some document details for the environmental people. Next week we are expecting more birds to be set free at Green Pastures by the Government body responsible for this.

We have now received two of the three missing Action Schools report packages so this means Sacha can get stuck into translating it all next week. Just one School has not come into line as yet.

I've been contacted by the biggest "Globo" Brazilian TV network wanting to interview me next month.

My throat is still not completely better, but I am preparing to preach on Sunday by faith. I feel a bit rough still.

I looked over the church refurbishment project in Patos this afternoon as on Monday the ceiling team moves in to put it up in a week together with acoustic panels we are going to install on some walls. The whole church has now been rewired, the sound equipment re-cabled and renewed and a new burglar alarm system set up. All this mass of wires (well organized) is now in place and will be above the ceiling. We certainly are on target for a return to our beloved church by Christmas as planned and thank everyone who is praying and who has donated to this cause or is still going to. Things are extremely tight, but we are nearly there. Liz is being fantastic with this project. The iron lady or the rock of Gibraltar might be appropriate terms to use to describe her.

Thursday, 9 October 2014


Liz and I went out to Green Pastures quickly this afternoon to bring into Patos 15 mattresses for the youth from the church to take to Ceará tomorrow to sleep at the Youth Conference.

Whilst there I fixed up a makeshift filter for the pump which we have now installed with a little water fountain for the wild birds. The problem is that with so many trees around the leaves fall and block up the pump. I pinched a plastic sieve from Liz's kitchen and fixed it with rocks on top of the 150cm pipe in which the pump is positioned. I hope my invention works! The water fountain is in the meeting hall area for those who know Green Pastures. 

We've had some tense moments this week with some Action School leaders who are behind with their reports / letters / photos for sponsors. The deadline given them by Sacha to send them to her was August 8th and on October 8th I opened fire on the schools who have still not sent their report packages and they did not like it. We will be having meetings during the rest of the year to revamp this project and adjust where necessary. Please pray.

Covering lots of ground

I covered lots of ground this morning. It was good to see the level of satisfaction with the event at the Patos Bible College yesterday. (photo at

I have also had discussions about different aspects of EAB's Action Child Schools, both with the Patos Secretary of Education as with EAB/ACEV leaders.

I have also discussed the possible building of a little church at the ex-slave community of Fonseca and supplied photos for the Itaporanga Council who want to feature EAB/ACEV on the front cover of a magazine linked to the town's 150th anniversary celebrations coming soon.

This Sunday will be my dear Mum's 90th birthday - bless her heart. My sister Jean has organised a little party for her. I would have been there for it had it not been my time of illness earlier in the year.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Croaking like a toad

My throat continues as croaky as ever! I value your prayers.

I went for a walk at Green Pastures as it was an overcast morning and I felt with my RTI I shouldn't have much sun. It was nice to relax a bit.

Please pray for our youth all travelling to their annual conference on Friday - this year in the State of Ceará. It's quite a long way to travel for many, but we trust it will be well worthwhile and greatly blessed. Philip has a very tight schedule to get there direct from New York, where he's working this week, so please pray for his connections to go smoothly.

The Patos Bible College has had a special Conference day today open to the general public as we do each semester. It was really blessed. PTL!

The snake I photographed at night during the leadership conference at Green Pastures has now been identified as a Banded Cat-eyed snake. You can see it at 

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Journey postponed

My infected throat meant I wasn't able to travel today to minister at Ibiara. I am speaking as little as possible and taking antibiotics.

Yesterday evening it rained half an inch in Patos (not at Green Pastures unfortunately) and a temporary cold front came in with it. Liz and I were freezing at 21ºC when we went to bed! 

Please pray for the EAB/ACEV Youth Conference to be held this week in Ceará. Philip will be getting back from New York on Saturday and flying straight to the event. Your prayers are valued.

Monday, 6 October 2014

The day after...

The day after the Brazilian elections has left me a lot to think about. The race for governor of Paraíba is finely balanced - neck and neck! What concerns me are reports filtering though to me about rampant corruption and vote buying in this process. If such reports are confirmed it will sadden me greatly as we have worked so hard to combat this and it also makes a mockery of democracy.

In the presidential race the current left-wing president starts the second round with a big advantage over the centre-right candidate. However that is far from decided either as people are happy with the left's help to the poor but unhappy with their party's corruption. On the other hand the centre-right candidate has a pretty dodgy track record too. People are starting to ask me who to vote for and I am saying I'm praying and thinking! 

Today I have written and sent to the EAB UK Board of Trustees the annual report and appraisal document for the AGM on October 18th. Please do be there for the Celebration with the 5.30pm eats + 7pm service. Liz and I will be speaking via Skype from Brazil.

People are asking me what happened regarding my Islamic article which made me take it off the secular news site here and keep it only on my blog in Portuguese? What happened is that I was receiving lots of racist hate comments on an awful scale! My article, as you can see if you translate it on my Portuguese language blog, was mild and more a challenge to the evangelical church to wake up than anything else. However there are people here that hold the Brits as responsible for Crusades in the middle ages and for anything colonial done by us. The USA and others get put in the same basket. There were many here who cheered at 9/11. Brazil's current president Dilma said last month at the United Nations that Brazil is against the 50 or so country alliance of nations fighting ISIS and that we should be holding a dialogue with them! In other words when we talk about Islamic radicalism many here say that we are the cause of it!

We need to pray and wake up about Islamism! God has woken me up through the BBC and I am not intending on going back to sleep!

Sunday, 5 October 2014


With the Brazilian election results now almost all in we know that we will have second round run-off elections for President and State Governor here in Paraíba on October 26th - 3 weeks today. The system works so that when no candidate has a a clear majority then the top two in round one go into a run-off.

President Dilma has thus far received 41.45% of the votes and Aécio Neves came second with 33,71%. Our Christian candidate sadly only came third with 21.28%. (98.59% of the votes have now been counted)

Here in Paraíba State it is much tighter with the present excellent governor receiving 46.05% of the votes and his opponent Cássio (previously removed from office when a governor on another occasion owing to his corruption!) received 47.44%. (99.95% of the votes have been counted)

My impression is that Dilma will be returned to power as president, but the battle for the State of Paraíba is too close to call. I will certainly vote for the present governor Ricardo again, but who I will vote for for president will need a lot of thought. 

So it's been a tough day and adding to everything else QPR lost again and are firmly cemented at the bottom of the Premiership again and heading full steam ahead for the Championship in 2015. Calls amongst supporters for the manager to go are growing. Sooner, rather than later, would be best in my opinion, before we lose all touch with the pack.

Election results start to emerge

Everything is very tense here as the election results begin to emerge. Tension in Paraíba is especially high because there was chaos in João Pessoa during the voting as many voting machines did not work. Thus many voters gave up waiting for the machines to be fixed and did not vote. This is especially serious as it is the main source of votes for the present governor. Many are openly accusing the opposition of sabotage and thus fraud. May the Lord help us. 

Up to this moment 54.1% of the ballot boxes have been counted and the opposition candidate leads with 47.8% of the votes as opposed to the present governor who has 45,51% of the votes. We watch and pray.

No partial results for president have been released as yet.

General Election (round 1)

I have already been to church and conducted the communion service at 8am. It went off beautifully. Prior to this I watched the BBC documentary "My Brother the Terrorist" at just after 6am which I had already watched yesterday at midday. I have only just realized that my tweet about the documentary last week was re-tweeted by the film's director!

Today 142 million Brazilians are eligible to vote for the president for the next 4 years and about 3 million are eligible to vote for the governor of Paraíba. I voted on the way home from church. The results should be available this evening. It is a very fast electronic system, although I am hearing reports of lots of breakdowns in the equipment in João Pessoa which is alarming. 

QPR will be playing at West Ham a bit later and my forecast is for a win for the Rangers 2 x 1. It is just a hunch I have that the Rrrrs will win and certainly not a scientific calculation!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Election fever

Patos is very noisy today, on the eve of the general election, with candidates and their teams going round in vehicles with loads of huge loudspeakers blasting everyone with their candidates' songs and calling people to vote for them. When it get's to this point you feel you'll be glad when it's all over! However if the elections for president and governor go to a run-off on the 26th then we will have 3 further weeks to endure!

I have been preparing a word for tomorrow morning's 8am communion service, but I am not quite sure how this is going to work out as my throat is no better.

I watched the second BBC documentary on Islamism today - 'My Brother the Terrorist' (broadcast in the UK on BBC 3 - April 2014). It was very good and enlightening, but not as good as the previous 'My Brother the Isamist' (broadcast on BBC 3 in April 2011). To start with today's 50 minute documentary has no participation from the islamist brother Richard Dart from Weymouth because he is in jail on terrorist related charges and would not receive his step-brother when in prison. Today's sequel also lacked the surprise elements about conversion to Islam etc. that were present in the previous film. Nevertheless there were still good insights into possible factors which aid the islamic recruitment process plus two face-to-face encounters with so called "hate preacher" Anjem Choudary. These documentaries are very important and I hope to be able to obtain a copy of both on DVD or the likes.

Friday, 3 October 2014

BBC reply

I am happy to have just received the following reply from Sarah Baines of the BBC World News audience relations team:

"Dear Mr Medcraft

Thank you for your email and your praise for the documentary, 'My Brother, the Islamist.'

Thank you also for your comments on our coverage of events in Syria and Iraq which, I'd like to reassure you remains a priority for the BBC News team. I will none-the-less pass on your comments to our editors.

Kind regards
Audience Relations
BBC World News